After all of my simple pencil pouches and peasant dress sewing for the craft fair, I’m enjoying sinking my sewing teeth into a project with more demands, details , and learning opportunities. I agreed to sew a First Communion dress to donate to the school auction tomorrow night, and after spending hours wondering if I should make my own pattern and looking at patterns online, I found a vintage 1958 sewing pattern on Etsy that I felt was perfect for what I wanted to try. I’ve never done tucks or any type of heirloom sewing so this pattern was a perfect fit for what I wanted to learn. I bought some lovely silk taffeta in downtown Los Angeles last week to use for it.
Whenever I want to improve my sewing skills, I get out one of my vintage patterns and my old sewing book. Many of the old techniques are hardly ever practiced anymore and every vintage project is a learning experience for me.
This was the second bodice I made. The first turned out so horrible I almost gave up. Then, I somehow just got it. I love when that happens! Now I feel I can tuck until the cows come home!All was fine and dandy until I came to the sleeves…. the pattern showed a smooth cap sleeve yet my sleeve was full of puckers and small gathers once I set it in. The culprit? Too much ease. Time to get the seam rippers out. Am I glad I bought a tiny, narrow needle. The marks won’t show through on the fabric as much.I measured the pattern armholes and then the sleeve armholes and compared them. There was 4 inches of ease! Way too much to have a smoothly set in sleeve. I would have to reduce the ease to about 1.5 inches by shaving off the cap . I drew how to below in blue pencil.
A word of advice about sleeves…. always measure armholes to sleeves. If the sleeve is gathered it’s fine to have lots of ease, but anymore than two inches of ease for a smoothly set sleeve is going to give you trouble.
Now I must get back to work!