1950s | Pattern Drafting

My 1950’s suit

By on April 27, 2015

Hi everyone. I’m happy to reveal my new suit. I’ve thought about making a 1950’s style suit for a couple of years but now I have finally given it a go.

voor1For this suit, I used a peculiar fabric from my stash, a linen tweed. The hand is a bit weird, stiff and limp at the same time, which makes it misbehave in the skirt. For the jacket, I used a very lightweight fusible interfacing which took care for those issues.

62feea25124bfe73dde117956820b93aI drafted my own pattern based on this picture from an issue of the Dutch ladies’ magazine Libelle. 

10312768_438598262982827_235609074456462868_nFor the hat, I used V8008 which has been in my stash for years, in fact, for longer than any of my vintage patterns. I made the pillbox from the suit fabric, interfaced it with mid-weight fusible cotton and lined it with thin synthetic felt. Instead of the flower decorations included in the pattern, I put a large flat bow from the same fabric on the back, tied up with a ribbon in a bow.

voor:zij1It’s not perfect, but nevertheless, I’m quite pleased with my suit. You can see more pictures and read more about it on my blog.

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1950s | Dresses | Pattern Drafting

Big pockets from 1951

By on March 22, 2015

3bbe7194fdd32f11eb01e29c59500004I found this picture in a magazine, Beatrijs, from 1951 and loved it. When I found this fabric, a fairly fine wale corduroy in bright orange a few months ago, I knew it had become this dress…

fotoAnd now it has and I love it. Every time I put this dress on, even when it was no-where near finished, it makes me smile. It’s a happy dress.

I drafted the pattern myself (Beatrijs is a ladies’ magazine, it doesn’t focus on sewing. There is the occasional draft-your-own project and it had a mailorder pattern service but there are never actual patterns included. And this picture was an illustration for an article about practical fashion).

voor:zijThe bodice was a tried-and-tested version, the skirt is absolutely new. It doesn’t have side seams (except in those upper hip bits which go into the pockets) and the darts are converted into those little seams with which the pockets are attached.

As members of Sew&Tell may know, I started second-guessing myself about the collar on Friday but, with all your input, I decided to stick with the larger collar. And I’m really happy with it.

More about it on my blog

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1910s | 1920s | 1950s | Pattern Drafting

Free Vintage Patterns and Vintage Sewing Books

By on February 10, 2015

Looking for something to read on the bus? Check out these free vintage dressmaking books, including a pattern drafting system from the 1950s that looks rather nifty.

If you’re not familiar with how the pattern drafting systems work, it’s like having small pattern guides (think of the pattern piece schematics on the back of your sewing pattern envelope) that you scale up to your individual measurements using a specially marked ruler or measuring tape. In the Dressmaking at Home book here, you’ll find the details for the ruler on page 7.

Edit: these might look a little quirky on mobile. If you’re having trouble, jump on an actual computer.

Dressmaking at Home (pattern drafting system from the 1950s)

The New Dressmaker by Butterick Patterns (1921)

The American System of Dressmaking (early 1900s)

 

Home Dressmaking and the Art of Good Dressing

A note about copyright: I didn’t make any of these documents available on Scribd and Scribd’s terms of use specifically prohibit the upload of works for which you do not hold the copyright. I haven’t dug down far enough into the murky world of copyright infringement to be able to say if these works are infringing or not, so I’m taking Scribd at their word that these works are not infringing anyone’s copyright. Copyright holders can file a takedown notice on Scribd here.

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1950s | Pattern Drafting | Skirts

Skirt and bolero

By on February 8, 2015

This bright orange stuff has been in my stash for over a year. It looks a lot like wool but the seller was certain it’s cotton. It did shrink like cotton when I washed it and it doesn’t smell like wool when I iron it, so I guess he was right.

rok1For a while, I’ve wanted to make a pencil skirt from this stuff, and now I finally did. I re-worked my skirt sloper to get rid of a small fitting issue which has started to annoy me now that I’m even more critical than before.

Because this fabric is rather thick, I didn’t want to make a vent or a kick pleat. Instead, I took inspiration from my vintage skirt patterns: In the vast majority of those, the sleek pencil skirts are actually slight A-lines. Which makes sense, of course. It would help keep the skirt from riding up when you walk and it would make it fall back into place neatly when you stand up. Usually, the A-line effect is just a little bit and the skirt still gets a pleat to give it enough leg room.

rok2In this case, I thought I had made it just wide enough to go without a pleat and yet still narrow enough to look like a pencil skirt. It turns out I could have done with a little bit more width at the hem, but I suppose that will teach me to walk like a lady 😉

Schermafbeelding 2015-02-08 om 09.24.31The skirt is fully lined and has patch pockets without topstitching (set in from the side seam. I made a tutorial for it) at the front.

The bolero is a very simple pattern I drafted a couple of years ago: One pattern piece, cuffs and a binding along the edge. Very quick and easy to make but I really like the look with a skirt like this.

More about it on my blog!

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1950s | Dresses | Pattern Drafting

Warm wool winter dress – now with added glamour

By on January 20, 2015

A few years ago, the nicest fabric store in town was going out of business. Before they did so, they sold of all the stock at sale prices. I still have some fabrics in my stash from that sale. Such nice fabrics that I’m a bit afraid to cut into them…

zakkenBut now I have finally made a dress from this lovely wool crepe.

I considered a couple of vintage patterns for it but ended up drafting my own pattern after all.

hoedClean lines, a 1950’s style silhouette and big pockets.

achterIt feels very chique yet quite comfortable. I should remember to wear it and not keep it on a hanger and just look at it lovingly every time I open the wardrobe…

You can read more about it and there are more pictures and a technical drawing on my blog

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1950s | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Rosemary Dress — a free pattern

By on December 30, 2014

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I decided to make a present for myself after Christmas has already passed and here it is, a dress I called Rosemary, based on a pattern from Der Neue Schnitt 5/1952 –number RK 35113.

This particular magazine came to me without the key and with just one pattern sheet. So if I wanted to sew this gorgeous thing, I had to trace all the lines on the sheet with my finger to find the right pattern pieces. Let me tell you that took long. But it was worth it. When I finally did find it, I decided to scan it and trace it digitally and I made it into a downloadable pattern. Head over to my blog to get it. Merry Christmas.

The sewing process was easy peasy, even with no instructions I just followed my gut feeling and it went smoothly. The pattern is also well fitted which actually means that it is a bit too loose for me, as it is intended for bust measurement of 92 cm/36in (and I’m more of an 88/34in). But I actually like that because it makes me feel I can easily move around in it, which I intend to do a lot of during the New Year’s Eve.

For more photos and a full story of this dress, head over to my blog.

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1950s | Pants / Trousers | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Drafting Cigarette Pants

By on September 19, 2014

I’m not brand-new to pants (the first pair of jeans I made), but I’ve never drafted slim-fit trousers before and to be honest they’re a bit intimidating. So math!  Much fitting!  Wow!  But I have some great herringbone woolen in my stash (somewhere between a flannel and a boiled wool, very nice quality, from Gorgeous Fabrics a couple of years back), a job I can’t wear jeans to, and a sudden interest in late-1950s silhouettes, so I thought it was time to take on the challenge.

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Drafting discussion and fitting photos are here at my blog.  I made a couple of breakthroughs and (hopefully) did away with a major fit issue in every pair of pants I’ve ever sewn.  I would love some input from those of you who are experienced at fitting pants–there are some horizontal wrinkles in the back thigh that are still stumping me:

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Needs length in the back fork, maybe?

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