1910s | 1930s | 1950s | 1970s | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

The great white dress

By on December 17, 2015

Hi all you wonderful crafting & sewing fellows!

It’s crazy, I haven’t posted anything in here for years, but the great big white deserves a mention, methinks 😉

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My inspirations for this dress was all over the place. I was looking at Edwardian wedding gowns, 1930’s drapes and flowy sleeves, 1950’s circle skirts and 1970’s hippie layers and lace stuff… You can imagine the confusion and headaches I had over design choices!

In the end I went for a completely self drafted design, with added details from all the periods I was inspired by, and I think it worked pretty well! I used my standard bodice pattern for starters, cut it up to find the “perfect seam lines” (and of course that meant having a seven-piece bodice. Smart), and then made a few muslins to try to perfect it.

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The skirt is four layers – four different fabrics – full circle.

IMG_1284cFor a bunch more pictures, come over here: http://sewewellyn.blogspot.se/2015/12/finally-wedding-dress-pictures.html

And here’s the post with some of my inspiration: http://sewewellyn.blogspot.se/2015/05/wedding-dress-inspiration.html

 

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1910s | 1920s | 1950s | Pattern Drafting

Free Vintage Patterns and Vintage Sewing Books

By on February 10, 2015

Looking for something to read on the bus? Check out these free vintage dressmaking books, including a pattern drafting system from the 1950s that looks rather nifty.

If you’re not familiar with how the pattern drafting systems work, it’s like having small pattern guides (think of the pattern piece schematics on the back of your sewing pattern envelope) that you scale up to your individual measurements using a specially marked ruler or measuring tape. In the Dressmaking at Home book here, you’ll find the details for the ruler on page 7.

Edit: these might look a little quirky on mobile. If you’re having trouble, jump on an actual computer.

Dressmaking at Home (pattern drafting system from the 1950s)

The New Dressmaker by Butterick Patterns (1921)

The American System of Dressmaking (early 1900s)

 

Home Dressmaking and the Art of Good Dressing

A note about copyright: I didn’t make any of these documents available on Scribd and Scribd’s terms of use specifically prohibit the upload of works for which you do not hold the copyright. I haven’t dug down far enough into the murky world of copyright infringement to be able to say if these works are infringing or not, so I’m taking Scribd at their word that these works are not infringing anyone’s copyright. Copyright holders can file a takedown notice on Scribd here.

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1910s | 1920s | Blouses | Downton Abbey Inspired

Downton Abbey inspired blouse

By on December 24, 2014

Recently, I re-watched season two of Downton Abbey and for the first time, the clothes really appealed to me. Especially some of the blouses looked like they would still be nice to wear now.

I have some vintage pattern magazines in my collection which date as far back as 1918 so I started looking for options. In those magazines, there are plenty of pictures of lovely designs and readers could order the patterns for those… Just some of the designs (about one in each size) were included on a tracing sheet.

jurk_topI finally found these dresses in an issue of Gracieuse magazine from 1922. The middle one is more or less in my size (and so loose fitting I didn’t worry about that) and, more importantly, has the design I was after. So, I used the pattern pieces for the dress bodice to create this blouse.

blouse3It was a bit difficult to find a way to wear it. The blouse is very comfortable and I like it, but most of the bottoms in my wardrobe are more 1950’s in style and really didn’t work with it. I like the look with these trousers though. Not really period accurate but it doesn’t look ‘off’ either.

blouse voor 2With this blouse, I’ve also completed my goal of five items from actual vintage patterns for my Vintage Pattern Pledge.

As usual, you can read more about it on my blog.

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1910s | Blouses | Jackets | Skirts

Simplicity 9723 With a Twist

By on October 10, 2014

9723Simplicity 9723 is an approximate 1900’s based stage costume pattern. A friend is having an old West themed Halloween party and my plans to make this and go as a school marm were set.

Unfortunately (fortunately?) when I went to the fabric store, my mind started wandering. Add in that the theme of the party was subtly changed to “post-apocalyptic old West” and I started looking at more fun fabrics than I had originally planned. Somehow that landed me in the section with the pleathers and other odd-ball fabrics I just don’t use.

An hour later I came out of the fabric store a lot poorer, and with almost 20 yards of fabric. I actually over-bought on two of my fabric choices by a total of about 2.5 yards because this pattern is not terribly clear on the allowances concerning the changes I planned on making.

Still, better to over-buy than to not have enough, right?

This pattern calls for the blouse and skirt to be made as one piece, which I did not want to do. It also calls for a lot of trims and laces added, only one of which I used- the collar. After making all my changes and adjustments, I’m really pleased with the outcome and the jacket is so wild!

The ruffles on the petticoat caused me some grief and I had to pleat the skirt rather then gather it because it just would not pull along my gathering threads, but otherwise I feel really good about it. Stop by my blog at Deb’s In Stitches and see more about what I did.

The site seems to be having a loading issue with some images right now- if the pictures of my finished project aren’t loading, please click thru to my blog!

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1910s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1917 Madeleine Vionnet Wrap Dress (Japanese Bunka Book pattern #2)

By on June 17, 2014

Yay, dress muslin #2 from this project is finished!

Here is a photo of the original, which shows how important fabric choice is: (source here)

Dress #2 is a wrap dress with the front bodice on the bias, skirt is made of three layers. Layer 1 is a very wide heavily gathered rectangle, Layer 2 is another gathered but narrower and longer rectangle is on top, and Layer 3 are two bubble poofs, each made of 3 gathered pieces of fabric. The top of the bodice back, front, and neck strap have fabric roses attached to them.

This dress didn’t fit me initially (tears!) but I added 3 inches to the CB as well as 5 inches to the bodice front – WHEW! Then it fit, but barely as you can see. Not a bra friendly dress.

It has great swish factor because of the 2 back poofs, but the dress really becomes something else once you discover that you can put your arms through the poofs and turn them into sleeves. Magic! Probably unintentional, but a fun discovery nonetheless.

The roses were created by a Vionnet Rose Pattern from the Center for Pattern Design:

If you’re interested, I’ve more photos and construction information on my sewing blog here: http://cathywu.com/journal/kalali/2014/06/17/vionnet-dress-pattern-2-1917-wrapped-with-roses/ I also made an animated gif of how to wear it, which I tried to post here but didn’t work.

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1910s | 1940s | Accessories

Shawls

By on November 2, 2013

It’s getting cold – time to bring the retro-knitted shawls out!

Patons Woolcraft 9th editionI seem to have completed quite a few this year. Here’s an electric blue number knitted in decided non-period wool from my 1915 copy of Patons’ famous Woolcraft booklet, in amongst all the other highly exotic undergarments of the era:

I used a cone of machine-knit acrylic in place of the super-fine Shetland wool recommended in the pattern. The pattern is actually extremely simple, consisting of sets of intersecting ‘fans’ repeated again and again (and again and again and again…): the only difference between rows is that there are three different corner groups, which have to be repeated in a set order, and if you get it wrong you don’t notice until you try to work the next row into it and find that it doesn’t fit. It’s very dispiriting to discover this when each row takes forty-five minutes to complete!
corner of shawl

This is a square shawl measuring thirty-six inches along each side (plus star-border). It was so large that I had to pin it out and steam it on my bed: I don’t have a ‘blocking board’ big enough. But the whole thing weighs only 160 grams (five and a half ounces).
Holding up shawl

It took me a while to work out how to wear a square shawl by looking at the photo in the booklet, but in fact if you fold it right you get a genuine ‘shawl collar’ forming all by itself…

Wearing shawl under cherry tree
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Standing under the rose arch
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My second shawl was also worked in crochet, but was a far faster project! So fast in fact that I did two, with slightly different colour schemes to use up the spare wool: spot the difference.

green shawl in garden
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red shawl indoors
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This was a 1940s pattern for a round shawl entitled “Cozy comfort on cool nights”, and it is designed to sit with a yoke section on the shoulders and a looser section in ‘Solomon’s knot’ stitch. It only takes a few days to make out of double-knitting wool, and is a good way to use up scraps.

front view, sky-gazing in garden
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My third shawl is a triangle shawl of unknown date, since the website I got the pattern from gives only a diagram from an old magazine:
http://www.smart-knit-crocheting.com/crochet-shawl.html

I’ve called it an ‘Art Deco’ shawl, but in fact I’ve been told it may well be older.
Shawl displayed in garden

I deliberately chose a much larger hook size than would normally be used for working double-knitting wool (itself thicker wool than would have been intended for a pattern of this type) so that, instead of getting multiple squares to be assembled together with their edges matching in a further lace pattern, I got a single large square that would more or less fit across my back.

back view of shawl being worn
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This was just as well, since the instructions don’t give any directions as to how you are supposed to make the partial squares to fit along the edges, and I had to guess… and clearly got it wrong, as they ended up distinctly shorter than the full-size motif! Luckily with only two dangling down the front, it doesn’t show.

front/side view of shawl being worn
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By using the very large hook size to produce this extra ‘lacy’ effect, I managed to get an entire shawl out of one spare ball of double-knitting wool: very economical.

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1910s | 1920s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | Vintage Sewing

Frocktober 2013

By on October 31, 2013

In Australia October is known in many vintage circles as Frocktober. It’s a chance to wear a Frock every day of the month & raise money & awareness for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. It was started by two fabulous Swing dancers.
This year my aim was to go Vintage every time I left the house & raise $1000.
I’m just shy of my target, but I promise to wear my 1950’s style wedding dress tomorrow if I get there.
Here’s a taste of what I’ve worn


Luckily I am a costume designer & was able to borrow back a whole stack of dresses I’ve made from about 10 years of school productions, plus a few from my own personal collection.
I think after this I might be doing a regular vintage outfit every week. it’s been a blast.

https://frocktober.everydayhero.com/au/Mizjayne

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