Monday, June 25, 2012

Victorian trousers - or fun with new sewing accessories

Michael wants a new Victorian sack suit . . . in plaid wool of all things :) though it's very correct for early Victorian, it is also pretty loud by modern sensibilities. But that's neither here nor there. What is however is that I have started on the suit, it will likely get constructed piece by piece over the next few months. The pants were the first piece, and I made them on Saturday for a picnic we attended on Sunday. Pants are always time consuming and of course I was rushing to finish Sunday morning, but they were not difficult and they look great, if I do say so myself ;) 

But that wasn't the fun part, the fun part was the button holes!! . . . Haha okay that needs a little back story to explain, so I do about 90% of my sewing on a vintage 1930s singer 201 machine. It is the love of my life ;) so smooth and super heavy duty I haven't found a project it can't handle yet, just as long as all I do is sew a straight seam.

Well these pants have a button fly and I didn't have my newer machine on hand to make the button holes and I was staring desolately at the fly contemplating hand sewing them, when Michael remembered that his mother has a similar model machine, the featherlight, and that all the foot attachments are interchangeable, and she has a button hole foot! Now I had heard of such a thing but never seen one and had no idea how it would work since the needle only goes straight up and down and has a time little round hole in the base. Where as my newer machine has a wide oval in the base and the needle can move side to side to create a zig zag or button hole.

We ran out to his parents house and picked up her machine with all it's attachments (just in case), she so rarely uses it now and was glad that we had a use for it. Like the good daughter of an engineer I sat down and read the instructions front to back before starting ;) the attachment goes on the machine like a little alien or bug  clamping on the the pressed foot, you set the size and style of button into the machine, clamp the fabric down under this alien, sink the needle and let the machine go. 

And the machine moves the fabric side to side rather then the needle going side to side! It was brilliant :) and it made clean little button holes, infact because she had all the extra button hole options I was able to make keyhole button holes!!! 

Something I always thought had to be done by hand, and it's a little detail that always helps to make a piece look of an older era. So now I have new toy to play with :) oh and Michael got new pants ;)


  1. They came out beautifully, so job well done! What pattern did you use, BTW - Chuck needs some new trousers and these have a great look to them.

    So wonderful to see you yesterday!

    1. It was so great to see you yesterday too! (happy Bday btw :)
      The pattern I used is the Patterns of History 1878 men's sack suit. Not too difficult to follow and it offers nice little cheats for modern construction.

  2. Hi Cait!

    Nice post. I noticed that my mum had a sewing machine that looks like yours but I am not sure whether it is from Singer.

    I would love to see some close-up of the buttons you have for the pants, that would be awesome!