Thursday, August 17, 2017

restoring vintage garments


I have always loved vintage baby garments. They have a special charm about them that just draws me in. Often times I find myself wasting spending hours of a day seeking them out online, at estate sales or at vintage venues! I recently came across a couple precious dresses that were old, dingy, stained and not so pretty on the surface. Most people would probably just pass these by, but my eye sees them in a much different view. I see the beauty beneath all that dirt and dinginess. It is in that view that I can find potential to restore it to back as close to it's original condition as possible. It's a challenge, and challenges are what seems to be my lot in life!
dingy, dirty, stained, wrinkled - you name it!
I think the backs were nastier than the front!
There is so much beauty beneath the dirt!
the soft pink one is all completely hand stitched 

The first thing I do is soak the garment in the sink with warm water and add Restoration Hypoallergenic Powder, which I highly recommend. 


  • Restoration is excellent for antique fabrics. Use as a bleach substitute.
  • Great for doilies, laces, Victorian clothing, wedding and christening gowns.
  • Removes coffee, tea, blood, grape juice, ketchup and other hard to remove stains from the most delicate fabrics.
  • Removes yellowing caused by water damage, age, UV rays and even discolored fold lines!
After an hour or so, I drain out the water (which usually turns yellow immediately) and rinse and refill the sink again, adding Restoration Powder again. Depending on how stained and dirty the garments are, I might let them soak for a couple days, changing out the water several times. Once they are clean, rinse really good and then hand-wash with a mild detergent and hang dry. 

And now for the stellar results!
This dress cleaned up so good that it amazed me - it even brought back the fabric sheen! 
perfect condition - nearly like new!
The yoke and collar of this dress has me swooning!
 I gotta say, this blue one has me head over heels! It is now nicely stored away in my hopeing-for-a-grand-daughter-someday-stash!

This dress was so dirty it didn't even look pink anymore
All the tucks, seams and embroidery is done by hand
I could not see anything on this dress that would have been machine done!
Even the scallops appear to be handmade!
Occasionally there is repair work that needs to be done. It is never ok to repair by machine when the entire piece was handmade. You should always do repairs by hand if the garment was made by hand.
For example, I had another vintage dress I purchased that needed repair work. Now, I will be the first person to raise my hand that I despise repair jobs and alterations, however, when it is a vintage piece that I am challenged to restore, I change my tune a bit and try to do the repair so that it appears that it never was repaired.
At some point and time the sleeve on this dress had been pulled nearly off. The repair work had been repaired quickly and very poorly, leaving puckers. This is another handmade dress, so the sleeves were attached by hand and french seamed, so I actually had two seams to repair to get it back to a french seam.

The back of the dress had some of the same issues - the gathered skirt had been completely pulled away from the back yoke and quickly re-attached with needle and thread. I removed all the repair stitched and, once again repaired a french seam to restore to original condition.
This is another delightful vintage dress!




All, but the blue dress, are available for purchase! Please email me or follow me on Instagram as I post many of my vintage finds that are available for purchase!










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Friday, August 11, 2017

Serger Puffing - YES, you can!

My blog has been super neglected and after getting into a discussion with two of my good sewing friends this week about how each of us does puffing, I decided to make up a little tutorial with how I do mine. 
Serger Puffing - YES, you can!
I am always looking for a way to do things easier and to save time in the sewing studio. I also like to put my serger to good use with heirloom sewing techniques, especially when it saves time and no one can tell you even used a serger!

My tutorial shows how I do puffing strips the easy way!
Step1: Tear fabric to 3" strips (or whatever size you want your puffing strip - starch and press.
Step 2: Set your serger to do a gathering stitch - on my Babylock Evolve, my settings are as follows: 
Stitch Selector: A
Needles: 0-1, 0-2
Length: 4
Width: M-7.5
Differential Feed: 2
Blade: Unlocked
Speed: Moderate
Serge both long sides of the strip of fabric.
Step 3: There are 2 rows of gathering threads on top that you want to locate
Begin pulling the 2 gathering threads to gather up the puffing strip to the amount of gathering you want
Step 4: Adding Entredeux: Pin entredeux so that the right side of the beading falls within the 2 rows of gathering stitches on the strip. Pin in place

Step 5: Set Sewing Machine to straight stitch and stitch right up close to the beading of the entredeux


Repeat step 5 for other side of strip

Step 5: Trim away raw edges of fabric and entredeux up close to straight stitching



Step 6: Set Sewing Machine to a zig zag stitch W:3, L:1.7 Needle at 5th dot from left

Step 7: Stitch catching ever other hole on the entredeux - the raw edge should roll encasing the straight stitching


Step 8: Press seam away from entredeux 


Step 9: I made a slight adjustment in stitch width to 2.5 and kept all the same settings as previously stitched

Step 10: Zig zag catching every other hole - seam on the underside will be caught in this stitching

Step 11: Strip should look like this when completed. (Note: I used white thread with ecru entredeux - you should use the same color thread as the entredeux)


This is a photo of the underside of the strip
This is a photo of the top side of the strip
This is a photo of the finished strip ready to be
added to the garment
I know there are a lot of purists out there and hand-gathering and hand whip-stitching can't ever be replicated by machine. However, if you want to save time, this method is the way to go! Happy Stitching! ...and I hope you find this tutorial helpful!


Thursday, April 27, 2017

attaching entredeux and lace to fabric

It's been awhile since I have posted on my blog and figured today is a good day for not only a post, but a new tutorial!
Attaching entredeux and lace to fabric
I am certainly no expert in the heirloom sewing field, but I know what works for me and I do like to share my techniques. I hope that it will answer some questions and help those who are wondering about this beautiful heirloom sewing technique. 
I have used several techniques over the years and often times it depends on what I am making in which way I sew entredeux and lace to fabric. I, no doubt have other methods I used posted within this blog from years back that may or may not be this same method.

Step 1: Lay entredeux on fabric right sides together and straight stitch

Make sure your stitching is smack dab next to the entredeux!

Once stitched, it should look like this!
Step 2: Take to your ironing board and press.
Press so that seam selvage falls on fabric side, not towards entredeux
Fold back out and trim seam to 1/8". 

Using a rotary cutter gives you a cleaner edge!
 Step 3: Set your machine to zig-zag, 3W and 1.70L

As you stitch, you should get a perfect rolled hem!
Once stitching is complete you should have a nice neat edge, 
finished off with a rolled hem!
So pretty!

Step 4: Press again, then clip away fabric from the entredeux

Be careful not to cut into the satin edge of the entredeux!
 I have found that the best "stitch'n ditch" to use is cheap 1-ply toilet tissue
and I always keep a roll on my sewing table!
yes! that is toilet tissue!!
 Bernina foot #10 - if you have another brand machine, you should have a foot
similar to this, where there is a blade in the center.
there really is a blade there!
 Using a zig-zag stitch, with the same settings as above, you will
line up the edge of the entredeux and lace between the blade.
Needle should swing back and forth from entredeux to lace!
As you stitch, the entredeux and lace will be joined together
with a neat zig-zag stitch 
Needle should go into the open hole of the entredeux
All done and so pretty!
 Remove the tissue - any paper residue should easily come off,
otherwise will be washed away when garment is washed.
 Completed entredeux to lace - it's as easy as that!
It's just THAT easy!
As always, if you have any questions, just email me or post on my Facebook page!

Laurie

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