1940s | Accessories | Hats

Birdy Beret, 1948 French style

By on January 31, 2013

I just loved the bird ornament on this pattern from Mrs. Depew the moment I saw it. So I bought a copy and made myself one.

The pdf contains instructions for drawing out the hat and bird patterns and describes how to do the other  variations pictured. Sewing instructions are minimalist to say the least. But drawing the pattern is simple and it’s easy to sew. An unlined felt one would be perfect to start with if you were unsure and needed a practise hat.

Anyway I made this to complete a tailored suit which uses the same suede as a trim, but no pictures of me in that ensemble yet as I still have an extra Christmas inch on my waist and the pencil skirt was already tight to start with. As soon as I can button the waistband again I will post about my making of that as it’s a copy of a late 40’s suit and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.

But back to the hat- I made this one out of suede and lined it. The bird wings are two layers of suede fused (bondaweb) together to keep them from flopping. Next time I’ll probably do the same on the tail but it depends on how firm the material is. The two pattern changes I made were to enlarge the head opening and make the birds body a tiny bit shorter… but possibly my initial measurements for that were a little off in the first place. Stitching the edges gave it a more finished look I thought.

How long to make?  With drawing the pattern and messing about with my sewing machine to get it sewing suede nicely about 4-5 hours. I expect further hats to take much less time.

Will I make it again?  Definitely. Plans for red velvet, black felt….


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Accessories | Applique | Burlesque / Pinup | Embroidery

A new year’s project

By on January 5, 2013

I really enjoy making small cocktail hats and other heavily decorated things to wear on my head. It’s the perfect pleasure project, in many ways; I can whip them up quite fast, usually these things come together for specific parties, they generally don’t require a lot of material, there’s very little fitting, lining and other time-consuming work involved, and it’s fun. It’s as free of performance anxiety as sewing ever gets for me, and it feels festive and playful and exhilarating. I’m not shy about wearing odd stuff on my head, either, so the sky’s the limit, really.

For New Year’s, there was a grand masquerade, and for that you need a mask. I also needed a red sequin evening gown, but the red sequin seaweed fabric got lost in the mail and didn’t arrive until yesterday. Oh, well. Another party, I made a sequinned and beaded red half mask in the shape of a gloved hand anyway – I’m a huge Schiaparelli fan, I love mildly surrealist headwear, and oddly enough my wardrobe didn’t contain a decent mask before this one.

Sketch and base for a mask
I went through a lot of paper copies to get the shape right.

The original idea was to use a lonely actual red leather glove, but that turned out a bit too bulky; I think I’ll try to make a hat out of it at some point instead. So I sketched, cut, folded and ended up with a decent pattern of sorts, which I cut and shaped in this heavy linen/horsehair interfacing. There are two darts in it, so that it follows the curve of the head.

Completed mask base
Nice shape.

Then I added steel wire to the edges, for stability and shape…

Mask shape covered with red cotton
Very three-dimensional.

…and covered the base with plain red cotton poplin, and the inside with peach satin. Outlines of the fingers and glove stitching on the back of the hand marked out, too.

Mask beginning to be covered with sequin ribbon.
This was the fun part, really.

And then I covered the whole thing with sequin ribbon, for plain areas, and red glass seed beads, for contours, shades and outlines.

Mask almost covered in sequins
Almost done.

Strictly speaking the sequinned areas aren’t really lighter than the beaded areas, but I wanted more sequins than beads and when they do reflect light your way, they do it much more brightly, so…

Finished mask.

…I think it worked rather well, anyway. I added a couple of rows of tiny black seed beads to stress the outline of the fingers after this, but it doesn’t make much of a difference; there’s just a little bit more of a contour. It fastens in my hair with four of those little toothed metal clips that are often used on clip-in hair extensions, you know – those are the best thing there is for attaching things securely to hair, even short hair.

The mask being work
This wasn't my first glass of champagne.

And then I wore it, with a marvellously vulgar 50’s dress that I got for New Year’s two years ago. I think it turned out quite well.

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1950s | Accessories | Applique | Vintage Sewing

A Partridge in a Pear Tree.

By on December 30, 2012

This year for my soon to be family I decided to make them each a little something.  In my opinion homemade gifts can be the best option.  I wanted to make something cute with and old school feel to it.  What I ended up making was pears.  Now the funny thing was, when I went to Michael’s they had the perfect cards.  So, I made my pears to match.

 

The pear ornaments are consist of felt, embroidery floss and ribbon.

 

Below is the template for the pieces.  Feel free to save them or print them out.  When you do print them out be sure to choose full page option so they will be the correct size.

 

To make the ornament, I chose 2 contrasting colors of felt and white felt. One color would be for the main part of the pear, and the other for the small circle.  The white was for the medium size circle, and the leaf.

 

Once I cut all the pieces out of the felt, I sewed the small circle to the larger circle.  I used a modified blanket stitch.

After that I sewed the circles to the front piece (of the pear cut out) using the same modified blanket stitch.

 

I then, sewed both the front and back pieces of the pear together using a blanket stitch.   Lastly, I sewed a ribbon to the back and wah-la a pear ornament!

 

Some optional additions can be the leaf at the top.  I added small rhinestone to mine to give them a little sparkle.

Let me know what you think and I would love to see what others come up with for this pattern!

 

Happy Crafting!

Nikki

To see more, check out my blog at http://retro-phile.blogspot.com/

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1940s | Accessories

Sew 40s Ruffled Scarf Dickie reworked from Vintage Paisley Satin Foulard

By on December 15, 2012

What to do with a vintage St Michael satin foulard in a divine paisley in rich tones of turquoise, taupe and lapis which sadly has several areas of perfume staining to the centre?  Plus, could I turn it into a longer style scarf as I must admit I don’t tend to wear square scarves these days?  I loved the colours and textile of this scarf, and fancied trying to make a ruffled scarf, so yesterday evening out came the scissors, the rule and some narrow elastic.  I wanted to make a 40s inspired ruffled scarf (a bit in the manner of the ruffled dickies of the time) to wear with my latest purchase of a fab vintage style faux fur jacket.  This was a very speedy sewing project and really pleased with how it turned out.  Looking forward to wearing it later today!  Please visit me at my blog for instructions on how to make this.

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1960s | Accessories | Capes | Dating Patterns | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

A cape for Poison Ivy

By on November 15, 2012

poison Ivy outfitI made a capelet for my daughter’s halloween costume… better late than never, hey?!

Poison Ivy was a fictional character, enemy of Batman, created by DC Comics. She made her debut appearance in 1966.

It was a very quick and easy project, self-drafted using the formula for a circle skirt with the addition of a ruffle on a collar stand.

poison ivy back

I used a weighty green polyester satin for the self and a polyester satin lining in red for the inside.

The only difficulty I had was sewing two very shiny fabrics together…nightmare!

I forgot to enclose the ribbon ties in the collar stand so I used a couple of glitzy buttons to hide the ends of the ribbon which were sewn to the right side!

poison ivy capelet

She was very happy with the result and she looked amazing with the whole ensemble! I just feel very old!!

poison ivy costume

I have included a ‘how-to‘ on my blog, just in case you fancy making one! 😉

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Accessories

The Fluff on Petticoats

By on November 7, 2012
From Country Petticoats

Hello everyone! This is my first post here at Sew Retro. I’ve been lurking about, learning and watching, trying to soak up enough knowledge to take the plunge, and sew some things myself.

Not only am I new to sewing clothes, I’m also new to wearing vintage and had a few questions concerning petticoats. Maybe I’m over thinking things here, but the whole petticoat thing has got me in a fluff! I mean we’ve got the really poofy, the little bit ruffly, and the lacy then… … … there’s crinolines! (Is there a difference?) Essentially, a petticoat is a slip meant to give a dress/skirt volume right? Or is there more to it?

What is what in this mountain of floof? What should a girl look for buying or making her first petticoat? (I’m leaning more toward buying right now.) How can I get educated on these mysterious underthings and not slip up. If you could point me in the right direction I sure would appreciate it.

From Crow202 site

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1930s | 1940s | 1950s | Accessories | Hats | Modern Patterns | Pants / Trousers | Vintage Sewing

It’s been a while…..ooops. Back with trousers

By on October 19, 2012

I haven’t shared anything on Sew Retro since the summer, sorry about that. I have been busy sewing though. See my blog if you are interested.

Instead of posting any of the projects I have made in the meantime I am sharing my most recent pattern love with you. It’s not a vintage pattern but made up in the right fabrics and the right styling it easily passes as a very retro looking pair of trousers.

I am talking about New Look 6873. The pattern envelope isn’t looking too inspiring I think (as most of their patterns envelopes IMO) but I had to buy it anyway. I am always on the hunt for a good wide leg trouser pattern. No skinny jeans for this girl.

I made the shorts pattern view E first to see what the fit is like without wasting a lot of fabric. I like the little pleat on the front and the cuff detail. I also added some buttons around the waistband to attach some vintage braces I recently bought on Etsy.

I made the blouse, too by frankensteining all sorts of pieces together, adding a Peter Pan collar and some super long cuffs.

I also made a red version of the shorts as I liked the first pair so much.

And this is the full length version in a salt and pepper wool blend suiting. I again added the buttons to wear the trousers with my new favourite accessory. I also made a matching beret from some leftover fabric scraps.

I hope you like, there are more pictures of the shorts here and of the trousers here.

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