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Tracing & Thoughts on Muslins

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Gorgeous, isn’t it? Except that with vintage patterns I never know whether I like the garment itself or whether I’m simply impressed by the model’s 20-inch waist.

Today I traced the pattern while Lolita looked on…


She’s sleeping in her heated cat bed, looking docile but secretly planning to get her tongue on my pattern paper. Seriously, this cat loves to lick tracking cloth. Last week I left my traced Coco dress on the cutting table while taking a walk and came back to find she’d licked the whole neckline off!

Anyway, I managed to trace the pattern without any undue cat interference and then proceeded to cut and sew a muslin.

I hate making muslins. I’m pretty sure I never would’ve ventured into sewing had I even known they exist. The very notion of ironing and laying out fabric, cutting, marking, pinning, and sewing a garment TWICE or maybe even THREE times still strikes me as totally overwhelming … at least for someone who sews as slowly as I do. However, I do see how a muslin can help perfect fit and how they are essential before cutting into a very valuable piece of yardage.

So here’s my result … and may I say how happy I am that I bothered to make the muslin. From the front, not too bad, though a little loose above the waist, but from the back: egads. And that side seam is not running straight at all!


I have some ideas of how to fix these things, but I am a little scared to get started. It seems that I’ll have to remove quite a huge wedge in the side back … not an alteration I’ve ever attempted before. Any input?

And just a side note about fitting …

I want to give some props to Simplicity for their “amazing fit patterns.” I wish I’d tried these first as a brand new sewist. These patterns provide 1-inch side seams to help with fitting, and the directions have you baste the dress together to check the fit before sewing. To me this step was far easier than putting together a muslin. Even a newbie like myself could follow the pattern instructions for how to adjust the fit, and I was really pleased with the end result. I made this dress, and it’s a beauty.


Sewing for victory … on spring break

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Itching to get started, but my pattern hasn’t yet arrived …

.duant sunback dress

What do you think?

I’ve never heard of Duant patterns before … surprisingly, a Google search of it yielded pretty much nothing. What drew me to this pattern was the drapey cape that attaches to the dress waistband via buttons (!?). I’ve seen lots of 1940s sundresses with matching bolero jackets, but never a cape! Perfect for an Irish lady with ultra-white, sunburn-prone shoulders. I practically never go sleeveless without something to protect my skin because I’d rather not wear sunscreen if I can avoid it.

The dress has so many seams that I expect I’ll choose a solid fabric. I’m hoping for a light to mid-weight chambray, perhaps in rose or coral? I have a lovely light red chambray in my stash, but in a heavier weight that is wrong for this cape. Is cape even the right word? The pattern piece looks like a bib, but the overall effect is of a wrap. In any case, this whole experiment might go wrong, but how can I not try??