1930s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

A 30s Christmas dress

By on December 30, 2013

It’s another dress inspired by the early 30s! Seems I’m pretty fond of them right now… I love this silhouette, and it’s so much fun to play around with a “new” (to me) era =)

This dress is really two separate dresses. The bottom is an interlocked jersey, sleeveless. It’s finished and can be worn on it’s own. What made me want to make this outfit was the top layer – it’s all bias cut lace. The front bodice has a high neck cowl and is pleated to the midriff piece. The back is in a single piece, also on the bias to remove the need for darts.  The skirt was made from my by now TNT bias skirt pattern, the lace made a little bit longer than the jersey.

This dress made me scratch my head for quite awhile; I didn’t want to make an opening in the lace (zipper, buttons, hooks and eyes, it all spelled disaster in this fabric) and even though the lace had some give due to the loose weave, my regular dress pattern includes a waistseam that would not have stretched. My solution:

Remove part of both bodice and skirt to create a diamond-shaped panel that was cut on the bias. I’ve not seen this exact solution in a period pattern, but different sort of panelings was common in the late 20s/early 30s.

The sleeves are the only part that’s cut on grain, my regular sleeve pattern widened to create a nice width.

This dress was fun to make, and it just took a weekend to make as both layers was sewn on the overlock. The combination of jersey and bias-cut is a nice one, as both layers moves with the body, making this a very comfortable dress I could wear all Christmas eve, during cooking, dog walking, eating a ton and even sitting down in a deep sofa =)

Click here to read about it on my blog (although I think I’ve covered most of it here ; ) )

Love, Erika

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1930s | Blouses | Dresses | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

3 makes inspired by the early 30s

By on December 13, 2013


I’m so slow in posting here… Mainly it’s because a lot of my sewing nowadays is in jersey. So modern sewing, albeit I do give the patterns a bit of a vintage feel =) So anyway, here comes three outfits in one go!

At the end of summer I finally managed to complete two summer outfits I’ve been sewing on, a little at the time! Both are in an early 30s style,  drafted by me from my slopers.

The first outfit is more period appropriate. The skirt is in a heavy silk called “matka” and the blouse is a rayon (leftovers from a previous project). The skirt is cut on the bias, has a straight waistband and buttons down the side. The blouse has a tie-collar, grown-on sleeves and closes in the side with snaps. This was my first attempt at both of these closures, so it was really fun when it worked out!

The second outfit is a bit more modern, and is a lot less hassle to clean and pack (no handwashing the skirt or ironing the top). The skirt is in a white linen I tea-dyed, cut on the bias and it closes with an invisible zipper in the sideseam. The top is a version of my favorite jersey dresspattern =) However, the skirt came out so-and-so. As long as I wear it with a hip-long top it’s good to go, but it bubbles a little along the right sideseam and a lot in the left seam where the zipper is installed. I’m pretty sure it’s due to the different strength in fabric weave – I had to make a “design feature” to remedy the 10 cm’s of fabric I was short *grr* (note to self: do NOT skimp on fabric when buying fabric on sale for a project that holds unknown components).

The first outfit is just wonderful to wear, the silk moves and drapes like a miracle, and the blouse is so cool, soft and easy to wear. I’m not 100% sold on the second, I think it’s very likely the jersey top will get a lot more wear than the linen skirt.

The third is a more recent make. A jersey dress, but in a pure 30s style.

I made it for Blues Dance Night, and it was fabulous to dance in! My favorite part of it is the back, with a deep cut made possible by a What Katie Did Glamour corselette ; )

For more photos and more info about the makes, please check out my blog!

The first two outfits was blogged here and the third one here.

Love, Erika



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Vintage Sewing

40s dress and a blouse

By on April 19, 2013

I know, spring is on the way, but this dress took a while longer to make… So, here’s the last wool sewing for this season:

It’s sort of 40s style, drafted from my sloper. Originally I thought of it as a late 40s style, but the puffy sleeves brings late 30s, early 40s to mind. Or the 70s! Maybe it’s just a multi-decade dress =)

Detail of the cuffs with shirtsleeve-placket (first time using that technique).

Handpicked lapped zipper.


Ages ago I finished this 50s style blouse as well, it’s in a lovely rayon with a quite heavy drape (leftover fabric from an earlier incarnation of the dress above). I drafted the pattern maybe two years ago, and now have four blouses in my closet based on it. What can I say, when I find a style I like… This pattern is fast to sew and the style very easy to wear, a good combination in my book =)

I’m planning on making a matching belt to the blouse, wouldn’t the green dress and the red blouse + belt be a nice match?

For more pictures and a little tip for getting crisp and clean edges with as little bulk as possible, visit my blog.

Have a great weekend!

Love, Erika

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1930s | Vintage Sewing

30s ensamble

By on August 18, 2012

I have a question to you all: is it ok to post selfdrafted sewing projects? Since I have a ton of fit issues, some pattern drafting experience, a great blockpattern and it’s really hard to come by interesting vintage patterns in Sweden (and customs on stuff from US Ebay is through the roof!), I seldom actually use a pattern. I study images and patterns online, and then I draft something similar.

Anyway, that’s why I’ve been quiet here since my introduction post; all my sewing has been from self drafted pattern. In all honesty, this one is too, but I really wanted to share it anyway =) Let me know if it’s better I’d not, and I’ll remove the post!

I wanted to make a 30s inspired dress and jacket to wear to a friends wedding, but since it’s not a very flattering style on me, I borrowed some 50s influences. It makes the ensamble a bit hard to date, but I hope the overall feel says “30s” =)

Here’s my inspiration images:

Image from Sears Catalogs -36

30s pattern

And here’s my version of it:

The skirt is cut on bias, tha bodice front has two pleats against each shoulder, and a total of four pleats to the waist. The bodice back has two waistdarts.

The jacket has a shawl collar, gathered sleeve caps, 3/4 sleeves, bound buttonholes and a zillion darts. It’s blockfused with knit interlining and lightly tailored with medium weight toille fabric.

It was really quite fun to make, but I wish I had gotten the idea a bit sooner, or maybe remembered that sewing deadlines are not the best… ; )

For a few more pictures, and construction photos, please check out my blogpost about the ensamble and it’s construction: http://swinginvintage.blogspot.se/2012/08/30s-ensamble-i-did-it-sort-of.html

Have a great weekend, everybody! / Erika

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Introduction and a coat

By on October 30, 2011

Hi everyone!

I’ve been skulking in the shadows for ages, but finally decided to start posting as well. So exciting! =) My name is Erika, I live in northern Sweden and I love to sew. I come from a family of women who do all sorts of crafts, so when I left home at 20 I brought with me a vintage Bernina from the 50s (still using it) and a general basic knowledge of sewing but not much experience.

I joined a medieval society (SCA), and it was in that forgiving and generous creative enviroment that I got all those hours of sewing and miles of stitching needed to be confident in my sewing. Fast forward 4 years and lot’s of linen and wool dresses later, and I discovered the dance Lindy hop. It was love at the first step, and I fell for everything about it. The moves, the music, the clothes. Failing to find in the stores the clothes I wanted to wear to get the period Swing look, I started sewing my own.

Today I strive to make a mainly me-made wardrobe, and I wear vintage inspired outfits every day. A huge step towards wearing all me-made has been outerwear, and now I’ve finally completed my first coat!

I normally make my own patterns, but in this case I used Vogue 7594, from 1952.

I made a lot of fit alterations, like shortening the bodice front and back, a FBA, adding width to the waist and hips, plus a bunch of minor changes. The only style alteration I did was to lower the neckline a bit, otherwise I kept it as original, even the skirtlenght.

The fabric is a heavy, green Melton wool from Handelsgillet. The coat is fully interlined with 100% lambswool, and horse hair canvas was padstitched by hand to the collar. There was a lot of new to me construction techniques, and I’m very happy I had the combination of a vintage pattern, a tailoring book and Gertie’s coat sew-along posts to help me out.

I’m really happy with how it turned out! I love the fall of the skirt (can’t beat quality wool!), the shawl collar and the bodice that fits. So looking forward to staying warm in style this winter!

This has been a fun project, albeit a long one (took over a year) =) I’ll definitley be making more outerwear in the future!  Next up however is an easy project, possibly a skirt…

There are more photo’s of the coat on my blog, http://swinginvintage.blogspot.com/ . I also plan to post about how I tailored the shawl collar, as that was something not totally obvious in any of my sources.

Have a great week everyone! / Erika

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