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May 8, 2016

Weekend Sewing: Finishing Up My Ladies Tailoring Projects

Happy Mother's Day, everybody!

I found this old high school graduation photo of my mom's today (circa 1948) and thought I'd share it with you.  Teenagers don't look much like that anymore, do they?

This weekend I've been finishing the two skirts I've been working on for my Ladies Tailoring class, which ends this coming Wednesday.  (My intensive draping class -- five weeks @4 nights per week -- starts two weeks from tomorrow.)

I finally completed the waistband and lining of my second skirt and now I'm pretty much done.  The one remaining task is to create a handmade buttonhole (and attach a button) to the waistband.  Since none of us have made one before and our first attempts may not be pretty, our professor is having us make the buttonhole on the inside waistband extension so it won't be visible from the outside.  I think that's a good idea.  The waistband will also have a hook and eye at the end of the outer extension; I've installed that already.

These skirts aren't exciting to look at but they're well made and I'm very proud of them.  The first, a subtle wool plaid, has a back slit, a gold silk half-lining, and two front side pockets.  The second skirt is navy blue wool flannel and has a full black acetate lining, a faced waistband interfaced with hair canvas, two front piping pockets and two back piping pockets.  A few photos below:

Skirt #1

An off-center snap on the inner waistband extension keeps everything neatly in place.

The prick stitches around the lapped zipper are hard to see but there.

Inside view.

Inside waistband
A length of chain stitches hold the half lining in place.  Watch me make it here.

Skirt #2

Waistband facing cut on the bias and finished by hand.

The blue skirt has a simple centered zipper.

Basting removed.

If the buttonhole is a success, maybe I'll write a post about it.  Cross your fingers!

I'm excited about continuing my tailoring studies this coming fall.  In the meantime, draping awaits.

Have a great day, everybody!

My Mom enjoying Chinese soup dumplings.


  1. Gorgeous, gorgeous work! You should be proud indeed!!

  2. Sonia couldn't look happier!!

  3. Happy Mother's Day to your gorgeous mum. I hope she's getting one of these makes - if memory serves you still owe her a skirt ;)


  4. Some good work there Peter and mum has an infectious smile like yours.

  5. I was surprised to read that your faced waistband was interfaced with hair canvas. I did that on a skirt some 40 years ago. It itched like mad. I couldn't wait to redo the waistband. I can't wait to see your buttonholes.

  6. The skirts are beautiful and the high school picture of your mom is awesome! Hope she had a very happy Mother's Day.

  7. Have you thought about practicing buttonholes on scrap fabric before you make one on your class project?

  8. You should be proud of yourself for these excellently-constructed sensible garments, that will be reliable workhorses in any woman's wardrobe.

    Be sure to use a buttonhole stitch, not a blanket stitch, when you make your buttonhole. There's a subtle difference, but the buttonhole stitch wears like iron. The blanket stitch does not, in this application.

  9. Did you write about the welt pocket with the darts going into it and I missed it? Those are the devil!
    And your bespoke future is clear, my dear.
    Hoping your mother had a wonderful day.

  10. Love your mom's graduation picture, so glamorous. Your intensive draping class does sound seriously intensive - 4 nights a week!

  11. That is some impressive handwork on those skirts. I envy you the ability to take classes at such an outstanding design school. A belated happy Mother's Day to your mom. I'm sure those delicious soup dumplings made it special.

  12. Those skirts look great, especially the waistbands. Wow. When you make a lining, do you simply make a slightly smaller version of the skirt itself? How do you choose a lining fabric and how do you cut it so that it plays well with the very different fabric of the skirt? (Sorry for the newb questions.) Great job!

    Happy M-Day to your mother and all mothers everywhere!

    1. I'd have to compare the lining pattern piece to the skirt -- I think it was roughly the same size, just no darts in the lining, only pleats. No special method to choose a lining: it can be silk, acetate, or rayon -- they all work fine with wool.

  13. Quality work! You have reason to be proud!
    A belated Happy Mother’s Day to your mom. She looked great in her graduation picture and she looks great now.

  14. Your tailoring skills are great!! You've learned so much and are such an inspiration!

  15. Your skirts are beautiful! No one would know they are first efforts. Buttonholes: I have my beginner sewing students learn hand stitches before they use the machines. The instructions in many vintage sewing books are much better than in the new ones, for hand sewing; line drawings can be excellent! The students who have done embroidery often make the best hand buttonholes, but they enjoy having a way to repair old ratty buttonholes on well-loved clothes. Also, well stitched hand buttonholes wear just as well as machine made ones (from my own experience). Good luck!

  16. I can't wait to see your completed buttonhole! Wonder why your instructor didn't have you make a sample on scrap fabric first? No time?
    Draping was my #1 favorite class in fashion school. Hope you love it too.


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