Monday, 26 August 2013

Pickled patterns

Hello good people of the blogosphere!
Just thought I would share some quick progress of my challenge-dress-project.
Although there is still no actual fabric fondling as of yet, I have started with some important preparatory work. :)

This pattern is the oldest one I own (until I go rampant on Etsy or Ebay), and dealing with paper that is nearly 70 years old can will have some negative impact on the pattern pieces. It is highly advisable to make copies of all pieces and the sewing description (use a photocopier for the latter). This allows you to enjoy your pattern multiple times without it turning to dust between your fingers. I must admit, the very first time I used a vintage pattern, I was so eager to get started it didn't even cross my mind that I should not be pinning and abusing the poor old paper. Although I treated it with care, I noticed how easy it would tear and all the pinmarks were rather unsightly.

So! This pattern will not suffer, and so I have now traced all the pattern pieces onto ordinary household paper for wrapping foods. There is of course proper pattern/tracing paper out there, or you could get some examination table paper if you're chummy with your GP :) I am going to get some "pro" paper, but for now, I play the part of novice. That's my story, and I am sticking with it!

It doesn't really matter what you use, as long as it is sheer enough so that the pattern pieces shows through.
My roll of paper is only 15" wide, obviously too narrow for bigger pieces, like full skirts. But fear not, just tape two (or more) strips together lenghtwise, and you'll be golden.
Before I started drafting my piece, I very carefully ironed it on a mid heat setting (no steam!!!). I also ironed my household paper so it would lay flat (do this before any taping!). Don't press down on your board, just smoothly glide your iron over it once. The ironing makes the paper a little static so it will cling on to your table. This is a good thing.

Now, just lay the pattern piece on your table, and then the tracing paper on top, taped side down. Many markers will not write on tape, or will smear off. Use a felt tipped pen (or just an ordinary pencil). I found that ballpoint pens sometimes leaves little blobs of ink that takes forever to dry, and then there's ink where you least want it.......

Finally, you trace away! The before-mentioned static electricity in the paper holds it nicely in place, and I had no issues with shifting while drafting. Use a ruler (if you haven't got an insanely steady hand) for all your straight lines. Do your best on the curves :) (I want one of these)
Tip: if you struggle with curves, it helps to rest your forearm on your work surface, and move your hand just at/from the wrist.

Be sure to get all the markings (dots, notches, lines, instructions etc.) onto your pieces. I also wrote on all pieces the pattern name (McCall 7000), in case I one day get the urge to start mixing and matching patterns.
After your done, pop all your originals back into the envelope and pickle in your stash forever :)
That's basically it! I'm sure there are other, more ingenious ways of doing this, but this worked for me.

If I haven't bored you all to death yet, be sure to check back later.
I'll be starting on my (first ever) muslin!


  1. What an exciting process! I'm not a sewer myself, but I must say, I enjoy watching the creative process of others and have learned a decent bit over the years from fellow vintage bloggers who are sewers. I have no doubt the same will ring true from you budding blog, too, dear Siri.

    Thank you very much for all of your blog comments. I really hope you're having a beautiful week.

    ♥ Jessica

  2. Thank you Jessica :) It is very exciting to start a new project, but I wish there were more hours in a day! I work shifts full time at a cable factory, and any spare time I have I try to fill with something rewarding and worthwhile. Reading other blogs have taught me so much, so hoping too give a little back.

    Thank you again for reading my posts, it means so much!

    Siri ;)