Toby Barton Designs

July 19, 2012

Bustling Along

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tobybartondesigns @ 2:39 pm

So I have decided to split my time up between The Titanic project and another sewing project.  I don’t know how many of you out there just get an idea in your head and you just want to do it or you will go batty well, that is me.

I bought about 10 yards of nice cotton fabric from the store that shall not be named thinking that I will do a mid century outfit out of it.  Now, bear  in mind that I have had this fabric for months so, I decided on an early bustle day dress.  When I have used my modern dress form for draping and fitting something just didn’t look right.  Then, after reading a blog by The American Duchess, she had hit on the problem.  The bust is too perfect and pointy.  She filed away the bust, made some changes to the waist and hip line and, voila, she had a better working model called Franken Lilly.  After she filed and smoothed everything down she padded up the form to her measurement, slipped the cover back over, and she had the shape she needed to corset it up for her to any period of time she was designing for.  Go to Lauren’s blog site at click on tutorials and scroll down to find how she did this.

Now, with all being said I decided to try it myself.  Sorry, no pictures available.  I was caught up in the moment and forgot to take and pictures.  Oh, and try not to do any thing strenuous on a day that is 95 degrees out or you will be wringing wet.  Well, it worked like a charm.  With the dress form padded and ready to go I was ready to go but…………..

I did not have all of the proper undergarments namely a chemise.  So what does one do, one drafts a pattern and gets to sewing.


A very simple chemise to make and draft a pattern for.  Wide neckline that is pulled together with ribbon and beading lace.  Cap sleeves trimmed in antique lace edging and the hem edged with antique embroidered trim.  I am very happy with this pattern.  Perhaps I will make this available for special order.

Now we are getting somewhere.  Mid century corset made out of red and white striped ticking.  I love working with this fabric for foundations garments.  If you look close you can see that the bust is much smoother and the roundness comes from the padding and the corset.  No more torpedo bust.

Now the bustle.  I made this bustle years ago from Nora Waugh’s book Corsets and Crinolines.

And we have the petticoat.  This poor thing has seen better days.  Thank goodness you can’t see too much.  This petticoat is from Truly Victorian patterns.  Technically, bustle is supposed to be installed in the back but I chose not to.

Well, there you have it so far.  Foundations are in place and off to the races I go with the dress.


July 11, 2012

Dress 4016 or, sewing with a Treadle Sewing Machine

Filed under: Uncategorized — by tobybartondesigns @ 3:10 pm

My mother bought this treadle sewing machine about 25 years ago and I have always wanted this machine.  On a recent trip North, my mother gave me her machine and I was absolutely thrilled with receiving it.  When I started to look at the machine I realized that there weren’t any markings of any kind on it.  So, doing a little research, I discovered that this could very well be any inexpensive version of a Singer or White.  What I do know is that it was patented January 29, 1910 which makes it perfect for the project.  So, my objective for the rest of the 1912 project is to use the treadle to do all of my sewing for the project.

If you have never used a treadle sewing machine practice, practice, practice.  It takes a bit of eye/hand coordination and rhythm but, once you get the feel of it you are good to go.

This is Dress 4016 from April 1912 which is my latest project.  Quite a lovely dress.  I chose to use a burgundy and ecru stripe cotton for the main body of the dress and a solid burgundy cotton for the contrasting center panel and lower hem.


The main body of the dress put together, using the treadle machine.  The pattern called for bands to circle the skirt, sleeves, and bodice.  I choose to use bias of the stripe fabric for these.  I also added a lace edging to the bands to add a little something extra.


The contrasting center front panel has been sewn in on the right hand side.  Now, take a closer look at the original picture and my dress so far.  I believe that I forgot one little detail………………..

The bands on the bodice.  I did not realize this until I was driving to work yesterday.  After taking a look at this morning, I have decided not to put the bands of the bodice.  My next challenge, and this is very thinking ahead helps, is how to fasten this on the left side.  I will have to put a placket in the left side.

So far I am very pleased on how the dress is coming out and sewing with a treadle isn’t hard at all.  It is actually quite fun.

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