The Pictorial Guide to Modern Home Dressmaking dates from 1940, and contains pages and pages of information about pattern drawing and adjusting. This was the first book I turned to when I decided to make myself two new tops for the summer. First I followed the instructions for drafting a bodice pattern, made up a toile in calico, and then had to make serious adjustments and start again.
Once I was happy with the fit I made a top in batik which I had been lucky enough to find in a charity shop.
Here is my daughter modelling the batik top for me. We are close enough in size for her to model clothes I have made for myself. The top was very easy to make – essentially it is from a basic bodice pattern, neckline and armholes adjusted for a cool summery look, with darts tapering the cut slightly to the waist, and a box pleated frill added at the bottom.
Having made this top and being satisfied with the fit and style, I then made a second version in high quality cotton.
Here is the blue version in a herringbone cotton. The cotton is a medium weight shirting with a beautiful soft feel. This blue cotton has a much more vintage look to it than the batik, and it called for dark navy buttons and a decorative ribbon to trim to give it a detailed finished effect.
These tops are lovely and cool to wear, and quick and easy to make. I hope they give plenty of inspiration for everyone who is busy revamping their summer wardrobe. For lots more information and photos of the book and the two tops, just follow the three links to the three separate posts in my blog.
This is the bodice of the dress that I have made for my three year old god-daughter. In real life the dress is finished apart from a tiny bit of hand stitching to neaten off a few details on the inside. However in blogland it is still a work in progress because I have been showing the construction step by step to demonstrate the dressmaking techniques I use. Because I only use straight stitch machines – hand machines and treadles – zigzagging and overlocking is a mystery to me. I didn’t know what an overlocker looked like until I watched the Great British Sewing Bee recently, and I had been reading American blogs for ages before I worked out that sergers were what we call overlockers.
Today I have put a post on my blog, lavishly illustrated with 18 photos, showing how I do bound armhole seams. Previous posts include photos of how I have drafted the pattern piece for the collar and done the felled seams.
I hope my posts are helpful to keen retro fans. There is still a way to go before I have posted all the stages of construction.
This is my first time Sewing for Victory, it has been a great experience, and I’m thrilled with the result. The blouse I made looks fabulous on my daughter – she gladly modelled it for me – but it’s mine!
This is the pattern I used. I had to do a fair amount of re-sizing and restyling, all of which is explained on my blog.
I did all the machine sewing using my 1949 Singer 15K hand machine, added the tiny rick rack braid with a braiding foot that came with my oldest treadle machine, which dates from 1913, and made the buttonholes on my 1936 Singer 201K treadle using a buttonholer attachment.
All the seams were finished using vintage techniques, so there is not a raw edge in sight. Here is the inside view.
My next sewing project is going to be a dress for my god-daughter, Meg’s, third birthday at the end of May, using the home made pattern shown recently on my blog. I will be showing the construction of the dress step by step. Meg’s big sister Lily will be watching progress with interest. Lily is ten and already a keen sewer. I hope lots of the vintage sewers out there will be interested too…