Make Nine 2019

It has taken me ages to figure out how to put together this little gallery. So drum roll please … here come the Nine.

I know it’s late in the year for resolutions, but it has taken me a long while to target the nine garments I would like to complete in the coming months. Of course, if I need more time, or even lose interest in the projects, that is fine. We all change our minds, and our sewing visions are fluid and evolving images. Below are a few comments on my choices.

  1. The Shelley Bra (Pin Up Girls #3240)

I have wanted to make a bra for many years and even have an old 1980s bra pattern still in my stash, but I never did make it. Those old patterns didn’t look very comfortable anyway. When I saw the Pin Up Girls patterns at my local fabric store, I took the opportunity to buy the pattern and all the necessary materials as you can see in the photo. Bras have been such a source of discomfort throughout my life; I have great hopes for Shelley.

2. Historical Robe Butterick 5061 (out of print, I believe)

As shown in the picture, I have previously made the nightgown from this pattern, but I used conventional modern techniques and will do so to complete the robe; otherwise, it might never get made. I need a lightweight robe for summer, and I like the idea of this design based on museum items. The nightie is lovely to wear, so I am hopeful about the robe.

3. Wrap Dress McCall’s 6959

If I can get this finished, it will be my Easter dress. The wearable muslin for this dress is already made, and is shown in my previous post in a full-skirt version. It is View B of M6959, but with a collar and with short sleeves that are a bit longer than the cap sleeves shown in the pattern. The final version, however, is to be View D, with a straight skirt, long or ¾ sleeves, in the coral rayon shown in the photo, and except for the sleeves, lined.

Black floral cotton voile — maybe for 1940s Style Dress Vogue 8811

4. Vogue 8811 1940s Style Dress

I bought this lightweight, floral-on-black cotton voile specifically for this pattern that I wanted to try out as it looks so comfortable to wear. Fit might be a challenge, however, as I am shaped nothing like the image on the pattern envelope. We’ll see.

Some of my old patterns?

5. Remake of a High School make

Now, this will be really fun! These are not literally the patterns I had in high school, but they are either the actual pattern numbers or else a competitor version of some garments I made for myself in the late ‘60s. I made two of the “jumpers”: one in a heathery pink woolen tweed, and the other in kelly green wool, both fully lined.

The suit in the centre I made in 1968 in a navy linen-look fabric, and lined in navy tafetta. The Jackie Kennedy outfit I did not make, but certainly would like to in the future. These patterns are just a couple of examples of my makes from the ‘60s. I would love to revisit some of these styles or similar ones in the coming months and to recreate some of my high school  makes, but in a way more appropriate to my present age, and I hope with better skill than back then.

6. Upcycle a Man’s shirtI love remaking things – learned it at my Grandma’s knee as she was good at that. I remember especially a winter jacket I had as a kid, that was cut down from one of my uncle’s jackets, and it was really nice and cozy to wear. In recent years, I have made nightwear from recycled bedsheets, and I love wearing those nighties and PJs — so comfy.

This time, I’ve bought a large man’s shirt, in a good quality cotton and in excellent shape, from the thrift sale. My plan is to dismantle it and to make a vintage inspired blouse, perhaps from one of these in New Look’s vintage pattern 6172, also from thrift sale. I love these vintage looking, voluminous blouses. and I think one of these views will suit the yellow combed cotton of the shirt.

7. Floral Shirt Dress

I bought this lovely cotton print on a trip to Prince Edward Island a few years ago, and I’ve been very precious about it because it’s beautiful and I don’t want to waste it. I envision it made into a shirt dress: either the McCall’s 6891 shown, or maybe the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress.

8. Chanel Style Jacket

I’ve wanted for a long time to make the Chanel style cardigan jacket, and I already own two of the popular Vogue patterns for it. They are both nice, but I lean toward the V8804 as I like Claire Schaeffer’s haute couture based instructions.

9. Trench Coat Restoration

I bought this Aquascutum raincoat in a vintage shop for $25 Canadian. The outer shell is in good condition, but it is missing the belt, and the lining is completely decrepit. I have already removed the lining to make a pattern for replacement lining, and I hope to use the hem turn-up to make a new belt. It would be a labour of love, but greatly worth it as these coats sell new for $700.

Now — what do you think of my Make Nine selections? Too ambitious?


A Seamly Pursuit: Introduction

On the mannequin: the mock-up for my Easter dress, from McCall’s 6959, view B but with sleeves and without belt. Didn’t use the old treadle, however, but the electronic Singer.

Hello, Gentle Readers and Sewists. My name is Bonnie, and I love to sew. How about you?

My only formal sewing training was Grade 7 Home Ec., where I learned how to thread and use a sewing machine, but didn’t finish either of the two projects we were supposed to make because I just couldn’t get them finished in the time allotted. Too darned slow. Discouraging, but I did learn how to operate a sewing machine.

Later, in high school, I found myself in a wardrobe crisis and had to learn quickly how to sew a garment; otherwise I would have had nothing much to wear. I found some shiny fabric in the house and made, insofar as I could, a sleeveless white top, using my Mom’s 1946 Singer Featherweight machine. I didn’t know how to make buttons and buttonholes, so I used snap fasteners with buttons sewn on top. I’m sure it was absolutely the weirdest looking top the world has ever seen.

Fearlessly, I wore it to school. Another girl, who was actually in Home Ec., asked me “Are you wearing a lining?”

Without skipping a beat I replied, “No, it’s supposed to be like this.”

May as well be bold, I thought, but I also thought, “Oh! This is lining material,” and I tucked away that information and learned from it. The year was 1962, and I was 13 years old.

It was all “Learn by Doing” for me, and I kept on sewing and learning from incidental information that my friends provided. Around the same time, the spectacular fashion revolution from London started to appear, and I began to experiment with what we would now call my own pattern hacks. Eventually I had an entire closet full of clothes, maybe not the greatest, but acceptable at school and I got by from then until grad almost entirely on my own sewing, and even made a few items for friends.

Sewing became my lifelong hobby and therapy. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: sewing has been the most important skill I have ever learned.

Oh, alright! Making a sandwich and a decent cup of coffee have stood me well, too.