1940s | Accessories | Hats

An early 40’s beret

By on March 1, 2014

I made this beret as a part of The Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014 and this is the first challenge I have completed. It is a  wool beret in pink/rust tartan and the pattern is The Three Hour Beret, a reproduction pattern from New Vintage Lady, dating from the early 1940’s.  I have wanted to do this beret for some time and as I’m also making a reversible coat with the pink/rust tartan, I thought a matching  beret would look nice with it. The pattern was a little quirky and it was great  fun to sew it. Unfortunately when padded and worn straight it looked absolutely  awful on me. So I removed the padding and tilted it instead and it looked much  better, if not exactly as intended. For another face shape I am sure it will
look smashing as it was intended.

 

Here are a few versions made by New Vintage Lady.

 

 

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1930s | 1950s | Accessories | Hats | Jackets | Skirts

A sporty look, and the second chapter in my wool skirt saga.

By on February 28, 2014

The second skirt in my Pendleton quartet is another plaid number. This one is fairly plain as well, with some simple alterations made to change the look up a bit. I widened the waistband and added suspenders. I’ve always really liked the look of the suspender skirt (whether from the 1910s or the 1950s or anywhere in between), and have intended to make myself one for a long time now. I thought it would be a nice silhouette with this plaid also, simple enough to showcase the pattern, but not so overly simplified as to be boring. This piece of wool had just a few moth holes that needed repair, so I set myself to work at re-weaving again. This is a much finer weave than the previous fabric, so it required a little more precision, but it really wasn’t too bad. I have to admit, I think I’m actually getting a little hooked on it. It’s just the kind of insanely meticulous work I find fun and relaxing (’cause maybe I’m a little nuts).

 

After pulling threads from a scrap of the plaid, I set to work reweaving the two holes in the skirt front, and then the two in the suspender pieces.

 

Doing this made me feel a little bit like the woman who made Chanel’s braided trim for decades (although not old, French, and incredibly skilled).

 

You can see the first hole mid-repair just to the right of the pin.

The skirt turned out pretty well, and I had just enough left of the fabric to make a matching hat (because every outfit should have a matching hat, right?). Anyway, I used the Wearing History Sporty Toppers pattern, view 1. I was working with scraps, so the plaid doesn’t match perfectly on top, but it doesn’t bother me too much since there is so much seaming to break it up in the first place. I used a slightly narrower ribbon than called for in the pattern, but I like how it looks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To complete my sort of “golf-course” couture look, I managed to finally finish one of my biggest UFOs; this brown wool suit jacket. I started this suit about three years ago, finished the skirt, got about half way through the jacket and then put it on the back burner and left it there to stew. It feels really good to finally have it finished and out of the project pile. It’s far from perfect, but finished it all I was really aiming for at this point, so I’m happy with it. I don’t have all the pattern details in front of me, but I’ll try and dig them up. I’m pretty sure it’s a McCall’s pattern, and it’s from the 50s, but I’m not sure the exact year and can’t remember the number. Anyway, here’s the ensemble all put together and ready for a stroll across the fairway. (Both pieces need a little touch up with the iron).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, that’s that. Now on to other projects in the queue. I’ve still got two of the wool skirts to put together, and then numerous other summery projects to start, but I’ve got an Edwardian event to go to in early May that I also have to make some stuff for, and that will probably take precedence. Hope everyone has had a good week!

 

-Evie

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1920s | Accessories | Downton Abbey Inspired | Dresses | Hats

1921 Bustle Effect Dress

By on February 13, 2014

I made this dress to wear to a Downton Abbey inspired tea, but also as an entry into the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #3 Pink.  The pattern itself is a repro of an original 1921 Butterick pattern and it went together very nicely.  For being such an old pattern the instructions were much better than what you find on BurdaStyle magazines, although they are wholly inadequate Big Four standards today. I used a poly shantung for economical reasons but other than that, the dress is pretty historically accurate.  Actually, it’s not a dress but a skirt suspended from a “long underbody” and then a blouse on top. I am very happy with how it turned out.  It’s not something I can just wear around but it served its purpose, and I think I’m going to use during Costume College for day activities.  For more pictures and a description of the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge, please visit my blog.  I almost forgot, I made the hat too, using Simplicity 1736 and wool/rayon felt.

 

As a side note, I hadn’t made any posts since the blog was moved over from Blogger but I could have sworn I had an account.  Apparently I didn’t so I had to create one, and it’s showing that I have no other posts.  Bummer.

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1930s | Accessories

My First Entry in the 2014 Historical Sew Fortnightly

By on January 14, 2014

So I decided to dive into the 2014 Historical Sew Fortnightly hosted by the wonderful Leimomi. She hosted the same event last year but most of the sewing I did fell outside of the dates for the challenges. This year the date has been extended to 1945, so my WW2 pattern stash can finally be put to work!  The first challenge was in spirit of the WW2 campaign for ‘Make Do & Mend’ a huge task for those on the home front in Europe and the US because of rationing. Ironically I chose a pattern that would have worked for last years challenge; a reprint of Simplicity 1353 dated 1934 from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library (Evadress.com also has a reprint of the pattern in a larger size, the one from VPLL is a medium) The pattern consists of a hat, collar, gloves, and a purse. I made the collar for this challenge from fabric left over from my 1937 skirt.

 
 
I had to cannibalize the scrap piece left to match the grainlines but it worked! I also lined the collar in some of the fashion fabric because of the reveres that would show the lining and also I wanted the front piece line in the flannel for warmth and stability. The other bits of lining came from my 1936 suit skirt  lining (again post to follow) but those grainlines don’t match up because the word cannibalize doesn’t even cover what I had to do to those scraps though I am proud to say I only had to piece together one section of the collar. This pattern is a good example of the “expectation and reality” of sewing because unless you are magic those points don’t come out as pointy as the picture and the revers aren’t quite as picturesque as the drawing, (till you press them within an inch of their lives and then tack them down.) But I am insanely in love with this piece and I do plan on making more.
The Challenge: # 1 Make Do & MendFabric: 100% Brushed Cotton in a Blue and Black Herringbone pattern and Navy poly/cotton lining.Pattern: Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1930 Ladies Hat, Gloves, Purse and Collar Ensemble a reproduction of Simplicity 1353
Year: 1934

Notions: One Button

Hours to complete: It took 4 days of on/off sewing

First worn: Not yet. Audrey had the pleasure though I do plan on wearing it for an upcoming lunch date.

Total cost: Pattern $15 but since it has four items I’m saying the pattern for the collar cost $3.75, Fabric from stash, Button and thread also from stash. So all in all it cost me $3.75 to make.1930 Ladies Hat, Gloves, Purse and Collar Ensemble

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1950s | Accessories | Mens | Vintage Sewing

The Super-Secret Christmas Robe from 1951

By on January 7, 2014

A couple of years ago, I found an amazing vintage Mens’ robe pattern on Etsy and fell in love. I snapped it up, ordered some gorgeous rayon fabric and some ultra-soft micro fleece to line it with. When the pattern arrived  I was so excited… and then somehow I never made it. You know how it is, projects pile up, work gets too busy and then before you know it, it’s two years later – no robe.

So this year I was determined to sew it for my husband for Christmas, and I was determined that he wouldn’t even know I was sewing something for him. In the middle of finals project and a really busy month at Mrs. Depew Vintage I was sewing this robe like a crazy person. And let me tell you, lining rayon with micro fleece is about as easy as getting a puppy to hold still during a cat parade.

I sewed between assignments and studying, before and after work, at midnight while he was working night shifts (gotta love the military) and every time my husband rode his motorcycle into the driveway I madly dashed to stash everything into my studio closet and delint the threads from my clothes to hide any evidence of my undertaking.

Vogue 8753 Robe Front

 

Vogue 8753 Robe Lining.

 

Vogue 8753 Robe Cuff Embroidery

The work paid off though and it came out perfect –  and he loves it!

If you’d like to see more pictures (I didn’t want to bore you with too much) you can read the full post on my blog A Few Threads Loose.

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1930s | Accessories | Burlesque / Pinup | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

It’s been New Year’s Eve, know what that means?

By on January 4, 2014

Glitz, glamour and silly headpieces, that’s what! My home town Stockholm, Sweden, is blessed with a great burlesque club, Fräulein Frauke Presents, housed in one of the city’s classic dance palaces with quite the bad reputation back in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Their annual New Year’s masquerade is the perfect  opportunity to break your sequin seaweed and your frivolous mask-making abilities.

New Year's Eve, photo by John Paul Bichard.

I bought this red sequin seaweed for last year’s celebrations, actually, but it got delayed at my local post office and I’ve been sitting on it since. The plans for the dress have changed during the year, for the better I think, and instead of a complicated, slinky number with a high slit and back cut-out, I made… a dressing gown. Sort of. I drew inspiration from a simple, but very glamorous and slightly quirky evening gown that Katharine Hepburn wore in the 1938 screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, the one that has the entire back panel of the skirt ripped off in a memorable scene. I translated the inspiration into a long gown with an a-line skirt, containing all the width I could squeeze out of 3 yards of fabric, and a surplice bodice, buttoned at the side, with elbow-length sleeves and a modest v-neck. I really like that combination of the rather casual, simple cut with the inherently festive fabric. It’s a dress that looks comfortable, and feels easy to wear.

The entire garment is flatlined with red cotton poplin, to protect the skin from the somewhat scratchy sequin fabric and counteract a slight transparency, since the base material is a synthetic tulle with very little stretch. I put it together with french seams throughout, for further protection against scratchy sequins on the inside of it, and finished the hem and edges with poplin bias strips on the inside. I also spent a lot of time cutting tiny 2 mm sequins in half, to clear at least some of the seam allowances of the extra bulk. The end result is a very heavy, but, yes, quite comfortable evening gown that I really think I will get a lot of use out of. It’s formal enough for white tie events at a pinch, what with the full length, but also frivolous enough for black tie and just plain parties, and I also think it turned out quite flattering.

Cutting a thousand little sequins in half to clear the seam allowances = major pain in the behind.

I also made the pearl… thing. It’s a masquerade, after all, of course you want a mask of some sort, and I didn’t feel like repeating last year’s sequin glove mask, especially since this year’s theme was the roaring 20’s, which really isn’t my decade, normally. I toyed with the idea of simply draping a few strings of pearls across the eyes, but that seemed a little too easy, and the project grew into this, after having a closer look at showy Art Deco headpieces, the Ballets Russes and Russian kokoshniks. It’s all based on a plain plastic headband with teeth, my favourite notions shop turned out to have an old lot of vintage glass pearls in stock, and the  rest is steel wire, lots of pearl string and thousands of knots, topped off with two enormous artificial peonies.

Pearl headdress in progress, from the very beginning to close to finished.

And it was fun. All of it, including New Year’s Eve. Hope you all had a great New Year’s too, have yourselves a happy new year!

More on both projects over at the Fashion in Shrouds, for once.

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1910s | 1940s | Accessories

Shawls

By on November 2, 2013

It’s getting cold – time to bring the retro-knitted shawls out!

Patons Woolcraft 9th editionI seem to have completed quite a few this year. Here’s an electric blue number knitted in decided non-period wool from my 1915 copy of Patons’ famous Woolcraft booklet, in amongst all the other highly exotic undergarments of the era:

I used a cone of machine-knit acrylic in place of the super-fine Shetland wool recommended in the pattern. The pattern is actually extremely simple, consisting of sets of intersecting ‘fans’ repeated again and again (and again and again and again…): the only difference between rows is that there are three different corner groups, which have to be repeated in a set order, and if you get it wrong you don’t notice until you try to work the next row into it and find that it doesn’t fit. It’s very dispiriting to discover this when each row takes forty-five minutes to complete!
corner of shawl

This is a square shawl measuring thirty-six inches along each side (plus star-border). It was so large that I had to pin it out and steam it on my bed: I don’t have a ‘blocking board’ big enough. But the whole thing weighs only 160 grams (five and a half ounces).
Holding up shawl

It took me a while to work out how to wear a square shawl by looking at the photo in the booklet, but in fact if you fold it right you get a genuine ‘shawl collar’ forming all by itself…

Wearing shawl under cherry tree
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Standing under the rose arch
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My second shawl was also worked in crochet, but was a far faster project! So fast in fact that I did two, with slightly different colour schemes to use up the spare wool: spot the difference.

green shawl in garden
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red shawl indoors
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This was a 1940s pattern for a round shawl entitled “Cozy comfort on cool nights”, and it is designed to sit with a yoke section on the shoulders and a looser section in ‘Solomon’s knot’ stitch. It only takes a few days to make out of double-knitting wool, and is a good way to use up scraps.

front view, sky-gazing in garden
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My third shawl is a triangle shawl of unknown date, since the website I got the pattern from gives only a diagram from an old magazine:
http://www.smart-knit-crocheting.com/crochet-shawl.html

I’ve called it an ‘Art Deco’ shawl, but in fact I’ve been told it may well be older.
Shawl displayed in garden

I deliberately chose a much larger hook size than would normally be used for working double-knitting wool (itself thicker wool than would have been intended for a pattern of this type) so that, instead of getting multiple squares to be assembled together with their edges matching in a further lace pattern, I got a single large square that would more or less fit across my back.

back view of shawl being worn
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This was just as well, since the instructions don’t give any directions as to how you are supposed to make the partial squares to fit along the edges, and I had to guess… and clearly got it wrong, as they ended up distinctly shorter than the full-size motif! Luckily with only two dangling down the front, it doesn’t show.

front/side view of shawl being worn
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By using the very large hook size to produce this extra ‘lacy’ effect, I managed to get an entire shawl out of one spare ball of double-knitting wool: very economical.

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