Housewife Betty

 

So, I found this amazing pattern for a smoking jacket from 1951, Butterick 1769. Despite being neither a smoker nor an idle rich guy from a Hollywood melodrama, my Husband decided he needed one in classic satin and quilted velvet. He accompanied me to the fabric store on a Saturday (an event never to be repeated), where he picked out this gorgeous Asian style brocade. We splurged and bought the fancy dress velvet to do the collar and cuffs. I made up a muslin sample, which actually fit him pretty good. I just needed to shorten the sleeves and he decided he would prefer a belt to buttons, so I drafted one. This is where the fun ensued. Slick satin just refuses to be sewn, especially when you are trying to meaningfully join it to any type of napped fabric. Sheer hell. Puckering. I ended up using tissue paper between the layers, which helped some, but not enough. I had to hand baste the batting to the velvet to do the quilting, which took forever and isn’t totally even. The piping was a pain, and in retrospect I should have used a finer weight cording. To top it off, I forgot to cut the back pleat into the lining, which I didn’t discover until I handed the jacket to my Husband to try on. I had to buy more fabric to recut it. Despite the hellacious and neverending trouble this pattern gave me, I still think it turned out pretty good. My Husband likes to strut around the house with a martini while wearing it, so mission accomplished. The moral of the story is that choice of fabric and finish details can make a BIG difference in your work load!

 

 

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Simplicity 7072 front

 

For my sister’s birthday, I decided to make her a dress. Since she’s tiny, I jumped at the chance to bust out some of my smaller sized patterns (I covet size 18′s for myself) with a mod 1960′s silhouette. We decided on Simplicity 7072, which is a simple A line shift with French darts and a round neckline. Interestingly, my sister has an amazing vintage shift from the late 1960′s in an almost identical style. The fabric is even similar, although I used a quilting cotton, and the original is in a weird heavy woven. It’s almost like a lightweight upholstery fabric, but with a soft handfeel. Also, once I got the original on the dress form, I noticed that the pattern design is not centered. It was obviously hand made by a pretty good seamstress. While the pattern fit pretty well as drafted, I still had to do some pattern adjustments. These included taking it in a half inch all the way around, lowering the neckline a bit, and moving the shoulder in a bit. I omitted the facings and made a coordinating bias tape in espresso bean brown to finish the edge, which I did with an invisible stitch. I think it turned out really well. I hope it fits her! I barely got it to fit on my dress form. You can see the shadow on the skirt where I had to stretch it over the form. What would the world be without adjustable dress forms! Enjoy!

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I have had this pattern, which is Simplicity 1944 from 1947, in my collection for a while. My cousin just had a baby girl, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make up this cute little sun suit. The pattern is a size 3, so it will be awhile before she grows into it, but it was so darn cute I had to give it a  whirl. I used plaid lightweight cotton, and went with a rickrack trim in fuchsia. There is a fuchsia stripe in the fabric, but it is not showing up well on camera. This is View 1, which has self made ruffles. View 2 uses purchased trim. I also contemplated using elastic in the legs, but in the end I went with the self made bias tape that is called for in the pattern. I did some quick and dirty hand bound buttonholes, which look less than great but do the job. Definitely more practice needed in that department. Unfortunately, the brim pattern piece for the matching bonnet was missing. I contemplated drafting a new one, but decided against it because I already have a giant pile of stuff in my sewing stash I need to get to, so I kept in simple with just the sun suit. Enjoy!

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Vintage 1950's Perma Lift

Okay, Ladies! Let’s talk brassieres! The more vintage sewing I do, the more I hate my bras. The grapefruit shaped T shirt bra just looks all wrong. So, here’s the $64,000 question. What sort of shape do you prefer under your vintage style clothes? Do you go all out for the torpedo shaped bullet bra or is that just too much? I personally like a 1940′s shape, which is right between the grapefruit and torpedo. Sort of like the brassiere equivalent of Goldilocks. Just right! Have any of you made your own bras? Would you buy a vintage style bra pattern? Thoughts?

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