1920s lace collars – vintage inspiration

By on March 12, 2013

I was recently gifted some exquisite 1920s lace collars, that have been in the family for over 90 years. They’re so intricate and beautiful that I just had to share them with you! I’m hoping to draft a blouse or two in order to make good use of a couple of them – they are surprisingly sturdy considering their age – and I’d love to display the rest in frames maybe. Do you have any ideas or advice about sewing with and/or preserving these collars?

Anyway, I’ll let the photos do the talking, although they don’t do the collars full justice. Plenty more pictures (including some of lace trim from the same decade and some 1930s fabric) can be found here on my blog.

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1910s | Blouses | Vintage Sewing

Watch This Lace – The Armistice Blouse

By on January 5, 2013

Happy New Year all! I’m very excited to be sharing my first make of 2013 with you – Folkwear’s Armistice Blouse – which also happens to be my most cherished make to date. Aside from the beautiful pattern details, I made it using silk that my great grandmother spun/wove with her own two hands in the 1940s. I know nothing about the technicalities of weaving silk fabric – but I do know that she even nurtured the silk worms herself.

This blouse dates from 1918 and has such a deliciously romantic and floaty feel to it. The reason it’s so flattering to wear is the gathered back, which counteracts some of the fullness of the design. This is cleverly constructed by actually gathering the back and then sewing the self-made tie over the gathers.

Of course the over-sized collar and front panel are the real stars of this blouse and lend themselves to so much modification. I kept mine pretty simple though to let the exquisite silk and lace really shine. The pattern calls for functional buttons, but the ones I added – cute little heart-shaped ones – are purely decorative as I can actually slip this on and off without the need for any closures.

This blouse is full of unique details, which make it a true pleasure to construct. Just look at these elaborate double cuffs with the added lace and tiny buttons!

This make is also special as it is part of a bigger project – Watch This Lace – set in motion last summer when I came across a rather large bundle of beautiful vintage lace After much consideration, I couldn’t get A Common Thread Project out of my mind, the inspired idea from Mena of The Sew Weekly. The tantalising thought of sharing my loot with sewing bloggers internationally and showcasing our different creations was too good to pass up. So I got in touch with eight of many, many beloved bloggers and they agreed to help brighten our last two winter months! To see which bloggers are taking part in Watch This Lace and for more photos and background on my cherished Armistice Blouse hop on over to my blog.


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Finished Vogue 8728

By on September 14, 2012

I finished this dress back in June, using reproduction vintage Vogue 8728, but fell out of love with it for a couple of reasons. However, I’ve decided to embrace it for the comfortable day dress that it is and I’m so glad I did, because it tends to get a lot of compliments!

The pattern is easy enough to follow and the construction is pretty simple, especially is you use jersey and omit the zip. I love omitting zips! However, I did find that it has A LOT of ease…does anyone else agree? This could be because I used jersey instead of a woven fabric, but nonetheless, I had to cut out the smallest size on top and then take in even more ease. I know my shoulders are narrow and my waist is small, but I’m not smaller than a size 8 for crying out loud!?! So anyway, there was some tweaking as I went along with this one, but tweaking jersey is never too taxing and is quite forgiving in my opinion.

If you’d like to read / see more please do visit me at A Sewing Odyssey!

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Katherine's picks | Vintage Sewing

Mad Men Dress Challenge – imitating Jane

By on April 12, 2012

Hi! My name’s Marie and this is my first post here, despite having been a huge fan of We Sew Retro since its launch and a loyal follower and contributor to the old Sew Retro. I’ve been stupidly dragging my feet about registering here – being a blogger user I was scared of the unknown technical stuff – but it was so quick and simple. I don’t mean to be an a*se kisser, but Katherine’s video tutorials on how to register and how to how to create your first post are brilliant! So if you’ve been dragging your feet like me, there’s no excuse to put it off any longer ;o)

Right, let’s get down to business. I thought I’d share my Mad Men inspired dress with you, which was born out of a challenge devised by Julia Bobbin – you can see all the pretty dresses here.

Mad Men inspired dress
Let's not play 'who wore it better' please!

I used Simplicity 4905 and some jersey material to recreate Jane’s look and it all came together surprisingly easily. Despite wanting to do Jane’s dress justice, I also wanted to end up with a dress I’d wear, so I opted for a fuller skirt than hers. This is the part I’m most proud of, because instead of using the pattern’s gathered skirt pieces, I decided to draft my own circle skirt and it actually worked. Hurray!

Simplicity 4905 and Mad Men inspired dress

If you’d like to know more about the making of this dress or to see more pictures, feel free to hop on over to my related blog post!


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