Tell me, do you ever get fabric crushes? I mean, you see some fabric and you just HAVE To have it. I sometimes see fabric I fall in love with, and the fabric this top is made out of was one of those fabrics. I love the colours, and the gothic quality of the birds against a heart shaped moon.
But here's something about it I really did not love, and that was the moth holes I discovered in it after purchase. Harumph!
It's a vintage crepe - from the 40's - and although it was a 4 yard piece not all of it was usuable - that coupled with the fact that it was in a vintage width and suddenly my options narrowed right down to enough yardage for a short sleeve top!
I have since learned a lot about buying vintage fabric and here's what I can tell you (via Kay and Joy who used to run Salvage, a vintage fabric store here in Auckland):
1 Liberty and Viyella are trademarks and the fabric is usually clearly marked in the selvage with the trademark. Beware fabrics sold under these names without the branding.
2 Fabric that has been stored in moth balls stinks. The smell does not always come out either, not even after a month on the washing line.
3 Always hold vintage fabrics to the light to check for holes. Moth holes can be hard to detect, but as soon as you wash it you'll know about it.
4 Vintage fabric was milled on narrow widths (a yard or slightly bigger) - if a piece of fabric is very wide then it's probably not vintage. (my mother has just emailed to correct me that wool/tweed was milled at 54 inches - a fact I know to be true because I have some 50 year wool 54 inches wide that REEKS of moth balls and because it is a natural fibre it has absorbed the smell- see 2 above)
5 Get good at knowing a fabric by feel and follow it up with a burn test. Many vintage fabrics are synthetic or synthetic blends. Vintage or not, a cheap nasty fabric is still a cheap nasty fabric. Beware Internet sellers who can't tell you the fabric composition - do you really want to pay top dollar for polyester?
I love vintage fabrics but I've been caught out a few times by poor quality - this time at least it has a happy ending.
Are you surprised I sewed a big 4 pattern? Yeah, me too. I did use Burda construction though. I made bias strips for the armholes which is their favourite finishing method.
I used Kbenco's yoke tutorial for the machine sewn yoke. Well, almost: I did on my muslin but on the finished garment I slip stitched the final seam down. It was pretty nerve wracking rolling up the front and bottom into a 4 cm wide yoke let me tell you. (actually, mission virtually impossible, Tom Cruise I'd love to see you sew that!)
The back, perhaps you can make out the tiny yoke?
In other news I turned 40 last week, after a year of saying, "I'm in my fortieth year, 40 next birthday etc" now it's real. I got lots of lovely presents but I'm sure my regular readers will enjoy this hand made card: It reads "more coats for MAS" (my initials). I won't spell it out for non-regular readers because I want my loyal long suffering blog friends to feel smugly-in-the-know.
Speaking of coats, I tried to give away ugly trench and NOONE would take it. I almost considered taking up Ginny's double dare of making a gold top and mauve harem pants to match but that still wouldn't make me wear the trench. I put it on and my heart sinks.
There is fabric love, and then there is fabric loathing.