1930s | Blouses | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

1930s Wallis Simpson Inspired Blouse

By on May 12, 2016

Wallis Simpson, double collar blouse, 1936

I have coveted the beautiful double collar blouse Wallis Simpson wore during a cruise with Edward VIII in 1936 ever since I first saw the photograph many years ago. I love the fact that despite it being a very simple design it has lots and lots of gorgeous detailing on it. I also love the way it fits her so perfectly, so I was inspired to make my own version for my 1930s wardrobe. However, I didn’t want to do a direct copy of it but rather take the details of it and make my own version.

1930s burgundy outfit

I drafted the pattern myself from some old pattern blocks I made at college and it took two mock ups to get the fit just right. I wanted it to fit snuggly enough that it looked like a tailored shirt but also loose enough so I could move in it. The measurement across the shoulder blades was the trickiest, mainly because I was trying to do it on myself in the mirror!

The olive and burgundy berry cotton fabric came from my favourite fabric shop, ClothSpot and I knew it would go perfectly with the calf length burgundy skirt I’d recently made from an original 1930s sewing pattern. It took me a while to figure out what I wanted to do in terms of the detailing and what colours I wanted them to be but it was worth taking the time to get it right.

1930s Double Collar Blouse

The largest of the two collars was also self drafted using my oh-so-faithful pattern cutting book, Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wearspacer by Winifred Aldrich. I then traced it again and took about two centimetres off the outside edges to create the second one. The burgundy cotton was from my very big fabric stash and the ivory was rushed to me by ClothSpot after I discovered that I only had white or cream and neither of them were quite right.

Self covered belt buckle

The buttons are self-covered just like the ones on Wallis’ blouse and I also had the belt buckle covered for me by the London Button Company. I’d never used them before but I would highly recommend them to anyone, they were very quick and very helpful when I had questions. As the name suggests they also do buttons, all of which you can have covered in your own fabric, as well as a good range of buckles.

The buckle and the belt, which I made myself, is done in the same wool crepe type fabric of the skirt so it can be worn on top of the blouse or around the waistband of the skirt. This allows me to tuck the blouse in if I wish.

If you would like to read more about my version of Wallis Simpson’s 1930s blouse and see more photos, feel free to pop over to my blog.

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1920s | Downton Abbey Inspired | Vintage Sewing

Early 1920s Cardigan

By on April 20, 2016

One garment from the 1910s and 1920s that often gets overlooked is the belted cardigan. However, it’s actually a classic piece of fashion history from this time period and often pops up in period dramas based in these eras. Women wore them about the house to keep warm before central heating became the norm, you could probably equate them to modern day hoodies!

1920s wool cardigan

I’ve always found them fascinating and have always loved to have one, but most were knitted and I, very annoyingly, cannot knit. So, when I saw this original 1920s wool jersey one on Pinterest I knew I needed to try and make my own version. It would be a perfect challenge for my next Vintage Pledge.

Early 1920s outfit

And here it is! I based the design on an original 1930s cardigan sewing pattern I had, although the 1920s detailing of the large patch pockets and double button belt were just guess work.

Top stitching detail on 1920s cardigan

Sportswear inspired clothing was just beginning to creep into fashion during the early part of the 1920s and one detail that was used in the majority of these garments was top-stitching. I added loads of it to this cardigan to really give it a sportswear feel which was a huge challenge, trying to keep it straight and neat everywhere!

If you would like to read more about how how I made this early 1920s cardigan and see more photos, feel free to pop over to my blog.

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1920s | Blouses | Downton Abbey Inspired | Giveaway | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

1920s Silk Blouse and Pleated Skirt

By on March 11, 2016

After admiring everyone else’s achievements last year for A Stitching Odyssey’s Vintage Pledge I decided that this year I was going to join in. My own pledge was to challenge and push myself with my sewing. I’ve just finished my first outfit for the pledge, a 1920s silk blouse and pleated skirt. I created the pattern for the blouse by tracing around a simple silk top I already had and then making my own adjustments. The pattern for the skirt was McCall’s M7022 pleated skirt which I lengthened to a more suitable 1920s style.

1920s blouse, skirt and cloche hat

I used a beautiful Pre-Raphaelite inspired green and purple floral silk for the blouse which I bought from the fabulous ClothSpot and this was my first challenge. I’d never worked with silk before so was really, really nervous about starting it and I put it off for about four months. The Vintage Pledge was just what I needed to force myself to be brave and just get on with it. As it turned out there was nothing to worry about!

Pre-Raphaelite inspired silk fabric

I added vintage, probably early 20th Century, jet buttons to both the front of the blouse and at the side to close the band around the bottom.

1920s blouse, skirt and cloche hat

The skirt is in a black cotton twill that I dug out from my stash. I’m not overly happy with it, mainly because the fabric is all wrong for the style of skirt, it’s way too stiff. I’m not sure if I’ll try and adjust it or just make a different one.

If you would like to read more about how the whole outfit and see more photos feel free to pop over to my blog. And while you’re there why not check out my latest post where I’m running a giveaway of £40 to spend on fabrics at ClothSpot. (Giveaway ends midnight 20th March 2016)

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1930s | Coats | Downton Abbey Inspired | Vintage Sewing

1930s In-Between Seasons Coat

By on February 10, 2016

Last autumn one of my goals was to make a 1930s lightweight coat so I can wear it during those in-between months, when it’s not quite warm enough to go without one and not quite cold enough for full on winter coat, scarf and gloves. After trawling both Etsy and eBay I finally found this beautiful original 1930s pattern by Bestway, a company who produced sewing patterns for the home sewer and were available to order via the Bestway magazine.

1930s Bestway Coat Sewing Pattern

1930s lightweight coat

I used an amazing aubergine and grey mix suiting fabric that looked and behaved like wool but was actually a polyester mix and it was a dream to work with. It took me forever to make due to the traditional tailoring techniques I used but it was definitely worth it in the end as it hangs so well.

1930s Bakelite buttons

The buttons had to be authentic and after many hours of searching I found these original 1930s Bakelite ones on Etsy. I absolutely love the classic Art Deco lines on them and I think the size of them really adds the right amount of detailing to the coat.

1930s aubergine coat

If you would like to read more about the coat and see more photos feel free to pop over to my blog.

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