While doing my Div III at Hampshire College, I taught two co-curricular sewing classes through the EPEC (Experimental Program in Education and Community) program, using the Lemelson Center classroom. The second of the two, taught during spring semester, was “Historical Sewing Techniques for Practical Use.” For more information, see the article Hampshire Sewing Students.
Four of the students chose to take the class as an independent study for full academic credit, under the supervision of Lemelson’s Professor Donna Cohn, one of my Div III committee members. At the end of the semester, each of the four submitted written and photographed documentation of their work during the semester, to be shared online.
This is Mo’s account of the class (in italics):
I purchased a McCall’s M5825 because I liked Apron C, which had a vintage feel. To go along with the picture on the pattern package, I acquired a black on white floral damask for the skirt and bodice of the apron. I liked the fabric because it was simple and elegant, yet bold. The drawing for Apron C shows contrasting details, such as the trim and neck ties. I decided to get a blood red fabric with small leaf designs so that it could go along with the flowers on the damask fabric, but would not be too distracting since the leaf designs become a texture from a distance instead of a visible pattern. The red of the fabric acts as another contrast to the apron, but only as accents to the main part of the apron. I used the red fabric for the neck ties, waist ties, and pockets. I adjusted the pattern so that I would not require a button to fasten the neck ties. I still liked the bow in the front, so I elongated one neck tie so it would be able to tie into a bow. I got the idea of heart-shaped pockets from a classmate who also made them. Instead of the contrasting rick-rack at the bottom hem of the apron (as seen in the drawing), I decided to add a ruffle in the damask fabric.
I cut out the pattern pieces required for Apron C, which were the skirt, bodice, waist ties, and neck ties. I then pinned the pattern pieces onto their respective fabrics [see here], and cut them out [see here and here]. I used a running stitch to attach the bodice to the skirt, and then a whip stitch [see here] to enclose and secure the seam allowance [see here]. I then used a slant stitch [see here] to hem the sides and top of the apron [see here]. The slant stitch also encloses the seam allowance, and does not show much on the right side of the fabric. For the ruffle, I attached two long strips of the damask fabric using a running stitch, then a whip stitch [see here]. I used a running stitch [see here] to hem one long side and two short ends of the ruffle strip [see here]. To make the ruffle, I sewed two parallel lines of running stitch along the remaining edge of the strip. I then pulled on the two threads to gather the fabric. To do the neck and waist ties, I folded the seam allowance of one short end and both long sides inward, then folded each strap lengthwise. Then I used the running stitch [see here]. For the pockets, I sewed two heart-shaped pattern pieces right side together (the damask as a backing) with a running stitch [see here], leaving a small gap in order to flip them pieces inside out so that the right sides face out [see here].
Next, I plan to attach the pockets, ruffle, neck ties and waist ties to the main body of the apron.
I purchased a McCall’s M6331 for the romper. I could not find a fabric that was a small blue floral similar to the one pictured on the pattern package, but the fabric I settled on is a small red and pink floral on tan. I did not make any style changes to the pattern. I purchased muslin to make a mock up of the romper so that I can make alterations before using my floral fabric.
I cut out the pattern pieces and pinned them to the muslin, and cut them out [see here and here]. Then I marked the fabric accordingly [see here and here], such as the darts [see here and here]18 19. To sew the darts, I folded them in half, aligning the dots. I then pinned [see here]20 and sewed them with a running stitch [see here]21. I did this for all darts on the bodice and shorts [see here]22. Next I sewed the pattern pieces (right sides together) [see here]23 to make the bodice [see here]24 and the shorts [see here]25. At the top of the shorts I did a running stitch using a sewing machine and gathered it by pulling one of the threads [see here]26. I constructed the straps by ironing the strips of fabric in half lengthwise, then folding the edges to the middle line and sewing it together. This is similar to what I did prior to doing a whip stitch, except I used the whip stitch to secure seam allowances, and this time I was using a running stitch to make straps. I attached the straps to the bodice [see here]27.
I plan to attach the shorts to the bodice, gathering the shorts where needed in order to line up with the correlating points on the bodice. The bodice needs alterations as it is too loose, and the romper is form fitting. After alterations I will be able to modify the pattern pieces, cut them out of my floral fabric, and construct the final romper.
Ava’s Note: The full photo album for Mo’s documentation, containing all the above linked images, is available here.