#mmmay2016

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It’s Me Made May! I know I’m a little late to the party – blame my trip and last minute packing adventure. Only 10 days left, so don’t forget to dig out your most beautiful handmade pieces and take a snap in them!

In this photo, I’m sporting my Great British Sewing Bee vintage blouse. To read about this make, just hop on the My Makes page!

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How To Make a Bow Tie – Tutorial

Happy Sunday, lovelies – and a happy Mother’s Day to those of you in the US!

My brother finally arrived into town on Friday, motivating me to get the bow ties sewn and finished up. Fortunately, they went down very well, making the effort more than worth it!

In the end, I referenced a few different tutorials and found that I had to muddle them together in order to get the best results. For those of you who are interested in making this simple, but truly effective, nod to vintage fashion, the rest of this post is a tutorial detailing the steps that worked for me.

Pattern:

  • I used the Men’s Bow Tie pattern from Sew Like My Mom, available for free through Craftsy.

Materials:

  • 1/2 yard (or 1/2 metre) of fabric – this should be a medium weight fabric and non-stretchy. I used cotton poplin.
  • 1/2 yard (or 1/2 metre) of medium-weight, iron-on interfacing
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Fabric marker (tailor’s chalk, or even a biro will do – shock horror!)
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Fabric scissors
  • Chopstick/blunt ended skewer/knitting needle

Instructions:

Step 1

Step 1

Cut out your pattern pieces (fabric and interfacing). If you use the pattern I linked to above, cut out all pieces on the fold of the fabric (despite what it says on the pattern). This will leave you with two pattern pieces from your fabric, and two matching pieces of interfacing.

Step 2

Step 2

Pin your interfacing to the wrong side of your fabric pieces and iron on. Be careful not to get the interfacing glue on the ironing board (and don’t, as I did, iron over your plastic pin heads and melt them).

Step 3

Step 3

Pin your fabric pieces together, right sides together.

Step 4

Step 4

At the centre of the length of your bow tie, make marks 7cm apart (that’s roughly 3 inches). This will serve as a gap for pulling your bow tie through to the right side.

Step 5

Starting at one of your marks, sew around the length of the bow tie, leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. If it helps, mark the seam allowance prior to sewing. When you reach the corners of the bow, raise the foot and pivot to help keep an accurate seam. Finish sewing when you reach your second mark (preserving the gap).

Step 6

Step 8

Snip off the corners of the bow tie and cut notches around its length (without cutting through the seam line!). Try to keep the notches as equal distance as possible from one another. This will help the bow tie lie flat when you turn it the right way round. I won’t lie, this was by far the most time consuming part of the whole process. But it’s unavoidable if you want the finished product to look as crisp and shapely as possible.

Step 7

Step 9

Now for the tricky part! Start feeding the ends of you bow tie through the gap that you left open. It can take a while, particularly since the length of the tie is so narrow in comparison to the bow. Use a blunt-edged tool to help feed it through (I used the blunt end of a skewer, because I’m a scavenger when I’m in Missouri). Use the tool to help push the corners out, making sure they have a shape and definition that you’re happy with.

Step 8

Step 10

Now slip stitch the gap closed. This can be fiddly. If you aren’t sure how to slip stitch a gap like this (my previous experience was only with slip stitching a hem), take a look at this great tutorial from Professor Pincushion.

Step 9

Step 11

Iron! Now I know that this violates the law of sewing that says pressing is always the right way. But I found a method that worked excellently for getting the perfect shape: iron along the seams of the bow tie and, while still hot (not so hot that you burn yourself!), rub the seams between thumb and finger. This ensures that the bow tie doesn’t come out completely flat (it basically gives it a little volume, which helps the shape when its tied), and also gives a really defined curve to the tie and the bow.

Step 10

Step 12

Done! Enjoy your gorgeous, self-made bow tie!

*Any questions, don’t hesitate to send me an email at laura@sewforvictory.co.uk*

Paul Flato: Jeweller To The Stars

Happy May, sweet ones!

I am currently back in the US for a visit and, unsurprisingly, spent the first few days making trips to my destinations of choice. Among them was my favourite antique mall – a huge but hidden shop in the middle of an inconsequential strip mall. Were it not for the AMAZING bubble tea place a few shops down, I wouldn’t even have stumbled upon it in the first place. But thank goodness that I did! It’s been a fabulous resource for vintage magazines, old sewing patterns, and some amazing crafting manuals from the 1950s (more posts on this to come).

Most recently, I made a trip to try and hunt out a vintage compact. Being somewhat financially constrained (hello PhD lifestyle), I really can’t afford to spend much on searching out authentic accessories. But, every so often, I find a gem that even my budget can accommodate. After investigating a few different options, I found a compact that I totally fell in love with. The information alongside it wasn’t particularly generous – the vendor’s label told me only that the compact was “Flato – 1920s-1940s”. Thankfully, we live in the digital age and a quick Google search told me that I’d stumbled on a really amazing find.

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‘Flato’ refers to Paul Flato, otherwise known as the jewellery designer to the stars. Born in 1900, Flato began his career in New York, opening a small jewellery store near 5th Avenue. With a definite sense for his craft, it wasn’t long before Flato became known for his unique jewellery designs. In 1937, Flato expanded his business to Sunset Boulevard in California, and from here he capitalised on a growing relationship with Hollywood’s most famous stars. His pieces were worn by the likes of Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth, Joan Crawford, Ginger Rogers, and Katharine Hepburn. Flato’s designs were known in particular for some fantastically unique features, including shells and scrolls, as well as their art deco style.

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Just one example of Flato’s art deco jewellery designs.

Unfortunately, this golden age didn’t last long for Flato. In 1943, he was convicted of fraud, after illegally pawning $100,000 in jewellery. This got Flato a 16 month sentence, served in Sing Sing penitentiary. The rest of his life continued to be marred by accusations of forgery and larceny, with Flato moving to Mexico in order to avoid conviction. Flato died in 1999 and, despite his unfortunate legacy of criminality, is largely remembered for his contribution to the style that dictated 1940s Hollywood glamour.

Given everything I’ve read about Flato and his designs, I feel extremely lucky to have come across a fantastic example of his weird and wacky style (particularly for a steal of $29). Just take a look at this gorgeous thing:

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I absolutely adore it. And what an opportunity it has given me to learn more about one of the key figures in 1940s fashion. No doubt this little compact will be a key feature of many vintage outfits to come!