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The Vintage Dressmaker (1)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lace Yoke for 1920's Envelope Chemise Part 3

Sorry for the lag in posts. My darling sister had her baby and the whole family was a little preoccupied! She had a beautiful, healthy, 8 lb. baby boy and we are all in love already!

Alas... back to the sewing room!! It is my favorite place after all!

When working with delicate fabrics such as this very thin lingerie silk, it is necessary more so than ever not to rush or skip steps. To ensure that the neckline is stable and does not stretch while attaching the yoke you must run a machine "stay" stitch 1/4 inch or so away from the neck edge.

Next, to position the lace yoke, line up the shoulder seams and center front, placing the edge of the "beading" lace just below the edge of the fabric so that the "edging" lace will line up with the rolled edge back neckline later. Pin generously and hand baste the lace to the chemise using a contrasting thread with a simple "running" stitch.

At this point I realized I had forgotten to add the pin tucks to the front!

Oops! Nobody's perfect!

Fortunately pin tucks do not take up any significant fabric so it is not impossible to add them now, but I recommend ideally adding them before basting on the lace yoke.

Fold the front of the chemise in half lengthwise lining up all the edges, pin and press lightly towards the center. Measure down 4 inches from the bottom of the yoke and mark with a pin. Bring your threaded and knotted needle between the folded layers and out of the fabric on the fold, right where the pin mark is. Then, "wrapping" the fold once with the thread, insert the needle on the backside of the fold and come up very close to the edge on the top side of the fabric. Make a tiny "running" stitch along the fold very close to the edge all the way to the yoke as seen in the photos.

To finish the seam, insert the needle into the front of the tuck and bring it out on the back side of the chemise opening up the folded layers, secure your thread and trim. Lay the chemise flat with "right" side up, press lightly at both sides of the tuck to encourage it to stand up.

Note: An iron is a seamstress best friend! Use it often! It is the key that separates a "home made" looking garment from a "professional" made one.

For the second and subsequent pin tucks; measure, fold and press to the right or left 1/4 inch from the previous stitching line. Begin stitching each tuck 1/4 shorter than it’s neighbor so the overall group of tucks has a pointed effect when complete.

If you look closely at this photo you can see the needle between the folded layers of fabric.

Now with coordinating thread, hand stitch the bottom edge of the lace yoke to the chemise using as small and even "running" stitch as you can manage.

The red thread in this photo is the basting stitch. The true seam in coordinating thread can be seen on the backside of the fabric just below this basted line.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lace Yoke for 1920's Evnelope Chemise Part 2

To attach the insertion piece I gathered the top edge with a running stitch to "ease" the lace into a semi-circle and aligned it to the bottom of the "beading", "right" side down, using a tiny hem stitch in the same fashion as before.

I found a piece antique silk ribbon in the perfect shade of "honeydew" and cut it into two equal lengths. Then I tacked it to the "wrong" side of the lace at the shoulder seam of the yoke and threaded it through the beading with a bodkin.

This is a view of the "right" side of the yoke.

At this point I also trimmed the crinoline off the back of the piece of ribbon work I made in preparation to be sewn on to the yoke.

Next I will sew the yoke to the front of the silk chemise.

Lace Yoke for 1920's Envelope Chemise Part 1

I started by hand washing the vintage silk to remove any dust or smell from storage and age or sizing from manufacturing. I hung it to dry then used a warm iron to press the wrinkles. I have cut out the pattern, adding seam allowances where needed, and am ready to assemble the lace yoke of the 1920’s chemise using a technique known as "French Handsewing" or "Heirloom Sewing".

First, I must assemble the lace pieces that will make up the front yoke of the chemise. In order to maintain the shape of the neck line while sewing I traced the pattern to a portion of heavy brown paper.

I have made a minor change in my design at this point and decided to add a row of lace "beading" to the yoke as well, for form, function and embellishment. Running a ribbon through the "beading" will not only be pretty but add stability to the lace and allow me to gather it slightly at the neck as needed so it will lay flat against the body.

I made a running stitch through the top edge of the beading in order to "ease" the lace into the semi-circle shape for the yoke and pinned it with the "right" side down to the brown paper to secure it against slipping while joining the various lace pieces together. In hindsight, I should have basted it to the paper with large stitches as my thread kept getting caught on the pins while joining the lace.

Next, I aligned the trim lace to the top of the beading placing it "right" side down as well and began stitching the pieces together on the "wrong" side with a tiny hem stitch, taking up just the edges of each lace, pulling it taut as I went, but not so much that it causes the lace to gather. Continue stitching along the length of the beading leaving the extra trim lace attached in order to be sewn along the back neckline as a finishing trim later.