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

Creating a Skirt from a 1930’s Dress Pattern

By on June 11, 2017
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, Phryne 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!

Continue Reading

1970s | Skirts

My Favorite Skirts (Simplicity 7880)

By on June 5, 2017

1970s era Simplicity 7880 is my favorite pattern, and with good reason.  Here are some photos of some of my favorite versions of this versatile skirt pattern, which I wear on an almost-daily basis:

 

 

A few construction notes: Simplicity 7880 uses almost three yards of fabric cut on the cross-wise grain, which means it only has one seam at the center back, and would be well suited to border prints, even though I have never sewn it with one before.  It uses a seven inch zipper and a skirt hook and eye to close, although occasionally I will switch the skirt hook and eye for a large button.  It is easy to adjust the length of the skirt or to make the waist band wider, since both are rectangles.  To make sure my waistbands never roll, I always sew waistband interfacing into the waist.  Waistband interfacing is stiff and flexible like a lightweight belt, and comes in many different widths.  I always buy big lengths of it at Michael Levine fabrics in the fabric district in Los Angeles whenever I go to visit my parents there.

For more photos and other vintage (and new) pattern reviews, please visit the blog I share with my husband:  mrandmrsrat.weebly.com

 

Continue Reading

1920s | Accessories | Bags / Purses | Blouses | Embroidery | Hats | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

A 1920 Ensemble

By on March 15, 2017

This outfit is my foray into the world of the late teens and early 20’s.  I used two patterns from Past Patterns, dated to circa 1920, for both my blouse and skirt, while my purse was made from a tapestry remnant and Vogue #7252, from the year 2000.  My hat is a thrift store find which I decorated to make-do and my shoes are close reproductions from Jeffrey Campbell.  I used primarily cotton for all pieces – even thread!  There are so many fine details to this set – the blouse has my hand-stitched floral designs on the neck, shoulders, and sleeves while I used old original glass teens/20’s era buttons for the front closure of the blouse.  There are real brass buttons along the pocket panel of the skirt…and check out those awesomely enormous pockets as big as mini suitcases!  My background was one of the very first “arcade” indoor shopping malls in our country, a lovely Gothic place built in 1919.  To see and read more, please visit my blog post here.

Save

Continue Reading

1960s | Blouses | Skirts

Two-piece dress based on Simplicity 4906

By on December 27, 2016

Hello everyone,

This will be my debut on this page. I have been sewing vintage-inspired clothes for some time and recently started using authentic patterns from my favorurite era, 1950s-1960s. My newest project is a two-piece dress, based on Simplicity 4906 pattern.

What I like most about this pattern is how it fits on the shoulders. Made from non-elastic fabric it does not constrain movement. And the wide collar has enough room for a woolen scarf in a matching colour.

The original pattern

I altered the top a bit, as the original had short or 3/4 length sleeves and I wanted long, plus I eliminated a side zipper – who needs a zipper in a loose-fitting boxy-shaped top? Also, I decided not to use the original skirt pattern as my fabric was too thick for a skirt with a long back pleat. I went for a Burda skirt pattern from 2/2013 issue, but to my disappointment, the pattern did not work with my fabric either – elastic band are not friends with thick fabrics… Anyways, I ended up making a simple skirt with darts and a waistband. But the overall result is I think satisfactory. I also used the original belt pattern, which was meant for the dress, but can work with the top as well.

Top with black pants

The greatest thing about two-piece dresses is that you can wear them as separates.

Continue Reading

1930s | Blouses | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

1930s Bishop Sleeve Blouse & Pocket Detail Skirt

By on December 8, 2016

1930s blouse and skirt

Do you ever have an idea in your mind that never really pans out when it comes to your sewing? Yep, that’s exactly what happened here. Both the blouse and skirt were going to be very different to how they actually turned out, mainly due to not having quite enough fabric for either of them!

The white silk with navy polka dots is actually a vintage fabric I picked up at a flea market. It was very narrow and as a result, the originally planned pattern of McCalls – 7053, from their Archive Collection, just didn’t fit. So after abandoning this idea, I decided to use the top half of this beautiful original 1930s dress pattern instead. It’s been sat in my collection for a while totally unused, but boy am I glad I used it this time.

Vintage 1930s Buttons

It worked out beautifully in this fabric, despite having to redo the front yoke many, many times. The issue was that it needed to be lined to give it some stability and the join at the bottom, where the button placket areas overlap, was incredibly fiddly. After many attempts, both on the machine and by hand, I finally got it to sit right. However, after all that stress I gave up on trying to do buttonholes, so just sewed the buttons in place.

1930s sleeve detail

Instead of finishing the sleeves with a mid-forearm cuff as shown in the pattern, I decided to add a long cuff right down to the wrist. I absolutely love this style of bishop sleeve, it’s so classically 1930s, and of course keeps your forearms warm! I finished it off with four buttons and rouleau loops to allow enough room to get my hand in and out.

The fabric itself, unfortunately, has weakened during the pre-wash and making up stages. As a result, I’ve decided to only wear it on special occasions and to try and find another white and navy polka dot fabric for a more wearable version. I think it would work well in a crepe or a soft cotton lawn.

1930s blouse yoke detail

The skirt was drafted from another original 1930s pattern, which I’ve used multiple times as it’s such a simple design so can be changed to just about any style. The fabric is a deep mustard linen, which I bought from My Fabrics and a dream to work with. It’s quite a heavy weight linen so can be used for both summer and winter.

The design itself was taken from an original 1930s skirt I own but haven’t yet worn. I love the little pockets on it, so decided to replicate them here with a slightly different style button tab. They worked out quite well I think and give such a lovely interest to the front of the skirt, along with the deep single kick pleat on the centre front.

If you want to read more about it, and see the gorgeous original 1930s navy suede shoes I wore with it, just pop on over to my blog.

Continue Reading

1950s | Skirts

Making Peace

By on November 22, 2016

1950s-fall-outfit-1

Do you ever have one of those projects that just fights you at every turn until finally you have to resign your own opinions on the matter and let the project call the shots? This skirt started out as a rather cute 1950s style dress, but it apparently wasn’t meant to be….

1950s-fall-outfit-12

More details on the skirt as well as some shots of this darling original wool sweater (and a few ramblings, for good measure!) on my blog. 🙂

1950s-fall-outfit-8

And please share! What was a project that didn’t go according to your original hopes? Did you end up liking it more after all, or are you still a bit resentful? 😉

Continue Reading

1940s | 1950s | Skirts

Parrot Print Gathered Skirt

By on November 10, 2016
Akram's Ideas: Parrot Print Gathered Skirt

I love big novelty print skirts! Novelty skirts are kind of a staple of 40’s and 50’s fashion.

While I do love novelty print skirts, I actually have very few in my wardrobe. Since I get my fabric second hand I don’t usually come about interesting prints, mostly solids or modest floral prints.

However, when I came across this lovely vintage (or at least old) parrot print fabric I knew I was destined to make myself a novelty skirt.

Akram's Ideas: Parrot Print Gathered Skirt
This print makes the prefect Novelty Skirt

Originally I wanted to make a nice full circle skirt but alas, I didn’t have enough fabric. So in the end, I did a traditional gather skirt with waistband.

While the light weight cotton or print may not be autumn appropriate I’m still very happy with this skirt and can’t wait to get some serious wear out of it this summer.

Akram's Ideas: Parrot Print Gathered Skirt
Can’t wait to wear this next summer

To read more about my process for this fun novelty skirt see my blog Akram’s Ideas (http://akramsideas.com/vintage-inspired-gathered-skirt-parrot-print/)

Continue Reading