Free PDF Downloadable File: Vintage Sewing Guide for advanced clothing construction

Free Downloadable Vintage Sewing Guide (Date unknown)

Creative Sewing: Techniques of advanced clothing construction
Prepared by Dorothy L. Barrier, Extension Clothing Specialist
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service

Available at URL:

Click on the “PDF Viewer” Button to open the document.
After PDF Viewer opens click on the “Downlaod this PDF” link in the left hand corner above the cover of the booklet.
Give the file a name and select the drive on your PC to save it to.

This PDF file is from the University of Florida Digital Collections, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Note: I cannot clearly date when this guide was written but there is a look to the illustrations and graphics that remind me of the late 1950s-early 1960s. Some of the techniques also appear in “Couture Sewing Techniques” by Claire Shaeffer, such as the one for eliminating bulky seamlines on a sleeveless bodice armhole facing.

The guide is 10 pages consisting of line drawings with conscise and clear instructions. I would recommend this for someone who is at the intermediate – beginning advanced level of sewing.


The real name of the “waistband stiffener” is Ban Roll

I am happy to post that I’ve found the correct name for the waistband stiffener I posted about when constructing The Donna Half-Circle Skirt. Last Friday, I took a day off from work to attend a Microsoft Word Training Class. On my way to the school, I passed by Steinlauf & Stoller on West 39th Street, in the heart of New York City’s Garment Center. When I asked for waistband stiffener and showed my sample, I was told the correct name is Ban Roll.

So now you know what the correct name is. I’ve found a few places besides Steinlauf & Stoller where Ban Roll can be ordered on-line. I prefer Steinlauf & Stoller because they permit you to buy by the yard instead of the roll. I also support them for being a long-time business in the Garment Center and a supplier of quality dressmaking supplies to the trade and the home sewist.

Steinlauf & Stoller:

B. Black & Sons:

Sew True:

I should be posting about the new roll collar with lapels for The Donna Blouse over the coming weekend. It’s been so very cold in my corner of Brooklyn, New York that I really want to sleep the rest of winter away and wake up on a lovely, warm Spring day. Still, visions of this completed outfit fill my mind so I will get up and get on with it for sure!

The Donna Blouse: Sewing a Rolled Collar

So far this collar is progressing very well. I’m hoping for a successful conclusion when I sew collar to neckline and also sew the lapels next weekend.

Sewing and pressing a collar with a roll line. From “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing”. 1970. The instructions given here for pressing a collar are similar to those in Gertie’s book.

Pressing a collar with roll line. From “Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing” by Gretchen Hirsch. Please note that in this book Gertie is giving instructions for tailoring a collar. However, her pressing instructions can be used for other types of collars, too.

I used a combination of methods from the Reader’s Digest book and Gertie’s book.

The idea to cut away an angle of the interfacing at the sides comes from turning one of my favorite manufactured blouses inside out and studying how they constructed it.

The interfacing was cut on the true bias. My teacher at school told us this results in a beautiful roll and fall to the collar. It is a little tricky since sometimes the interfacing comes out a little larger than the Under Collar. To prevent that, I use the cut out undercollar instead of the pattern piece when cutting the interfacing.

For this collar the interfacing was basted and sewn to the Under Collar.

This collar is called a Roll Collar because:
1. It has a stand that rises above the neckline. For this collar the stand is at 3/4″ above Center Back at the neckline.
2. The Roll line begins at 3/4″ above neckline at Center Back and then curves to nothing at the point where the collar is sewn to the point at Center Front of the neckline.
3. From the Roll Line, the collar has a lovely fall that will vary with the design of the collar.

1. Pin, baste and sew the Top Collar and Under Collar together. The interfacing was placed in the Under Collar.
The ends of the interfacing are trimmed diagonally BEFORE basting in place to the Under Collar. This proved to facilitate easier turning of the points to the right side using a fine, hand sewing needle from the right side of the collar.

Seams are graded and clips are made in the outer edge of the collar.

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Sewing Darts: A few guidelines

This is very basic, but I decided to post because it might be useful for beginners. I think it is very important to pin and baste before sewing darts. It is the only way to ensure that the correct amount of intake is stitched in place. It also ensures that the sewing will be straight from beginning to end because it will not be necessary to stop and remove pins as the sewing progresses.

I think the photos also make a good case for why I prefer Dressmakers Tracing Paper the best. After steam pressing it vanishes away and does not appear on the right side at all.

These darts are part of the new front bodice I had to cut for The Donna Blouse because of the new lapels and roll collar.

1. Slip a sheet of folded Dressmakers Tracing Paper into the wrong side of the fabric.* Use a ruler along the dart legs and center as a guideline. Run the serrated tracing wheel (or smooth tracing wheel) along the edge of the ruler.

*I cut all pieces with fabric folded right side up and pattern placed right side up in most cases.

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The Dressmaker’s Library: “Christian Dior: The early years 1947-1957”

Cover of “Christian Dior: The early years 1947-1957”.

“Christian Dior: The early years 1947-1957” is a treasure trove of inspiration and insight into the House of Dior during the years from 1947-1957.

The love and loyalty Dior inspired in his models, workers, seamstresses, salespeople and other employees comes across as you delve into the book. There are anecdotes and memories shared by those who worked at and with Dior during his early years. Esmeralda de Rethy did an excellent job of interviewing them and providing the reader with clear and sharp word portraits that bring the designer to life in a very immediate way.
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New Year, New Plans

Happy New Year to all visitors and followers of RetroGlam. I hope 2014 is a very healthy and productive year for you all.

The need to make a new front bodice and collar for The Donna Blouse will slow up my progress for getting on with newer projects. I’ve decided, though, to make good of this and turn it into something of a tutorial. This way my readers can see how well using different colored threads for marking grain lines, buttonholes and seam basting helps a busy (and sometimes tired) seamstress keep track of what is what. I can’t tell you how many times, when I was a little bit fatigued, I got overwhelmed by seeing all my basted seams and grainlines in the same black thread. There were many times I ripped out the thread for the grain lines while removing basting stitches.

I plan to go back to “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing” for the construction of the Classic Notched Collar with lapels and roll line. This should prove useful since readers will see actual photos of how the instructions work out for me.

My weekend schedule will be hectic for January so things may go slowly. While I’m getting photos for the tutorial, I plan to add in some book reviews and scans of fashion ads from some late 1940s and early 1950s romance magazines I have. These dresses would have been worn by teenagers and housewives who waited each month for the latest issue of such magazines like “True Story” and “True Romance”. The styles are very influenced by the New Look after 1947 and I think they offer a good insight into what everyday women were wearing.

A good mix of high fashion as well as manufactured, mass produced styles of any era provides interesting insights into an era, the economics and the role women had in the particular strata of society they occupied. I also think that the simplicity of the mass produced styles can offer some quick and accessible sources of inspiration to a modern lover of retro styles.