It’s my sleeve party and I’ll smile if I want to

Settle in, human beings, it’s story time!

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Dress // Me-Made Dig for Victory Darted Bodice Dress
Shoes // None

When I first had an interview for my current sewing job I spotted this beautiful blue*, striped fabric in the window and immediately fell in love with it. Naturally, I later discovered  that it is an original 1940s rayon, so one could say that I know the good stuff when I see it. I was happily gifted a couple of metres of it a few weeks ago as we’re starting to run low and I suspect nobody wanted to see my (rather expressive) heart-broken face.

Since this fabric is so closely linked to my job it felt only fitting to use it to turn it into one of “our” dresses. Thus here we have a fitted bodice dress with butterfly sleeves and self-drafted A-line skirt. A rather unusual combination for out customers, but something to make my 1930s loving heart beat a little faster.


I used a walking foot and my “newer” Janome to sew this one up, because I was lacking trust in my charity shop Bernina’s (of dreams) ability to handle shifting rayon. Silly me, when I later used the Bernina to top-stitch the zip I realized I should have been using it all along. That baby sews like a dream!

Here come technical bits for those who care more about that part than my sentimental ramblings. It WAS a lot easier to sew this on a smaller stitch length (1.5 was the sweet spot) and the machine still kept insisting on occasionally swallowing some fabric down into the deep recesses of the bobbin.

My office job boasts quiet Sundays so I took the time to hand sew the hems of the sleeves and skirt. It came out beautifully invisibly and I’m always happy to practice my hand sewing skills. I say always happy, but my colleagues heard me swearing about, “Who’s dumb decision was it to make sleeves the size of small skirts anyway?!” Mine. All mine.


It was a complete joy to sew this and an excellent start back into the routine of sewing for myself. I put part of this down to being around these dresses every day and knowing how they’re constructed, but it was also nice to return to some couture, costume techniques such as hand sewn hems and tacking by hand.

As always, the dress journey can be found under my highlighted Instagram stories! I love looking at the behind the scenes and “in-progress” stages of people’s work. I hope you’re a fan of that type of voyeurism too!

Gruss und Kuss,

Twirling Nina

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p.s. In case you guys forget that I’m a great, big dork…


p.p.s. I tried to do the whole suave blogger photo thing, but three point lighting with just your home lamps is hard! Also, I really didn’t want to get the actual DSLR out. So, soz, but you can’t see the full length of the dress, because then you’d have gotten more “Nina’s kitchen” action than planned!

* It looks like my next two dresses will be blue as well. People, I had a bit of an epiphany two years ago that I. Like. Blue. At the time it was a fairly traumatising discovery. Do I even know who I am anymore?! I thought I hate blue. Who knows what else could change…



Move over, darling, there’s a new favourite blouse in town!

A Christmas blouse, that is! I’ve never met a novelty print I didn’t like and after my first toile of Wearing History’s Smooth Sailing blouse went so well that I even wore it to uni (shh, it’s definitely  a faux pas to wear unbleached cotton) I decided I needed one in reindeer, snowflake and any Nordic pattern known to man kind. Too bad I ran out of time and only have this bit of loveliness to show for all my planning!


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Five Ways to Know You’re a “Real” Seamstress

Real Seamstress
You have double of most haberdashery items.

I frequently leave my entire university sewing kit at work, because balancing a tote bag, my lunch and a toolbox on my 1950s Raleigh bike can be a little…shall we say treacherous? This week I was really in the mood to start making the Colette’s Aster Blouse when I got home and lo and behold- no fabric scissors, no pins, no measuring tape…oh wait. I still had all of those things because obviously I have somehow accumulated double of these things (quadruple in the case of the measuring tape). Continue reading