1930s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1930’s Dress Complete – Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2017

By on November 10, 2017

 I made this dress for the 2017 Gatsby Summer Afternoon at Dunsmuir House, in Oakland CA.  It was sewn using two VPLL patterns. You can see the prototype dress here – made from the 1931 Dress pictured above left. The only changes I made to the pattern, after making my prototype was an increase of 2″ to the hips and I changed the sleeve, using the VPLL 1930’s dress, pictured above right (one layer only). I also followed the method of stitching the bodice shirring after sewing the midriff to the bodice, that Dierdre from VPLL suggested in my prototype post comments. That method looked much better, for sure. Otherwise, this pattern sewed up very nicely.

Full length dress front
Full length dress Back

If you would like to read more and see the full post you visit my blog.  Happy Sewing!

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1930s | Pattern Sizing | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

A Tweed Skirt From a Vintage Sewing Pattern

By on November 6, 2017

The Bay Area Sewists met up at The Sewing Room (my Sewing School) a couple of weeks ago to talk with me about pattern measuring.  This is often a step overlooked by the home stitcher and I will admit that I fall prey to the impatience of just wanting to sew up and finish something without first making sure it will fit me. Case in point – This 1930’s skirt pattern.

Front Skirt

 

Back Skirt

So, this tweed version is my 3rd attempt at making this Vintage Pattern Lending Library style #T1047 skirt.  It’s labeled 30″ waist. The first time I sewed it up, I added 1″ to the pattern, overall, because my waist is 31″ and I figured that should be enough.  Well, as it turns out, that was not enough. and the skirt I made was much too small.

You might think I would have learned my lesson, but instead, I just cut out another skirt but added added several inches to the hips and waist, based on the garment I tried on before.  I wasn’t totally off base, and in fact, the skirt fits me pretty well, however now a little too big. Sadly, I never even changed the pattern. What was I thinking? no notes, no nothing.  Well, it did give me the opportunity to share this experience with you….If you would like to find out more about how I created this well fitting version using a more methodical process, head on over to my blog, where I go into more detail.

Until next time….Happy Sewing!

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1930s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1930s Print Quilting Cotton Dress

By on September 7, 2017

1930s feedsack print dress

As a 1930s obsessive I’m often drawn to the beautiful 1930s reproduction prints on quilting cotton fabric. However, I’ve always been weary of it because of its stiffness and just knew it wouldn’t be right for the style of clothing I love to make. Genuine 1930s dresses were always made using a softer fabric with plenty of drape, whether it be cotton, linen, rayon, silk or wool, which always hung well.

However, when I came across this amazing feedsack reproduction print I just couldn’t resist it. I knew straight away that I wanted to make a Dust Bowl style dress with it, despite knowing it was going to be challenge.

I used an original pattern from the very early 1930s and, although it was my size, I did have to make quite a lot of adjustments. The main issue was the way it fitted due to the stiffness of the fabric and there was too much bulk everywhere. If it had been made in a much softer fabric, this would’ve gathered perfectly around the waist when the belt was added.

1930s feedsack print dress

For more information about the troubles I had with the fit of this dress, please have a read of my post here. However, if you’d just like to skip to the outfit post to see all of the lovely 1930s detailing and find out more about Dust Bowl dresses, then you can view the post here.

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1930s | 1940s | Dresses | Modern Patterns | Vintage Sewing

Modern & Vintage

By on August 30, 2017

This Dress was a long time coming.  I started working on it in November of last year. Originally, I intended to make it from a wool crepe and that the red rayon would be a wearable muslin.  Using the Colette Patterns Oolong Dress pattern (purchased for 1/2 price, when they were discontinuing the pattern), I decided to make one modification – add godets to the skirt in the princess seams to give it a little flip and flare.  That version was not so exciting, in fact, I was so disappointed with the fit,  I put the dress back on rack to wait for some inspiration or divine intervention, whichever came first.

 

Earlier this summer I needed a dress to wear to a tropical themed Art Deco party, so I pulled the dress and pattern out of storage and decided to see what I could do.  Necessity is the mother of invention, right?  Well I ended up combining 3 patterns to make this one look – the Colette Oolong, Colette Parfait and the 1930s Ladies Afternoon Tea Frock – Reproduction Sewing Pattern #T3221 from Vintage Pattern Lending Library.

Here is a closeup of the finished dress!
And a view from the back

In the end, I’m pretty happy with the results.  I don’t think I will make it up again, but If I did, I would fit the skirt a bit differently and make the godets come up higher.  I’ve worn it twice now – once to the tropical event and once to a local production of Castle Happy, a play about William Randolf Hearst and Family.

If you are interested in seeing HOW I worked with the fitting and the patterns, visit my Blog for the full post.

Until Next Time….Happy Sewing!

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1930s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Sewing the Prototype of my 1930’s dress

By on August 22, 2017

 

There is a big event coming up – The Art Deco Society of California’ Gatsby Summer Afternoon.  I attend almost every year and have sewn an outfit every time. This year my blog readers helped me decide which pattern to choose for the early 1930’s look I was going for.  I will use this 1930’s Ladies Dress pattern from Vintage Pattern Lending Library.

The final dress will be made from a vintage rayon floral, but I needed to sew up a prototype first to check the fit,  before cutting into my OOAK vintage fabric. I didn’t really have any rayon hanging around that would behave like the vintage fabric, but I did have a vintage dress from the 1940’s that had gobs of fabric.  I didn’t really like the dress but the fabric was perfect so I worked hard to make it all fit.  I love the result.

Here is the front view of my prototype dress.

And the Back View

For the full story and more pictures, visit my blog

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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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1930s | Buttons | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Late 1930s Button Detail Dress with Tulip Print

By on June 23, 2017

1930s tulip print dress

Sometimes you buy a sewing pattern just for the details and this was definitely the case here. The pattern I used for this late 1930s dress was an original 1940s one that I bought from Til the Sun Goes Down. It had the most beautiful shoulder yoke section, which you only ever seem to see on late 30s/early 40s patterns, and I knew I needed a dress with this as a feature. The skirt part of the pattern wasn’t really what I wanted, mainly because it looked very 1940s and I wanted a late 1930s style as this is the era I tend to wear the most.

The beautiful abstract tulip print fabric that I used was a vintage fabric, which feels like a soft cotton but behaves like a crepe or rayon. It was a dream to work with and, along with all the era-accurate techniques I used, helped to create a truly authentic look. In fact, someone I met whilst wearing this dress actually thought it was genuine vintage!

The 22 buttons that feature on the dress were all beautifully covered by the company I use a lot, London Button Company. I asked them to specifically use the coloured parts of the pattern, rather than the black background, to make them really pop out. The matching belt features an original 1930s Art Deco buckle in a bright yellow and I love how it really stands out against the dress.

1930s dress shoulder yoke detail

1930s dress button back closure

1930s dress waist detail

More photos and details about the techniques I used, and how I made the matching hat, can be found on my blog »

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