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Clothing

Read all the posts written about clothing.

  • Make a Muslin: Fixing the back This is going to be a very short post (holiday weekends and all that). OK, let’s hop to this, going from top to bottom: 1. The shoulder seam is too long; that needs to be shortened. 2. There is too much fabric between the shoulders and the waist; that length needs to be shortened as well. 3. We’ve ...
  • Make a muslin month: Fixing the front Now, to refresh our memories, here is the photo of the first round on the muslin for the jacket. There are a number of issues here and, starting from the top, we’ll review: Shoulders: The shoulder seam is too long; it’s hanging out over the shoulder joint. That needs to be shortened. Armscye: There are two issues ...
  • New top pattern and a sew-along!!! Yes, Yes, I know, your Aunty is in the midst of doing a muslin for a jacket, but sometimes you also need something that is easy, simple and will clean the brain. Yes, I do more than one project at a time; it actually helps when I am doing something more complex like the jacket ...
  • Make a muslin – jacket first try I always feel like one of those pictures in my junior high health textbook when I do these shots; all that is missing is the black bar across my eyes. So, going from top to bottom, what are my issues here? And I say it that way because they are MY issues, not the pattern ...
  • I hereby declare this month to be “MAMM” OK, so this month out there is everything from “Me Made May” to “International Business Image Improvement Month” (which could use it, I admit) and I am going to totally avoid the entire thing and declare my own celebration: MAMM, which stands for: MAKE A MUSLIN MONTH I know there are folks out there who have been ...
  • Why the needle and thread ain’t dead yet There are things that are worth repairing..and there are things that perhaps are not worth repairing(cheap knit tops from big box stores come to mind). On the other hand, your Aunt Toby is not asked to do repairs very often, and even less often by the DH, so when he handed over what looked like a ...
  • Frida Kahlo and her skirt And, we move ahead to the next piece of traditional clothing: The skirt. Now, we should probably set our parameters right from the start: A ‘skirt’ is any piece of clothing that starts somewhere in the vicinity of the waistline and ends somewhere within reach of the knees and the feet. I realize this ...
  • Huipil-style, final thoughts Now, usually, your Aunt Toby is one to say, “In sewing, fit is everything,” but in a case where there is no ‘fit’ per se, fabric is everything. OK, in these two cases, it is not only fabric that determines the look, but also one other thing: One inch. Literally one inch in the width ...
  • Where huipils meet the muslin In our last episode, we discussed Frida Kahlo, zero-waste clothing and her wearing of indigenous, traditional clothing, as an introduction to making clothing which is less wasteful of fabric, less wasteful of resources, with the first example being what has almost become (besides Kahlo’s crown of braids with flowers woven in) the icon for Kahlo: ...
  • Where tradition meets invention meets flowers in your hair Over the past several years, certain people/influencers have been having their ‘fashion moment’. My favorite (because it goes with my topic) is Frida Kahlo. The now very famous Mexican painter (she of the indigenous clothing, crown of braids and exotic flowers in her hair, the socalled ‘unibrow’, and the on-again/off-again stormy relationship with Mexico’s ...
  • Make it work — sewing a car seat ‘poncho’ Nothing makes your dear Aunt Toby feel more old than finding out that the stuff the literally was brand new when she was a new mommy not only has changed completely but comes with a whole different set of directions, concerns and legislation now. When the Little Siberians were brand new, car seats (and at that ...
  • Raincoat Again – Building a zip-out lining There are a couple of issues when you are creating a zip-out lining for a raincoat. 1. How are you going to be using this garment? Going to work? A child’s garment for going to school or play? Casual wear? 2. How much movement is involved? Someone who will be wearing a coat such as this ...
  • Raincoats: facing zipper – Part One When you are making a zipout lining, the facing with the zipper attachment is where ‘the rubber meets the road’. I’m sure there are other methods of doing this, but this is what works for me. What you will need is what is in the top photo: a finished coat facing (this is a ...
  • Raincoat: Pockets One of the things about making outerwear is having the ability to customize. Want a purple ski jacket? You can do it. Want a jacket with a ‘poachers pocket’ in the back? No problems. Want a jacket with vertical chest pockets with zippers so that you can put a bottle of penicillin and keep ...
  • Raincoats: Using Seam Sealing Tape Unlike other sewing posts here on KCE, I’m not doing this coat in chronological order — we’ve all got our ‘big sewist panties’ on and I don’t think we need that. What this series is all about is the very specific items or skills which make working with something like a raincoat or water resistant ...
  • Raincoat: Things to remember When working with ‘outdoor’ fabrics, it’s really useful to remember a couple of things: Unless you know otherwise, the fibers are man-made and will MELT at temperatures used to iron. Period. This is actually huge for home sewers because we are taught, from the moment we pick up a pin, that pressing is everything and with ...
  • Making outdoor clothing: Sources and Resources Now, after I posted the last bit about what I’d do next, I realized that I didn’t have the proper zippers to do the demonstration, so I ordered them (I use Wawak because they have the largest collection and selection of zippers that I’ve ever seen and their service is really fab) and while I’m ...
  • Making a raincoat with a removable liner One of the clothing items that I think is really in the ‘must have’ category is a good solid raincoat with a removable liner. This is something that will carry you basically through most of the year except for the heat of the summer, when frankly, if you are caught in the rain, you are ...
  • Sustainability: Ringing the Changes in Sewing Now, when you have major ‘fabric and craft’ retailers literally offering, brand by brand, patterns at 5 for $5.00 on a monthly basis, it might seem a bit of a formal exercise to talk about all the different styles that you can get out of one pattern in order to limit the number of ...
  • Building a wardrobe from the ground up So, the last time I looked at this, wardrobe thingy I was analyzing how one ready-to-wear designer put together a wardrobe of separates. What they did was they had two prints and a number of single color items which matched some of the colors in the prints. Now, what they did in particular might not ...
  • Don’t Say I Never Warned You I’ve been sewing for (drum roll and cymbal crash, please) about 50 years. That’s a lot of time and you’d think your dear Aunty would have learned some lessons along the way. Which I have. But I can still get snagged. I still buy fabric the same way I did when I started: Grab ...
  • Aunt Toby explains the wardrobe thingy If you are the sort of person who has a closet full of stuff that you don’t wear and the feeling that you don’t have anything to wear, then this is for you. Please watch the video – it’s 5-6 minutes long. keep an open mind (don’t get all bound up with the rack, ...
  • Pattern Review: Simplicity 1692 — Vintage Blouses Readers who visit regularly will note that your Aunt Toby doesn’t do sewing pattern reviews often. I’m not sure why I don’t but when I come upon a pattern that did not cause me fits in terms of fitting or sewing, I feel I have to pass along the good news. I figure that ...
  • Taking the Fear Out of Sewing Clothes: Vest 1-c and Done! If you have been following along with this, you know that what I’ve got at this point is basically a put together, lined vest. It’s sort of baggy and saggy but it IS put together. And frankly, this is a place in the making of things (I should trademark that or something) where I think ...
  • Taking the Fear Out of Sewing Clothing: Vest 1-B So, if you have been following this (if not, go to Vest 1-A), what I have at this point is a back and two fronts of vest fabric sewn together at the shoulders and the fake pocket flaps sewn onto the front. I also have sewn the back and two fronts, which were cut out ...
  • Taking the Fear Out of Sewing Clothing: Vest1-A Now, I know there are all sorts of beginning sewing curricula out there. Some people start with an apron; others go straight for a knit tee-shirt. I have really strong feelings about starting folks on crafts – I don’t like to start people with stuff that they are not going to use. My very first ...
  • Sewing Jurassic Park(tm) #2: baby suit out of sweater If you ever saw Jurassic Park, you will remember the whole basis of the (oh, the horror!) story was that scientists extracted DNA from the blood found inside mosquitoes trapped in amber and then did some kitchen magic with some frogs and voila – instant dinosaurs. Now, we won’t get into the whole ethical and ...
  • Sewing Jurassic Park(tm) Guys – you can go out to the kitchen and pour yourselves a beer or something. This is strictly distaff, ok? Are they gone? OK, your Aunt Toby is going to jump right into this. It’s been cold the past week. Really cold. And if you like to wear a skirt for school or work, ...
  • Unfinished Business: The Cooper Shirt So, once upon a time, I wanted to make a shirt out of wool challis fabric for the DH (who certainly deserves all the nice shirts I can crank out, frankly, since he’s usually the one who finds the pins in the rug and rather painfully at that). And I had a couple of posts ...
  • Bridging the gap I think all of us who are female have had this experience: You see a dress or a top in a shop and fall in love with it (oh, ok, so you don’t fall in love with it, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, clothing-wise) and the price ...
  • Anatomy of a Broken Zipper Once upon a time, your Aunt Toby did a little thing on replacing zippers in blue jeans. This is an entirely different kettle of halupkis (as we say here at Chez Siberia): A separating zipper in a jacket. (cue the scary music) What makes this zipper different than a jeans zipper? Well, the biggest ...
  • Anti-scratch mitts — two ways If you have no interest in baby clothing for any reason, you might want to move along and come back next time because this is about as niche a post as I can get. OK… New babies have fingernails that grow like Topsy (who WAS Topsy, anyway?) and for little helpless creatures, they can scratch ...
  • Rash Judgements It’s summer where we are (if you are in the Southern Hemisphere, dear reader, you know you are not but you might find this useful in any case), and trips to the lake, beach, and swimming pool are on a lot of people’s lists. Your Aunty is of an age when she remembers people ...
  • Not a wearable muslin My mama (with the accent on the second syllable), who went to her reward in 2006, sewed her way through everything from baby clothing to sport coats for my father and suits for herself. She never, ever made a muslin of anything. I’m not sure if that was because she had some sort of innate ...
  • Twofers First, the apology – these photos are hovering at the “how much have you been drinking?” level. I think my camera (which has been doing yeoman service since 2002) is basically going toes up here, but I think the shots will do the job. OK – one of Aunt Toby’s ‘things’ is that I dearly ...
  • I hate pin tucks In our last two episodes The yoke’s on me and Vintage Sewing: Literal of Figurative I started the process of putting together what I consider to be a dress reminiscent of the period of Downton Abbey. And the description on the back of the pattern is pretty clear: Loose-fitting dress…has square neckline, front and back yokes, ...
  • Nipon Dress: The yoke’s on me As we discussed here Vintage Sewing: Literal and Figurative, one of the design features which attracted my eye to this Nipon dress pattern from the 1970s is the square neck, which in this case, is achieved through the use of a yoke. Now, yokes come in all shapes and sizes but their primary feature/function is ...
  • Vintage Sewing: Literal or Figurative? The British ITV show, “Downton Abbey”, which recently finished out its second season (the clothes! The murder trial! Matthew’s fight with the rotten newspaper baron!), has sparked a lot of interest in the style of this period. For anyone questioning this, I refer them to the recent Fall/Winter 2012 shows of Ralph Lauren and Louis ...
  • Vintage Pajamas: Final OK, so here we are, at the end. I’m very pleased with this. The rayon-poly crepe is just the right weight for this; I only wish I’d had enough for the whole thing. the bi-color front effect is very cute but I think it would look much more elegant in all one fabric. The ...
  • Vintage Pajamas: Fiddly Bits at the Front — UPDATED! Ahem. As we discussed the last time, Aunt Toby is making what is really a rather fancified housedress cum jumpsuit with the pattern (originally from 1930) shown at the top. And I ran out of fabric for the whole thing, so the front bodice is made out of rather Schiaparelli-esque pink poly lining (hey, ...
  • Vintage Pajamas – Some fiddly bits I love vintage patterns. Sometimes I think it’s because of the artwork on the envelop front but in general there seems to be a bit more romance involved in any case. And, in Aunt Toby’s ever-expanding search for something to wear while asleep and/or lounging about that is not sweatpant/athletic shorts/tee shirt, I found ...
  • Saved by a selvege At this point, I’m sure that there are a few readers who are saying, “Oooooo-kay…. so what happened to the Gary Cooper shirt for the DH? By this time, he’s given up, right?” Well, here’s the story (you knew there would have to be a story, right?). There are times, and I think other ...
  • Masquerade masks for the spectacled This year’s ‘to do’ item for fundraising is the masked ball. I don’t know who sent out the memo but there it is. And for those of us who use ‘visual aids’ but who do not wear contact lenses, this is sort of a problem. We could always go with the ‘mask on a stick’ ...
  • Knitting: Shawl Collars Aunt Toby is a big believer in keeping necks warm. I would argue that for all the ‘wear a hat’ business out there, wearing something around the neck (whether it’s a turtleneck shirt, a scarf, etc.) actually provides more insurance for maintaining body heat than a hat does, especially if you are inside rather ...
  • Things Worth Knowing: Fixing Glove Fingers I don’t know where I read this but someone wrote that only the rich can afford to buy cheap shoes. This makes perfect sense to me, since a good, well-made pair of shoes is something that can be repaired, resoled, shined up and used for a very long time, whereas cheaply made shoes can’t ...
  • (Collar) Stay…just a little bit longer…. (WARNING: PICTURE HEAVY) In the DH’s closet, there are two basic types of shirts: button-down shirts and what he refers to as ‘dress shirts’. Now, I only learned this recently, but the ‘button-down’ shirt (which really refers to there being a collar whose points are secured to the shirt itself with buttons) is ...
  • Shirt a la Coop Meets the Gigantic Neckband One of the things about making men’s shirts is that generally speaking, you must count on observers seeing only about 25% of the shirt unless the shirt is being worn alone, without a jacket or a vest or a sweater. Then, all of it except for the portion tucked into the person’s slacks can ...
  • Making a Man’s Shirt – a la Coop Once upon a time, I saw a PR photo of Gary Cooper (“Coop”) which struck me strongly in terms of how a) fashionable he was for the period and b) how soft the collar on his shirt looked in comparison to what we are used to today. Now, for the time, unless an actor ...
  • Why can’t I find…..? One of the things that drives Aunt Toby absolutely barking dog crazy is not being able to find items in the stores that, at least to moi, appear to be things that every store should have, every year. Sometimes, I’m absolutely unreasonable (as in finding coveralls for my grandson made out of something other than ...
  • When in doubt – consult the experts I’m a big believer that if you are looking for something, the best place to go to find it is with people who have the same problems you do, or worse problems than you do. In years past, I looked for wool tights on Canadian internet sites and had good luck there. Winter boots? Ditto. ...
  • Head, Meet Desk. It never fails, does it? I planned to make the skirt out of a pattern that I just KNOW I have in the boxes. And then I couldn’t find it. So, I tried to “frankenpattern” with another skirt pattern I had which seemed pretty nice, only as per my usual SOP, I just gave a quick ‘drive ...
  • In Which Aunty Toby and Ilse Lund Become One I’m a big fan of the movie, Casablanca, and I have the feeling the most people who visit here have seen it at least once (if not a dozen times and I don’t have any images because I think I’d get snagged for copyright infringement if I did a screen capture so you’ll just have ...
  • Getting more satisfaction from your knitting – hints and tricks Aunt Toby has not always been a knitter. My mom tried to teach me how to knit several times when I was quite young and then gave up (given her lack of success teaching me other stuff, I think there was a personality clash there someplace..). I was actually taught how to successfully knit ...
  • Good Morning, Irene UPDATE THREE: Sunday, 7:30 a.m.: 71 degrees F, 75% humidity, winds, 6 mph with gusts in the 10 mph range, foggy, raining hard and steadily, Barometric Pressure 28.20. When I went to sleep last night, it had not started raining yet but it’s obviously been raining for most of the midnight-7:00 period because we have a pretty ...
  • Busy Summer Days Well, like everyone else in the summer, we tend to throw the household into ‘overdrive’ because so many things need to be done and can only get done when a) they are in season and b) the weather is warm and dry enough to do them. So, this week has been super busy, starting ...
  • Cary Grant Didn’t Sleep in a Steelers(tm) Jersey And I’m not going to (and you shouldn’t) either. I was reminded of this bit of wisdom recently when I started thinking about the trip the DH and I will be making to the UK next month. We will be staying in various B&Bs, the reservations for which have been left in the hands of one ...
  • Top Ten Things For Your Wardrobe A bolero is a very useful sort of thing to have in the summer months to dress up an outfit.
  • Sustainable Sanitary Products Are we sustainable yet? And now, Aunt Toby is going to discuss something ‘ooky’ – which is personal sustainability. No, not the ‘in the kitchen’ sort – this is the ‘in the bathroom’ sort. One statistic out there claims that at least 1/3 of all sanitary napkins (or “Kotex” or ‘pads’ if you will) purchased ...
  • Every Month is Skin Cancer Awareness Month Well, next month is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so I’m getting the jump on everyone here to talk about skin cancer. Part of this is that I feel that EVERY month should be one where we remind ourselves that we can get skin cancer, not only during the spring, summer and early fall. Temperature has ...
  • What to look for at end-of-winter sales It’s time for end of the winter sales – here are some items to look out for and which ones are the most valuable.
  • In Search of the Warm Blouse Sometimes, just a piece of a pattern can be used for what you want, and sometimes, using an unusual fabric to get the effect you want works out just fime.
  • Peacoat Done and More Paper Dolls – for pockets More paper doll work to change a skirt pattern for pockets.
  • Using Paper Dolls to Improve Sewing Sometimes rehearsing a sewing project, or a part of a project, using paper is a good way to work methods out.
  • How to get warm and stay warm (Truth in advertising: This is not a shot of any of our sheep; this photo is courtesy of North Devon Farmer) Everyone cozy? All settled in? (given the amount of snow and cold out there right now, Aunt Toby certainly hopes wherever you are is cozy) Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, ...
  • Books Worth Having: General Self-Sufficiency Sometimes gaining knowledge is just a case of having the right book and knowing how to use it.
  • Turning a Sweater into a Vee-Neck Sometimes a way to save money is to make something over instead of letting it languish in the drawer.
  • A heel you can fix There are a couple of shoe repairs that you can do yourself; here’s one.
  • More Wool: A Prince of an Idea It’s time to ‘fess’ up, as they say. Aunt Toby has never..ever…met HRH Charles Philip Arthur George, the Prince of Wales. Never. We just don’t move in the same, as we might say, circles. But on the other hand, if we did meet, we’d have a lot to talk about. He’s a organic gardener. Aunt Toby’s an organic gardener. He ...
  • You Can Do This: Fix the Umbrella! One of the great annoyances of life is not having an umbrella when you really need it. Another one is to open it up and find out that, damn, one of the attachments at the edge has broken off, or is missing, or has rotten out or something else. We’re not talking about damage ...
  • More Mommy Sewing more ideas for sewing for pregnancy.
  • Mommy Sewing Frustrated by the lack of maternity sewing patterns? Here are some ideas.
  • Oh Sheet worn out fitted sheets are a blot.
  • What a Waist! (waistband, that is) customizing a waistband not only gives you a better fit, it also gives you the opportunity to deal with changes.
  • Vintage Sewing Patterns – Thoughts There are a lot of sewers out there who buy, collect and use vintage patterns (and no matter what the online retailers call them, I’m not sure you can consider Nolan Miller “Dynasty” sewing patterns from the 1980s to be exactly ‘vintage’ but that’s a discussion for another time). Everyone looks for something different. Some ...
  • Twill, Baby, Twill Recently, I read on another blog that I frequent the author’s question about what sort of fabric he’d gone and bought to make himself a pair of pants. Male Pattern Boldness He thought it might be ‘some sort of twill’. Several of us recognized immediately that what he had was not twill but I ...
  • Red Dress Redux For those folks who requested an actual shot of the dress from this post because it disappeared into the laundry before I could do it, here you go. Apologies for the armpit shot, though it does give you an idea of what a honkin’ broad back I have (courtesy of genetics, weight lifting et ...
  • Best Summer Party Dress: Vogue 8241 Aunt Toby doesn’t do a lot of pattern reviews, but when I find something that works on me (5’2″, shorter-than-normal arms, a bit thick in the waist), then I’ve got to promote it. Seriously. This is a great dress for anyone. Very Easy/Tres Facile. Misses/Misses Petite Dress and Belt: Semi-fitted, pullover, lined dress with ...
  • Double Clutch Sewing with leather is fun.
  • Clutch Trial Run One of my goals this year is to work with fabrics and materials that I don’t have any experience with. There are certain materials that give me the willies and over the years I have dipped my experiential toe into working with them. This year is to basically work with leather enough that it doesn’t ...
  • Repairing a Blue Jeans Fly – Part 2: The Zombie Attack Version Even if you don’t have a zipper, you can repair a fly so that you can still close it.
  • Replacing a zipper on blue jeans – Part 1 Given what it costs at the tailor’s to get a zipper replaced, it’s a skill that is worth knowing.
  • Saving the Least Worst – Blue Jeans, That Is A good pair of blue jeans is worth patching and saving.
  • Not a Chanel You can use a pattern for all sorts of things – it all depends on the fabric.
  • Tailors Hams, Rolls and Other Things I Don’t Have Aunt Toby has been a sewer for a long time. Looking back, since I was first set in front of an old reconditioned and electrified Singer treadle machine when I was 11 years old, it’s been 40-odd years. And sewing is one of those things where there are always new things to learn and ...
  • Coat Test How I tested the warmth of my new coat.
  • Resolved Not To Have Resolutions A final look at the year.
  • Relining a coat – Part 3 Relining an old coat, the finish.
  • Oh…Darn How to repair a pull in a woven material.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen – I think we have a coat. Coat sewing series: The coat is done.
  • Personal Warmth Systems Picking clothing fiber content to keep you warm.
  • Making a Coat: Details Are What Make It Coat sewing series: details that you can sew into the coat that make it look higher quality.
  • Building More Utility Into A Coat With The Lining Coat sewing series: Designing features into the lining to make it more useful.
  • Get Back..Get Back..Get Back to Where You Once Belonged… Coat sewing series: the guts of the thing.
  • Do NOT Fear the Coat For sewers, making a coat is a huge deal, and it should be much more popular considering how much better a result you can get versus what you can buy for the same money. How to overcome your fear.
  • Muslin Warfare Coat sewing series: Moving on to the next muslin on an entirely different coat.
  • When I’m Wrong – I’m Wrong All The Way Coat sewing series – when it’s time to throw in the towel and move on.
  • Making Home Sewing Pay: Pit Stop on the Muslin Coat sewing series – using a gusset to fix a too-low armscye
  • Making Home Sewing Pay: First Fix on the Coat Muslin Coat sewing series: more on the amscye
  • Making Home Sewing Pay: The Coat Muslin and the Armscye New sewing series: the coat – making a muslin and reworking the armscye
  • Making Home Sewing Pay: Choosing the Right Pattern New sewing series: Making a coat – choosing a pattern
  • It’s Curtains For You, Bub.. Another way to freshen up a living space: enhancing curtains.
  • TNT To The Rescue! More reasons to have ‘tried and true’ sewing patterns.
  • Not a Sweater Getting over ‘fear of cutting’ to refashion a sweater.
  • Stylin’ Out of the Closet Saving money by using things you already have in the closet.
  • Bleeding Money DIY feminine hygiene protection
  • Wardrobe and Spending Management Through SWAP Making home sewing pay using Sewing With a Plan.
  • Sewing: Make it worth even more Making home sewing pay off better by using ‘tried and true’ patterns.
  • Sewing: Worth it…more or less More on making home sewing pay.
  • Home Sewing: Is it worth it? Is home sewing a bargain? Here’s how to decide.
  • Everything I know about fashion I learned in the barn When times get tough, keeping up appearances might be the best investment you make. Here’s why.
  • Aunt Toby explains investments What really is an investment? Here are some guidelines in terms of how to evaluate.
  • Cheap and Good: No Excuses Weightlifting Want to lift weights for health but don’t have a set of weights at home? Here are some ideas.
  • Relining a Coat: Part 2 Part 2 of Relining a Coat
  • Money Saving Tip: Dress for the Weather Help yourself stay healthy by dressing for the weather.
  • Replacing the Lining in Your Coat – Step 1 Replacing the lining in an old coat – part 1
  • From the Ground Up: Shoes The true cost of shoes.
  • Don’t be Seduced By All The Bargain Sales Right Now Once you actually look in your closet, you might find that you don’t actually need more clothing. On the other hand, if you look at this list, you just might.

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