1940s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Update for Du Barry 5932

By on April 8, 2014

Many thanks to everyone who gave advice for finishing this dress.

I used this cotton Donna Wilder Fabric


I took off all the ruffles, took it in at the waist, shortened the sleeves, and hemmed it to hit right at the knee.  I would have liked a navy belt to go with it, but I don’t have a navy belt buckle yet, so I added my vintage red flower buckle belt I created for another dress last year.  I wore it out last weekend when a friend and I went to Colonial Williamsburg (which explains the large tag and the large straw hat on my head – my friend and I do Revolutionary re-enactments, so the hat will become one of my props!).   And I even got a few compliments on the dress from other tourists there!  This one is sure to be worn many times.



Can't resist acting like a model

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1940s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Advice for Du Barry 5932

By on April 1, 2014


I’m at the final stretch of finishing this dress, but am having second thoughts about it.  I did the pink view, but used navy fabric as a contrasting ruffle – thought the flowers to be too much.  Now the dress fits nicely, but I’m getting the feeling it’s more like a fancy old-lady potato sack.  Any thoughts?  Should I continue as is with the navy trim?  Get rid of the ruffles altogether?  Do the ribbon like on the green dress?  I wonder if putting some navy bias tape on top of the princess seams just to break up the pattern?  Or just scrap the whole thing?  (Excuse the bathroom selfies – and I haven’t set in the sleeves  yet)  🙂

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1940s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Sew for Victory – Du Barry 5366

By on March 10, 2013


I just finished a dress for the Sew for Victory Challenge hosted by Lucky Lucille.  I picked the Du Barry 5366 from 1942.  I really wanted a simple shirtwaist dress made from cotton that would be not only functional for summer, but still dressy.

Excuse the snow of the back deck!

I used a quilting cotton (gasp!) for the dress, finishing all the seams with a turned and stitched seam.  It also has an invisible zipper on the side (not authentic vintage, but I do adore my invisible zippers!).  The front is stitched shut, so it’s not the typical button-down shirtwaist.  I also made a red belt using a vintage buckle and button card I found here.  Though I didn’t use the matching buttons on this dress, they will be used on a future 1940s dress.

Vintage Red Belt Buckle

Throw on my red shoes from ModCloth, and I’m ready for a night on the town (okay, maybe just a night at home!)  🙂  I also got to learn a new technique with this dress: piecing!  Turns out, the skirt back is too wide to fit on the fabric, so you have to cut off a bit of the corner, then sew that piece back onto the main skirt.  And the only indication of doing this comes from that pesky little cutting diagram!  This fabric is so patterned that you can’t even tell where I had to do that!  I’ve already worn it out once and have gotten compliments on it.  Now onto making another dress for Sew for Victory!

What post isn't complete without showing off your helper?

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1950s | Lingerie | Vintage Sewing

Advance 5876 Kitty Pajamas

By on February 18, 2013
Advance 5876

This little 1950s gem was in an eBay lot I purchased last summer.  It has the name of the owner (Barbara Gilliam – Homeroom 111) written on every piece – the envelope, instructions, and every single pattern piece.  She even did the hard work for me and identified each piece (front, back, etc.)!  This pattern was probably her school project.  My store-bought scottie dog pajamas, worn nightly for 5 years, bit the dust the same week Joann’s had a sale on flannel AND a 20% off coupon.  I took it as a sign to get to work making these up and chose a kitty fabric as a contrast to my previously worn dogs.

I cut View 2.  I didn’t have to make any major alterations to the pattern, but I did lengthen the pants by about an inch, and extended the wrist cuff by an inch so it wouldn’t cut off the circulation to my hand.  It took about 2 days of sewing to complete, but only because I did french seams, turned and stitched seams, and bound the armhole and uh-hum…[crotch] seam with bias tape.

Armhole showing all three seam finishes

I know, the bias tape doesn’t match!  I had this self-made tape left over from another project and didn’t feel like making matching tape for a part of this garment that only I will see.  Besides, waste not, want not!



Pocket detail









The pattern has two front pockets.

Finished Pajamas

These are perfect for the frigid winter nights, and I’m hoping they will last me even longer than the store-bought ones did!

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1940s | 1950s | Burlesque / Pinup | Lingerie | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

Bras and Slips and Skirts, OH MY!

By on December 18, 2012

Two weeks ago, I finished up Mrs. Depew’s 1940′s French Bra Pattern #2014 in a simple lavender cotton broadcloth (read about it here).  I broke out the nicer satin-y fabric I had in my stash and made up another.  This time, I did not use any interfacing – I found this fabric to be much thicker and have more structure than the cotton fabric.

Pink Satin-y Bra

I added a little ribbon rosette on the front.  This bra reminds me of a cake with a dollop of frosting in the middle – or it could be that I’m reminded of a cake since I was frosting cookies this past week!


Up next is the slip from McCall’s 8744 (c. 1951) that I had asked for instructions here.  I actually finished this about two months ago, but am just now getting around to taking pictures.  Please excuse the hangers, I don’t have a mannequin.

Pattern cover and finished slip

This one is made with some ivory colored crepe fabric.  I have never had a full-length slip before and have wanted one ever since the age of 5 when I saw the 1980’s movie “Annie” – you know the scene where the sexy secretary is dancing in her slip and getting ready to go to the movies!  The only modification I made to this pattern was cutting the pieces out on the bias.  I don’t have the instructions to this pattern, but from the pieces shown on the back of the envelope, it looks like it is cut on the grain.  All the other slip patterns I have are cut on the bias.  This slip is very fun to wear under my dresses and skirts!

Speaking of skirts, this next one is what I call “The Blye Skirt”, named after my husband’s grandmother who gave me the fabric last year and recently passed away at the incredible age of 99!  I used Simplicity 4075 from 1942.

The material seems like some sort of suiting, and I found it to be a bit slippery to work with.  I had to shorten it by about 2 inches because I did not have enough fabric to have the original length, but it still comes down well past my knee and I love the end result.  I did a nice little side placket with snaps and used lace hem tape.  Though it needs a bit of ironing after hanging in my closet this past week (don’t you love my frugal pants/skirts hanger?), it has already been worn numerous times!  I think Blye would have been proud!

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1940s | Burlesque / Pinup | Lingerie | Vintage Sewing

My “Screw Bra Shopping” Bra

By on December 8, 2012

I’ve been drooling over Mrs. Depew’s “Sexy Ladies” patterns for a while now, and when my last store-bought bra finally met its demise just in time for “Black Friday”, I knew it was a sign to pick up Mrs. Depew’s 1940’s French Bra Pattern #2014 during her after Thanksgiving sale.   

From the moment I printed out this pattern, I was giddy with excitement to make it!  I’m always nervous to cut into my really nice fabrics when making a new pattern, so I decided to make it out of a lavender cotton that was hanging out in my stash.  I added lace on the upper cup to sexy up the cotton and did a three-button closure on the back.  The buttons are actually light pink, but unless you’re looking closely at it (which the only one to be doing that will be the hubby!) you can’t really tell that they don’t match. I also added fusible interfacing on the front and back bands to give the bands more structure.

Sexy bra on the not-so-sexy kitchen counter
Three Button Back Closure

I did modify the pattern and added a third bust dart towards to center front in order to make the cup more fitting to me.  This is a great pattern and so easy to make!  Total sewing time was a little less than three hours (including making  two muslins).  Now to get out my satin material to make some more!

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