Thursday, September 19, 2013

Craftsy Class Giveaway

Recently, I received photos and other graphics from the Craftsy class I taped in August.
Seeing these photos for the first time was pretty exciting and reminded me all over again why I accepted their request to teach this class. This new age of internet has made learning so accessible and affordable for everyone, no matter their station in life, and I am pleased that I can be a part of it.
We now call it information overload, but when I was learning to sew, this kind of specialized information was hard to get, if not from family or friends. Where would someone go to find someone willing to “show” us how?  As a teenager, I knew of a Russian woman in town that was a clothing designer and I wondered if she had something she could teach me? I was shy and insecure, and didn’t know the questions to ask. I only knew I wanted to learn.

I hope that anyone would be able to ask me. I invite you to ask me. Perhaps you don't know the questions either. This can make a project class (like those offered at Craftsy) so perfect. We learn by practice and doing. Even if you have been sewing for a long time, discovering a different way of "doing" is also of value. Remember that there are many roads that lead to Rome.

The Craftsy class is not quite ready for purchase, but while we wait, I’m happy to announce a class giveaway. Between now and Oct 8, 2013, please sign up to be entered into a giveaway for my class “Sewing Vintage: The Flirty Day Dress” through this link:

The winner will be announced on the first day of class, so stay tuned for that date! If you win, the class will be yours from day one.

So, until you see these banners everywhere........enter the giveaway, and Good Luck!

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?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Behind the Scenes at Craftsy

The project I'm teaching at Craftsy is this Tia Dress
 "So how was your trip to Denver?" my son asked me. Having filmed and edited movies before, he wanted to know the "behind the scenes" in making a Craftsy class. "You mean there is no script?"  The outline that my producer and I had sketched out weeks before was as much a script as there was.  This outline helps the producer evaluate the content to keep each lesson within the maximum time allotment and ensures that the critical elements are included.

Once on the set, the things I had yet to perfect were more movie-like than academia, things like remembering the format for introducing each lesson. It turned out to be a tongue twister to say "Sewing Vintage" instead of "Vintage Sewing." A sign taped it to the camera  helped me out immensely.  

With two cameras trained on me at all times, it's appropriate to:
  • speak to the camera whenever possible
  • when sewing, keep my left hand flat
  • don't talk to just to fill space
  • if I need to stop, turn statuesque (and don't move anything!)
  • move slowly so the camera has time to follow
  • keep all tools/step outs close at hand

We would start the day as soon as make up and wardrobe was complete. The goal was to complete 3-4 lessons in a day, and though video can be picture perfect (retaping again and again), it's a tight schedule to keep, and frankly, it's unnatural to be too scripted. It's the Craftsy way to share the teachers eloquence and skill as it happens, just as it would be in a classroom experience. However, the last day was a rough start for me, continually stumbling over my words. I was able to begin again and soon I had my rhythm going.

Nine different lessons means nine different outfits. I had to stay away from  solid white, black, stripes or small prints, and that ruled out much of my wardrobe. Wearing a microphone also meant that my clothing had to be capable of both hiding the wire and clipping to something- a pant, skirt, or some kind of belt. I packed my suitcase with anything and everything that had possibility. One thing that didn't work in my favor was dress linings and taffetas. I had put on the Beatrice dress in plaid and was ready to start the lesson when the camera man stopped me. "I hear something" he says. He fiddles with my microphone and goes back to his post. I begin talking, and again he stops me. Puzzled, he says "What do you have on under there?" The stiff lining made crackling noises!

I hope you'll take my class, set to debut in October. I am teaching some very unique vintage sewing techniques using the Tia Dress, # LN 1312, and you get the pattern sent to you free with the class purchase. Next week I'll show you some of the special features that we'll be doing in the class. And as we say at Craftsy....

I'm Laura Nash, and THIS is Sewing Vintage!