Sew Simple Take Two

Such very kind posts about my dress making abilities have spurred me on to turn yet another remnant of fabric into a 1920's skirt.  A bit difficult to take pictures on my own so please bear with me on this.

The first skirt was meant to be a little longer but due to the constraints of the fabric and having to match the plaid, I had to make it shorter.  It looked less like a vintage pattern than the second attempt which is the correct length. 

Along with my dancing shoes (I don't go dancing any more) which looks suitably vintage it really is evocative of the era... I like this skirt even better than the first.

It's still fastened with hook and eye and press studs but I added some black lace insertion to jazz up an otherwise very plain charcoal grey woollen fabric.  Here I must give some words of encouragement to Rainbow Child who said she may not have the patience or skill to make something similar.  I think everyone who has ever made their own clothes will have to own up to having some failures from time to time - mine were nearly always associated with impatience.  In particular there was the evening dress that began to unravel on the way to the ball... necessitating a quick return home to change into something else... but enough said about that.

And to Mr Broccoli who hoped that the machine met my expectations, well, it is necessary to learn the little idiosyncrasies that machinery seems to acquire over time and to adapt one's working practices accordingly.  I discovered that it was vital to wind the spool for the shuttle with a very even tension on the thread  otherwise it would unravel terribly underneath the fabric.  This was a little harder to achieve than it should have been because the tension spring on the bobbin winder no longer works and I couldn't see how to get at it to replace it - this means that while winding I have to keep a thumb or finger on the end of the spool to ensure it doesn't pop out of the winder, if I exert too much pressure on the spool the thread does not wind evenly, if I exert too little - it pops off completely!  Needless to say I am getting quite good at it!  Oh and thank you for your really kind comments about my hair colour - I only occasionally get a pang of regret when looking in the mirror - can't be helped, I just hate the way hair dye ruins the texture of the hair and I simply can't be bothered with all that palava any more.

And Ilona mentioned how seeing the old machine was a trip down memory lane, for me too, my mother used an old Singer hand machine and I do believe that part of the enjoyment I get from using my new acquisition is that somehow it makes me feel closer to my mum.  She made alot of clothes on her machine, from play dresses for me to beautiful lace and tulle evening gowns for herself.  Sadly she died when I was just 12 years old.  When my aunt came to stay with us a couple of days before the funeral she discovered a pretty green dress in the sewing basket that only needed the hem finishing.  She finished the dress for me and I wore it to the funeral.  In a cardboard box we found a whole stack of fabric complete with patterns attached to each one - all dresses for me.  My aunt took them home with her and made every one which she posted on to me.  Dressmaking has always had more significance for me than simply the making of clothes to wear.

These days dressmaking is not a cheap option.  Patterns, thread and fabric are all so expensive to buy making the whole process quite nerve wracking, especially if you are underconfident.  I seldom buy new fabric these days.  Both my skirts were made from a 1.5 metre remnant that cost £5 and £7 respectively.  If I add a few pennies more for the thread, the petersham, the trimming and buttons I reckon I still got each skirt for under a tenner - which is pretty good going in my book.  There is nothing a Technobilly likes more than a bargain! (Except perhaps when something is free).


  1. Another fine skirt :o) You are making me think about playing with my very old Vesta treadle machine, also with long 'vibrating shuttle'. Someone gave it to me 30 years ago. It folds into the table it stands on, I might get it out.

  2. Oh yes Ilona you must get the treadle out... it will only need a little clean and then it is such a joy to use an old machines. Not to give up the new machine entirely mind you. :-) Go girl!

  3. The one thing m'Lady always espouses about her treadle machine is the amount of control she has.

    The new electric ones can be very abrupt, where as her treadle singer can operate over a wide range of speeds depending on how fast she treadles. If it has to be particularly slowly then it is just a matter of turning the drive wheel by hand. You are much more connected to the process as well.

    Modern machinery like modern life, is all about get it done now so I can have some free time. Well I say slow down and enjoy what you are doing, what you going to do with all that free time anyway.

    Hope it brings you years of joy.

  4. Lovely post , i love the way your machine connects you to your family


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