1920s | Dresses

McCall 4464 by Chanel

By on December 2, 2011

This week’s Twenties designer pattern is McCall 4464, an evening dress by Chanel. Here’s the pattern envelope:

McCall 4464 Chanel 1920s evening dress pattern

This one is also from 1926; it’s shown on the same catalogue page as Naomi’s Patou dress. Apart from grading the bust down one size, I made the pattern as-is, but without the rosettes.

I used a black satin for both dress and slip. I hadn’t sewn with satin before, but this one behaved itself pretty well. I also tried out a bias strip facing to finish the drapery section. If I were to make the dress again I think I would choose a lighter fabric, although maybe not a chiffon as seems to be shown in the catalogue illustration—I wouldn’t have the patience for French-seamed streamers!

Here I am in the finished dress:

(Do any of you folks know where to find repro ’20s shoes like those in the pattern engraving? I just love them…)

For more details and photos see my blog.

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1920s | Capes

McCall 4459 by Miler Soeurs

By on November 22, 2011

My 1920s designer pattern for this week is McCall 4459, a cape by Miler Soeurs. Here’s the pattern envelope:

McCall 4459 Miler Soeurs 1920s designer cape pattern

This one is also from 1926. The Ladies’ and Misses’ size Small (14-16) seemed just right for Naomi, so I didn’t make any alterations at all. The pattern gave two lengths for the cape; I cut the shorter length, which is the same length as the dress she’d be wearing it with.

I made the cape in a grey Dormeuil wool-silk blend with a silver moir√© lining and contrast wool pockets. Two small changes I made were to leave off the (decorative) pocket buttons and to interface the standing collar yoke with hair canvas. Working with such beautiful fabric, I was extra-careful with the finishing details—and it was completely worth it.

Here are a few photos of the finished cape:

You can find more details and photos on my blog.

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1920s | Dresses

McCall 4457 by Patou

By on November 18, 2011

For this Halloween I did a Twenties sewing blitz. I chose four 1920s designer patterns from my collection to sew for me and my wife to go out as flapper vampires. Until this project I hadn’t sewn any vintage patterns earlier than the 1960s. Naturally I was a little too ambitious and didn’t finish everything on time, but that’s what blogs are for, right?¬† I’ll be dedicating a post to each garment over the next few weeks.

This week’s post is devoted to McCall 4457, a misses/juniors’ slip-on dress by Patou that I made for Naomi. Here’s the pattern envelope:

1920s Patou sewing pattern

I was able to date this pattern to 1926. The pattern is old store stock, which is always a treat, and it was even the right size for Naomi. Normally I would make adjustments for petites, but it was interesting to find they weren’t needed for this pattern—the waist and skirt length were just right.

I made the dress in a grey satin-backed crepe with black lace trim. It’s hard to see in the illustration, but the back of the dress has this fantastic Art Deco detail involving a topstitched geometric inset and stitched-down pleats. Here it is on the hanger:

For more details and photos see my blog.

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1930s | Introduction

Introduction + 1930s sewing comic

By on October 19, 2011

Hi everyone, I’m Sarah, from Toronto, Canada, and I love to collect and research fashion ephemera (sewing patterns, advertising, catalogues). I’m especially interested in designer patterns as a resource for fashion history. When I have time I also sew; my (not-quite-vintage) wedding dress was recently pictured in Vogue Patterns magazine (see my scan here). Right now I’m working with a bunch of 1920s patterns for Halloween.

This summer I started a blog to share my research and sewing adventures. My most recent post features a 1930s comic strip advertising J.C. Penney’s fabric dept., called Sally Makes a Conquest.

JC Penney 1939 McCall comic strip advertising

You can find the full comic at the PatternVault blog.

Welcome to WordPress, SewRetro!

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