1920s | 1930s | Dresses

Re-Creating My Grandmother’s Dress – Gatsby 2018

By on October 5, 2018

Every year the Art Deco Society of California puts on the The Gatsby Summer Afternoon. This Gatsby Event is the highlight of my year, as far as vintage events go, and this year was no exception. The weather was perfect (high 70 degrees and breezy), the picnics were exquisite and the company eclectic and entertaining.

For this year’s ensemble, I chose to replicate a look that my grandmother wore (see photo above) in one of her modeling photos. I’ve admired this dress for years and have not quite had the nerve to re-create it until now. That front neck detail with the capelet and ruching really had me flummoxed.

When I mentioned, on Instagram that this was my plan, Deirdre from Vintage Pattern Lending Library suggested I use one of her patterns to start and then she sent it to me! How lucky am I? Thank you Deirdre! The pattern was a perfect jumping off point and it really took the pressure off to have a pattern to start from.

I’m pretty pleased with the overall look, considering, in the end, I only had about a week to pull it off. I completed the ensemble with me-made purse, hat and jewelry. There are a few changes I would make, given the time and inclination (neckline wider and capelet longer in the back). Overall, though, I’m pretty happy with the whole look.

To read the complete post, see pattern adaptations and more pictures from the event, please visit my blog.

Thanks and Happy Sewing!

xo – Jennifer

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1920s | Coats | Vintage Sewing

1920’s Style Blue Velvet Evening Coat

By on September 24, 2018
JSerrBlueVelvetCoat

I wore this Blue Velvet Coat to the Miss Fisher Convention this year in Portland, Oregon. In this photo shoot (Thanks Mom!) I paired the jacket with a true vintage 1920’s silk lace and chiffon dress, along with some rhinestone / crystal accessories and coordinating shoes and bag.I think it all works together quite nicely.

When making this Coat, I really wanted a long attached neck scarf like Phryne Fisher (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) wears on many of her coats. As I was cutting out this silk velvet, I really had to squeeze every inch of what I had. So, that meant that I had to piece the scarf. It left a seam on one side in the front that I really didn’t like and the naps were different. This was a dilemma at a late hour. Luckily, I had two beaded appliques that worked perfectly. I bought 3 of them, and glad I did.

I’m really pleased with how the side gusset turned out. At first, they seemed a little small, but after inserting them in the side, they give the coat, just enough swing. Also, there was not enough fabric to make them any bigger, so I certainly can’t complain.

The Patterns I Used – Both from Vintage Pattern Girl on Etsy – 1929 Ladies Straight-Line Coat – Reproduction Sewing Pattern #Z2545 & 1934 Ladies Dress With Coat – Reproduction Sewing Pattern #T1418

For the complete blog post and to see HOW I did the pattern adaptations, please visit my Blog.

 

Until Next Time – Happy Sewing!

xo

Jennifer

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1920s | Accessories | Capes | Downton Abbey Inspired | Vintage Sewing

Make a 1920’s Inspired Shrug for added Glamour

By on June 29, 2017

 

My friend Jonathan invited me to his 30th birthday party.  He wanted to leave his OWN roaring 20’s in style and asked everyone to come dressed up for the occasion.  What a great opportunity to play dress up and put on a made-by-me gown from my favorite era!

Original dress and wrap

Yay!  I had everything – Dress, shoes, stockings, gloves, hand bag and wrap.  But the truth is, I didn’t really want to wear a wrap.  I wanted something a little more glamorous. So why not turn my metallic gold organza wrap into something more special?  I could throw it together in a couple of days, right?  So I did.  It’s not 100% accurate to the era and time, but I think it evokes the glamour of the era (and my inspiration photo – see below) and went perfectly with my dress already (see this post for more info about the dress)

The Finished Look!
My Vintage Inspiration

Here is the finished look.  I am happy with the way it turned out.  It was created from a metallic organza wrap that I owned already, and a vintage white fox collar that was purchased online. The stitching was done entirely by hand and the collar is removable.

If you are interested in how I created the Shrug, visit my blog post about making it.

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1920s | 1930s | Blouses | Downton Abbey Inspired | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

A 1920’s Blouse Done 3 ways with One Vintage Dress Pattern

By on June 25, 2017

Three Blouses from One 1920's Dress Pattern

As part of my quest to build a “Miss Fisher” wardrobe, I’ve sewed up three little blouses inspired by separates her character wears in different episodes.  This post will show you the 3 blouses I have made, starting with one pattern.  The base pattern is the Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1920s Ladies Frock with Pleated Skirt Inset – Reproduction Sewing Pattern #Z2773.

Here is my Finished Blouse 1. I love it and wear it all the time!

 

For the first blouse the fabric was made from a printed stretch silk charmeuse and coordinating white silk habotai collar and tie ends.  I kept the tie exactly as on the pattern, making the ends contrast and the tie the same fabric as the blouse.

For blouse #2,  there were a few revisions to the pattern/construction – namely adding a loop under the collar to hold the neck tie, omitting the bottom band (with added length) and omitting the contrast tie bottom on the neck tie (adding length here again).

Close up view of front neck
Front view of finished blouse

Blouse #3 has to be my favorite so far.  It’s a departure from the other two but was easy to create using the same pattern. I sketched it after watching Series 2 episode 3 (Dead Man’s Chest) and decided to modify this pattern to get the look.  This version was made in a printed paisley cotton lawn and the flat piping was made from white seersucker scraps that I had floating around as well as white covered buttons (joining sleeve ends) that were also floating around in my stash. On a related side note, there was some great conversation about Miss Fisher’s blouses in The Miss Fisher Philes podcast , when they discuss this episode (Series 2 episode 3 (Dead Man’s Chest)), making reference to Miss Fisher wearing more separates than dresses.

If you would like to read more about how exactly I revised the pattern to create each of these looks, visit my blog post here.

See more of my projects and vintage inspiration on my blog or connect with me on instagram!

Thanks and Happy Sewing!

Jennifer Serr

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1920s | 1930s | Downton Abbey Inspired | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Sewing a 1920’s Art Deco Evening Gown

By on June 11, 2017
Art Deco Ball - Jennifer Serr
Art Deco Ball - Jennifer Serr
At The Ball

Well, the day (Art Deco Society of California’s) of the  Preservation Ball arrived and I was prepared!  This year’s theme was Death on The Nile (the Agatha Christie Murder Mystery) with a focus on Egyptian Revival of the Art Deco era. I was lucky to be gifted some beautiful fabric, salvaged vintage trims and good luck at Britex for the finishing touches to my gown and headband. Thanks also to Barbara Mooney at Daisy’s, here in Alameda, for lending me the PERFECT necklace and pointing me to some wonderful coordinating earrings (in her shop) that I will treasure for years to come.

Dressed Up with My Handsome Husband
Dressed up with my Handsome Husband

In the end, I’m happy with the final look. My foundation garment worked well on the dress form so that I could drape my gown to my measurements, however, did not work under the dress when I was wearing it.  It still needs some modifications to the cups and the straps showed. Fitting can be a challenge sometimes and often requires multiple fittings (which I did not do this time – ugh).  I ended up wearing a 1920’s-style corset that I made two years ago.  It’s strapless and gave me the right silhouette.

Front View of my Dress
Back View of My Dress
Back View of My Dress

Below are some photos of the process by which I created this dress – Draping the fabric directly on the dress form.  For a more in-depth view of my process including inspiration, sketches and step-by-step photos, visit my blog posts here, here, here & here

Taping the Dress form and foundation for Draping
Taping the Dress form and foundation for Draping
Draping the Back Bodice
Draping the Back Bodice
Draping the Side Bodice
Draping the Side Bodice
Fabric Draped and trims placed
Fabric Draped and trims placed

See more of my projects and vintage inspiration on my blog or connect with me on instagram!

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1920s | 1930s | Mail Order Patterns | Pattern Drafting | Skirts

Creating a Skirt from a 1930’s Dress Pattern

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My Finished Skirt
Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern #T3221
Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern #T3221

Recently, I’ve given myself the task of creating a “Miss Fisher” wardrobe, inspired by the Australian TV series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.  If you haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend to head over to Netflix and watch immediately.  The main character, Phryne Fisher – Lady Detective,  has a fairly AMAZING wardrobe, circa 1928,  filled with a variety of wardrobe staples – wide leg trousers, skirts, matching camisoles etc., and some downright outrageous statement pieces – embroidered coats, custom cloches and coordinating accessories.   All of which I’ve been sketching and analyzing as much as I can with repeated viewing of all the episodes.

The first stop on this journey is the staple pieces.  These are garments I can coordinate with many things.  With Summer approaching, a light weight skirt is was in order.  After struggling to find a skirt pattern I liked, I found a dress that had a great skirt –  Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern #T3221.

The pattern is quite sweet – a column shape through the body, with 6 small darts that gently shape the waist, and a skirt that has arched seams along the hip line and fluted panels that give it a nice little fare at the hem.  The pattern comes in one size – created for a 36″ bust.  I measured the pattern and found that it was a good fit for my hips at 42″ but that I would need to shape the waist to fit my own.   It was a fairly easy process:

  1. The pattern was cut at the natural waist line which is indicated at the center of the darts on the pattern. I squared a line at the CF, folded out the darts and shaped a nice waist.
  2. The darts were re-distributed into two darts (each side) at front and back and positioned somewhat centrally on each half of the skirt at front and back as well.  I new I wanted a 32″ waist finished, so my dart depth was determined by measuring the pattern at the waistline, subtracting the different and dividing the darts up accordingly.
  3. Then a waistband pattern was made – 4″ high x 34″ long.  This accounts for 3/8″ seam allowance and a 1 1/4″ tab for the button on the waistband.

The fabric used was a beige colored textured rayon jacquard.  The skirt sewed together beautifully, as per the pattern instructions.  I did serge the edges before assembling, to prevent fraying.  The bottom edge is a simple turn and turn 1/4″ clean finish hem.  And the standard zipper was inserted using a hand picked method.

Hand Picked zipper on the side opening
Hand Picked zipper on the side opening
My Finished Skirt
My finished Skirt

I’m really happy with the results, however, my 13 year old daughter thinks it should be several inches shorter.  What do you think?

See more of my projects and vintage inspiration on my blog or connect with me on instagram!

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1920s | Accessories | Bags / Purses | Blouses | Embroidery | Hats | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

A 1920 Ensemble

By on March 15, 2017

This outfit is my foray into the world of the late teens and early 20’s.  I used two patterns from Past Patterns, dated to circa 1920, for both my blouse and skirt, while my purse was made from a tapestry remnant and Vogue #7252, from the year 2000.  My hat is a thrift store find which I decorated to make-do and my shoes are close reproductions from Jeffrey Campbell.  I used primarily cotton for all pieces – even thread!  There are so many fine details to this set – the blouse has my hand-stitched floral designs on the neck, shoulders, and sleeves while I used old original glass teens/20’s era buttons for the front closure of the blouse.  There are real brass buttons along the pocket panel of the skirt…and check out those awesomely enormous pockets as big as mini suitcases!  My background was one of the very first “arcade” indoor shopping malls in our country, a lovely Gothic place built in 1919.  To see and read more, please visit my blog post here.

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