1930s | 1950s | Accessories | Hats | Jackets | Skirts

A sporty look, and the second chapter in my wool skirt saga.

By on February 28, 2014

The second skirt in my Pendleton quartet is another plaid number. This one is fairly plain as well, with some simple alterations made to change the look up a bit. I widened the waistband and added suspenders. I’ve always really liked the look of the suspender skirt (whether from the 1910s or the 1950s or anywhere in between), and have intended to make myself one for a long time now. I thought it would be a nice silhouette with this plaid also, simple enough to showcase the pattern, but not so overly simplified as to be boring. This piece of wool had just a few moth holes that needed repair, so I set myself to work at re-weaving again. This is a much finer weave than the previous fabric, so it required a little more precision, but it really wasn’t too bad. I have to admit, I think I’m actually getting a little hooked on it. It’s just the kind of insanely meticulous work I find fun and relaxing (’cause maybe I’m a little nuts).


After pulling threads from a scrap of the plaid, I set to work reweaving the two holes in the skirt front, and then the two in the suspender pieces.


Doing this made me feel a little bit like the woman who made Chanel’s braided trim for decades (although not old, French, and incredibly skilled).


You can see the first hole mid-repair just to the right of the pin.

The skirt turned out pretty well, and I had just enough left of the fabric to make a matching hat (because every outfit should have a matching hat, right?). Anyway, I used the Wearing History Sporty Toppers pattern, view 1. I was working with scraps, so the plaid doesn’t match perfectly on top, but it doesn’t bother me too much since there is so much seaming to break it up in the first place. I used a slightly narrower ribbon than called for in the pattern, but I like how it looks.










To complete my sort of “golf-course” couture look, I managed to finally finish one of my biggest UFOs; this brown wool suit jacket. I started this suit about three years ago, finished the skirt, got about half way through the jacket and then put it on the back burner and left it there to stew. It feels really good to finally have it finished and out of the project pile. It’s far from perfect, but finished it all I was really aiming for at this point, so I’m happy with it. I don’t have all the pattern details in front of me, but I’ll try and dig them up. I’m pretty sure it’s a McCall’s pattern, and it’s from the 50s, but I’m not sure the exact year and can’t remember the number. Anyway, here’s the ensemble all put together and ready for a stroll across the fairway. (Both pieces need a little touch up with the iron).









So, that’s that. Now on to other projects in the queue. I’ve still got two of the wool skirts to put together, and then numerous other summery projects to start, but I’ve got an Edwardian event to go to in early May that I also have to make some stuff for, and that will probably take precedence. Hope everyone has had a good week!



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1940s | Vintage Sewing

1940s jammies

By on February 9, 2014

I have finally taken a few photos of the other two projects I finished in the last couple of months. They’ve been worn and washed, and worn and washed repeatedly, so they are not quite as neat and tidy as they looked when I first completed them, but they have already been well loved in their short lives, so what does that matter?


The first is a nightgown I made from McCall 5441, the same pattern I used for my black silk nightgown (blogged here). I cut it a tad larger to accommodate nighttime nursing sessions, and it has worked out perfectly. I wanted something longer to keep me warm at night, since it’s been so cold here, and most of my other nightgowns are short, slip-like things. I do tend to get overheated though if I’m too covered up, so the sleeveless style of this nightgown was perfect (despite the fact that when one generally thinks of flannel nightgowns they include sleeves and lace). I’m so happy with how this one turned out! It’s so comfy, and I’ve been guilty of throwing a sweater over it and wearing it around the house all day a few times when the boy and I were stuck in the house due to weather.





The second project is a pair of 1940s pajamas that I made using two different patterns. The pajama pattern that I wanted to use is Simplicity 4528, but the copy that I have is a few sizes too big.


Image courtesy Vintage Patterns Wiki

 I didn’t have anything else similar to use, so I decided just to grade the jacket down and use the trusty  Simplicity 3688 trousers so I wouldn’t have to bother altering those at all. I put in a snap placket (like the pajama pattern called for) instead of a zipper, with a button at the waist. I obviously omitted the belt and contrast revers as well. The double welt pocket is not one of my crowning achievements, but they were pajamas for myself, and I didn’t feel like redoing it so I just decided not to worry about it. It was late, and I was tired when I put it in so my chances of getting it perfect were low to begin with. I do get too hot at night to actually sleep in these, but they are wonderful for wearing around the house during my couple of hands-free hours after the baby goes to sleep. I’ll probably make myself another pair at some point down the road (and try to get the pocket right that time). They’re really warm and cozy!






We’ve had some really nasty weather the last few weeks, but I’ve been able to get some work done on a few fun things which has helped. Our little boy is getting so big, and he’s a little more able to entertain himself now that he’s mobile, which makes it easier for me to get things done (including housework and grading). At 8.5 months he he’s just figured out how to walk while pushing one of our dining room chairs around on the wooden floors. It won’t bee too much longer before he’s walking all by himself! Next year I’ll at least be able to take him out to play in all this snow we’ve had.


Hope everyone is having a good weekend and staying warm!



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1950s | 1960s | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

A finished outfit (finally)

By on January 31, 2014

It’s been a while since I posted, but I promise I’ve actually been working on lots of projects. It’s just taken me forever to get anything finished and photographed. The boy makes it difficult to work on things steadily, and my project ADD doesn’t help (especially when I’ve got 6 or more projects in the works at the same time). I have finally managed, however, to get some things finished and took a few pictures to prove it this morning. The first things I want to share are the grey vest I cut out ages ago, and another pencil skirt I whipped up. (Shown first with my black blazer, just because I am already in love with this outfit!)



The vest matches the grey skirt I made a few months ago. Since I just finished up the vest last night I haven’t had a chance to see what the two pieces look like together, but I’m so happy with how it looks paired with my new plaid skirt that I almost don’t even care! The pattern I used for the vest is Butterick 9474, View A. You’ll forgive the wrinkling, as Tabitha and I are not quite the same shape/proportions (especially not post-baby, despite being back to my pre-pregnancy weight).


Image courtesy Vintage Patterns Wiki


The skirt is cut from the same pattern (with similar alterations) that I used for the grey skirt, and the fabric is a vintage Pendleton wool that I acquired in a stash from a friend’s late mother. I have a few more pieces that I’ve cut for skirts as well, as there was just enough yardage for a skirt from each one. I did have to repair a small area with moth holes near the kick pleat, so I tried my hand at re-weaving for the first time. I know exactly why the pros get paid so much! It was very tedious, and my result is hardly perfect, but it’s fairly invisible, especially to the untrained eye. I’ve got some holes to repair in two of the three other pieces as well, but they are a finer weave, so I may try a different method. We’ll see when I get there.




The bottom points of the vest fronts are not perfectly aligned for some reason. I marked and matched my center fronts, so theoretically they should be even, but the right sits a bit lower. If I decide it bothers me too much I can just shift the buttons up a tad to even out the points. I’ll have to take a better look at it once I’ve actually tried it on my own body with a shirt underneath and a real bra.






The lining, as I mentioned in my post so many moons ago, is left from another dress project that ended up gifted to a friend when it didn’t fit me perfectly. I like crazy linings and this one definitely fits the bill.



The skirt hem I finished with some vintage, rust colored hem lace from my stash.


As I said earlier, I’m absolutely in LOVE with this outfit! We’re going out for my husband’s birthday on this weekend and I think I may wear this (that is if I don’t decide to try and squeeze myself into my teal wool dress). I can finish it off perfectly with my stone marten stole, a black velvet hat, and my new Sydneys from Remix. Mr. S. won his fantasy football league and let me have the money to buy myself some new shoes. I’d been lusting after Sydney ever since Remix announced their release and now they’re mine! I’ll have to take a picture of them soon, but they’re in the bedroom with a sleeping man right now, and I don’t want to disturb him.


I’ve got a few other knitting and sewing projects in the works right now, but I’ll save those for a separate post so this one doesn’t get too long.


Have a good weekend!



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Decision help, please!

By on August 1, 2013
1951 knitted lace sweater

Hello everyone!

I’ve been working on a sweater recently and am at a point where I need to make a style/color decision. I’m having a hard time figuring out what I want to do, so I’d like to hear your opinions. The pattern is from 1951, and this is the photo from the original magazine.

Lacy Jumper 1951 Vintage Sweater

I only had one skein of yarn for this whole project (it wasn’t originally intended for this purpose), so I don’t have enough to finish the collar and cuffs. So now we come to my question. I have just enough to finish the sleeves and neck with a simple crochet edge….OR, I could use a different color yarn to make a contrasting collar and cuffs. I was thinking something in the white/cream family.



1951 knitted lace sweaterSo, should I leave it plain or make the contrasting pieces (and if so what color)?



*More project notes and photos here.

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1940s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1940s shirtdress

By on April 18, 2013

I finally finished another project! I started this 1940s shirtdress a few weeks ago in an effort to expand my vintage style wardrobe with a few more nursing friendly options to wear post baby. I attached the sleeves, set the zipper and did all the other finishing work on it this afternoon and evening. It needs some more thorough pressing, but I really wanted to get some photos taken before it got too dark so I could share the finished product. I found two buttons in my (small) button stash that were perfect. They’re a plain, dark wood and were the perfect size for this dress. I don’t even remember why I bought these, but I’m glad I did. It saved me making another trip before I could cross this project off my list. I went ahead and put this navy belt on Tabitha just to see what it would look like, but it really needs a dark brown belt to go with the buttons. I need a medium width brown belt anyway, because my collection is somehow lacking one, so I will have to pick one up somewhere.

This is the pattern I used. I combined elements from both views, opting for short sleeves, but leaving off the ruffle trim and only using two buttons instead of three.

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, I just wish that I could actually try it on myself right now. Only five weeks to go until my due date, though! So I’m inching closer every day to being able to wear normal clothes again. I hope everyone is having a good week!

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1940s | Vintage Sewing

Decisions, decisions

By on April 4, 2013

I have a question for all of you. I have 4.5 yard of this lovely floral print challis (it’s 54″ wide) and am having a devil of a time figuring out exactly what I want to do with it. I bought it knowing I wanted to do something late 30s-early 40s, with gathering details and so forth, but am limited not only by my pattern stash when it comes to this sort of thing, but also by the fact that I need it to unbutton in front (needs to be relatively nursing friendly).

I have a couple of patterns that may be in the running, but am not sure that fabric-wise they will be the best choice, as this challis doesn’t have a whole lot of body. I can fix that to a certain extent with interfacing, but would like some other opinions.

Here’s the fabric….

And here are the two patterns I’m toying with at the moment…

Marian Martin 9241

And Anne Adams 4811…

I’m totally comfortable with combining components of patterns, or drafting new pieces (although I would rather not take the time right now), but I’m having a really hard time deciding A. if either of these will work, or B. if this is really the style I want to go for at all. These are very different from most of what I have in my closet now (although I am a fan of this era), but most of what I have is also not nursing friendly and I’d love to have something practical but cute.

Any opinions on these two patterns, or suggestions of other patterns to look at would be much appreciated!




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1930s | 1940s | 1950s

Not sewing, but still vintage clothing

By on March 11, 2013

Hi all!

While this is not actually a sewing related post, I wanted to share with you some photos I’ve been working on scanning of my grandparents and other family. My Nana was a particularly stylish lady, and it’s a lot of fun looking at her clothes, and what she and her friends wore when they were young. This one is my favorite.

This is one that she sent to my grandfather. I’m not sure of the exact year, but judging from her age it’s very late 30s to very early 40s. The back reads “Hi sweetie!! Gee, I love you!!”.

I’m pretty sure this is one of my great aunts, but I have a huge extended family and it really could be any number of people. (1950s)


This is my grandmother Maryjane, and her friends Alice, Pat, and Dot (?) on November 29, 1943 in Indianapolis, IN. She’s the one with the fabulous leopard collar and cuffs.


There are a few more pictures on my blog, and I hope to get many more scanned and uploaded in the next several days.



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