1930s | 1940s

1940s Plaid Hoodie

By on June 25, 2015

This is by far my favorite sewing project this year. I call my creation the Dorr Mill Plaid Hoodie, named for the shop that the wool was purchased from. I actually finished this jacket earlier in the spring but it wasn’t until recently that I was able to get some decent photos. This jacket counts towards my 2015 personal vintage pattern sewing pledge. In these pictures the jacket is worn over the blouse (Hollywood 1530) and slacks (Simplicity 1306) that I made last year for the Reading Air Show.

The sleeves are cut with an upper and lower sleeve section and are slightly gathered at shoulders. The jacket back is cut in one piece on the fold. The jacket fronts are made from two pieces each. And of course the hood, also cut on the fold. Hooray hood! The whole jacket is lined with cotton muslin. The whole jacket is gathered slightly to a wide fitted waistband and closes with buttons up the front. The buttons appear to be shell. I added a snap to the very bottom of the jacket. One of my favorite things about this jacket, aside from the hood that is, is the way the front is constructed. It was a little fiddly but I’m happy with the result. I did restitch one front section because the fabric shifted causing the plaid stripes to be off set. I flat felled the seams for a neater finish.

More photos here!

Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: 100% wool from the Dorr Mill Store, cotton lining
Pattern: Simplicity
Year: late 1930s
Notions: Buttons, thread, one snap
How historically accurate is it? Very. Plaids were pretty popular in the 30s and 40s for outerwear.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? Fitting the gathered front sections to the waistband and jacket front. Not too difficult just a little fiddly.
Did you change anything? I reduced the size just a touch and added a snap to the bottom front.
Time to complete: About a week, I’m guessing 8ish hours? I’m back at keep track.
First worn: Earlier this spring, first good pictures taken June 7 at the Reading Air Show.
Total cost: I can’t remember what I paid for the fabric because I bought it so long ago. I’d guess with the pattern the cost for this project would be in the $30 to $40 range.
Notes: The jacket fits great over a dress as intended and works well with 40s high waisted pants. If I were to make this again for modern wear I would lengthen it a little bit.

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Vintage Sewing

The Yellow Du Barry Suit

By on June 22, 2015

It’s been a very busy spring in terms of sewing. Between participating in sew a-longs (see my Spring for Cotton blouse here) and getting ready for the big WWII airshow in Reading, PA, I’ve accomplished a lot! I’ve been making a healthy dent in the fabric stash as well as my personal vintage pattern sewing pledge.

Today I want to share with you the yellow crepe suit I made for the MAAM’s WWII airshow and reenactment weekend. The yellow crepe for this project was left over from my Winter Formal Dress made from Simplicity1469.Ā  I received several nice compliments while wearing this. But this suit was so bright outside in the sunlight, yikes! Particularly when standing beside so many drab green military vehicles and tents.

Photo courtesy of Joanna of Dividing Vintage Moments

The construction was fairly simple, though I did have some sizing issues to work out with the skirt. One of the things I really like about this suit is the mock blouse, or dicky, that is attached to the jacket. This could easily be changed out with one of a different color or style to create a completely new look.

I have more photos and construction information on my blog.

Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: Mustard/yellow crepe from discount fabric store
Pattern: Du Barry 5371
Year: 1942
Notions: Zipper, snaps, red bias tape, vintage buckle
How historically accurate is it? Very! The crepe is very close to dresses of the period and the trim was inspired by the pattern artwork.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? I had some fitting issues with the skirt when it came to attaching the waistband but was finally able to work those out. I think that was more on my (rear) end and not so much the pattern. šŸ˜›
Did you change anything? Other then sizing I just added a few extra snaps
Time to complete: About a week and a half working during the evenings.
First worn: June 5, 2015 at the MAAM WWII weekend
Total cost: Around $30, although this is the second outfit made using this fabric so in reality it’s closer to $15
Notes: Overall very happy with how this turned out! Next time I’ll make the dicky a touch longer.

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Spring for Cotton – Simplicity 1782

By on May 1, 2015

Here is my finished Spring for Cotton project! A 1940s blouse using Simplicity 1782. I’m also counting this towards my list of Vintage Pattern Sewing Pledge projects. šŸ™‚

Simplicity 1782 wasn’t originally on my list of patterns to make for the Vintage Pattern Sewing Pledge or Spring for Cotton because at the time I didn’t own a copy. One popped up on Ebay but couldn’t bring myself to spend $40.00 for a blouse pattern. Le sigh.Ā  Much to my delight another copy came up for sale, again on the evil bay, and I was determined not to miss out this time! As you will see, I decided to test this pattern in some quilting cotton from the stash. But I have other fabrics destined to become tops. I’m thinking of making either View 1 or 2 from this semi-sheer white on white cotton and another version of View 3 in the yellow and white. šŸ™‚ Something bright for spring!

Overall I’m pretty happy with how this turned out and I think I have a very wearable muslin/mock up. It does have some minor fitting issues to work out. I found that the waist seam hit at exactly the same level as my skirt waistband and the waistband of my favorite high waisted pants. This makes it look and feel a little awkward. I think shortening the waist would help a little bit. Also, and maybe it’s just the color and/or material I used but when I first tried this blouse on it looked very much like a maternity top. Adding a dark belt helped somewhat. Quilting cotton may be just a little too stiff for this blouse, just my two cents. The next time I make it will be with a much softer cotton. I have a few more photos on my blog if you would like to see them.

Summary of the Pattern
Quilting cotton
Pattern: Simplicity 1782, View 3, Size 14/32″ bust
Year: 1946
Notions: Thread, bias tape, snaps.
How historically accurate is it? Not bad. The fabric is not a reproduction print but I think it has a cute vintage feel to it.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? Not really. This pattern seemed to go together really fast and easy.
Did you change anything? The pattern calls for 5/8″ seams but I found the blouse to be a little snug in the waist and difficult to put on and take off. I changed the seams to 3/8″ and this helped.When I make this again, which I plan to do, I will build in a little extra seam allowance.
Time to complete: 3 to 4 hours
First worn: Yesterday for photos.
Total cost: All the materials were from the stash! Yeah! I think I paid around $12 for the pattern.
Notes: Next time I will a more ease to the waist. Also shorten the waist a little bit.

And this photo. Because, flamingos! For those who may not know I’m hosting a “Color Recipes for Spring” photo contest, and there are still a few days left. You can read the details on how to enter here. (The deadline has been move to Sunday May 3rd!) For inspiration see this post and my interpretation of the color descriptions here.

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1920s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1920s White Lightning Dress

By on April 14, 2015

Greetings everyone! I’d like to share with you the dress I made for the Greater Boston Vintage Society’s White Lightning Ball. The event was held back in March at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum. I had a couple people tell me I looked like Lady Edith from Downton Abbey! šŸ™‚

I made a new dress using a 1920s pattern – Vogue 9010 – that I purchased over the winter. I used a lovely ivory silk that I purchased from Deletable Mountain Cloth during their winter sale. The silk struck me as very Art Deco and I really liked the design and feel of it. So light weight. I used a cotton muslin to test the pattern. It looks rather odd because I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the full length of the right front panel. Not really an issue though as this was just a mock up. The dress is made from a back panel cut on the fold with little darts at the neck, a left front, a right front, girdle, as well as bodice and skirt cascades. I left the sleeves off . The right front crosses over the left and attaches with a series of snaps on the bodice and hips. The girdle is sewn into one side seam then wraps around the back and attaches at the opposite hip. I added a few extra snaps for good measure. Because my silk was rather delicate I made little cotton patches to go behind the snaps for extra support.

The pattern gives you the option of either hemming the edges or trimming off the seam allowance and adding a binding. My original plan was to only use a yellow/gold trim because I wanted to pair the dress with gold shoes. The binding was sewn first to the right side of the silk then folded over and pressed and hand sewn in place.

Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: Silk from Delectable Mountain Cloth
Pattern: Vogue 9010
Year: 1920s
Notions: Snaps, thread, pink and yellow China silk ribbon for binding
How historically accurate is it? Very.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? Not really
Did you change anything? Left off the sleeves for more of an evening look. Shortened the hem about 1 1/2″. I also added some additional snaps to the waist/hip area and some extra shirring to the girdle. The dress was a little high under the arms so I cut the arm holes a little deeper.
Time to complete: ummm, hard to say. I worked on it off and one for about 2 weeks.
First worn: March 28th, 2015 for the GBVS 2nd White Lightening Ball at the Larz Anderson Car Museum
Wear Again? Yes.
Notes: Due to the cascades and overall feel of this particular style, this pattern does need to be made with fabric that drapes nicely. One should also avoid fabrics with an obvious right and wrong side. My mock up was made using a cotton muslin which didn’t really hang right. It worked well for determining the overall fit of the pattern however and allowed me to mark up the fabric as needed. If I make this pattern again, which I would like to for day wear, I might try it with crepe and a contrasting cascade.

More photos and construction pictures on my blog.

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Making My Wedding and Reception Dresses

By on March 6, 2015

I have finally completed my blog post on constructing my wedding dresses.Ā  As some of you may know I got married last October and was crazy enough to make not only my wedding dress, but a separate dress for the reception. I don’t have as many construction pictures would like to share the few I do have. The pattern I used for my wedding dress was the 1934 Evening Gown With Drop Sleeves from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library.

The VPLL ships fast and does a very nice job in packing your order. Look how nice my little bundle of patterns were! I ordered three patterns in all. Each time you purchase a pattern, or leave a review, you earn points towards future purchasing. They patterns are printed on a nice quality paper. The instructions are pretty clear and easy to follow with some additional information provided as well.

My first task after receiving my pattern from the VPLL was to resize it. While the VPLL does offer some patterns in multiple sizes, this was not one of them. This pattern actually goes together rather well, despite my fitting issues. For the bodice I treated the lace and lining as one. The lace pieces were first basted to the lining and then the bodice was sewn together. Next the bias tape binding was added to the neck edges and arm holes. I didn’t have any white or off white on hand so I used peach which I think made a nice contrast to the lace. I made a few small changes, mainly to omit the extra large fluffy sleeves and to add a RIDICULOUSLY long train.

You can read more about my wedding dresses here.

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Vintage Sewing

2014 Year in Review

By on January 9, 2015

Hello all,

It’s been a long time since I last posted here. 2014 was certainly a busy year for me. There were some big changes, lots of new friends, and many great memories. Overall I’d say it was a good year despite the major stress of wedding plans and buying a house.

I though you all might enjoy a quick recap of my sewing projects, events and other fun things.

My favorite sewing project of 2014 has to be the Red Birds Dress. Everything but the thread was vintage and came from my stash. McCall 5724 was one of those pattern crying out to be made but it was waiting for the perfect fabric and notions to come along. As surprising as it may sound my least favorite sewing projects were my wedding and reception dresses. It’s difficult to enjoy a project when you are working under pressure. (I do have blog posts in the works for these two dresses, I promise)

Projects I wish I could redo or want to go back and alter? If given the chance I’d remake my wedding reception dress. The dress was made literally days before my wedding and I really didn’t take the time I should have to properly fit the bodice.Ā  I’m not likely to wear it again any time soon so it’s very low on my list of things to do. I would like to alter the bodice of my Violets and Blue and Purple birthday dress. I love how it turned out even if it’s a little big.



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Red Birds Dress

By on July 2, 2014

Another post! Here is a look at the dress I created to wear to the Mid Atlantic Air Museum‘sĀ  enormous air show and WWII reenactment in June. This is an annual event at the museum and one you should not miss!

My 1940s "Red Birds Dress" using McCall 5724. Photo in front of the war bird B-25J Mitchell WWII bomber "Briefing Time"

I call this my “Red Birds Dress.” It was another “limited fabric so cut carefully” projects. Like my recent birthday dress, this fabric came from my mom’s sewing stash. Although it’s cotton she decided it wasn’t suitable for quilting. This fabric had been waiting quietly in the vintage/modern stash for just the right pattern to come along. Because it was just shy of 3 yards and only 32 inches wide, I knew I would be somewhat limited as to what I could do with it. The pattern I used was McCall 5724. I made view B. The dress has pockets!

McCall 5724. It has pockets!
The back of the bodice is fitted with small darts. The front is fitted with small darts and shearing at the shoulders. Four rows of gathering stitches were made then each drawn up to fit between the corresponding marks on the pattern. The edges of the bodice front pieces are lapped and the top stitched in place.
Vintage "Glamour Girl" buttons pinned in place. Also a good look at the lapped seam and shoulder shearing.

The buttons, buckle, and fabric for this dress are all vintage and come from the stash. As usual, there are more pictures of this project on my blog.

My 1940s "Red Birds Dress" using McCall 5724. Photo in front of the war bird B-25J Mitchell WWII bomber "Briefing Time"

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