Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Craftsy Sewing Vintage: The Tia Dress Details

While you wait for my Craftsy class, officially named "Sewing Vintage: The Flirty Day Dress" set to debut in October, let me share with you the special techniques and extra features included with the class project, the Tia Dress, mailed to you FREE with the class. Besides all the extra dress features listed here, I go into the use of vintage tools, still in use today, and show you how they can be used for speed and accuracy. I go through the essential pattern alterations you may need to do, including altering the bust for cup size, including the math for anything from an A cup to a DD.

Here is just the list of special vintage features added to the dress:


The pattern calls for purchased bias binding, but in the class, we make a pattern for this wider trim so that any fabric or color can be used to trim the bodice, taking a 1/4 yard of contrast fabric. Instruction for this bow is not included with the class, but you can make one for yourself using the same pattern piece.We also make a pattern piece for the zipper facing.

make your own trim


A side zipper is oh, so vintage! You know I've said it before, and I'll say it again - once you know how, a side zipper is so much easier to sew than a back zipper, and you look good from the front and the back! In this class, we want to go back in time to the days when, in addition to our usual under things, women also wore slips for modesty (and girdles for shape and structure). To keep from catching your slip in the [metal] zipper and ruining it, women would sometimes add a facing to the zipper area, such as we still see in our modern-day slacks. This facing also serves as a privacy panel, and looks oh, so couture!

The perfect lapped zipper really does need an extension on the lapped side. The usual seam allowance can turn out to be a rather sparse edge for top stitching into place.

the vintage zipper extension


As a technique, a waist stay has many benefits, but most important, it keeps your waist measurement locked in place so it won't stretch with wearing.
a waist stay is a must!


In deciding on a seam finish for the class, I went through my collection of dresses from the 1920's to the 1960's, and the most common seam finish, even for a store purchased garment, really is the pinked edge. I found it used on everything. In places where the seam was bias, there was no finish whatsoever- in this case, they simply pinked up to the bias, tapering off to nothing. The lesson in this is do not under rate those pinking shears! Though I took the time to do a straight stitch inside the pinking, it really wasn't necessary. My dress has been wash, and you can see there is practically no fray at all. Of course it helps to start with a quality fabric.
seam finish with pinking shears


The pattern calls for trim at the hem, eliminating the need to top stitch or ease in a full hem. In the class, we've eliminated the trim and instead I show you a special technique for easing a wide hem all in one step. I use hem tape to transition the hem, and I show you a different way, common to the 1950's, to hand stitch the hem in place.


No vintage girl would be without a petticoat, so we make a two ruffle petticoat without a pattern to wear under your skirt. I show you how easy it is to sew ruffle to ruffle, all in one step, using a ruffler foot. This wonderful foot will cost you $15-25, but will save you HOURS in time. Top stitching over the seam (as the top ruffle is) is a really nice detail, but optional.

add a petticoat for structure
This is so much more bonus about tools, technique, fitting, alterations, and everything that I do to make clothing look professional, I share with you. I am super excited and really looking forward to the class launch. Is there anything I have missed? Any other technique you could possibly want to know that is not already included?


  1. I'm really looking forward to your Craftsy class! I'm waiting to use my pattern until then.

  2. It's January 2014 and I have just signed up for the class. I love the dress, I have really gotten into the vintage patterns. While I am in my early 60's I didn't start sewing until I was a teenager in the late 1960's so I didn't make the classics from the 40' and 50's that I love now. So I am excited for this class and I am loving all the new techniques I am learning from the Craftsy classes I have taken.


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