Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Vintage Brassiere in Profile... 1940's Bra by Siva of Paris

Hello lovely readers. Recently, I've been working on grading a few of my 1940's bra patterns into larger sizes. While doing this, I tested a few for fit and accuracy by sewing a few samples and became SO inspired to sew more lingerie again! In a fit of passion, I pulled all of my vintage brassieres out to study their construction and was again delighted to see the interesting details that these little beauties featured.

If you ever decide to try your had at some historically accurate bra sewing, here a few details you might like to try!

This little bra by Siva of Paris is from the late 1930's to early 1940's. The fabric is a satin coutil, a wonderful, but very hard-to-find piece of fabric for lingerie sewing. If you can't find coutil, a great substitute is to buy a very lightweight satin and baste it to a soft cotton lawn or fine muslin. This has worked wonders for some of my bra sewing projects.

The closure is one of my favorite types, and adjustable length of elastic (with mini buttonholes!) with a hook. These are incredibly comfortable and are still my favorite way to finish the back of a bra.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Random Free Pattern Day

Hello lovely readers. Whew! It's been a while, hasn't it? I know, I've been putting blogging waaaay out on the back burner for quite a while now. To be honest, I don't know how often I'll be able to blog for the time being. I've been dealing with some rather intense chronic nerve pain this year and it makes it difficult for me to do anything, including sit at the computer for very long. I've had every test in the book and so far my half-dozen doctors have just given up and called it Fibromyalgia.
Soooo, that's been a whole heap of fun...

Today, to try and distract myself, I decided to play with some lovely vintage French magazines. I then stumbled across a lovely little sewing pattern included in one of them that I just had to translate and share with you all!

This sweet little pattern from 1939 comes as a diagram with measurements (in centimeters) that should fit a 10 year old girl. It can also be cut on the bias in stripes for a cute little chevron effect.

You can download the pattern for free at my website! Just click here and scroll to the bottom of the page. Click the "Add to Cart" button, checkout (no payment necessary), and the pattern will arrive in your inbox.

Happy sewing!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sew Expensive... A McCall 1987 hat pattern and what makes a buyer tick!

Many of you might come to expect by now that vintage hat patterns are worth a pretty penny. We've watched Millinery for Every Woman and McCall 1974 sell for quite a bit in past editions of Sew Expensive. We know that sometimes the artwork and sometimes the short window that the design was in style can increase a pattern's value.
And today's pattern is no exception to the rule. The artwork is beautiful, the pattern is flattering, and the hat in question was only in style for a short while in the early 1930's.

A few nights ago, I watched the lovely McCall 1987 sell for a predictable, and yet still shocking $223.37.

We've often discussed why patterns sell for more, but why hat patterns, specifically?

In general, accessory patterns don't survive as often as dress patterns. Maybe it's the small pieces, maybe fewer were originally printed, maybe both. But the fact remains that if you find one of these, it might be the only one you find in 20 or 30 years! Version B in this pattern is an especially rare design to see a pattern for. I know it's not in style right now, but don't you just want to wear that hat?

Not too long ago, our last Sew Expensive post got a very exciting comment left on it. A lady named Jan most graciously took the time to comment on the post to explain why she was willing to pay so much for (and she did in fact win!) this, and other patterns. Jan was sweet enough to allow me to share with you her comments, and so I present to you, my dear readers, the mind set behind some of our most Sew Expensive patterns!
Pictorial Review 9072 sold at auction or just over $200.

"I had the winning bid on this pattern, and just snagged it by a few dollars margin, and although I really wanted it (see below), assumed it would go for more than my max.

I am also guilty of paying a huge sum for a 30s Vogue Couturier on Feb 24, 2014, for which I paid $643.33:

The original Ebay auction for Vogue 120.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A few things... including a free pattern, of course.

Hello my lovelies. It has been an incredibly busy month! I've been working full steam on folding and packaging paper versions of some of my patterns, working on pattern drafting projects, and some other stuff...
I've had a bit of trouble getting motivated lately. I haven't mentioned it much, but I have an as-yet undiagnosed chronic pain thing, and it can be kind of a bummer. I'm allergic to just about every pain pill my doctors have prescribed, so I mostly just grin and bear it, and try to get on with my day when its bad, but that can be really exhausting. It's been about 3 years since it started and I'm going in for some more tests soon to try and figure things out. I'm a bit hopeful for a diagnosis and a plan, so I can get back to feeling more like myself!

But on good days, boy have I been working on some goodies! Mrs. Depew Vintage recently released a reproduction pattern of the lovely negligee robe I sewed back in January, and it's now available in both paper and digital forms.

1920's Kimono Negligee Reproduction Pattern

I also updated our cart software and relaunched The updates allow for multiple items to be purchased, coupon codes, and free pattern downloads.

Which of course, brings me to the freebie! Today I have for you a lovely little Make Do and Mend style pattern for a set of Collar, Cuffs and Jabot to update old frocks!

1940's Collar, Cuffs and Jabot Pattern

The pattern comes from a 1940's catalog featuring L-85 friendly fashions. L-85 restrictions refer to a fabric and resource conservation effort during the war.
The idea behind this pattern was to use fabric scraps to update an old dress. This was a popular fix during the war to conserve fabric while still staying stylish. 
The pattern is a free download for A Few Threads Loose readers only!  Simply click on the "add to cart" button and at checkout, add this coupon code: ITTYBITTYFREEBIE.
You won't have to add any payment info after that, there's no requirement to buy anything else, and the free pattern will be sent to your email address.

I hope you get some use from the pattern. I had a lovely little 1940's rayon dress but sadly the collar was moth-eaten in a most blatant spot. I'm going to sew up a quick collar for the dress and then it will be good as new!

Happy sewing,

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sew Expensive... Wedding Gown Pattern Pictorial 9072

Hello lovely readers! Today for you I have another lovely pattern that sold for a big, beautiful pile of cash!
I was watching Pictorial Review 9072 obsessively, hoping against hope that no one else would have noticed this beautiful little gem pop up on Ebay last week. My hopes were in vain... the high bid was around $55 and holding steady, and at the last minute (the excitement, and oh, the disappointment!) the price jumped all the way up to $205.48!

I lost. Sad face ensues...

But on the bright side, I didn't spend over $200 on a pattern I didn't actually need! I'm already married so I don't need version 1, and as for version 2... well, at the last Air Force Ball I attended, my poor husband asked very sweetly, "Please, can we never go to one of these ever again?"
Poor man, hates crowds... and dressing up. So I really have no need of an evening gown either.
But oh, isn't it pretty?

If you're in the market for a 1930's gown pattern, then I suggest that you check out Advance 967 by FancyWork on Etsy... an original at a great price, and in a great size!

Image courtesy of FancyWork.
Happy sewing,

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Dressmaking: Modish Draperies, Flounces and Panels from 1928

Today, my dear readers, I have a real treat. From Fashion Service of 1928, I bring you lessons in draping flounces and panels! This is a fantastic technique that you can use in both historical dressmaking as well as modern. It's a wonderful way to personalize a basic pattern with your own flare. In the examples that follow, picture playing with contrasting fabrics, the combination of prints and solids, or added panels of lace for a more luxurious look.

Without further ado, here is the original article:

The ease with which the modish draperies of the season may be achieved is here illustrated. On a foundation dress that may be new or one of a previous season that you wish to refurbish, straight lengths of material are draped in smart but simple ways to produce the soft, fluttering effects so prominent in the feminine mode that sponsors the "dressmaker" type of dress.

To drape effectively, use soft muslin for trial material and plenty of pins. Follow the diagrams accurately and always mark the center front and center back. When the drape runs over the waist line, cut out slightly as shown.
Finish the edges of the dress fabric with picoting, binding, facing. or tiny rolled hems, as the effect may require, having first determined the size in muslin.

Rippling Cascade Panel - Picture adding this in a bright, contrasting color...

Handkerchief Drapes - Imagine these in alternating colors...

Hip Flounces - These would be a good way to add a bit of length to a dress that's a bit too short!

Minaret Flounces - You could add these if you have a narrow figure to add the illusion of fuller hips.

Diagonal Side Drape - Did you get a wine stain on the skirt of your dress? A diagonal drape is a great way to save the dress if the stain won't come out!

We briefly explored draping in my most recent pattern drafting class and I became quite interested in the topic. I found that since the class didn't expound as much as I would have liked (due to time constraints) that my collection of Fashion Service magazines were actually a rather useful supplement.

I had one very fun draping assignment in the class - draping around a motif shape - that led to some fun experimenting that I would love to explore further some day... maybe for the next Air Force ball (she said wistfully, knowing that her husband has begged not to be dragged to any more of them...).

Oh, and in other news, I'm delighted to announce that one of my longest running patterns, Depew #3007 Draped French Blouse, is now available in multiple sizes (including 34"-41" bust sizes) in both paper and digital forms!

Available in both digital and paper versions at

How about you? Have you ever done any draping? Do you have any favorite draping books or resources that I might enjoy obsessing over?

Happy sewing,

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

McCall 5044 - A 1920's Robe in Luxury Cottons

Hello my dear readers, I'm back!
I'm sorry it's been such a long time since my last post! I have been so busy that something had to give temporarily and I'm afraid that something was writing. However, I have been doing some projects in the meantime and have finally got the time to share with you. My only New Year's resolution this year was to work a little bit less and to sew a little bit more and so far, it's rather nice!

McCall 5044 Ladies' and Misses' Negligee

My most recent project was McCall 5044. I found this pattern a while back on Ebay and imagine my delight when I searched my magazine collection and found it featured in a December, 1927 edition of Fashion Service Magazine!

 I fully intended to sew this lovely negligee in silk but I wanted to make a wearable muslin first, and I decided to use some really beautiful cottons from my stash.
The main body fabric is from the Olivia Collection by Anna Griffin.

The instructions were a bit vague (quite common for 1920's McCall's) so I had some room to customize the pattern. I made version A and lined the interior with a soft cotton so all seams are neatly concealed. I also lengthened the sleeve bands a bit to allow for my rather long arms.

Instead of sewing fabric carriers I followed this incredibly nifty Youtube tutorial and made thread carriers for the sash. It was so much fun to try something new, and to avoid stitching those darn cloth carriers made my day!

I also searched high and low and found a lovely art deco rose motif online, adapted it a bit, and embroidered it with my initials on the sleeve.

I know, I went a bit overboard for a wearable muslin but every step of sewing up this negligee was more fun than the last and I just couldn't help myself. It went together so easily and I can't wait to make another one in some sumptuous silk.

I will also be making a multi-sized reproduction of the pattern soon as my next development project for Mrs. Depew Vintage so stay tuned for more!

How about you? Did you do any recent sewing or make any sewing related New Year's resolutions?