Monday, June 22, 2015

A Pair of One-Hour, No Pattern Pillowcases

...because when you can't find what you want in a retail store or online (aside from bolts of fabulous fabric), you've gotta make them! 

In this instance, the project was superhero pillowcases. Oh, there are superhero pillowcases out there - lots! But, like in the case of Walmart, whose pillow cases were $20 a set and constructed from 100% polyester, the cost and materials weren't jiving with my thrifty sense or preference for natural fabrics.  

My Supplies:

-2 yards of 44" wide, 100% cotton superhero themed fabric ($9.99 a yard; I had a 60% off coupon = $7.99 for both yards before sales tax).
-1-6 yards spool of 3/8" wide blue grosgrain ribbon ($1.99)
-Gutterman blue cotton thread ($3.79)

1). I made two queen size pillowcases (20"x 30") with 4" ribboned cuffs. I cut each case at 31" and each cuff at 4-1/2" long. I did not cut for the width of the pillowcases, but I'll explain why in Step 6.

2). With the RIGHT SIDE of the cuff against the WRONG SIDE of the pillowcase (making sure that the salvages match), I sewed the two together at the top edge.

3). I measured out a length of ribbon about 1" longer than the width of the pillowcase from salvage to salvage (about 45") to sew along the top edge of the cuff on the RIGHT SIDE. Notice, I have the ribbon offset by 1/4" from the cuff's edge...

4). Then, I turned the ribboned edge under and gave the whole top of the pillowcase a good pressing...

5). Next, I turned the pressed cuff over to the RIGHT SIDE of the pillowcase, pressed the top seam, then stitched the cuff to the pillowcase (about 1/16" in from the cuff's edge)...

6) I folded the pillowcase together with RIGHT SIDES facing and sewed the side and bottom seams, taking care that the cuff and ribbon edging were lined up well. Because this particular novelty fabric had a 1" salvage, rather than cut for the width of the pillowcase (20"), I stitched the side seam at 1/2" from the salvage's inner edge, making a 1-1/2 seam, which I trimmed off when I serged the seam - I did this to skip the extra measuring and cutting at the beginning to save time. The pillowcase's dimensions finished out at 21"x 30" - extra room for an extra fluffy pillow!

7). Finally, I flipped the pillowcases right-side out and gave the lot a final pressing. Viola! 

Super cool! And what's more is that they are constructed from a fine thread count, 100% cotton fabric rather than 100% polyester or a poly-blend. Final cost: $14.77 after sales tax. WIN!

Blessings and happy sewing! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wayne County Museum Regency Gown Project

Back in March 2014, I had the pleasure of visiting the Wayne County Museum in Richmond, Indiana, to view an extant Regency round gown patterned (No. 31) by Saundra Ros Altman, owner of Past Patterns. The garment is quite extraordinary. I was struck by how well it is preserved and I was most impressed by its weight, the fabric being substantial and of a tightly woven cotton/linen blend. I took many detailed photographs of the original gown, especially of the construction and various stitching methods used. Finally, after more than a year, I've had the opportunity to construct my own gown using Saundra's pattern and my personal photographs as a guide for experimentation. I'd like to note, for those who are unfamiliar with this theatrical pattern, it is very popular among reenactors and I've seen many lovely variations on this gown. You may view one such example here (the very last garment pictured).

My gown is constructed from a burgundy and floral printed cotton, lined in burgundy linen, and tied in front by cotton cording:


While the greater part of the bodice is hand-sewn, the skirt and sleeves of the gown are machine sewn and over-locked - it's a dressmaking hybrid, to be sure. I will be making this gown again and constructing it all by hand from a heavy bone-colored linen that is comparable in weight to the fabric of the original gown. I would like to do a bit of simple embroidery in white around the hem, cuffs, and neckline. I'm not an embroiderer, but I'm up for the learning challenge. I'd like to experiment with the sleeves of the gown, perhaps create a style that is a bit more decorative. Also, for the second time around, I'll be gathering the back of the gown rather than pleating it to create a fuller effect from behind. I do enjoy the creative process! 

Blessings and happy sewing!