Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

I know, I know, it's Saturday. I'm late!
A friend of mine gave me this beautiful piece of embroidery. Actually, lucky for me, there were two. Her husband's aunt had died and they had gone down to help in cleaning and while she was there, she came across a few pieces that she thought I might enjoy. I was elated!! What you see was intended for pillows.
When she gave them to me, I immediately saw a camisole, not pillows.
To prove that they were to be pillows, I took a picture of what was printed on the selvage edges. See, Bucilla Pillow.
 Along with, "Made In USA." Not anymore, sadly. I don't even know if this company exists any longer.
My final camisole.
Now, in all fairness, you are probably wondering where I think you are supposed to find a vintage pillow top just like this one. Well, that is probably impossible, but you can easily replicate this idea. If you look at the top above, you can see that there are basically 4 rows of gathering stitches. Cut a rectangle that is the length that you would like and 2 times your bust measurement. So, if your bust measurement is 40" and the length that you would like the finished piece to be is 20", you would cut a rectangle that is 40" x 20". Cut the rectangle in half, 20" x 20". The first set of gathering stitches would be about 1 1/2" from the top edge of your fabric. On this piece there are 4 rows of gathering stitches approximately 1/4" apart. Once those stitches are in, measure down so that the next set of stitches will be right underneath the bust. You can see this better in the picture below. Once these stitches are in, do the next 2 rows of stitches and then do the same for the back.
Along the sides I added a panel. If your hip measurement is larger than your bust measurement, and most of ours are, the side panel will need to compensate for the larger hip measurement. So measure across the bottom edges of your pieces and then cut the side panels so that you will have enough for the camisole to fit around the hips and add a little extra for ease. I was lucky as the pillow panels had extra fabric attached for the back of the pillow. I simply cut the panels away and then cut them to the measurement that I needed. In the above picture you can see that there are loops along the sides. I placed the loops along the edge of the gathering stitches and then in the middle between the stitches. For the lacing, I purchased ribbon because I did not have enough fabric to make ties, but I like the ribbon better anyway.
The final step is to add the shoulder straps. You can make these as wide or skinny as you like. I wanted mine wide enough so that my bra strap would not show. They are about 1 1/2" wide.
This would look very pretty in a floral cotton for the summer.
You would be surprised by how many lovely pieces like this that I have found in antique and thrift stores. Sadly, I think what happens is, a family member dies, their relatives come in to clean out their belongings and have no idea of what to do with pieces like these and they either have a yard sale or just donate them to the local thrift store. So the moral to my story is, shop thrift stores, you never know what you will find. I guess the other moral is to try and finish your projects. I know that I need to listen to my own words!!!!!
One last little thought. When I do finish something like this, whether I have finished it as it was initially intended or in my own interpretation, I always feel that someone is smiling down on me. In a very small way I've helped to put closure on things that were left unfinished. A nice thought anyway!

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  1. What a gorgeous top you made! You sure did justice to the beautiful handwork!

    1. Thanks! It's easy when you start with something so beautiful:)

  2. So pretty, Rhonda! I saw you mention you had some basement flooding. Are you all dried out?

    1. Thanks for asking Andrea:) We are all cleaned up and getting back to normal . Things were moved so quickly, so I have a few piles that need to be gone through yet. Nothing like a little upset to make you do a little cleaning;)
      Email me about what's going on with your daughter. I'm still pulling for Loyola. I don't give up easily:)

    2. Glad to hear things are settling down. Yes, those sorts of things always make me clean too! I will keep you posted!

  3. So very charming. And clever!

  4. That is a gorgeous top - very feminine.

  5. Isn't that just the cutest little thing!

  6. Wow! You are amazingly creative!