1950s | Blouses

Keyhole Neck Blouse

By on May 5, 2015

I recently used one of Vera Venus wonderful vintage inspired, free patterns again, this time the Keyhole Neck Blouse. I made it specifically to fit a vintage circle skirt that my boyfriend gave me 2 years ago and that I rarely wore because I had no matching top for it. I searched for the perfect blue in various fabric stores and finally found the right color. I really like Kimono sleeves and adore the three keyhole cutouts. I was a bit scared of sewing those but they were actually quite easy to make. I made the waist slightly smaller and lengthened the waist darts but apart from that I changed nothing. In order to fit my rather large head through the neck opening I didn’t close the back seam completely and attached a hook and eye closure. I was quite unsure of how to do this properly and even though it looks nice I will definitely consult a tutorial next time I attempt this. My friend came up with the idea to use some white lace on the neckline and sleeves and I really happy that both colors now have their counterparts in skirt and top. We made some pictures of the ensemble on a glorious spring evening some weeks ago, I love this time of the year so much and am very happy that it’s finally time for short sleeved tops again 🙂

There are some more images and details on my blog, Draped in Cloudlets.

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1950s | Dresses

Christmas dress

By on December 18, 2014

A few weeks ago a friend bought the Vintage Burda for me and I already tried a couple of the patterns. I instantly thought that the Grace pattern would make a very classic and feminine christmas dress, not least because it has long sleeves (I just can’t wear short sleeves in winter, even with a cardigan). I used a berry colored cotton for my “muslin”, hoping that I could use it for a real dress if it turned out ok. I cut size 36 and it fits as I suspected – the waist of the bodice is a bit too wide and the bust slightly too tight but overall it was quite ok and comfortable to wear in spite of the non-elastic fabric. I had originally planned to make a christmas dress of a beautiful taffeta that I had received as a gift a couple of weeks ago but time was getting short and so I decided to work with the muslin. It was not quite surprising that I was time-pressed – I usually don’t read the instructions before I actually start sewing and I had failed to notice that the pattern asks for underarm-gussets, an advanced technique that I had never done before. The instruction in the Burda issue consisted of two brief sentences that are probably very comprehensible if you are familiar with this technique but I was completely in the dark. I skimmed through my sewing books and looked for online tutorials and finally guessed what I had to do and cut in the fabric and set in 4 gussets – it looks really ok and I guess my next attempt will be even better.

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I had already bought a piece of ruby-red dupioni silk several months ago and made a gathered skirt of it because the colors looked looked great together. The fabric has a very nice drape and shimmer but looks slightly crumpled even directly after I ironed it which annoyed me a bit. To counteract this I enforced the hem with a red velvet trim and a double layer of silk, the shape of the skirt looks way better this way. I also used the velvet trim as a neckband, made two little bows at the front and back, and finally also attached it to the belt. I made the belt to mask that the waist is a bit too wide but when I looked at the pictures I noticed that it rather emphasises it. I really liked the common thread of the red trim though so that’s ok in the end. The sleeves are supposed to be 3/4 sleeves but are more like 7/8 on me, I will make them a bit longer next time. The zipper is handpicked, which was quite time consuming but looks so nice (unfortunately I have no detail pictures of it!). All in all I am really happy with my “muslin” christmas dress, even though it is not perfect. Last weekend we took a few pictures in a forest near Bergisch Gladbach, next to an industrial facility with ice covered gas tanks. It was just above 0 degrees celsius and I was so cold but am quite relieved that the pictures don’t show that all too much… 🙂

You can find more pictures on my blog!

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1970s | 1980s | Blouses

Vintage Simplicity 6371

By on September 7, 2014

Last week I tried a pattern that I had just ordered to save shipping costs on Etsy when I ordered another pattern. The cover illustration looks not very interesting but I was in the mood for sewing a blouse and thought that I could just give it a try. It is Simplicity 6371 from the early 80’s and promises a “Fuss Free Fit” – and oh boy, is this true, I am so delighted! I used view 5 with a pin tucked yoke and black trim. I had bought the floral cotton fabric last year at a fabric market in Cologne and thought that this pattern and fabric combined would look like one of my beloved 1970s Jessica’s Gunnies blouses. The pin tucked yoke looks much more complicated to sew than it actually is and I enjoyed sewing it a lot, it was a bit like a crafting smaller objects or doll clothes. The insertion of the collar and sleeves was a dream and the blouse has such a nice and comfortable fit, I am sure that I will make this pattern again and again. Maybe I will try to make my own collar designs? Today I paired the blouse with an actual Jessica’s Gunnies skirt and a hat and we took some pictures of it this afternoon when we took a walk the outskirts of Cologne, the later summer light was so dreamy…

There a few more images on my blog, Draped in Cloudlets.

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1950s | Skirts

Practical Dress Design

By on August 12, 2014

A few months ago I downloaded the 50s sewing book “Practical Dress Design” by Mabel D. Erwin that The Perfect Nose kindly scanned and made available to download on her blog (along with other treasures, by the way!). I adore this book so much – it’s full of the most delightful and clever designs! Recently I was inspired by a blouse button border that I saw in it and decided to make a skirt with a similar design. I aimed for an elegant 50s design but got a somewhat different style instead, though I can’t quite describe it. But I like it a lot! The fabric I used was a thai batik print that my friend bought for me last year at the Bonheur des Dames store in Paris. The golden buttons are also a gift and from the same store, the design of the (fake)- button border is based on their number. I calculated how they should be placed on the fabric and made a pattern of the two front skirt pieces on paper – the rest was very easy. I made simple knife pleats and added a handpicked zipper on the left side. The fabric creases a bit as all cottons will but does it in a nice, kind of pretty way.

You can find a few more pictures on my blog (-:

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Aprons | Dresses

Butterick B5509

By on July 14, 2014

Sorry for posting so soon again but the weather is so horrible here right now that there is plenty time for sewing pretty dresses (-: In an effort to forgot the dreadful storms that we had here I sewed another „I wish it was summer“ dress.  I used Buttericks B5509 pattern from the Making History series as a basis. I had already bought it months ago as I love all options of this set and would like to sew all of them (albeit as dresses and not as aprons as they are meant to be). I got the flower fabric at Alfatex and decided to use it for pattern D, a cute empire-waist dress. The fabric is very transparent and therefore I lined the whole dress in white fabric. I guess I still should not stand directly in the sun but as the we don’t have much sun right now that doesn’t matter much… The fit of the dress is pretty perfect and it is cleverly constructed, I just had to think about how to transform an apron into a dress. It was actually super simple – I just closed the back seam and sewed a zipper on. The bodice is open on the back and is tied with a ribbon, which feels very airy and summery. Empire-waist dresses always remind me a bit of maternity fashion and also the finished dress looked a bit too plain for me and so I bought green pseudo-velour ribbon to counteract this and to make the dress a bit more graphical. I also gathered the hem on the front and back side and added a bows – and I am so happy with the finished silhouette!

You can find a few more pictures on my blog, Draped in Cloudlets (-:

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Rompers / Playsuits | Skirts

Parrot Playsuit

By on June 30, 2014

Already in spring I had found this really cute parrot fabric at Alfatex and promptly had the idea to make a summery, 1950s playsuit inspired set with it (minus the shorts). The fabric is quite see-through so I decided to make a slip first and bought off-white elastical synthetic fabric (also at Alfatex). I used the slip pattern that is part of Retro Butterick B5920 as a basis but changed it quite a lot – I took the waist in and made a tiered skirt because I wanted it to be more petticoat-like. I really like the slip but I am pretty disappointed by the fabric I used, it is flimsy, get’s damaged and crinkles easily, not exactly great for a undergarment (or any garment, come to speak of it). I had even asked the  salesperson for advice because I have no experiences with elastic fabrics but I guess she had no idea either, next time I will research for myself (and there will be a next time, I’d love to make a black slip next!). I used the parrot fabric to make a skirt and a top – the skirt is a simple dirndl skirt with a zipper and the top is self-drafted. I am almost completely happy with this top pattern by now – it has enough ease to be easily put on even with a non-elastic fabrics and is still fitted enough to look nice. I used black bias-binding on the armholes and the neckline to echo the skirts black waistband and added a few black buttons just for fun. I wore this for the first time last weekend and shivered a lot – unfortunately summer is taking a break here right now 🙂 I really hope that the sun will reappear soon!

You can see a few more images on my blog, Draped in Cloudlets 🙂

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1940s | 1950s | Skirts

Vintage inspired high waisted skirt

By on May 26, 2014

A few years ago I got a beautiful skirt as a present that was 40s/50s inspired and had a high waist and was buttoned at the front (it was likely inspired by skirts like thisthisthis and this). I loved this skirt a lot and literally wore it to death and intended to sew a similar skirt ever since. I did not use a pattern for this project as it consists of only three rectangular parts – a waistband with iron on interfacing, a large piece of fabric that is gathered at the sides and the back and a button border. I also used lots of Ric-Rac trim – it was a bit annoying to sew it on but I always wanted to try out this technique and really adore how it looks like. I added another piece of fabric to the hem to show of the rid-rac trim even more (I also like the slightly lower hemline better). As I had been looking for a beige skirt for ages I used a beige cotton that wrinkles a bit but not too much. The buttons are also beige and have a pretty moiré pattern.

As usual you can find a few more details and photographs on my blog, Draped in Cloudlets!

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