Me Made May and just a little update


A couple of years ago I participated in Me Made May and I really enjoyed it. This year I want to join again, because the prevous time I experienced I really like to think about how to style my me made pieces to make a nice outfit. I also like the community feel of this challenge because of the Flickr Group. So here we go:

'I,  Anthea (http://anthea-retrovintage.blogspot.nl @AntheaRV, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '16. I endeavour to wear at least one me made garment 3 days a week for the duration of May 2016. Repeats are allowed, but the look has to be styled differently.'

So now my coat is finished I started some new sewing projects. First is a peasant blouse which was on my wishlist for quite some time. I have like four skirts in my wardrobe which I don't wear a lot because I don't have a nice top to wear with them. Well this is going to change, because this peasant top (Hollywood 1875) is the answer!I'm making view 3.

Hollywood 1875 Peasant top

Another project I started is making my own vintage lingerie. Well, I'm still in the preparations fase, but it won't  take long before I'm really sewing a pretty bra and some nice panties. I went through my pattern stash to see what I already have and decided it's time to use some patterns from my Lutterloh books. I also went through my fabric stash to see if I have suitable fabrics. Luckily I do have! Ov er the years I thrifted lots and lots of vintage lace so it's finally time to use some of them. 
Because Lutterloh has almost no sewing instructions with their patterns I bought Mrs Depew's E-book about sewing lingerie. I hope this will be a great reference book to make my own vintage lingerie.

Lingerie patterns from Lutterloh (late 40s/ early 50s)
I like to make the panties on the left and the bra on the right picture
I've been knitting and crocheting as well. The 30s Fair Isle Pullover is progressing gradually. I finished the front and back but after a quick fit it appeared the shoulders were too narrow. So I had to frog part of it and now I'm almost done knitting these pieces in the right size. 

1930s Fair Isle Pullover
Before frogging the neck part
When I feel tired I like to change to an easier project. At the moment I'm working on a 40s scarf. It's very easy and think it will be great with my new coat. So far this doesn't look very impressive, but after blocking, this will turn in a thrue beauty.


Lastly, I went to a fleamarket with my boyfriend and found two sewing pattern magazines (pattern sheets included!) from the early 50s for a real bargain. But more about that in another blogpost :)

Record/ Die Elegante Linie Sewing Pattern Magazines

What are your current projects/purchases? And are you participating in Me Made May as well?



Finished: Simplicity 2865 / Late 1930s Coat


It took me over 5 months, but today I can tell you that I FINALLY finished my 30s coat! And I don't even count in planning this sewing project, because I already did that back in 2013, as you can read here and here

1930s Tailored Coat Made By Anthea

It's been on and off in my mind for years! And now it's done. It feels so strange. Of course, I feel proud and I think I really achieved something. On the other hand I also feel a bit sad that this project is done. 

1930s Tailored Coat Made By Anthea
Simplicity 2865
This was my first big tailoring project and I never learned so much from one single project like padstitching, making bound buttonholes and welt pockets.

1930s Tailored Coat Made By Anthea

There was so much handstitching involved. For example: all the padstitching is done by hand. I only sewed the vertical seams of my lining with my sewing machine. All the other seams of the lining are done by hand, sleeves included. The lining is fully slipstitched into the coat. I did some featherstitching in the lining to create some pleats.

1930s Tailored Coat Made By Anthea

It wasn't always fun sewing this coat. I had problems with the fabric which shrunk so much when I pretreated it. I had to improvise a lot to make it work. The pattern was two sizes too big, so I needed to grade down big way and that was especially difficult with the sleeves. Luckily, after many muslins and trial and errors it came out fitting me better.

1930s Tailored Coat And Scarf Made By Anthea

The  crocheted scarf I'm wearing in the picture above is also made by me some years ago. Actually it's a huge triangle, but I like to wrap it around my neck. 

1930s Tailored Coat And Scarf Made By Anthea

I've been dreaming of my own tailored coat for so many years. It was in 2008 when I was in Dublin and came across a shop with beautiful tailored coats. Of course, I couldn't afford one, so it was then when I started dreaming about making my own tailored coat in a pretty color. 

1930s Tailored Coat Made By Anthea

Well, I don't think I can leave it just with this coat. I love to make more coats in the future. But now, I will be glad to make some garments which take less time to finish. And finally time, to focus on the Vintage Pledge!

1930s Tailored Coat Made By Anthea

I was a bit scared the coat would be too warm to wear now. But weather has been bad lately. So lucky for me I guess. Although I do like some sunshine and warmer temperatures as well. 

1930s Tailored Coat Made By Anthea

You can find a bunch of pictures which I made during the progress on my Instagram. If you like to see them, you can find me here: click. And I aslo wrote some blogs about the progress which you can find here and here.

1930s Tailored Coat Made By Anthea

Enjoy your weekend! I will definitely do!


Finished: 40s Slacks and blouse


I have some finished garments to show you!
Both pieces were finished last summer, but I never took the time to make photos. This morning I finally did. 

I don't wear trousers that often, although I have always liked wide legged trousers like you see during the 30s and especially during the 40. 

A couple of years ago I made the famous Simplicity 3688 trousers. If you're reading vintage sewing blogs for a while you migh have seen these trousers elsewhere, because they are very popular in the vintage sewing community. TashaDebi and Renée made some lovely slacks using the Simplicity 3688 pattern.
I'm not the person that uses a single pattern over and over again, so this time I choose Hollywood 800. 

These trousers are quite special to me, because it was my first project after my huge sewing slump. A friend of mine helped getting back on track with sewing. Every thursday evening we met and worked on our sewing projects. I'm so grateful that she helped me out with feeling better again. 

What I love  about them is that they have pleats at the front and another feature I like are the cuffs.
I used a black denimlike fabric which I had in my stash and was once gifted to me.

After finishing the slacks I wanted to make a matching blouse. I had this lovely white dotted fabric in my stash which I wanted to turn in a blouse. The pattern I used is McCall 6817 (1947).  

I like the button closure on the back and the puff sleeves. I didn't like the outside darts, so I decided to sew them on the inside. Really, I don't understand why designers think darts should be on the outside. I don't like them that way at all!

This pattern has been choosen because I wanted to practice bound buttonholes. At that time I was planning on making a coat which would have bound buttonholes. I wanted to practice a bit more before starting with the coat. So this pattern was just perfect to improve my skills.

Sewing both pieces was quite easy. It really helped me getting back into sewing again :)


Finished: Simplicity 2072

So, I needed a break from my coat and decided to make something quick and easy instead. I wanted to make a dress, because my last me-made dress dated from July 2014!!! At that time I wasn't feeling very good, had a rough time and I didn't had the energy to make anything. I'm so glad that lies behind me, because I'm feeling much better now!

Simplicity 2072 (40s) made by Anthea
When I went through my stash of patterns I came across such beauties, but I really needed to limit myself. It had to be quick and easy. Thus, no fancy dress with a lot of details this time. When you look at the pattern envelope of Simplicity 2072 (late 1940s) it might not the most interesting dress. But for now it was just what I needed. Something not too complicated.

Simplicity 2072 (40s) made by Anthea

This pattern has a very small size and I had to add about 3 inch / 7,5 cm to the waist and hips to make it fit me. The bust width was good. In hindsight I could have added some length (1/2 inch / 1,25 cm) to the bodice as well.

Simplicity 2072 (40s) made by Anthea

I wanted to work exclusively from my stash and I succeeded at that very well. I had some rayon-like navy colored fabric with a great drape which is perfect for this dress. Alas, I didn't have suitable zippers, instead I used snaps which I do have plenty in my stash. Also other notions like yarn, seam binding, Petersham ribbon, hooks and eyes, ecc. were all present. I really like it when I don't have to buy anything for a project because I have everything at hand.  

Simplicity 2072 (40s) made by Anthea

The plan was to use my serger to finish the raw edges. My serger is a very old lady. When I threaded her with the yarn the lever which lifts the serger foot broke off :O. I use my serger rarely, because I don't think it's the neatest finish for a garment. I prefer lining or seam binding so much more, but it's always good to have a serger when you feel like speeding up the progress a little. 

Simplicity 2072 (40s) made by Anthea

The only seam binding I have is off-white colored, and I didn't want to change the yarn of my machine every time and decided to use a decorative stitch to attach the seambinding to the raw edges rather then using the regular straight stitch. This way I could sew everything with the same yarn.

Details of dress: Simplicity 2072 (40s) made by Anthea
clockwise: closed back (inside out); one of the belt loops; seambinding with bowstitching; open back (inside out)

Because the fabric is quite heavy I was affraid the waist seam would stretch. Therefore I made a waist stay. This was a first for me. Because the dress is so simple it's a nice opportunity to introduce yourself to something new. 

I made some belt loops as well. Because I think a belt will be a really great addition this dress. 

Inside out; Simplicity 2072 (40s) made by Anthea
The dress inside out

The hand stitching was very quite time consuming. The snaps (12 pairs!), belt loops, hook and eye at waist level and waist stay, the hem and the bias-cut facings at the armholes and neckline are all stitched by hand. But I really enjoy some hand stitching. For me it's really relaxing and a mindful activity. 

Simplicity 2072 (40s) made by Anthea

I like the finished dress and I think I will wear it a lot because it fits perfectly in my wardrobe. I can style it in so many ways so don't think I will get bored of it anytime soon.

Simplicity 2072 (40s) made by Anthea

P.s. To take any pictures I have to make some room in my living room. This is how it normally looks like (what do you think of my new old rug?):

retro living room with modern, vintage and antique furniture

Now it's time to get back to my coat!


Buttonholes, pockets and padstitching....

Hi all!

The last weeks I've been doing a lot of work on my 30s coat. And it's actually getting somewhere. Because of all the padstitching, progress is slow. But I don't mind. I love taking my time with this coat.

30s coat: Bound Buttonholes WIP
Welts of bound buttonholes
After practicing the bound buttonholes with some scrap fabrics I started making them in the front piece. I was very careful and checked and measured again and again before I dared cutting into the fabric. But I'm happy with how they came out :)

30s coat: Bound Buttonholes WIP
I use towels to prevent pressing the fabric flat

With the bound buttonholes finished, the next step was making the pockets. I had more confidence making those, because the welt can cover up some minor flaws. Which isn't the case with bound buttonholes. Unlike the buttonholes you don't need to make a row of them which have to be aligned correctly. But, of course, I still checked if the pockets were put on the right place.

30s coat: Practicing Pockets
One always needs a cup of tea while sewing

After making the pockets I sewed the front pieces to the side front pieces and the side back pieces tot the center back. This wasn't very difficult to do, just some regular sewing ;)

30s coat: Pockets WIP

During my sewing course, which I took a few years ago, I did practice padstitching, but never applied it in a real sewing project. So, this was a first for me. When I made a muslin of the coat I decided where the roll line of the lapels and collar should be and transfered this to the pattern. First I sewed the pieces of the under collar together and did the same with the hair canvas. Then I transferred the roll line and padstitiching lines to the hair canvas. The roll line is also marked on the under collar. Next I basted the hair canvas to the under collar with permanent stitches through the roll line.

30s coat: Padstitching Undercollar WIP
Clockwise: 1 Basting hair canvas to fabric; 2 Creating a fold at roll line with pusing hair canvas to roll line; 3 Finished padstitching; 4 Pressing collar in shape using a towel
Now comes the important part. You start padstitching at the lower part of the collar. While you put your needle through the fabric you push the haircanvas to the roll line. You do this with every stitch in the first 2 or 3 rows. While doing this you will allow the fabric to fold on the roll line. After this first couple of rows you can continu padstitching without pushing the fabric every stitch. When you finish this part of the collar you continu with the upper part. You repeat the pushing method in the first 2 or 3 rows and continu padstitching in the normal way without pushing the hair canvas to the roll line.

Sewing Assistants
My cats are always nearby when I'm sewing

I discovered that it's easier cutting the haircanvas with seam allowance. I cut it without the hem allowance, but because you're moving the fabric toward the roll line you come a little short at some places. This can be easily corrected when you have some extra fabric. Afther padstitching you cut the seam allowance away.

30s coat: Padstitching Lapels WIP
Clockwise: 1 After preparations started padstiching the lapel; 2 Finished padstitching; 3 Removed seam allowance haircanvas and added tape; 4 Pressing the finished lapel
When I padstitched the lapels I followed the steps explained in 'Tailoring. The classic guid to sewing a the perfect jacket' with the addition of pushing the hair canvas to the roll line in the first few rows of padstitching.

30s coat: Padstitching WIP
Finished padstitching

Subsequently I sewed the shoulder seams with my sewing machine and hand basted the collar, side seams and sleeves, because I wanted to do another fitting. Luckily there are only a few minor alterations to be done.

30s coat WIP
The coat is ready to fit

Hopefully I will finish this coat soon, because spring is on it's way and temperature will start to rise again!!

30s coat Sewing Assistant
Silly cat!

Oh, and don't you love my sewing assistants :)


New Knitting Project: 30s Fair Isle Pullover

My boyfriend loves to wear knitted sweaters during the colder months of the year and I love knitting, so it will be no surprise that I will knit a fancy sweater for my love someday. And that moment has come. A few weeks ago, after finishing my Birgitta cardigan I immediately started with a new knitting project. I made a start with the 30s Fair Isle Pullover, a pattern which you can find for free at Lucy's blog 1940's style for you.


E. also has a great interest in bygone eras. And when I showed him some examples of knitwear which were popular during the first half of the 20th century he was really enthusiastic about the idea of knitting something similar for him. I showed him some options but he liked the pattern I mentioned above best. 

Original Color Scheme
The original colors of the pattern aren't very appealing, thus I started with making different color charts to decide which colors I want to use. I also made some minor changes by adding a bit more of the off white in the Fair Isle patterns.
Of course my boyfriend had a final say in this. Luckily, we both picked the same color chart as our favourite :) E. wears jackets on a daily basis and the color scheme we choose is very suitable to wear with some of his jackets.

Altered Color Scheme
After picking the color chart I made a swatch to decide if I have to alter the pattern or change needle size. I'm a very tight knitter and therefore I have to use bigger needle sizes to get the right gauge. I ended up with using 3 mm knitting needles for the ribbing and 3,5 mm knitting needles for the colourwork pattern. 

I started with the back and finished the ribbing and the first two sections of the color chart. Originally the pattern has no ribbing involved for the edges of the sleeves and bodice. It tells you to use two colors and knit, alternating both colors to create a 'ribbinglike' look, using the stockinette stitch (see color chart). I don't believe this will work, because knitwork that has been knitted in stockinette has the tendency to curl up at the ends. At least, that is my experience. 

So far I really enjoy kntting this pullover. It will be the second thing I will knit for E. The first one was a christmas present which didn't make it to the blog yet. But I will write about it soon :) 


Finished: Rowan's Birgitta Cardigan

Hi all!

Last week I finally finsihed my first cardigan after a huge knitting slump which lasted more then a year. In march 2015 I started knitting this cardigan and it was such a big project, but I'm so glad it's finished :)

I already bought yarn for this project in 2011, but I wasn't a very experienced knitter at that time and I wanted to wait until I had some more experience. And I'm glad I waited, because I think this was the most difficult knitting project I ever did. And then you might wonder why I would start such a project after not knitting for over a year? Well, I don't really know, but I guess I like a good challenge and something pretty.


The roses were a nightmare to knit. At times I had more then 20 little knitting balls to work with. The pattern of the upper part was also a bit difficult becuase the colors don't differ that much from each other, so you actually can't see very clearly where you are on the pattern chart which will be the case when you use more contrasting colors. 

The fit was quite difficult. The cardigan is very short and I needed to added like 3 inches / 7,5 cm to get the length I desired. The same goes with the sleeves. They would be very very short if didn't elongate them.

When I sewed the whole thing together I wasn't happy with the fit. It was very boxy and I don't like that. To improve the fit I took in the waist with 3 cm at each side and tapered it to the actual side seam somewhere below the bust area. 

The placement of the buttons gave me a real headache! They just didn't seem evenly distributed, while I did knit a buttonhole on a regular interval. In the end I had to change the positions of some buttons three times before I was satisfied.

All in all, I'm very happy with this cardigan! Although it was a long and sometimes frustrating process!