One of my 1930s needlework books (from my ever expanding vintage craft and sewing library) had some very basic instructions for making a bra out of a hankie. I decided I would use an original Art Deco silk crepe hankie and some ribbons from my ribbon box to have a go. There was a lot of improvising – the only instruction that seemed to be precise was to make a 2″ dart – and with a lot of pinning and checking on my (size 12) mannequin, I finally got there with the delicate taupe and cream creation above. I was glad to have a couple of little ready made bows that matched, but when I make this garment again I am going to ensure I have toning ribbon flowers prepared (can feel a shopping trek to VV Rouleaux coming on already …). Plus, I will make longer ribbon ties for the back and am going to try it with gathers instead of a dart as well as experimenting with different size hankies. No cheeky comments about extra large men’s hankies, please!!
Below is the diagram from the sewing book plus a couple more views of the bra.
If you want to read more, I am Karen (brocobelle) in the contributors’ list to the left or click my link here brocobelle
This is a late 50s Advance pattern featuring a stand-up collar and a very gathered back bodice. I think the back is my favorite part!

 I did the hem and sleeves by hand and made fabric-covered buttons. This was my first real attempt at matching plaid, so that turned out fairly well.

I cut the waist on the bias, but I followed the directions for the rest. More pictures on my blog, with the dog photobombing each and every one! Thanks for looking!

One of the things I’m always looking for at thrift stores is vintage and high quality cashmere sweaters. I know I can go to Macy’s after the first of the year and buy a new cashmere sweater for $49.99, but cashmere is one of those items that it is true that you get what you pay for. After touching Pringle, or most other Scottish cashmeres, you’ll never be content with Charter Club again.

As with many used items, you really have to be careful about condition when buying used cashmere. Some advice: 1) If it pills, don’t buy it. 2) Learn to mend small holes 3) Don’t be afraid to hand wash cashmere. I use conditioner shampoo.

I recently found a nice tan Pringle, button front with a collar. I knew I’d wear it a lot, but there were two issues – the elbows were getting thin, and there was a small hole. I learned a long time ago that holes are just part of owning cashmere, and that if I was to wear it, I’d have to learn to mend them. So I did.

The elbows were a larger problem. I decided to go with patches. I like the look of elbow patches. I can remember a time when all men’s sweaters had them, so maybe this preference is nostalgic in nature.

Here is where it is convenient to have a fabric stash. A stash is not hording. A stash is made up of fabrics and trims and buttons you love and can see yourself using. My stash is carefully edited! I had no problem finding a fabric I liked, a Pendleton plaid taken from a skirt made unusable by the presence of multiple moth holes.

I cut two identical ovals (being careful to avoid those pesky holes) and carefully pinned them to the elbows. I then used buttonhole twist to hand sew the patches to the sweater, using a blanket stitch. This is quite easy, the only problem being that it is easy to catch up both layers of the sleeve instead of just the one where the patch is applied.

There are a few more photos at my blog, The Vintage Traveler.

Our first post for The Newbie & The Knitter is one of the most important, I think. It’s important to pick the best yarn possible for your project. Kristen has written an excellent post about choosing the right yarn for this project over on her blog. I found it very clear and helpful, as well as full of tips and facts I hadn’t known before!

I chose a delectable bamboo yarn for this project in a rich raspberry. I wear this colour a lot, but I don’t yet have a jumper in my handmade wardrobe in this shade. Now is the perfect time! Using Kristen’s steps, I’ll share with you how and why I chose this yarn:


Kristen will be knitting her Cadence jumper in wool, her favourite fibre. While I do enjoy wool hats and gloves, wool jumpers are something I have never been able to wear – too itchy! I wanted as high a natural fibre content as my pocketbook would allow, as I dislike synthetic materials. Bamboo is a renewable resource, which naturally sways my vote as I am spending the next year focusing on sustainable and slow fashion.

I found my yarn at my local yarn outlet shop for 30% off per ball – a bargain! I have used this yarn before for crochet projects and it’s a treat to work with!

Cadence Pullover / (c) Jordana Paige


Cadence calls for an aran (also called worsted) weight yarn. This is a nice, cozy weight which will keep you warm all fall and winter!


Following Kristen’s instructions, I looked at the pattern’s finished measurements and I will be knitting up a medium or 38.5″ bust.

A medium jumper needs 738 yards (675 m) of aran weight yarn. The yarn I chose comes in 95 yard (87 m) balls and I bought 10; 950 yards (870 m). I will have more than enough yarn, as I plan on knitting the pattern as is.

* * * * *

What yarn have you chosen? Are their any particular fibres you love? Feel free to ask Kristen or I any questions you may have! Kristen, as the expert, is a fountain of information!

I am currently trying to finish this dress, Butterick B5281, and am really struggling with the neckline.

I’ve read the instructions several times and I still can’t make sense of how the neckline should sit. Version A appears to be on an angle but Version B (short sleeves) looks to be straight. The line drawings on the back are no help either. Then there’s the pleats on the shoulder; they tend to create a curved edge rather than what appears to be square. Arrrgh!!!

I’m already on my second try at squaring off the neckline but am making a right mess of things. Has anyone else made this dress? If so, any suggestions on how to finish the neckline? It’s driving me nuts!!
Thanks in advance,
A New Ball of String

i wanted to share some designs/pages with my fellow sewers that are in my 1952 supplement from the lutterloh system.My first one I was able to find for 2.50 in a thrift store this one I know at 60.00 on ebay I more then likely overpaid but could not resist .

So – crazy me decided to push the boundaries and try to make something out of a fleece fabric I got when vintage fabric shopping pig-in-a-poke style. (You can read about that in my blog…)

I normally don’t like fleece, so I decided to just go crazy and improvise. I figured it would be good for something warm and cosy for autumn, and then I decided to try and make a jacket!

I used Simplicity 7256 pattern for the jacket, and then I hand sew the whole thing together using a thin knitting yarn!

And here’s the result!

…and a detail pic of the crochet buttoning and the three different buttons I used!

There are some more pictures and other fun things over at my blog – stop by if you like!