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Topics - Sonatine

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In the wardrobe / Another winter coat...
« on: October 07, 2019, 21:10:17 PM »
When I was making my coat last year my girlfriend dropped quite a few hints that she'd like one too. She chose the main fabric and a pattern but that was as far as it got. She's now reminded me of my promise that I'd have it made by the time the cold weather hit this year...

She's gone for B6385 view A (the peter pan collar). I'm using a maroon coating fabric of unknown composition from the market but I'd be very surprised if it's not entirely synthetic - she can't tolerate the feeling of wool so that's good. It's got a nap and feels very soft. The lining is a shot navy paisley poly viscose blend from Croft Mill and then she's also asked for the collar, pocket openings, and buttons to all be navy velvet. I've found one that is fairly lightweight and short pile so I'm hoping it won't look shabby too quickly and that it won't be too bulky to work with. It's also going to have a brushed cotton interlining, as much so that I can catch the seam allowances down on the inside (I don't think the coating will press well) as for warmth.

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This was the best photo I could get of the fabrics but it washes out the lining quite a lot.

I found having a thread so helpful for last year's coat, it was great motivation and I wouldn't have managed it without the help and advice here. I'm hoping I should have fewer questions this time round though!


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For Sale, Wanted & Free to a good home / For Sale - lots of fabric
« on: August 26, 2019, 12:05:23 PM »
Having a big destash of fabric I won’t use now I only really sew historical things. All measurements and descriptions are approximate but done to the best of my ability. Postage at cost with Royal Mail dependant on weight. Happy to take offers for multiple pieces to get it gone! Also happy to take more photos of any of it.

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1. Dark pink wool blend, 100cm x 165cm, £2
2. Purple unknown composition stretch fabric, 50cm x 150cm, 50p
3. Purple faux fur, 100cm x 150cm, £2
4. Silver metallic floral unknown composition knit, 120cm x 270cm, £4




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1. Pink black cream blue purple synthetic chiffon, 120cm x 150cm, £1
2. Purple and red butterfly synthetic chiffon, 110cm x 148cm, £1
3. White green orange yellow animal print synthetic chiffon, 110cm x 148cm, £1
4. Black poly crystal organza, 100cm x 110cm, 50p




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1. Green blue shot poly taffeta, 100cm x 150cm, £1
2. Blue red shot crinkle poly taffeta, 100cm x 145cm, £1
3. Blue poly taffeta, 150cm x 150cm, £1.50
4. Pink poly taffeta,150cm x 50cm, 50p




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1. Red synthetic satin back dupion, 100cm x 110cm, £1
2. Purple synthetic satin back dupion, 110cm x 110cm, £1
3. Dark pink heavy synthetic satin, 300cm x 150cm, £4
4. Black pink synthetic floral brocade, 100cm x 145cm, £4
5. Black blue synthetic floral brocade, 150cm x 145cm, £6

(Split over two posts for photos)

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In the wardrobe / Riding Habit
« on: April 16, 2019, 11:03:53 AM »
I'm currently making a late Edwardian style riding habit using this habit from the V&A as my main reference.

I tried making a pattern from my exisitng apron but just couldn't get it to work. Then I bought a modern apron pattern from America but the knee shaping would need so much adjustment to fit me that I can't face it yet. So now I'm using this pattern from a 1912 ladies tailoring guide. It's the first time I've ever drafted something from instructions so it's been a bit of a learning curve. It's obviously not aimed at novices so the drafting instructions are brief and there are no instructions for making it up. I'm hoping that I can work it out from the aprons I've seen and the two diagrams on the pattern. I've currently got one pice fully drawn and the other is waiting to have the curves drawn in over the construction lines.

For the jacket I'm using B6608 but without any of the trim or the faux button cuffs. I'll also remove the bottom centre front button and redraw it to have a cutaway front. I'd like to reduce the sleeve fullness and change the back to have double vents but that might be too complicated for me to manage.

The (hopefully) wearable toile will be made from a pair of blue cotton curtains I found in a charity shop and then if it works well enough I'll make it again in a more correct heavyweight wool.

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Patterns Discussion / Making a pattern from an existing garment
« on: February 25, 2019, 10:05:15 AM »
I'm really keen to start making side saddle aprons but getting a pattern is expensive (the one I've found is only available in America and the shipping is more than the pattern itself!). I do have an existing apron that fits me fairly well, so I'd like to try making a pattern from it. The issue is it's lovely and from the 1930s and I don't want to damage it at all, but aprons have lots of darts in to shape them around the knee and I can't work out how to copy the dart placement / size without opening them. The only information I can find online is for copying simpler things like t-shirts, does anyone know if there's a way to do this? Otherwise I'll go with my initial idea of trial and error with lots of mock ups!

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Fun with Fabric / Preserving Silk
« on: December 12, 2018, 11:50:59 AM »
I've recently been given some beautiful late Victorian / early Edwardian garments including a black silk blouse. As far as I'm aware it has lived in a plastic bag in a wardrobe for the last few years. The silk is incredibly delicate, and in some places it has deteriorated to almost nothing. I know that silk does start to degrade over time, is there anything I can do to try to preserve it or is it inevitable that it will eventually disintegrate?

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In the wardrobe / Winter coat
« on: October 24, 2018, 14:10:57 PM »
I didn't want to put this in my diary thread as I think I'm going to be asking a lot of questions along the way! This is very new territory for me.

I'm going to attempt making a winter coat. So far for patterns:
I love this one but it's too big and I don't have any experience grading patterns down. It's exactly what I'm looking for though!
I also like this one and it's only two inches too big on the bust, which should be small enough for me to be able to take it in or it might even fit over thick layers.
Then there's also M7478 which might be easier to sew / fit as it's a modernised reissue, I still like it but it's not as striking as the other two in my opinion. I like the line drawings a lot more than the photos though so it could just be modern models not having the exaggerated tiny waists of the 1950s drawings on the other two patterns.

I would really appreciate any thoughts on pattern choice or if anyone knows of any other similar patterns. I also have a slight problem finding fabric as wool or high % wool mix will probably get eaten by moths so I need something largely synthetic, so I'm trawling the web now.
Excited to get started on this!

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The Show Must Go On / Edwardian...ish?
« on: September 09, 2018, 19:56:25 PM »
I've been working on a new costume this week, based off the costumes from a new musical called Sylvia which is based on the life of Sylvia Pankhurst and her role in the suffragette movement. I saw the first half of the show on Monday (unfortunately it was cancelled after the interval due to a cast member being taken ill) and was immediately taken with the costumes. I loved the shape and simplicity of them and how they moved, but also seeing the women being so strong while wearing such feminine outfits.

The pattern I used for my skirt (here) is probably slightly too early, the description calls it Edwardian but also says 1890s and the back does seem quite full for an Edwardian skirt, but I loved the shape of it. I'm really proud of how it has turned out as there were a lot of things I found difficult while making it. I'm not used to working with such vast quantities of fabric or such large pattern pieces! I didn't follow the instructions for the waistband as the satin I chose for contrast was far too thick and didn't hold a crease at all, so I had to topstitch it to give it some degree of sharpness. The back is closed with 7 hook and eyes (the eyes are sewn into the placket seam - a new technique for me) and then a further two hooks and eyes and a pair of poppers at the waistband. It still pulls from the weight of the fabric so I might need to reinforce it somehow. I still have the hem left to do, and maybe adding some decoration with velvet ribbon.

The petticoat is made from an old duvet cover. I should have used multiple gores instead of one gathered panel at the top as there is far too much fabric at the waist and the shape isn't quite right as a result. However, I was working without a pattern or instructions and it still does the job. I've tried pushing the excess gathered fabric to the back as this is where most of the fullness of the skirt is, and this helps the waistband and skirt lie flatter over my stomach.

I've cheated slightly for the blouse and picked up a shirt with a high collar from ebay. I'm going to add lace to the front and maybe some volume at the shoulders as it doesn't have full sleeves. Assuming it arrives that will be tomorrow's job, along with finishing the skirt. I'm going to wait to take a full photo of the whole outift when it is all finished, but I've attached some photos of the details.

I'm not sure if this will interest anyone but I just needed to write it down as thinking about it was taking up so much brain space!

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In the wardrobe / Taking in / resizing a polo shirt?
« on: July 20, 2018, 21:37:37 PM »
I'm trying to make a replica of a stage costume for a party and I always like my costumes to be as accurate as possible. In this case, it means finding a polo shirt with a very specific stripe pattern. I've found one second hand that's the closest match I've seen and very cheap, but it's a men's medium and I'm a size 6/8 on top, with very narrow shoulders. I need it to be the same style but narrower and potentially shorter. Would it work to rip the side seams, take the sleeves out, recut the body to the right size and re-sew the side seams and put the sleeves back, leaving the shoulders and collar untouched? I don't want to ruin it but equally it will look ridiculous with the sleeves starting halfway down my arms!

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In the wardrobe / Remaking my prom dress
« on: December 14, 2017, 12:08:36 PM »
I first posted about this dress on TSF years ago when I was making it to wear to prom and it turned out that attempting a complicated pattern (or even a simple one involving so much fabric in the skirt...) during exams was not a good idea. I ended up going with the side seam pinned together and the neckline and skirt hem finished by melting the raw edge over a candle (I'm not joking) and the neckline details missing. Then I hid it at the back of the wardrobe and pretended it didn't happen.

But now I need a dress for a party so I've taken it out to see if it can be saved. It's V1094 and it really didn't suit me. I took two panels out of the skirt but even then it swamped me and the gathering on the skirt is uneven and messy. It also has a dropped waist which I would never normally wear, made worse by the fact that the waist was too loose and made me look shapeless. The internal construction is a mess and absolutely nothing is finished properly. I'm thinking the best plan of action is to take is to take the skirt off and remove the lining. I'm going to attempt to put the neckline bands on properly because that's the detail that originally drew me to the dress. I'm not sure whether to try to salvage the skirt by redoing the gathers properly or to try to cut a new one from the pieces - normally if I'm wearing a full skirt I prefer circles or part circles, and I could maybe squeeze panels to make a circle from the existing skirt pieces. I still have the two that never made it into the skirt plus some other bits of extra fabric. Whatever I end up doing will be attached on my waist instead of below it and hopefully the final product will be something I'm happy to wear without fear of it disintegrating if I move. And if it doesn't work then at least I was only trying to salvage an earlier disaster! I've attached a photo of it from the day of the prom as a before, and now the unpicking begins. Any ideas for ways to rescue it would be greatly appreciated!

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The Show Must Go On / Bubble Dress AKA Sequin Central
« on: August 29, 2017, 12:06:12 PM »
I've long been an admirer of Susan Hilferty's wonderful designs and I've made a couple of dresses inspired by her work on Wicked but this is the first time I've attempted a full replica. I remember people on TSF being really lovely and supportive so I thought I'd start a thread here for when I need a gentle kick up the backside to keep sewing sequins on! Also I love seeing other people's work so hopefully someone will enjoy reading about this.

The first thing to do was to collect sequins. Each dress is slightly different but they all have approximately 70,000 sequins on the skirt petals and bodice. They've come from a wide range of sources including unexpected finds at the rag market which turned out to be a gold mine for cheap sequin trim and massive bags from poundland. I think the current collection of sequins is about half of the total needed.

Fabric wise, the skirt is sorted. It's sheer iridescent fabric (similar weight to organza but it doesn't quite feel like it) with pale blue organza over the top and white tulle over that which the sequins are sewn on to. The bodice is holographic lycra with blue power mesh sequinned and then streched over, both ordered but haven't arrived yet. The original dress has massive petticoats but to reduce the weight and cost of the skirt I'm using my hoops with a couple of layers of petticoats over the top. The movement won't be quite right but I think it's a worthwhile compromise.

Progress so far is an attempt at drafting the skirt petals and pinning them onto the hoops. They don't quite look right as the middle layers are too narrow and the skirt isn't full enough without the added petticoats but it's a starting point. I've tried to attach photos of everything!

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