vintage may: flap pocket skirt and tutorial

today is the first day of Vintage May! i’m having fun sewing for myself lately, so i thought i’d kick the series off with a vintage-style skirt that i could make look retro or modern, depending on my mood. it’s a current-day pattern with a twist to add the type of special detail you’d expect to see in vintage clothing…a flap pocket. and i’ve included a little tutorial on how to easily modify any pant/skirt pattern to do this yourself!

flap pocket skirt for vintage may

first, a little about the skirt, which i sewed in Anna Maria Horner’s beautiful “coordinates in saffron” cotton from bolt. i love this print and had been saving it for a special project – this fit the bill nicely. wouldn’t it be so gorgeous in field study linen too? love that stuff.

flap pocket skirt for vintage may

the pattern is simplicity 2226, a basic, inexpensive, easy-to-find pattern which i bought back when Anna did a sewalong! i sewed a size 14 but should’ve taken her advice and sewed a size or two smaller to get more waist cinch. it’s comfy as is, but waaay bigger than my store-bought skirts (i’m usually a 6). the pattern instructions are really well-written though – i’d never sewed a non-indie pattern and i was pleasantly surprised at the clarity of it! i sewed view A without belt loops and added an extra 1″ in length just to be sure it hit me below the knee.

flap pocket skirt for vintage may

so i knew i wanted to make a skirt but didn’t know what era to go with. i googled “20s skirts” and “30s skirts” and “40s skirts” on up…aside from the more flowy, flapper-esque look of the 20s and the more structured look of the 40s, there didn’t seem to be TOO much in terms of everyday-type skirts that would make you say “that skirt is from THIS decade.” i made this skirt to have a ’30s vibe (which to me is more casual than the decades surrounding it and slightly art deco) but people i’ve shown say it has a 50s/60s look…so i don’t know.

flap pocket skirt for vintage may

i guess it’s kind of a “know it when you see it” type deal – styled like i typically dress, it just looks like a normal skirt. styled with red lipstick and vintage silk headscarf with a tucked-in cardigan, it’s a throwback (especially when you stand next to a beauty school door).

flap pocket skirt for vintage mayanyway, onto the pocket tutorial! this is the same method i used for sam’s shorts in moonrise kingdom film petit, and it’s easy but adds a pretty neat detail. the pattern comes with your typical curved front pockets, so this tutorial is to show you how to modify those.

: SUPPLIES :

  • pants/skirt pattern with front pockets
  • point turner / chopstick / knitting needle
  • 1/4 yard (or fat quarter) of contrast pocket lining fabric
  • two buttons
: METHOD :
first, lay out your pattern’s skirt front. see the scooped line for the pocket on the far left? use your ruler to extend the top and side lines to meet at a 90 degree angle. this will become your flap.
flap pocket skirt for vintage may
fold down the corner until it looks like a good proportion to you (in my case it was 6 inches) and mark those spots. add a notch at each mark.
flap pocket skirt for vintage may
overlay the pocket back pattern piece and add notches to match. cut two “backs” from your contrast fabric and two from your main fabric. i ended up trimming the pocket back and lining pieces more to a slightly wider square shape versus the rectangle indicated in the pattern, since i was lining it in a contrast fabric and didn’t want to fold it back on itself as the pattern instructs.
flap pocket skirt for vintage may
sew contrast lining fabric to skirt front with 3/8″ seam between the notches, backstitching at both ends and pivoting at the corner. clip corner and turn flap right side out, pushing to a point with your point turner. clip into the seam allowance at the notches to release the flap so it can fold out of the way as you sew the rest of the skirt. then with the flap folded down and the skirt wrong side up, place pocket back over the lining and sew around the inner two edges (in the photo below i’m folding the fabric out of the way so you can see right/wrong sides, but you’ll want to sew it matching the edges – NOT folded up). finish the inner edges of the pocket via zigzag or serger.

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then working on the right side, baste top of the skirt and side so the pocket stays put as you move on to gathering the front, sewing the side seams, and adding the waistband.

flap pocket skirt for vintage may

continue to sew the skirt as indicated. at the end, sew the button on to keep the flap down and add visual interest. mark 1/2″ from each edge, then sew your buttons between the flap and inside of pocket only (not all the way through the skirt – gotta get your hand in there!).

flap pocket skirt for vintage may

and you’re done!

flap pocket skirt for vintage may

now go hit the town in your new skirt, girl!

flap pocket skirt for vintage may

i never wear a red lip, this was actually my sister in law’s gloss and i felt pretty sassy wearing it…!

flap pocket skirt for vintage may

and a huge thanks to my husband who took these pics and put up with my compulsive overdirection. 😉

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alright! now you KNOW you want to see Jess’ adorable little gal in a vintage-inspired gingham “romper” over at Craftiness is Not Optional…here’s a sneak peek! she is WAY TOO CUTE.

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back tomorrow with our first guests!

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scoop top free pattern and tutorial

As a part of my guest blogging gig for Britex Fabrics, they recently sent some of their new knit fabric to try out! I was really excited to see that Britex is now offering knit fabric online, and for this project I picked out a super cool Japanese tissue knit with scribbles all over it. I thought it’d be a great fabric to turn into a simple tee using my favorite J.Crew shirt as a launch point, with plenty of my own modifications to get the perfect fit.

And because I want to share the love of my new favorite shirt all over blogland, I thought I’d offer a FREE PATTERN along with my tutorial today!

scoop top pattern & tutorial

I’m calling it the Scoop Top. It’s a scoop neck women’s t-shirt with a french/dolman sleeve. It’s fitted through the bust but then flares out a bit, giving it a really flattering and comfortable fit. I’m offering this free pattern in a size small/medium (since it’s knit, it’s pretty forgiving, size-wise).

scoop top pattern & tutorial

PATTERN

Download the FREE Scoop Top Pattern

Please note: This pattern is untested (except by me) and it is offered in only one size. It’s also the first time I’ve ever digitized a pattern, so please don’t expect perfection! I’m happy to answer questions about it if you ask nicely. This pattern is for personal use only. I reserve the right to refine, grade it to different sizes, and charge for it it sometime in the future. In the meantime, Go To Patterns’ Casual Lady (affiliate link) has a similar fit in a full range of sizes and proceeds go to a great cause.

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flocking bird silk shirt with sleeve tutorial

My next post as a member of the Britex Fabrics Guest Blogger Team is up today over on the Britex Blog, and I’m sewing with SILK!  This gorgeous navy and ivory flocking bird print was completely irresistible to me, and I was so excited to make a beautiful flowy top out of it for my sister Laura.  I’ve never sewn with silk before so this was quite a challenge – I had a lot of research to do before I started.  The result is completely worth the extra effort I think!

flocking bird silk shirt (sleeve tutorial)

I started with one of my favorite adult patterns, the Wiksten Tank.  As I’ve done before, I decided to add three quarter sleeves, which gives the shirt a bit more substance and slightly more formal look, while maintaining the ease of the pattern.

flocking bird silk shirt (sleeve tutorial)

Today I’ll show you my method for adding the sleeves.

First of all, if you’re working with silk, here are a few general tips I picked up.  You’ll want to sew with silk or cotton thread, using a microtex sharp needle, so make sure you have those.  Next, you’ll need to reflect all of your pattern pieces so you’re not cutting on the fold, but just a single layer of silk.

When you’re ready to cut, head over to my fellow Britex Guest Blogger Jen from Grainline Studio’s tutorial for cutting silk.  It worked amazingly well!  I cut between two layers of Swedish tracing paper with a rotary cutter and it was a frustration-free experience.

flocking bird silk shirt (sleeve tutorial)

Now, to create the sleeve pattern.

flocking bird silk shirt (sleeve tutorial)

1.  Lay your pattern on the right side of your tracing paper and trace around the armhole curve

2.  Lay your ruler down at a 90 degree angle to the pattern grain, mark a line as far as you’d like the sleeve (use another shirt of yours for length reference)

3.  This is what your pattern will look like so far

4.  I added a little extra loft to the shoulder curve to give myself room for a puff sleeve and to add a seam allowance.  Draw a slight S to finish the arm curve, then draw a slanted line to the same length as your top line, connecting them with a vertical line (the lighter curve is my original tracing, darker line is my final pattern)

flocking bird silk shirt (sleeve tutorial)

If you’ll be cutting silk, trace out your sleeve again with plenty of room to reflect the pattern so it’s just one piece.  If making this out of cotton, you can just use the pattern on the fold.   Cut notches where indicated to guide gathers (on your silk, mark these with chalk).

flocking bird silk shirt (sleeve tutorial)

Sew two rows of gathering stitches between your markings, then sew the long sleeve seams together.  I chose to serge each side of the seam allowance and press them open, as I thought french seams might be too bulky.  Set each sleeve in, gathering what’s needed to match the armhole opening and sewing inside the tube.  I then serged the seam allowances together to finish the armhole.

flocking bird silk shirt (sleeve tutorial)

Finish the tank per pattern instructions – for the silk, I used a baby hem and navy cotton batiste bias tape to finish the neckline.  You can either choose to hem the sleeve with a baby hem, or a wider one and thread some elastic through to hold it at your elbow.

flocking bird silk shirt (sleeve tutorial)

Enjoy your pretty new silk (or voile, or batiste, or vintage sheet, or rayon) shirt!  Thanks for modeling, Laura!!

Head over to the Britex Blog to see my post and leave some love over there if you’d like, and while you’re there be sure to peruse their sale section.  The drape and beauty of this silk just can’t be beat (it goes on sale Feb 1).

**Britex Fabrics is a sponsor of this blog and graciously provided the fabric for this project.**

fat quarter pot holder mini tutorial

my sister Laura is getting married this spring!  we’re super excited, he’s a great guy.  oh and i get to make another flower girl dress!  yay!  Em and her cousin are co-flower girls actually, so depending on the design complexity, i might be making two or my  mom might make the second one.  we’ll see.  anyway.

fat quarter pot holder mini tutorial

she had a bridal shower last weekend, and i was actually on top of the present-buying for the most part.  i had thrifted some great big vintage doilies for table decorations a while ago, as well as a mason jar with bubbles in the glass, both of which fit with her decorating scheme.  i also got her a Silpat, since Laura loves to bake.  and then because something had to be handmade, i made her some pot holders (starting the night before and finishing the morning of the shower).

fat quarter pot holders

i subconsciously matched the colors to the Silpat.  haha.  the main fabric is from Denyse Schmidt’s Hope Valley line, and i’m not sure what the binding is (if you know, please tell me!).  both are from Bolt.

here’s a quick words-only tutorial for these simple pot holders, which are a great way to use fat quarters, practice quilting if you’re scared of quilts, or to whip up as a quick gift if you have a few supplies on hand.  super easy, super fast.

fat quarter pot holders

this tutorial makes two hot pads that are quite large, you can scale them down in the “trim to square” step if they’re seeming unwieldy to you:

  • grab two fat quarters (FQs) – one for the body and one for the binding – some batting, and twill tape
  • cut four 9.5″ x 9.5″ squares of FQ, and four 10″ x 10″ or so squares of batting (for two pot holders)
  • make a sandwich – one FQ face down, two layers of batting, one FQ face up (try to line the FQs up on either side as best you can)
  • mark a diagonal grid starting corner to corner using tailor’s chalk or disappearing marker – mark lines 2″ apart
  • pin baste between the lines
  • quilt using a walking foot along the lines
  • trim to 9″ square (or smaller – i think 8″ square is standard)
  • cut 2.5″ strips of the second FQ for binding on the grain, enough to go around each pot holder (you’ll probably have to piece two strips together)
  • baste a loop of twill tape to the wrong side of the pot holder, and bind using your favorite method.  i usually hand stitch to finish my quilt bindings but this time i zigzagged them for speed and stability – this tutorial is great if you need it
  • make another one
  • DONE

fat quarter pot holders

not too bad, eh?  i love how puffy the double layer of batting makes them, and the zigzag stitch will keep them secure through washings.

fat quarter pot holders

mmmmm pillowy.

and here’s how i wrapped the gift up.  i’m a huge fan of the old “make a wedding rehearsal bouquet from shower ribbons and a paper plate” tradition, and really love to wrap shower presents with fun toppers to add some pizzazz to the practice bouquet.

pom pom flower

i wrapped the gift with simple brown craft paper, topped with white grosgrain ribbon and a pom pom flower with felt leaves!  i hot glued the leaves to the bottom of the flower to make sure it all stayed put, threading the tails of yarn from the pom pom through a small slit i cut into the felt to tie it to the ribbon.

pom pom flower

i’m so looking forward to Laura’s springtime wedding!

oh and if you make a pot holder using this mini tutorial, please add it to the flickr group.  thanks!

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

this post is part of the Stretch Yourself Series hosted by Miriam of Mad Mim and Miranda of One Little Minute – all last week they had fantastic and comprehensive tutorials to learn to sew with knits, and this week they’ve invited guest bloggers to share tutorials!  Today Leanne and I are sharing loungewear projects.  comfy comfy loungewear!  

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when Mim emailed me inviting me to participate in the series, the first project that popped into my head was a simple nightgown for Em.  she wants to wear a nightgown to bed every night, the cozier the better, and cycles through them so often hers are starting to show some wear.  i wanted to put a little twist on a basic design, use what i had, keep it simple yet fun and modern.  presenting the two t-shirt nightgown!

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

this nightgown is modeled after her favorite store-bought one, and also inspired by Heather.  it’s made from two of my husband’s gray t-shirts that didn’t fit him quite right, which i stamped with sparkly pink hearts and stars (a la Celina).  the style of it is quite versatile though; it could just as easily be a daytime dress!

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

if you already know how to draft a simple shirt pattern in your child’s size or learned how from either Mim or Miranda’s tutorials, do that first.  i just used one of my favorite patterns, Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee (FBST) as a base.  this tutorial will make a nightgown likely fit up to a size 5.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

let’s get started!

SUPPLIES

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

  • two adult size t-shirts (one will turn into the bodice and sleeves, one will be the skirt – mine were men’s large)
  • rib knit or stretchy binding material (mine didn’t have quite enough stretch)
  • if stamping, also gather sticky back foam sheets, scrap cardboard, and fabric paint

INSTRUCTIONS 

cut out the proper size of FBST or draft your own shirt pattern.  create the nightgown’s bodice pattern by measuring 1″ down from the armpit and drawing a horizontal line onto tracing paper.  trace the rest of the pattern, marking the fold and neckline of the original.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

if all you have is boring man shirts like i did, stamping is a great way to add personality.  it may seem tedious, but i always think it’s really relaxing!

first, draw an image onto the sticky foam.  simple is good with this technique.  cut one out, then use it as a template to cut another.  stick those together for a double layer of foam.  stick those to the cardboard, and you can fold up part of the cardboard backing as a handle if you want.

i mixed neon pink and glitter together on a plastic lid, then used a foam brush to apply the paint to the stamp – this helps keep it even.  then start stamping the bodies of your t-shirts!

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

let the stamps dry, then heat set the paint by tossing it in the dryer or hitting it with an iron.

my nightgown’s sleeves have a slight puff at the shoulder – i used a technique similar to Rae’s tutorial, but I only wanted the shoulder puffed rather than the whole sleeve.  to do that, i just angled the top of the pattern away from the fold by 1″, but had the bottom of the sleeve match the fold for its normal width at the hem.  as i cut, i extended the shoulder line from the pattern, then used that cut sleeve as a pattern for the second one to make sure they matched.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

cut the sleeves out, then add notches just down from the top curve of the shoulder to guide where to place your basting stitches.  you can also add a little notch right at the top shoulder fold to help place it at the shoulder seam later.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

cut out your front and back bodice pieces, then sew or serge shoulder seams right sides together.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

sew two rows of basting stitches at 1/4″ and 1/2″ between the notches on your sleeve.  pull bobbin thread to gather, lay the bodice flat and pin to the armhole opening, right sides together.  sew/serge the sleeve on, then remove basting stitches.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

pin the sleeves right sides together and sew, continuing down each short little side seam.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

your bodice is ready for a skirt!

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

grab your second t-shirt.  use a straight edge and rotary cutter (or mark and cut with scissors) to cut it off evenly under the armpits – this will become your skirt, already hemmed and everything!  if you’re making this nightgown for a smaller girl, estimate your skirt length based on a dress she already owns.

gather the top of the skirt with two rows of basting stitches, pin to the bodice at the side seams, then distribute the gathers evenly and pin the bodice to the skirt, right sides together.  sew/serge.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

remove the basting stitches below your seam, and press.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

bind neckline and sleeves using your favorite method, Rae’s pattern instructions, or Mim’s finishing techniques.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

and you’re done!  easy, right?  might need to whip a couple more up!

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

she didn’t want to take it off.  in fact, she wore it all day.

dance party time.

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

i love it when she has such a fun reaction to what i make.  did i mention the pink was her idea?

two t-shirt nightgown tutorial

if you make a nightgown using this tutorial, please add it to the skirt as top flickr group!  happy sewing!