A hem and a hmmmm….

Yesterday, I forgot to thank all of you who gave information on removing spots and rusty stains from laces and fabrics. I wrote all of your ideas down and hope to give them a try. I was looking at my laces again tonight and they will be so beautiful if I can get them one color! You can bet I’ll keep you posted if something works…and there’ll probably be a post on it! :o)

Not to drag out “my” Rebecca’s bridesmaid dress any more, but I did snap a few pictures of the hem as I was working on it and thought I’d show you. Actually that picture I showed of the dress hanging in front of my fabrics last night, was the dress with just the hem turned up once, but not totally finished yet. (Again, I’m not sure why the variations on color of the dress, but it’s actually called Garnet.)


It was very late and I had to get to bed so I could finish it today… Rebecca had tried it on with just the one layer turned up and I knew it would be fine with another eighth of an inch turned up.

On chiffon, it’s too delicate to try and pin up…the pins just fall out…so you almost just have to cut it off and start turning it up. That’s what I did. After I cut it off with my scissors I was semi sure it was straight, so I just sat down with the dress all wadded up in my lap and put the hem’s edge under the presser foot. I turned under about an eighth of an inch and started stitching.


The fabric has all of these little “hair-like” fibers and they sort of have a mind of their own. The first row of stitching doesn’t have to be perfectly straight but you do need to keep it fairly straight and not run off the fabric either.

Then when you get all the way around it, you have to turn up what you just stitched another eighth of an inch and this time “straight-ness” does matter.



So I actually hemmed her dress twice. I really should have measured how far it was around the dress… I’m guessing at least 8 yards but maybe more. I thought I would never get back to the starting point!

You’ve seen Rebecca’s dress looking almost just like this…



…but NOW…the back is all finished..the snaps are sewn on and it’s been pressed.


I thought you might like to see my “thinking” for this dress. I have some booklets on the Civil War and I try and think outside the box when I look at them. Looking at all the design elements that make up the dresses on the pages is far more than just copying one that you see. I like to look at the sleeves and see what part can I replicate or what neckline can be made to look like that, or what trim was used and how can I make some like it. I see where the buttons are placed and think how can I use them, only differently. I took a few pictures from the book and thought I’d take you along for my “hmmmmm tour.”

Most Civil War dresses had small collars with some kind of neck trim underneath, so it wasn’t hard finding something to show you…it was just a matter of which ones…

….hmmmm… maybe this one would look nice…


….hmmmm… maybe this one would look better…


The idea for the little “tabs” on the waist came from these pictures…

….hmmmm… maybe I could do something like this at the waist…


….hmmmm… or here’s another picture of them….


I didn’t just want puffy sleeves, so I looked for something a little different…

….hmmmm… maybe something like these…


….hmmm… no, maybe these…


Well, enough on hems and hmmmm’s…..

I’ll see you tomorrow,
Blessings, Jeanne

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  1. Rebecca’s dress is looking so nice, and Rebecca’s dress is looking so nice. Civil War detail is so pretty, I always wonder how they could give up those lovely dresses, but the skirts made the wearers near prisoners so women moved on to different but equally uncomfortable choices, but at least they all had lovely details.

    One of my sisters commented that Hillary Clinton’s clothes were getting boring — the colors are different but the style is the same. The Washington Post came out with pictures of all the Presidents, pointing out that many had major style problems — lots of boring suits and extraordinarily unbecoming hair styles. I think we need to put Jeanne to work on this, especially if there’s a chance that we’ll have a woman president. If we do, I think we’ll be seeing a lot of pantsuits, but surely history could suggest some pleasant variations. I’m imagining Lian, Felicity, Nyssa, and Patsy dressed in tasteful, interesting, attractive, Presidential pantsuits. Jeanne will have to shop for a whole new range of fabrics.

    • Good morning Marilyn,
      I bet when the styles moved from the Civil War dresses to the Regency gowns with no hoops the ladies were thrilled! Freedom! I love looking at illustrations of these Civil War dresses..no detail was ever left out!
      I think Jackie Kennedy was a stylish first lady and I think Kate Middleton has fabulous tastes… maybe everyone should “do” what they do and did… :o)
      Thanks Marilyn,
      Blessings, Jeanne

  2. Shara Smith says:

    Love the old photos showing some of your inspirations.. I do the same thing:)

    Chiffon is such a bear to hem evenly. Thanks for the mini tutorial!

    • HI Shara,
      Like minds think alike, I guess. I think this is going to be my last chiffon dress..at least to hem! It was not fun…
      Have a lovely day… we are getting rain…hope you aren’t!
      Blessings, Jeanne

  3. Linda Doyle says:

    Jeanne, we are getting dumped on with rain, I mean DUMPED on and lots of lightning too, so I have stayed off the computer till now.

    Oh my, Rebecca’s bridesmaid dress is just beautiful! It looks like a waterfall down the front, so delicate and pretty! Is she going to wear her hair up? Would like to see her dressed in it before the wedding. She is a lovely girl with great genes!

    Dolly Rebecca is looking good too. So that’s what you do to make a pattern different each time you make one–research! That’s what they do at AG too, when designing the clothes for the Beforever dolls, but they have to do it a bit differently because they have to make things for a lot of people. They don’t have the pretty laces and trims you have which make yours so special.

    I’m going to have to check to see if Michael is thinking of getting his boat out of storage, it’s (rain) still coming down!!

    • HI Linda,
      Our rain has stopped for the moment, but we had it earlier too… tons of it! I’m still hearing thunder in the distance. Nice day to stay inside…

      Rebecca isn’t sure how she’s going to wear her hair… but it will be curled and down. One of the other girls is going to do a waterfall braid around the top and then just have curls at the bottom… I THINK… she was experimenting yesterday…
      Tonight she has the rehearsal dinner and she’s trying to figure out how to wear it for that too…

      I have always loved looking at pictures and trying to copy them… whether it’s new fashions or old ones… I love it! It’s hard to come up with original designs like is in that booklet I used, so it’s easier to just use elements of different pictures and come up with something of my own.

      I hope you don’t float away Linda… I’d miss you! :o(
      Blessings, Jeanne

  4. All I can say is you were so brave to hem chiffon! Good job.

  5. Anne Johnson says:


    There once was a girl who bought a red dress–
    The color was lovely, “though the fit was a mess!
    She needed it altered and she needed it FAST,
    But she knew a good seamstress with skills unsurpassed.

    So away to the seamstress the girl fairly flew
    And tried on her red dress with a high-heeled shoe.
    After taking the fitting and checking it twice,
    The seamstress was sure she could make it quite nice.

    Well into the night the seamstress did sew,
    But the fabric was slippery and the going was slow.
    When making a cut, the chiffon it would fray,
    And so the poor seamstress began to pray.

    She used all her skills, and at last it was finished–
    The dress was divine, her talent undiminished.
    The girl was delighted to see her new gown
    And said, “Thank you, Mom! You’re the best seamstress in town!”

    Well done on both Rebecca dresses, Jeanne! Looking forward to “The rest of the story!”

    • OH Anne,
      What a very lovely poem… you may see this again… I LOVE IT… Rebecca’s in bed, but you can bet I’ll share it with her when she wakes up!
      What a way to end the evening…
      Blessings to you, Jeanne

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