1940s

 

The Pictorial Guide to Modern Home Dressmaking

The Pictorial Guide to Modern Home Dressmaking dates from 1940, and contains pages and pages of information about pattern drawing and adjusting.  This was the first book I turned to when I decided to make myself two new tops for the summer. First I followed the instructions for drafting a bodice pattern, made up a toile in calico, and then had to make serious adjustments and start again.

Once I was happy with the fit I made a top in batik which I had been lucky enough to find in a charity shop.

 

Batik Summer Top

Here is my daughter modelling the batik top for me.  We are close enough in size for her to model clothes I have made for myself.  The top was very easy to make – essentially it is from a basic bodice pattern, neckline and armholes adjusted for a cool summery look, with darts tapering the cut slightly to the waist, and a box pleated frill added at the bottom.

Having made this top and being satisfied with the fit and style, I then made a second version in high quality cotton.

 

Oakshott Herringbone Cotton Summer Top

Here is the blue version in a herringbone cotton.  The cotton is a medium weight shirting with a beautiful soft feel.  This blue cotton has a much more vintage look to it than the batik, and it called for dark navy buttons and a decorative ribbon to trim to give it a detailed finished effect.

These tops are lovely and cool to wear, and quick and easy to make.  I hope they give plenty of inspiration for everyone who is busy revamping their summer wardrobe.  For lots more information and photos of the book and the two tops, just follow the three links to the three separate posts in my blog.

 

 

 

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The late 40s are my favorite period and I’ve made yet another version of my favorite late 40s pattern-Simplicity 2851!

I made it up in a great vintage floral fabric that I got from a local sewing shop.

This is my first time making this pattern up in a print and it looks fabulous!

This makes the fourth time I’ve sewn up this pattern! And I’m sure I could make four more! Do you have a favorite pattern you love to make again and again?

More photos and construction notes over on the blog.

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Another post! Here is a look at the dress I created to wear to the Mid Atlantic Air Museum‘s  enormous air show and WWII reenactment in June. This is an annual event at the museum and one you should not miss!

My 1940s "Red Birds Dress" using McCall 5724. Photo in front of the war bird B-25J Mitchell WWII bomber "Briefing Time"

I call this my “Red Birds Dress.” It was another “limited fabric so cut carefully” projects. Like my recent birthday dress, this fabric came from my mom’s sewing stash. Although it’s cotton she decided it wasn’t suitable for quilting. This fabric had been waiting quietly in the vintage/modern stash for just the right pattern to come along. Because it was just shy of 3 yards and only 32 inches wide, I knew I would be somewhat limited as to what I could do with it. The pattern I used was McCall 5724. I made view B. The dress has pockets!

McCall 5724. It has pockets!

The back of the bodice is fitted with small darts. The front is fitted with small darts and shearing at the shoulders. Four rows of gathering stitches were made then each drawn up to fit between the corresponding marks on the pattern. The edges of the bodice front pieces are lapped and the top stitched in place.

Vintage "Glamour Girl" buttons pinned in place. Also a good look at the lapped seam and shoulder shearing.

The buttons, buckle, and fabric for this dress are all vintage and come from the stash. As usual, there are more pictures of this project on my blog.

My 1940s "Red Birds Dress" using McCall 5724. Photo in front of the war bird B-25J Mitchell WWII bomber "Briefing Time"

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At the beginning of the year I set myself the goal of sewing three items of clothing that I’ve never made before – trousers, a swimsuit, and a coat. One down, two to go, as I recently made my first pair of trousers!
Vintage Simplicity 3688 19040s Trousers
These were made using Simplicity 3688 which is a reproduction 1940s pattern. The pattern envelope includes both the adorable original illustrations, and photos of the finished items which (while not exactly thrilling photos) allow you to get a sense of the finished shape.
Vintage Simplicity 3688 19040s Trousers
I would totally recommend these trousers to other trouser newbies. They are made from only three pattern pieces (five fabric pieces) and are a quick make (my favourite kind!). Personally I love the vintage shape with the high waist & wide leg. I used a grey polyester suiting fabric which has a nice drape which suits the wide leg & is light-weight for the summer.
Vintage Simplicity 3688 19040s Trousers

Vintage Simplicity 3688 19040s Trousers
I was lucky enough to get to take these photographs in the Lake District, actually at Beatrix Potter’s House and just outside. For those outside the UK who may not know it, the Lake District it is like a storybook version of England – all tiny villages, countryside, slate and stones walls. Basically it’s gorgeous.

More photos and nattering on my blog, English Girl at Home

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