Sew Grateful and Vintage Wedding Dresses

“Sew Grateful Week” came and went and I was nowhere to be seen, but as always I am truly grateful for this wonderful online community of sewing bloggers, you guys have been such a wonderful source of continuity and creativity in my life, Thank You.  I know I didn’t have time to plan anything as I was out of town last weekend and busy with life the following week (lame excuse?) but maybe this post will make up for it.

This weekend I visited the exhibit “Tying the Knot – Cleveland Wedding Fashions, 1830- 1980” at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. As you are fellow sewists you probably understand the thrill I get from looking at beautifully sewn things. It’s also a wonderful way for me to connect with the sewing history in my new hometown and look at some of the things that people right here used to love and wear. I thought I’d share a few of the pieces that really caught my eye (mostly from the 1900’s and onwards). If you’re in the area and you love sewing, check it out because the exhibit has been extended to March 31st, 2013.

First up is this luxurious golden dress from 1879, its creation is attributed to none other than Charles Frederick Worth, the founder of “Haute Couture”! No kidding once you see all the fine details on the dress:


Here’s one that has a simple 1920’s flapper silhouette, but just as much shiny goodness. This one is interesting as it was meant to be used both as a wedding and a party dress:


Just 10 years later,  1930’s wedding fashions changed dramatically and dresses like this gorgeous but reserved silk velvet one became more popular. Look at the train on this thing. I really love the delicate glass beading on the neckline:



This next one is my favorite one, a delicate floaty number from the 1940’s with a sheer bolero and lovely sequin work:


Also some pretty vintage underthings like this 1920’s camisole, robe and knickers set:


You didn’t think I’d forget about the shoes and other important accessories did you?

And last but not least, one for the guys, some vintage tuxedo vests that the men of Cleveland used to wear!


In other important historical sewing news (is that an oxymoron?) I learned that the White Sewing Machine company was based out of Cleveland, Ohio. Isn’t that neat?


I hope you enjoyed this little (limited) virtual visit! I hope you all had a wonderful “Sew Grateful Week”,


My Pads4Girls Sewing Tutorial

I was originally going to post this later during the month but after joining the Sew Grateful Week challenge hosted by the lovely and super talented Debi at My Happy Sewing Place, I’ve decided to go ahead with this today since it fits in with the theme of Sew Grateful Week so well.

But first, a little history:

I really like crafting/sewing for charity and non-profit organizations because it allows me to put a personal touch on causes that I really care about and give back to the world in my own little way. This past November I buckled down and did just that by making 19 sets of resuable menstrual pads for Lunapads Pads4Girls campaign.

The Pads4Girls campaign is organized by the good people at Lunapads who make and sell environmentally friendly, organic, all natural and reusable menstrual supplies. Pads4Girls facilitates the donation of purchased and handmade reusable menstrual products for girls in developing countries so they can stay in school longer and not feel ashamed of something so very normal. As soon as I heard about this campaign, I knew I had to contribute.

I contacted Lunapads and they sent me an email detailing the material and design requirements for accepting donations of hand sewn pads (you also have the option to financially donate pads through their organization if you prefer). I also spent some time thinking about how the design could encompass the needs of girls from diverse socioeconomic and physical environments. So I came up with a checklist for a pad pattern that had to take these three things into consideration:

1) All pads had to be made of all natural materials, I went with 100% cotton flannel.

2) The design had to adjust to individual requirements (i.e – girls should be able to add/reduce layers as they see fit)

3) All pads had to be easily washed and dried by hand (in case the girls did not have access to laundry machines and/or electricity).

There are tons of really great patterns available on the net, check here, here and here, but in the end I decided to use those as inspirational starting points and come up with my own. So now in honor of Sew Grateful Week, I’m going to show you how you can do it too (If you’re doing this to contribute to the Pads4Girls campaign, just send Lunapads an email to let them know you’re doing this).

Tutorial for One Cloth Pad Liner and Pad Holder:

You will need:

–  Pre-washed 100% cotton twill tape (or ricrac), cut two 10 inch strips.

–  Pre-washed 100% cotton flannel pieces. Cut 2 pieces measuring 10 inches by 11 inches, this will be your pad liner (I rounded the corners for comfort on the large pieces). Cut another 2 pieces measuring 4 inches by 10 inches, this will be your pad holder.

– Button or closure of your choice



– Sewing Machine (or if you’ve got tons of sewing mojo, your hands :))

Let’s begin!

Step 1:

Stitch your two 10 inch by 11 inch pieces right sides together around the edges (don’t forget to backstitch), leaving a small opening to turn it inside out later. I used a 3/8′ seam allowance. Press your seam, notch your corners (don’t they look like monster teeth?) and turn inside out and press again.

Step 2:

Zig-zag stitch all around the piece you just turned inside out (including the opening) and press. You just made the pad liner! Set aside.

Step 3:

Place the two 10 inch strips of twill tape across the right side of one of the 4 inch by 10 inch pieces and stitch in place.

Step 4:

Repeat Steps 1 and 2 for the 4 inch by 10 inch pieces. The twill tape will be sandwiched between the two pieces at this point.

Step 5:

Yell at machine for making wonky zig-zag stitches. Don’t hit it though, might make things worse. Take a deep breath and just keep stitching (I’m sure it’s not that bad…)

Step 6:

On the two ends of the right side of your pad holder (the one with the twill tape pieces across it), mark your buttonhole and button placement. Think of the pad holder as the “wings” of the pad and fold one end over the other at the back to estimate placement. Sew buttonhole and attach button.

Step 7:

Fold up the liner and slide it in the pad holder and voila! You are done! As a general rule, for every pad holder I made two liners, you can stick with one or add more because the twill tape is really accommodating while holding everything in place.

I wish you all a happy and crafty Sew Grateful Week!

Sew Grateful Week Giveaway!

After hearing about My Happy Sewing Place’s Sew Grateful Week, I decided that I had to join in and thank the online sewing world online for teaching me so much and welcoming a new blogger like me with kindness and encouragement!

My contribution to Sew Grateful Week is a now out of print Vogue Pattern that I bought a couple of years ago not realizing that it was not the right size and also not refundable. Without further ado:

It’s V7829 in sizes 6, 8 and 10 (Bust: 30.5, 31.5 and 32.5), uncut and in factory folds. So if you like it just leave a comment and I’ll draw a winner via random draw next week on February 15th, 2012.

Be sure to check out all the giveaway goodies at My Happy Sewing Place  and join in the fun!

*Update* – I feel like such a loser for this and I should have mentioned this earlier, but at present moment I’m only able to include participants from North America . I am so sorry about this and I hope to be able to include folks all over the globe in my next giveaway.