1930s | Vintage Sewing

1938 pattern

By on September 10, 2014

IMG_2499IMG_2492IMG_2497Finished dress! This one took me a month because I hated working on it. I put a lot of detail into it and I swore it would never end. I am so happy it’s finally done. From a 1938 pattern. Fabric is a stretch poplin, buttons are vintage glass.

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

Twist on a farm dress

By on November 10, 2013

There are times when you can already see a finished dress before you even start; you know the fabric, pattern, and the way it will fit. What details you’ll add, how you will look in it. This dress started out this way–I had this marvelous 30’s inspired cotton and waited until I found the right pattern to join it–the pattern I had envisioned for years. AS soon as I pinned it together, however, I was immediately disappointed. While the dress somewhat resembled the pattern illustration, it lacked the girlishness and the feminine qualities that drew me to it in the first place. Instead, it looked like an average farm dress, and I felt my heart break. One of my friends even went as far as to say that it was something Grandma Walton would wear. So the the challenge for me was how to bring it back from a dress I hated to one that I would probably (hopefully) wear. I really wanted to save it.

So I added the velvet trim around the collar, which shaped I revised into a curved, flirty one instead of the block triangle shape it was, and I liked the definition it gave the collar, and rescued it from getting lost in the fabric pattern. Ditto on the sleeve cuffs and the pockets, which I drafted separately, inspired by some Morrocan tiles I had just seen. The original hem was dreadful, and I took a cue from one of my favorite designers to give it a wide, sweeping scallop. That got trimmed, too. Yep, I may have gone a little trim crazy, but overall, I like the dress much better than the terrible disappointment it once was. Although I still have the original version of the dress I wanted in my head, and will try to find more of this fabric.

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

1956 pattern

By on October 6, 2013

Finally finished this dress in Amy Butler Nigella sateen cotton. It’s a great weight for this pattern and for a fall dress. My first shot at pockets– they needed some adjusting and tacking here and there, but overall, I faced my fear and I will be happy to tackle them again.

Pocket detail

The buttons are vintage jet, faceted and I had just enough.

Continue Reading

1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1956 Pattern–Miss Havesham

By on July 29, 2013

I made this dress for the wedding of friends recently–it’s from a 1956 Butterick pattern. I adjusted the yoke on the waist–the somewhat scalloped, swinging drape look wasn’t exactly what I wanted, so I just straightened it out. The fabric is a light blue silk dupioni that’s been washed and air dried–it created wonderful texture if you just leave it alone and don’t steam or iron it. The sheen stays, but it’s sort of puckery and looks very 19th century to me. I also added two panels on the skirt for a fuller look, and then ruched and sewed up the hem to give it a swag look on the bottom and on the sleeves. I had a great, really old piece of chantilly lace hanging around, and I tried it inside the neckline, so it stayed. The dress looks rather Miss Havesham-my now, and all I need is a rotten wedding cake, a spiderweb cape and lots of clocks. I’ll be all set!!

Neckline and antique lace


Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

1936 pattern

By on July 13, 2013

I thought I’d be able to whip this dress out in a couple of days. I’m a bad estimator. From a mail-order pattern from 1936 (maybe Marian Martin, but probably Farm Bureau), the instructions were vague and I figured most of it out on my own. Fabric is cotton voile, very light for summer, with a nice 1930’s pattern ( a little Deco, but….); collar is antique charmeuse silk from a WWII wedding gown I had a scrap of. The major stains on that fabric are on the underside of collars and cuffs. I was able to score the Bakelite belt buckle from a flea market vendor in NYC. Unsure about the flower–if I should go frilly with the old lace inserted or just plain. Fits well, little adjustments here and there, the pattern size is a bit too big for me. MYy dummy loves wearing this dress. Everything looks better on her!

Continue Reading

1950s | Vintage Sewing

1956 Vogue pattern

By on June 3, 2013

I used a Vogue vintage pattern from 1956- number 8830. Fabric is a linen/silk shantung that has a gorgeous sheen, and the collar and cuffs are from a yard of silk I got from Mood. Four inverted pleats on the skirt–I added the belt looks to cinch it in tighter if need be. Fun dress to make, relatively simple. Didn’t make the bolero, I didn’t have enough fabric–this took 4 yards at 60″ wide.  Big skirt!

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

Finally finished!

By on April 22, 2013

1938 Advance pattern
I began this dress two years ago from a 1938 Advance pattern. Other projects soon took precedence, and this one was left half-finished for many months. I finally got back to it, and am glad I did. Used cotton lawn I thought was design appropriate for the era, and vintage buttons that reflect the flower pattern. The collars and cuffs are organza white silk, and the soutache is black silk cord.

Continue Reading