Welcome to Yesterday’s Thimble!

Browse through past blog entries and you’ll find sewing hints and tips, along with book reviews, studies of antique fashion plates, and commentaries that relate to sewing, fashion, and historic costuming. Peek into my sewing closet and see what I’ve got lined up, which projects I’ve abandoned (and why), and which I’ve finally finished.

For more detailed sewing instructions, browse the Tutorials. For a glimpse of the creative process, take a look at my Sewing Diaries. You might also enjoy the Articles I’ve written on a number of sewing-related topics.

If you like to shop, you can browse the Notions Shop for books on sewing and historic costume. We also offer a variety of sewing supplies, courtesy of Amazon.com.

If you live in Memphis, TN and are looking for private sewing classes, you’ll want to read the Student FAQ and About Sewing Classes.

Do you have a particular sewing topic you’d like to see discussed? Contact me and I’ll see what I can do.

Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Comment

Sewing Machine Cover

Every sewing machine needs a cover, right? I bought an “easy” pattern to make a cover, but it ended up being far from simple. This new sewing diary follows my struggle to make an “easy” sewing machine cover.

Sewing Diary: Sewing Machine Cover


Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Kindle Cover

I couldn’t find a new case for my Kindle Fire HD, so I decided to sew a custom slipcover to fit over the old case. My idea worked better than I’d hoped! Follow along in this new diary as I design and assemble the cover.

Kindle Cover: A Sewing Diary


Posted in News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Basics: Threading Your Sewing Machine

Here is an all-new “basics” tutorial. Learn how to thread your sewing machine, use an auto-threader for your needle, and how to wind and load a bobbin.

Basics: Threading Your Sewing Machine


Posted in News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Inheritance Lace

Saturday’s Stash, Special Edition: Antique Lace

This special edition of Saturday’s Stash isn’t going to feature any tips or tricks, since I am still learning how to work with fragile lace myself. I will attempt to make up for this lack by including photos of some truly scrumptious lace. . . .

My maternal grandmother was the reason I began sewing, especially doll clothes. She owned a large collection of vintage and antique dolls, for which she’d created exquisite wardrobes. When she died in August 2013, I inherited some of her sewing stash. Since I live on the opposite end of the country, I wasn’t able to bring any bolts of fabric home, but I was able to grab a box filled with lace. What a treasure it turned out to be!

Net Lace

Floral Net Lace

Continue reading

Posted in Saturday's Stash | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

New Wrist Pincushion

You may have read my tutorial for a quick and easy wrist pincushion. This one is even better! It features a rectangular pincushion and a wrist strap that fastens with Velcro. Follow along as I sew this pincushion, or make your own!

Sewing Diary: New Wrist Pincushion


Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Update: Doll Portfolio

I just updated my portfolio, so you can see most of the doll clothes I’ve designed and sewn over the last year. I changed the format a little, so there’s better descriptions of each outfit. I added a list of important things I learned and mistakes I made while sewing each garment. The photos have been updated, as well. Enjoy!

Portfolio: Doll Clothes

Posted in News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Directional Stitching

Tuesday’s Tips & Tricks: Directional Stitching

There are lots of tricks you can use in making a high-quality garment. Surprisingly, many of these aren’t mentioned in pattern directions or taught in sewing classes—or if they are, their importance is glossed over. One such tip is directional stitching.

Never heard of it? You’re not alone. It’s mentioned in vintage sewing manuals, but sometime during the past few decades, the concept vanished. Today, it’s a method used mostly in couture sewing, but there’s no reason you can’t use it for everyday dressmaking.

So, what is directional stitching? It’s when you deliberately sew in a specific direction, following the grain of the fabric. Doing so reduces distortion and puckering. There’s also directional staystitching, which is important because it helps prevent bias-cut edges from stretching as you handle the garment you’re sewing. Let’s take a look at both techniques. Continue reading

Posted in Tuesday's Tips & Tricks | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The Phantom of the Opera in Miniature—Masquerade

Sunday’s Someday Projects: The Phantom of the Opera in Miniature—Masquerade

As you know, I’ve been sewing miniature versions of the costumes from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of The Phantom of the Opera. These costumes are for Gene Marshall, a 15.5″ fashion doll. So far, I’ve finished the Hannibal ballet costume, the “Think of Me” skirt, and the “Point of No Return” dress. Another one I’d like to make is Christine’s pink and blue Masquerade costume.

Fashion Sketch

Masquerade Costume ~ Fashion Sketch by Lisha Vidler

Continue reading

Posted in Sunday's Someday Projects | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Gene’s Empire Ballgown

Follow along as I create an empire-waisted ballgown for Gene Marshall, a 15.5″ fashion doll. The original design includes a matching petticoat and shawl.

Gene’s Empire Ballgown: A Sewing Diary


Posted in News | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

1831 Archery Outfits

Friday’s Fashion Plates: Archery Outfits, 1831

Today we have two outfits designed for archery from La Belle Assemblée magazine. (Click any image to view it full-size.)

Archery Outfits

Archery Outfits from La Belle Assemblée, 1831

In 1831, the Romantic Era was just beginning. Waistlines dropped to a more natural placement after the ultra-high empire waists of the Regency period. Shoulders sloped considerably and large puffed sleeves were the height of fashion. Skirts were A-line, yet full. Continue reading

Posted in Friday's Fashion Plates | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment