1940s | Blouses | Mildly Insane Photo | Vintage Sewing

Going Dotty for Spotty Cotton

By on April 28, 2015

1940's blouse made with Simplicity 1590 retro re-release | Lavender & Twill

Full 1940's look for autumn | Lavender & Twill 

Peplum details & box pleats from Simplicity 1590 | Lavender & Twill

Adore platform chunky heels & gloves for a perfect 1940's look | Lavender & Twill

Details of the fabric & buttons for my Simplicity 1590 make | Lavender & Twill

Simplicity 1590 sewn up out of quilting cotton | Lavender & Twill

Ohmygoodnessyouguys! I keep signing myself up for all these sewing challenges ~ and then I don’t know why I am doing this to myself!  (> o <)’

First it was the insane Sewing All The Things idea, then I saw A Stitching Odyssey’sVintage Sewing Pattern Pledge and of course I was all “Oooh! That looks like fun!” so I put my name down:

I, Bonita Vear of Lavender & Twill, pledge to sew at least five vintage or vintage reproduction patterns in 2015 ~ these MUST be patterns that I haven’t used before from my stash!”

Because that fits into my sewing schedule for 2015, right? But then I saw Rochelle’s Spring for Cotton group sew along annndddd ~ BAM! April’s plan for the Simplicity 2275 wrap dress flew out the window {also because I was in the middle of a top secret sewing project that took most of April to get done}.  Hello quick project! This fit in with Brittany’s 40s Fashion Calender challenge for February which I was behind with: sew a 1940’s blouse and turban.

So last Monday I went to Spotlight with a handy Christmas gift card {thank you Mom!} and tried to find the perfect cotton fabric to use for Simplicity 1590, a retro re-release of this simple, but cute 1940’s blouse with a peplum.

1590_TP_EN_H5_U5.indd
~ I hadn’t made this one up yet, but I really liked View A and couldn’t wait to try it! ~

I found the perfect 100% cotton quilting fabric with a really nice ‘hand’ to it. It was soft, and it draped nicely, as well as having this fabulous vintage-looking print in the colours I wanted ~ navy and white.  Well, okay, I wanted navy, white, and red, and ended up with navy, cream, orange, and pink! But it was the closest to what I had pictured in my head and I knew it would suit this project perfectly.

Disaster struck when I reached the cutting counter ~ I needed 1.7 metres of my magical fabric and there was only a little over 1 metre left on the bolt!  Yikes!

The lady at the counter went to see if she could find some more of the fabric, or something similar, while I racked my brains to figure out how to make it work. I knew she wouldn’t find anything as I had already scoured the quilting fabric isle and sure enough, she came back empty handed.  I quickly whipped out my pattern pieces {which I had traced out onto Polytrace so that I didn’t have to cut the pattern tissue} and proceeded to lay my pattern out on the cutting counter!  It just fit ~ but I’d have to make something up for the peplum, which took about 70 centimetres of the 1.7m needed all by itself.

I decided to wing it because I had fallen for this spotty cotton ~ it was “The One” for this pattern ~ sewers, you know what I’m talking about!

It did work, although you’ll notice box pleats at the back of the peplum, rather than gathers. I had much less fabric in the peplum so there really wasn’t any way I was getting gathers out of it. And obviously, I had to nix the matching turban because that just wasn’t going to happen ~ but in the end, I did it!

I squeaked out a blouse that needed 1.7m of fabric from a piddley 1m and managed to fit in a matching vintage styled hair tie instead of the turban.  Which I am calling the “Vintage Bow Hair Tie” pattern. Original. (ง •̀_•́)ง

I think I can hail this 40s Fashion Calender/Spring for Cotton/Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge project as success ~ one 100% cotton blouse, sewn with 100% cotton thread, and a matching 100% cotton hair tie, also sewn with 100% cotton thread.  A little bit of tweaking here and there, and I couldn’t get 100% cotton buttons, but I’m okay with the ones I picked.   : P   Actually, more than okay, because I’m a little bit dotty over them too….  ❤ ❤ ❤ヽ(*⌒∇⌒*)ノ

The result is that I adore this blouse!  It will definitely be a staple in my wardrobe. All the stress is so worth it in that pivotal moment you see some gorgeous fabric slowly coming together then ~ POW! (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧ You have a new garment!

~ Project Details ~

  • Year: 2013 re-release of a 1940’s pattern
  • Pattern: Simplicity 1590
  • Fabric: 1 metre of DS Piccadilly Floral Spot 100% cotton quilting fabric in Navy, Cream, Orange and Pink ($11.89)
  • Notions: Five buttons with violet print on them ($5.00)
  • Time to complete: One week
  • Make again? Yes! I’m pretty sure I will. I love the neckline of this pattern, and it’s a really simple blouse to put together.  It’s fun.
  • Wear again? 100%!  I can see this blouse becoming quite a central piece to my 1940’s outfits. It’s easy to wear and I love the print, the colours, and the style. I’m so thrilled with how it turned out.
  • Total Cost:  $16.89 AUD

Have any of you sewn up Simplicity 1590?  Which version would you sew if you did?

xox,

bonita

༺ ♡ ༻

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1940s | Mildly Insane Photo

V for Victory!

By on September 22, 2013

I know it’s not technically sewing, but I thought some of you might like to see my finished 1940’s victory jumper…

The pattern is Patons 876, and was really enjoyable to knit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Victory’ clothing was worn either before the War (WWII) ended to show support for the troops – or after, to celebrate the ‘Victory’ of War ending.

The skirt is made from Simplicity 3688 (1940s re-issue) using navy gaberdine – it’s actually my favourite suspender skirt with the suspenders removed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was abit touch and go with working out how much yarn I needed to make this – in the end it only took four balls of light grey, just over one ball of charcoal and half a ball of red.  Even though I love the jumper to death it’s not something I would make again – it’s very distinctive!

The full story and technical info is on my blog if anyone’s curious.

x

Bex

 

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1950s | Dresses | Mildly Insane Photo | Modern Patterns | Pattern Sizing | Vintage Sewing

1950s Picnics and Parties Dress

By on May 30, 2013

I swooned when I saw this dress over at ButchWax Vintage – it’s divine! It would be perfect for weddings, parties and picnics – every occasion, but such a tiny waist!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knew I needed to make my own (modest) version if I was to ever sleep at night. So, here goes….

1950s Gingham Dress

I used the Billie Jean Pattern, from Blue Ginger Doll – and drafted my own collar to suit.

The Billie Jean pattern comes together really easily, and i’m fairly sure i’d use it again as the base for other dresses. The size 16 ended up being the best size for me at a 39.5″ bust (it’s meant to have zero ease, but I found that too tight for this style).

I can’t wait to wear this dancing! (and excuse the headless photos, it’s way too early in the morning).

More details, as always, on the blog

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1950s | Mildly Insane Photo | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

Yarrr Pirates!

By on January 30, 2013

There’s nothing better than finding vintage (or looks-like-vintage) fabric at an op-shop!

 

This pirate border print begged to be turned into a 1950s dirndl skirt (basic dirndl instructions are on my blog here). It’s a beauty, a 5 meter length with pirates, parrots, ships and treasure.

Arn’t dirndl’s just the most easiest skirts to sew? I’m about to teach a sewing classs and am getting everyone to sew a one.

Yarrrrrrr!

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1800s | Dresses | Mildly Insane Photo | Modern Patterns

We Sew . . . Semi-Historical (McCall’s M4548)

By on December 19, 2012

Okay, this is both not-retro and beyond-retro, but since it’s newly-sewn non-modern clothing, I’m including it.  I also hope it might be helpful to anyone else who sews this pattern, since it’s a common pattern.

I have a small group of friends with whom I play “old-timey” music–guitar, banjo, Appalachian dulcimer, washtub bass–a few times a year.  We’re not very good but we work for free so people ask us to play for historical events on a fairly regular basis.  This almost always involves “pioneer dress”.  None of these events are die-hard historically accurate so what exactly is meant by “pioneer dress” is open to all kinds of interpretation.

My brother got into Civil War reenacting when we were in junior high school in the early 1990’s.  I’m sure historically accurate patterns existed then but this was years before we had internet access, and the ladies’ auxiliary of his regiment was not very serious about it, so we had no idea where to find them.  My mother made Simplicity 8006 (1992) for me out of dark brown and black plaid brushed cotton.  There is nothing even remotely 19th century about this dress but, in a modern-detail-obscuring dark color and with an apron tied around it, it at least didn’t scream “Civil War Barbie!”.  I wore that dress for about ten years before I started promising myself I’d make a new reenacting dress in time for the next event.

It took me another ten years to act on that.

This year, I was determined.  I changed my mind probably thirty times: Which pattern to use, how accurate did it need to be, how inaccurate [read: easier to sew] could it be before I felt too guilty to wear it, etc.?  In the time I spent waffling, I probably could have sewn three or four dresses.  Oh, well.

This isn’t as terrifying as it sounds.  One, since the dulcimer is played on one’s lap, you can’t wear hoops.  I own a hoop but I think I’ve worn it exactly once in fifteen years.  When I do reenacting dresses, we’re talking work clothes.  No hoops, no Scarlett O-Hara tight-lacing, no fancy stuff.

I finally settled–I thought–on the Past Patterns 803 Round Dress, which is an historically accurate 1850’s everyday dress.  I decided to simplify things by making it button-front (less fussing with the lining) and omitting the off-center skirt closure, which made it less accurate but was also less complex thing to do.  It would be under an apron, anyway, right?  I got most of the bodice made, though, before I realized that a) attaching the skirt was going to take me the rest of my life, and b) I really needed a corset.  I could wear it without one but it just wasn’t going to look right.  The final blow was discovering that the very low-set shoulder seams would make it difficult to play the guitar.  I mothballed the project and reconsidered.

(For the record: This is not a criticism of the Round Dress.  I absolutely adore Past Patterns.  The 806 Mill Girl dress was a miracle of accurate pattern drafting and astonishingly easy to assemble considering my mother and I had never done historical sewing before in our lives.  I just did not have the time and energy to devote to the Round Dress that it needed.)

The next candidate was McCall’s M4548 (2004).

This is a pretty standard cheesy costume-quality pioneer dress, but it does have two things that put it at the head of the class where cheesy costume-quality pioneer dress patterns are concerned: It does not have a zipper, and it does not have bust darts.  Zippers are pretty easy to replace with buttons or hooks and eyes, although they usually run up the back of a dress, and a “wash dress” would fasten up the front so the wearer could dress herself.  Bust darts, though, are not accurate for mid-19th century dresses and are a lot more trouble to alter out.  That this dress already relies on double waist darts, which are A-OK, is a significant advantage.

The advertising picture for this pattern is a horror-show of garish color and terrible fit:

Also, I think that might be the worst bonnet I’ve ever seen.  I’ve seen a lot of bonnets, too.

Luckily, I am both stubborn and not-always-very-sensible, so I didn’t let this stop me.  Instead, I made a list of things that I had learned from the Round Dress that I thought could be applied to M4548 to make it, if still not very accurate, at least less inaccurate.  It turned out to be a very long list, but most of the things on it were not very difficult (follow the links to Flickr and blog posts that illustrate the process):
1. Eliminate collar. A dress like this would have had a detachable collar basted on.  (Super easy.  Easier, really, than making the dress with the collar.)
2. Close up neckline (if needed).  (Easy.)
3. Lower shoulder seams and corresponding sleeve caps.  (Mildly problematic.  I went to Leena’s to find out how to do a dropped shoulder seam.)
4. Interline bodice.  (Easy.  I cut a second bodice and trimmed back the edges along the front opening.)  Even dresses with blousy fronts had fitted linings, and they really need the structure of a lining to look at all right.
5. Rotate shoulder seams back.  (Easy.)
6. Reposition back princess seams.  (Probably not necessary and potentially problematic, but I wanted the look .  The blog post links show how much fiddling I did to get this to work.)
7. Merge reduced side-back pieces with front pieces.  (Easy in theory, but I could foresee this getting a little hairy.)
8. More buttons.  (Easy, except for the fact that I have to make more %#@!! buttonholes.)
9. Fuller skirt.  (Easy, except for gathering the sucker into the waistband.  I should have gauged the skirt but I just wasn’t up for it.)  I ended up with three yards, which is too narrow, really, but was all I could manage.
10. Wide skirt facing and kick-plate instead of a regular hem.  (Easy.)  Somebody else’s blog post here.
11. Piping at neckline and armscyes.  (Fiddly because of the fabric bulk but not actually difficult, especially if you’ve done it before.)  This photo on someone else’s blog shows the neckline finish nicely: Its applied to the outside, then turned inward and the piping seam allowance is tacked to the dress lining.  I am over the moon for the look of this but 803 called for 1/16-inch piping cord.  The smallest I could get was 1/8, which isn’t bad but still looks fatter than I’d like.  I’ll try something else next time.
12. Reduce sleeve fullness (probably a step back in accuracy but necessary since I’m going to wear this to dulcimer plays.  I don’t like huge sleeves, anyway.)  (Easy.)
13. For person fit issues: Lengthen bodice, lengthen sleeves slightly, add side-seam pockets, improvise sweetheart yoke (totally unnecessary, but cute).  And, because I ended up overbuying fabric because I wasn’t sure how well all this would work, I indulged in a bias panel around the bottom of the skirt.

Illustrations of many of the changes are here.

Other examples can be seen at Such Treasures (also heavily altered); Jengerbread Creations (mostly unaltered); and Ms. Catnip Kitty (dress 1 and dress 2)

The dress isn’t totally finished here: I forgot to bring my hooks and bars to Fort Parker so the waistband is being held closed by the tight apron.  Oops.  You get the idea, though.  The fabric was blue 1″ triple-windowpane homespun and the buttons are polyester that kind of looks like horn, from Joann Crafts.  I’m still working on the hand seam finishing.

I cut a size 12 (bust 34) which fits even though I think I’m more accurately in between a 12 and a 14.  Since the advertising illustration looked so baggy I figured I could err on the small side.   Also–TMI alert–I’m not wearing proper undergarments.  I made the chemise for M4548 years ago but never liked it because I didn’t cut it a size larger below the waist and it didn’t fit my pear shape that well, and I haven’t made stays yet.  I didn’t have time to make a petticoat so I’m wearing a modern dirndl skirt underneath.

This isn’t a great picture but it’s all I have right now:

The bonnet is McCall’s 1980 (1955) View C which, apart from the elastic across the back of the neck, is a pretty classic slat bonnet pattern. I should have used ties instead of elastic, but I didn’t.  I made this about a year ago and remember finishing it at 2:30 in the morning the day of an event, when I was well beyond caring.  I guess I could add them now just for appearances.

This is what I looked like in 1870 (thank you, Vintage Camera and your novelty filters):

The apron was improvised from an old bedsheet.  It’s a rectangle pleated into a waistband.

I am oh, so, very happy with the finished dress!  I have at least one more dress planned to make by tweaking this pattern yet again (it will have a yoked and gathered bodice something like the one seen here) and could even see myself making a version with modern sewing methods and a shorter, gored (to reduce bunching at the waistband), skirt to wear on days when I’m feeling a little bit Prairie.

Update, better pic!

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1970s | Dresses | Mildly Insane Photo

’70s Givenchy evening dress / Quaithe costume

By on December 3, 2012

Daenerys and me

For my Halloween costume this year, I made a 1970s evening dress by Givenchy, Vogue 2014. I was making my wife a Daenerys costume based on the character’s outfit in the season 2 finale of Game of Thrones, so with the help of a red mask I went as Quaithe of Asshai (the version from the books, not the show).

Vogue 2014 is a Very Easy Vogue pattern, and I was able to cut it one day and sew it the next. With the exception of the centre front seam and the facing extension, everything is finished by hand.

I made the dress in vintage black Qiana without alterations, thanks to the design and the stretch in the fabric. The one change I made was to substitute a string of beads for the pattern’s 18″ back tassel. It’s probably a little too heavy, but I like the effect.

Here are a couple photos of me in the finished dress, taken by the fabulous Rachel O’Neill:

Quaithe full length
Vogue 2014 by Givenchy - full length
Quaithe - back detail
Vogue 2014 by Givenchy - back detail

More details and photos on my blog here.

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