1910s | Blouses | Vintage Sewing

More Downton Abbey Sewing

By on March 12, 2012

I just finished my most recent Edwardian sewing project, a very wearable version of this blouse worn by Sybil in season 1 and Edith in season 2 of Downton Abbey.

I went with a darker color palette to match my winter sewing colors but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

It looks really great styled modern with a black pencil skirt but I’m currently working on sewing up a black skirt from an Edwardian pattern to wear with it. Then all I’ll need is for my American Duchess Astorias to arrive and find a smashing hat!

Construction and drafting details can be found here if you’re interested.

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1910s | 1920s | Children | Modern Patterns

Jo Ann Fabrics: Improvising an original Girl Scout uniform

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This just popped up on my Facebook feed.  I was a Girl Scout for about a week so I could go to camp with my cousin Mary, but my mother was a die-hard Scout for fifteen years.  My brother considers himself a third-generation Eagle Scout because Mom was a Curved Bar (highest rank at the time) and her dad was an Eagle.

Anyway, Jo Ann Fabrics posted a .pdf on how to improvise an original 1910’s – 1920’s Girl Scout uniform using New Look 6004 for the skirt and Simplicity 8523 for the top, with long sleeves and middy color self-drafted.  It does say that this project is “Level 3: Experience Necessary” as it’s a little bit complex.

The finished project (from Jo Ann. I haven't tried it).

It might a be a fun project for avid Scouters out there, though.

Here is an authentic uniform, circa 1925, on at the Minnesota Historical Society.

This photo is labeled “mid-1920’s” but it looks closer to late-teens/early 1920’s to me.


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more dressing downton without a corset

By on February 28, 2012

working on my titanic-style dress for last week’s sew weekly means i actually cannot stop thinking about downton abbey and its influence on my current mood boards.

i love lady mary’s formal dinner gown from series two–especially now that i can see it is blue, not black. (which should have been obvious–wouldn’t it be inappropriate for a lady NOT in mourning to wear black to dinner?)

i’ve become quite fond of the idea of doing this look as a blouse. a nice, basic bodice with vaguely corset-inspired stylines would be a great start:

in this instance, i would probably trace off the pattern to get the right shape, and eliminate the button front by re-aligning the center fronts minus the placket. then i could decide whether to commit to the pintucks or keep it more straight. can’t you see it in a great blue lace with a blue underlining? and the sleeves would be fun to figure out, although probably a fair bit of work to determine the best way to design, cut and insert those velvet bits and the tie-end.

i recently had an epiphany, of sorts, about using vogue 1043 or 8409 as the basis for lady mary’s series 1 evening dress:

and i am not sure i mentioned it, but i’m having pleat obsessions and it’s entirely because of this skirt and its fabulous movement and design details:

oh! and i nearly forgot! have any of you checked out susan khalje’s new craftsy course? firstly, how exciting is it that someone as great as susan khalje is doing an online course like this? first gertie, then susan, and now even the wonderful kenneth king is jumping on the bandwagon. that’s good news for all of us looking for new techniques from wonderful teachers, no?

anyway, susan’s course focuses on a single pattern, vogue 8648. but check out these style lines:

i’m seeing definite potential.

part 1 available at puu’s door of time or right here at WSR.

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dressing downton without a corset: some designs and thoughts i have been playing with

By on February 24, 2012

it’s an obsession, and many of us have it: the clothes in downton abbey. i’m sure loads of you have been scouring the internet for thoughts on how you might get an exact look–or, if you’re like me, you’ve been collecting images and adapting them to patterns you’ve seen or may already own, modern and vintage, to create your own spin. i’m not a costume sort of girl, and i love the idea of flouncing around the office in my downton-inspired garb, but still looking like i belong in the 201os instead of the 1910s.

for some thoughts on accurate recreation, i’ve been entertained and inspired by the efforts of the girl with the star-spangled heart. for myself, i’ve been thinking in these terms…

i love this overblouse and the gray skirt. i’d probably go for a great vintage bolero pattern, a simple blouse (or T!) in lace or cream, and a gray a-line skirt for the look.

ahh, the flower show. scene of triumphs and heartbreaks. honestly, this is probably my favorite episode of series 1. the two base patterns i’ve honed in on for a version of this look are the folkwear garden party dress:

and the sense and sensibility tea gown:

either would be a perfect blank slate for some great design options in those front panels, or the skirts. i love the layered look of the S&S pattern and could have a lot of fun with that.

the obvious and excellent choice in this instance is the folkwear patterns “armistice blouse.”

as illustrated in the inspiring version casey made for the sew weekly:

my favorite piece from series 1 is definitely mary’s casual jacket with the contrast upper collar. as i see it, there are two great options to consider: a modern girl might go for vogue 8601:

and someone looking to play more to the times might consider this little gem from reconstructing history:

this is a beauty, and it’s all about the details. for my own version, i’m going with a deep blue, and definitely taking inspiration from the mix of textures here: a matte silk/wool blend will be my base, with the upper collar and waist details in a silk charmeuse. covered buttons will be a snap with some help from pat, and i’m using as my base the delightfully chic simplicity 8142.

this great a-line skirt may be a bit of a no-brainer, but i’ve been thinking about it for a while and still can’t decide between a version using the colette ginger skirt, a bias-cut skirt, or something self-drafted with a bit of flair. but as you can see from my musings, the possibilities are nearly endless. i’ve already acquired a lovely belt buckle to add a bit of extra interest at the waist, like miss mary here, and i’ve got a RTW silk purple blouse that is always looking for a new friend. the color, too, is gorgeous. in fact, all of the colors of the girls’ skirts i’ve seen this season have been lovely, from the rich gray paired with mary’s cream-colored blouse, to this beautiful wine color, to the stunningly bright blue worn by lady cora in multiple episodes.

believe it or not, this blouse would be lovely and easily done using the colette jasmine blouse. i had this realization over the weekend, while i was prepping the pattern for something else entirely. the neckline would be beautiful in a simple lace and the shape would be chic and modern while still having a romantic feel to it. obviously the sleeves are infinitely adaptable: you can stick with the short sleeve included with the pattern or swap in a long or 3/4 sleeve for something more akin to mary’s look. and who doesn’t love a decorative button treatment?

what have you  been sewing from the 1910s lately?

pattern ideas continued here.
my downton abbey review here.
my additional downton abbey ramblings here.
my titanic/1910s inspired vogue 8409 here.

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1910s | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

My Edwardian Movie Costume

By on February 19, 2012

Hello Ladies!

If any of you have ever watched the “Anne of Green Gables” series, you probably fell in love with the costumes immediately!  I know that was certainly the case in my own life, when watching the breathtaking film launched me into historical costuming many years ago.

So as a tribute to the movie that got me started in sewing costumes in the first place, I recently reproduced the pink traveling gown that Diana Barry wore as her “going away” dress after her wedding (in Anne of Avonlea).  I tried to do everything as authentically as possible, and I used a variety of patterns to create this design.  The fabric was a peachy-pink bengaline moire’.  (“Moire” just means any fabric with an intentional watermark on it.)

The bodice reminds me of a butterfly!

Over the last month or so I wrote about how I constructed the bodice,  designed the sleeves, whipped up the skirt, and finally wore this costume for an all-out Edwardian photo shoot!

Any accomplished lady in 1902 would have enjoyed playing the piano!

I absolutely loved sewing this gown, and incorporated lots of hand sewing with all the antique lace and button-up cuffs.  I wore an embroidered petticoat for fullness in the skirt, and finished off the outfit with a pair of lace-up Victorian boots. I even found a gold and pearl necklace which is remarkably like the original necklace shown in the film.

Trained skirts are so very elegant to wear!

I hope you enjoy the photos, and you can see more pictures of the finished gown here.

I wish I could dress like this every day...

Happy sewing!



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Hello and some Edwardian sewing

By on February 2, 2012

Hello, WeSewRetro! My name is Stephanie and I blog over at star-spangledheart.blogspot.com. I adore 30s, 40s, and 50s fashion but lately I’ve been completely obsessed with Downton Abbey (and am even hosting a sew along!).

My first Downton Abbey inspired project has been a replica of Lady Edith’s black floral blouse. It’s self-drafted from Colette Pattern’s Sorbetto (ie gobs of drafting!) There are more pictures to be found on my blog.

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1800s | 1910s

“Antique” Work-in-progress

By on December 6, 2011

My husbands grandmother passed away a couple of months ago.  Her house was a treasure trove of antiques.  My mother in law bundled up a bunch of beautiful old table runners, doilies, linens, hankies and fabric for me (I blogged about them here – I love vintage textiles), and this was in amongst all of them. It is the oldest unfinished “work-in-progress” I own! The lace down the right hand side is not attached and the neck is open (it is pinned in the picture). I am curious about the age of it.  I am not sure whether it is more Edwardian or Victorian in shape or sure whether this would have been left as a separate collar or sewn onto a garment.

The black silk is in excellent condition – in much better shape that an Edwardian blouse I have in my collection.  It is very stiffly faced and has the most delicate velvet ribbon around the neck. I would love to finish it, but I want to make sure I finish it how it would have been finished!

If anyone has any insight as to the period and how it would be worn or finished, I would love to hear it 🙂  There some photos of my other Edwardian Era finds on my blog, if you are interested.  Thanks a lot for your help!



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