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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1930s | Blouses | Skirts

1930’s Green & Peach Ensemble

By on March 19, 2018

Have you ever come across the perfect fabric that goes with another fabric you’ve been waiting to do something with?  Well, this darling plaid came into my life and I just had a to make a new outfit around it. It’s a synthetic charmeuse, which is not a regular go-to for me.  I much prefer silk.

However, when I saw this plaid which was printed on the diagonal, it really screamed 1930’s blouse, right at me!  AND it matched perfectly with a beautiful green wool that’s been waiting to be made into something for quite some time.

1936 Ladie’s Skirt #T1047

The emerald green of the wool is one of my favorite colors and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make this skirt, for which I had a pattern waiting in the wings.  I’ve used this pattern twice before, once recently using a wool tweed and made slightly shorter.  It’s the Vintage Pattern Lending Library – 1936 Ladies Skirt – #T1047 – re-sized to fit my body measurements.

I used the re-issue of Simplicity 8247, to make my blouse.  Using Version C, I shortened the dress at the hip line to create the blouse.  It worked out very well.

For more photos and information about my hat and bag, visit my BLOG.

Until Next Time, Happy Sewing!

Jennifer

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1930s | Coats | Vintage Sewing

By on December 19, 2017

1930s winter coat

One thing I’ve wanted to make for a couple of years now is a 1930s warm winter coat. In the past I never quite had the right coat to go with my 1930s clothing and this year I was on a mission to resolve that problem. After purchasing a beautiful original 1930s halo hat in dark teal felt wool, I knew this was the colour my coat had to be. It was neutral enough to go with most things, but wasn’t the same old black, grey or navy that most coats seem to be in.

1930s coat top stitching detail

I set on a mission to find the perfect matching shade of dark teal in a heavy wool fabric and after several months I finally stumbled across a gorgeous one from Dragonfly Fabrics. It has an amazing diagonal textured design to it, which creates a lovely interest to the fabric.

The pattern I used was a self-draft pattern from an original 1930s tailoring booklet, which allowed me to create one exactly to my size in an authentic 1930s design. I did make an adjustment to the front curved seam though, as the original line didn’t really suit me across the chest. This was simple enough to do and I actually think the final seam looks much better.

I also decided to make the top line of the cuff curve with the front seam of the coat to make it look like the line was carrying on. Thankfully this worked spot on when I sewed it all up, something I wasn’t entirely convinced would happen!

1930s coat - back

You can read so much more about this coat and how I made it by heading to my blog. You’ll also find loads of photos, including ones of the incredible Autumn inspired lining and all of the matching garments that create the entire ensemble.

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1930s | Blouses | Coats | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

December Red – a 1930’s Red Wool Ensemble

By on December 17, 2017

This outfit all began the fabric. The print (Asian Art Deco?) from this quilting cotton was irresistible and there was just enough of it (left to purchase) to scrape out a blouse. It seemed so suited for something 1930’s, but is a quilting cotton, so not terribly drapey. I already had a very long length of wool crepe that coordinated, so I knew I could make something to go with the finished piece.

I went in  search for the perfect 1930’s blouse pattern, to start, which proved to be a little easier said than done, as I had trouble finding a blouse pattern that suited the fabric. I did settle on a gorgeous 1930’s dress pattern with a fabulous neck bow, that could be converted into a blouse and skirt. Next up, I searched for a coat pattern and ended up finding all my patterns in the same place. Yay!

The Dress Pattern (above) that I chose to adapt to a blouse and skirt, appealed to me, at first, because of the bow, but also because of the angled shaping of the front opening and V-shape at the center front on the skirt. Because of the minimal length of fabric, I knew the fuller sleeve was not an option.  The short puff sleeve seemed more flattering as well, so I did end up using it in the end.

The Coat pattern was an easy choice.  I love that it had some flair to both the sleeves and the bottom edge.  It seemed a very easy and less formal design that would pair nicely with the finished skirt and blouse.

Each piece turned out very well and I’m excited to wear them all to a Caroling party next weekend.  The Red is VERY festive, don’t you think?

If you would like to see more of how I adapted the dress pattern into a skirt and blouse, some great sewing techniques for the coat and all my resources for the entire ensemble, please visit my blog.

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

xo

Jennifer

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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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