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1920s | 1930s | Blouses | Downton Abbey Inspired | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

A 1920’s Blouse Done 3 ways with One Vintage Dress Pattern

By on June 25, 2017

Three Blouses from One 1920's Dress Pattern

As part of my quest to build a “Miss Fisher” wardrobe, I’ve sewed up three little blouses inspired by separates her character wears in different episodes.  This post will show you the 3 blouses I have made, starting with one pattern.  The base pattern is the Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1920s Ladies Frock with Pleated Skirt Inset – Reproduction Sewing Pattern #Z2773.

Here is my Finished Blouse 1. I love it and wear it all the time!

 

For the first blouse the fabric was made from a printed stretch silk charmeuse and coordinating white silk habotai collar and tie ends.  I kept the tie exactly as on the pattern, making the ends contrast and the tie the same fabric as the blouse.

For blouse #2,  there were a few revisions to the pattern/construction – namely adding a loop under the collar to hold the neck tie, omitting the bottom band (with added length) and omitting the contrast tie bottom on the neck tie (adding length here again).

Close up view of front neck
Front view of finished blouse

Blouse #3 has to be my favorite so far.  It’s a departure from the other two but was easy to create using the same pattern. I sketched it after watching Series 2 episode 3 (Dead Man’s Chest) and decided to modify this pattern to get the look.  This version was made in a printed paisley cotton lawn and the flat piping was made from white seersucker scraps that I had floating around as well as white covered buttons (joining sleeve ends) that were also floating around in my stash. On a related side note, there was some great conversation about Miss Fisher’s blouses in The Miss Fisher Philes podcast , when they discuss this episode (Series 2 episode 3 (Dead Man’s Chest)), making reference to Miss Fisher wearing more separates than dresses.

If you would like to read more about how exactly I revised the pattern to create each of these looks, visit my blog post here.

See more of my projects and vintage inspiration on my blog or connect with me on instagram!

Thanks and Happy Sewing!

Jennifer Serr

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1930s | Buttons | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Late 1930s Button Detail Dress with Tulip Print

By on June 23, 2017

1930s tulip print dress

Sometimes you buy a sewing pattern just for the details and this was definitely the case here. The pattern I used for this late 1930s dress was an original 1940s one that I bought from Til the Sun Goes Down. It had the most beautiful shoulder yoke section, which you only ever seem to see on late 30s/early 40s patterns, and I knew I needed a dress with this as a feature. The skirt part of the pattern wasn’t really what I wanted, mainly because it looked very 1940s and I wanted a late 1930s style as this is the era I tend to wear the most.

The beautiful abstract tulip print fabric that I used was a vintage fabric, which feels like a soft cotton but behaves like a crepe or rayon. It was a dream to work with and, along with all the era-accurate techniques I used, helped to create a truly authentic look. In fact, someone I met whilst wearing this dress actually thought it was genuine vintage!

The 22 buttons that feature on the dress were all beautifully covered by the company I use a lot, London Button Company. I asked them to specifically use the coloured parts of the pattern, rather than the black background, to make them really pop out. The matching belt features an original 1930s Art Deco buckle in a bright yellow and I love how it really stands out against the dress.

1930s dress shoulder yoke detail

1930s dress button back closure

1930s dress waist detail

More photos and details about the techniques I used, and how I made the matching hat, can be found on my blog »

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1950s

The weather forecast

By on June 18, 2017

Dear WeSewRetro Readers,

I’ve had the Vogue V1137 pattern for some time now. In fact, its dress was one of my first dresses ever sewn. Now I decided to try making the coat. It’s an exceptionally well-drafted pattern. I love the silhouette that the swing coats and jackets create; glamourous yet comfortable. I’ve had some wonderful, thick and warm wool tweed in my stash for many years; it was sitting there, waiting for a perfect project with a perfect yardage. I had only 140cm of this wool (about 1.5 yard), so I went for a jacket based on a coat pattern, ordering some fluffy yet smooth wool for contrasts and facings. I had to modify the pattern by shortening it to hit 7cm (2.75 inch) below the waist, adding facings and lining (it’s a pattern for a double-sided coat), skipping the pockets and making some room at the front to overlap left and right sides, make bound buttonholes and fit in the buttons.

If you’d like to read and see more, I invite you to my blog, rvdzik.blogspot.com . Thank your for visiting! 🙂

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1920s | 1930s | Downton Abbey Inspired | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Sewing a 1920’s Art Deco Evening Gown

By on June 11, 2017
Art Deco Ball - Jennifer Serr
Art Deco Ball - Jennifer Serr
At The Ball

Well, the day (Art Deco Society of California’s) of the  Preservation Ball arrived and I was prepared!  This year’s theme was Death on The Nile (the Agatha Christie Murder Mystery) with a focus on Egyptian Revival of the Art Deco era. I was lucky to be gifted some beautiful fabric, salvaged vintage trims and good luck at Britex for the finishing touches to my gown and headband. Thanks also to Barbara Mooney at Daisy’s, here in Alameda, for lending me the PERFECT necklace and pointing me to some wonderful coordinating earrings (in her shop) that I will treasure for years to come.

Dressed Up with My Handsome Husband
Dressed up with my Handsome Husband

In the end, I’m happy with the final look. My foundation garment worked well on the dress form so that I could drape my gown to my measurements, however, did not work under the dress when I was wearing it.  It still needs some modifications to the cups and the straps showed. Fitting can be a challenge sometimes and often requires multiple fittings (which I did not do this time – ugh).  I ended up wearing a 1920’s-style corset that I made two years ago.  It’s strapless and gave me the right silhouette.

Front View of my Dress
Back View of My Dress
Back View of My Dress

Below are some photos of the process by which I created this dress – Draping the fabric directly on the dress form.  For a more in-depth view of my process including inspiration, sketches and step-by-step photos, visit my blog posts here, here, here & here

Taping the Dress form and foundation for Draping
Taping the Dress form and foundation for Draping
Draping the Back Bodice
Draping the Back Bodice
Draping the Side Bodice
Draping the Side Bodice
Fabric Draped and trims placed
Fabric Draped and trims placed

See more of my projects and vintage inspiration on my blog or connect with me on instagram!

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1920s | 1930s | Mail Order Patterns | Pattern Drafting | Skirts

Creating a Skirt from a 1930’s Dress Pattern

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My Finished Skirt
Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern #T3221
Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern #T3221

Recently, I’ve given myself the task of creating a “Miss Fisher” wardrobe, inspired by the Australian TV series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.  If you haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend to head over to Netflix and watch immediately.  The main character, Phryne Fisher – Lady Detective,  has a fairly AMAZING wardrobe, circa 1928,  filled with a variety of wardrobe staples – wide leg trousers, skirts, matching camisoles etc., and some downright outrageous statement pieces – embroidered coats, custom cloches and coordinating accessories.   All of which I’ve been sketching and analyzing as much as I can with repeated viewing of all the episodes.

The first stop on this journey is the staple pieces.  These are garments I can coordinate with many things.  With Summer approaching, a light weight skirt is was in order.  After struggling to find a skirt pattern I liked, I found a dress that had a great skirt –  Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern #T3221.

The pattern is quite sweet – a column shape through the body, with 6 small darts that gently shape the waist, and a skirt that has arched seams along the hip line and fluted panels that give it a nice little fare at the hem.  The pattern comes in one size – created for a 36″ bust.  I measured the pattern and found that it was a good fit for my hips at 42″ but that I would need to shape the waist to fit my own.   It was a fairly easy process:

  1. The pattern was cut at the natural waist line which is indicated at the center of the darts on the pattern. I squared a line at the CF, folded out the darts and shaped a nice waist.
  2. The darts were re-distributed into two darts (each side) at front and back and positioned somewhat centrally on each half of the skirt at front and back as well.  I new I wanted a 32″ waist finished, so my dart depth was determined by measuring the pattern at the waistline, subtracting the different and dividing the darts up accordingly.
  3. Then a waistband pattern was made – 4″ high x 34″ long.  This accounts for 3/8″ seam allowance and a 1 1/4″ tab for the button on the waistband.

The fabric used was a beige colored textured rayon jacquard.  The skirt sewed together beautifully, as per the pattern instructions.  I did serge the edges before assembling, to prevent fraying.  The bottom edge is a simple turn and turn 1/4″ clean finish hem.  And the standard zipper was inserted using a hand picked method.

Hand Picked zipper on the side opening
Hand Picked zipper on the side opening
My Finished Skirt
My finished Skirt

I’m really happy with the results, however, my 13 year old daughter thinks it should be several inches shorter.  What do you think?

See more of my projects and vintage inspiration on my blog or connect with me on instagram!

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1970s | Skirts

My Favorite Skirts (Simplicity 7880)

By on June 5, 2017

1970s era Simplicity 7880 is my favorite pattern, and with good reason.  Here are some photos of some of my favorite versions of this versatile skirt pattern, which I wear on an almost-daily basis:

 

 

A few construction notes: Simplicity 7880 uses almost three yards of fabric cut on the cross-wise grain, which means it only has one seam at the center back, and would be well suited to border prints, even though I have never sewn it with one before.  It uses a seven inch zipper and a skirt hook and eye to close, although occasionally I will switch the skirt hook and eye for a large button.  It is easy to adjust the length of the skirt or to make the waist band wider, since both are rectangles.  To make sure my waistbands never roll, I always sew waistband interfacing into the waist.  Waistband interfacing is stiff and flexible like a lightweight belt, and comes in many different widths.  I always buy big lengths of it at Michael Levine fabrics in the fabric district in Los Angeles whenever I go to visit my parents there.

For more photos and other vintage (and new) pattern reviews, please visit the blog I share with my husband:  mrandmrsrat.weebly.com

 

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1950s | Burlesque / Pinup

Simplicity 8342 – Rockabilly Tie Front Top + Sew Along!

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In my previous post I announced becoming Simplicity’s Vintage Ambassador, and this is my first post in the series! The 8342 Simplicity pattern is part of the new season range, and whilst not vintage or reproduction, you can’t deny it’s sassy, rockabilly, 1950s appeal. I jumped at the chance to get my paws on this pattern and knew just the jersey fabric to go with it!

I love all the options that come with this pattern, I can certainly see myself making the cigarette pants next to complete the pinup look!

I’d certainly recommend this pattern for fellow busty girls, as the top has a really flexible fit. I find that when sewing jersey garments I don’t really need to do any full bust adjustments, and even more so with this pattern as you can tie the front to suit you. Perfect!

Stitch by Stitch with Simplicity – 8342 Sew Along

In the video below, you’ll be able to follow along as I sew my second version of this top, along with a first look at my floral make in my first ‘out-and-about’ photo shoot. I really hope you find the video helpful and inspires you to try this gorgeous new pattern!

If you have any questions about the making of this pattern please do leave a comment on the video!

To see my full pattern review & images, please head over to my blog post HERE

I’ve got some exciting projects coming up with Simplicity’s vintage & retro patterns, including lots of video sew alongs. Please do subscribe to my YouTube channel to be the first to know.

Thank you!

xo

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