1920s | 1930s | Downton Abbey Inspired | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Sewing a 1920’s Art Deco Evening Gown

By on June 11, 2017
Art Deco Ball - Jennifer Serr
Art Deco Ball - Jennifer Serr
At The Ball

Well, the day (Art Deco Society of California’s) of the  Preservation Ball arrived and I was prepared!  This year’s theme was Death on The Nile (the Agatha Christie Murder Mystery) with a focus on Egyptian Revival of the Art Deco era. I was lucky to be gifted some beautiful fabric, salvaged vintage trims and good luck at Britex for the finishing touches to my gown and headband. Thanks also to Barbara Mooney at Daisy’s, here in Alameda, for lending me the PERFECT necklace and pointing me to some wonderful coordinating earrings (in her shop) that I will treasure for years to come.

Dressed Up with My Handsome Husband
Dressed up with my Handsome Husband

In the end, I’m happy with the final look. My foundation garment worked well on the dress form so that I could drape my gown to my measurements, however, did not work under the dress when I was wearing it.  It still needs some modifications to the cups and the straps showed. Fitting can be a challenge sometimes and often requires multiple fittings (which I did not do this time – ugh).  I ended up wearing a 1920’s-style corset that I made two years ago.  It’s strapless and gave me the right silhouette.

Front View of my Dress
Back View of My Dress
Back View of My Dress

Below are some photos of the process by which I created this dress – Draping the fabric directly on the dress form.  For a more in-depth view of my process including inspiration, sketches and step-by-step photos, visit my blog posts here, here, here & here

Taping the Dress form and foundation for Draping
Taping the Dress form and foundation for Draping
Draping the Back Bodice
Draping the Back Bodice
Draping the Side Bodice
Draping the Side Bodice
Fabric Draped and trims placed
Fabric Draped and trims placed

See more of my projects and vintage inspiration on my blog or connect with me on instagram!

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1920s | 1930s | Mail Order Patterns | Pattern Drafting | Skirts

Creating a Skirt from a 1930’s Dress Pattern

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My Finished Skirt
Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern #T3221
Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern #T3221

Recently, I’ve given myself the task of creating a “Miss Fisher” wardrobe, inspired by the Australian TV series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.  If you haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend to head over to Netflix and watch immediately.  The main character, Fryne Fisher – Lady Detective,  has a fairly AMAZING wardrobe, circa 1928,  filled with a variety of wardrobe staples – wide leg trousers, skirts, matching camisoles etc., and some downright outrageous statement pieces – embroidered coats, custom cloches and coordinating accessories.   All of which I’ve been sketching and analyzing as much as I can with repeated viewing of all the episodes.

The first stop on this journey is the staple pieces.  These are garments I can coordinate with many things.  With Summer approaching, a light weight skirt is was in order.  After struggling to find a skirt pattern I liked, I found a dress that had a great skirt –  Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern #T3221.

The pattern is quite sweet – a column shape through the body, with 6 small darts that gently shape the waist, and a skirt that has arched seams along the hip line and fluted panels that give it a nice little fare at the hem.  The pattern comes in one size – created for a 36″ bust.  I measured the pattern and found that it was a good fit for my hips at 42″ but that I would need to shape the waist to fit my own.   It was a fairly easy process:

  1. The pattern was cut at the natural waist line which is indicated at the center of the darts on the pattern. I squared a line at the CF, folded out the darts and shaped a nice waist.
  2. The darts were re-distributed into two darts (each side) at front and back and positioned somewhat centrally on each half of the skirt at front and back as well.  I new I wanted a 32″ waist finished, so my dart depth was determined by measuring the pattern at the waistline, subtracting the different and dividing the darts up accordingly.
  3. Then a waistband pattern was made – 4″ high x 34″ long.  This accounts for 3/8″ seam allowance and a 1 1/4″ tab for the button on the waistband.

The fabric used was a beige colored textured rayon jacquard.  The skirt sewed together beautifully, as per the pattern instructions.  I did serge the edges before assembling, to prevent fraying.  The bottom edge is a simple turn and turn 1/4″ clean finish hem.  And the standard zipper was inserted using a hand picked method.

Hand Picked zipper on the side opening
Hand Picked zipper on the side opening
My Finished Skirt
My finished Skirt

I’m really happy with the results, however, my 13 year old daughter thinks it should be several inches shorter.  What do you think?

See more of my projects and vintage inspiration on my blog or connect with me on instagram!

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1950s | Dresses | Mad Men Inspired | Pattern Drafting | Pattern Sizing | Vintage Sewing

Vintage Vogue 8789, Fitting and sewing videos!

By on April 20, 2017
Pinup Sewing, Vintage Vogue 8789 | Vintage on Tap

Hello, everyone!

A couple of my favorite sewing bloggers (Abi and Akram) have both posted their Easter dresses, so I figured it was about time I posted mine 😘

Pinup Sewing, Vintage Vogue 8789 | Vintage on Tap

For my Easter/Spring dress I made the super popular Vintage Vogue 8789, which always seems to make a return this time of year.

I actually really love how versatile the pattern is and it still continues to be a vintage sewist favorite, even if the reproduction pattern is out of print!

Pinup Sewing, Vintage Vogue 8789 | Vintage on Tap

I made my version out of a stunning linen fabric that sews like butter and has such a yummy hand that looks great over a petticoat.

Pinup Sewing, Vintage Vogue 8789 | Vintage on Tap

I went all out on the interior of my dress, stabilizing the neckline like crazy, using petersham ribbon this way and that to stabilize the seams, and added a waist stay for good measure. I’m equally- if not more so- happy with the interior than the exterior!

Pinup Sewing, Vintage Vogue 8789 | Vintage on Tap

Pinup Sewing, Vintage Vogue 8789 | Vintage on Tap

 

I actually filmed a fitting video for the girls out there that have to do some insane FBA action, with a petite frame. Shifted some darts around, shortened the length, took in the shoulder seam. In the end, it fit like a glove.

Check out the video for fitting Vogue 8789.

And if you just want to see my sewing tips for it, check out the sewing video for Vogue 8789.

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1950s | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Butterick 6299 just in time for Autumn

By on March 18, 2017

It’s getting cooler here in Aotearoa New Zealand, while all you sewers in the north are getting set for summer, I’m glad things are cooling off now!

I have just finished this dress, it’s made with some lovely fabric my nana gave me, and I used a stunning Butterick pattern which was new to me this year, along with a couple of other lovely vintage patterns.

These ones!

The pattern is a size and a bit too small for me, so I graded it up, and voila! New dress! In my blog post about the making of this dress…

…I share how I graded it up, it’s pretty easy, you just need a basic pattern (or pattern block) that fits well.

The crossover bodice was a bit fiddly, and adding the bias trim gave me more bulk to deal with, but in the end, I am happy with it.

From the back…

And the bias trim….

The bias binding colour was perfect, but just enough to do the neckline and sleeve cuffs. So happy!

Happy Spring or Autumn Retro Sewists!

The blog link about this dress is here, and now I’m off to make another jumpsuit!

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1950s | Burlesque / Pinup | Dresses | Modern Patterns | Pattern Drafting

Butterick Patterns by Gerite B6354 – Wanda Woodward Wearable Toile

By on August 5, 2016

Hi everyone!

This post is a little different from my usual for quite a few reasons! To start, it’s my first ‘pattern hack’ post, my first fitted make and my first wearable toile! Also this post will lead on to another post with the final make and full instructions on my pattern hack. That’s why this one will be a little shorter than normal as it’s more of an introduction to the main dress – if that makes any sense…

Check out my wearable toile:

gertieb5354polkadot1

gertieb5354polkadot4

 

For my full pattern review & images, check out my blog The Crafty Pinup.

Thank you!
xo

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1940s | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Wrestling With Rayon

By on June 11, 2016

blackdress1

Everyone loves a good LBD right? I recently began a quest to create one for each of the eras I wear the most often (20s-50’s) and found some amazing quality black rayon to use for a forties dress! The only problem was I had to fight the silky stuff to do my bidding! A lot of rayon seam binding was involved with the creation of this dress!

I took my usual bodice pattern and modified it so that the sweetheart neckline was higher so I could wear dress clips at the neckline. I also used a puffy sleeve pattern with 1/4 inch shoulder pads sicking out just over the shoulder line into the sleeve puff for a stronger structured 40’s shoulder. I think most late 30’s and 40’s dresses look just a little bit more vintage with shoulder pads inside, don’t fear the shoulder pad! The most time consuming part of making this dress was simply spent focusing on not screwing up at any point and binding all of the interior seams since rayon likes to fray. I am not the most patient so working on this dress over several weeks seemed like an eternity to me!

blackdress15

Now that my new 40’s LBD is finished, I am so happy with how everything came together and I can’t wait to wear it again and again with different hats and accessories. For more photos of this dress visit me at The Closet Historian!

blackdress18

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1910s | 1930s | 1950s | 1970s | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

The great white dress

By on December 17, 2015

Hi all you wonderful crafting & sewing fellows!

It’s crazy, I haven’t posted anything in here for years, but the great big white deserves a mention, methinks 😉

DSC_1382b

My inspirations for this dress was all over the place. I was looking at Edwardian wedding gowns, 1930’s drapes and flowy sleeves, 1950’s circle skirts and 1970’s hippie layers and lace stuff… You can imagine the confusion and headaches I had over design choices!

In the end I went for a completely self drafted design, with added details from all the periods I was inspired by, and I think it worked pretty well! I used my standard bodice pattern for starters, cut it up to find the “perfect seam lines” (and of course that meant having a seven-piece bodice. Smart), and then made a few muslins to try to perfect it.

DSC_0103c

The skirt is four layers – four different fabrics – full circle.

IMG_1284cFor a bunch more pictures, come over here: http://sewewellyn.blogspot.se/2015/12/finally-wedding-dress-pictures.html

And here’s the post with some of my inspiration: http://sewewellyn.blogspot.se/2015/05/wedding-dress-inspiration.html

 

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