1970s | 1980s | Blouses | Skirts

Gingham! (Simplicity 5900)

By on August 31, 2017

 

I’ve been sewing with so much gingham this summer!  This particular checked cotton, which I bought on sale in the LA fashion district for 99 cents a yard a few years ago is especially light and perfect for the hot days of late summer and early fall.  The 1980s-era pattern I used to sew this blouse was a surprise: the sleeves are very puffed!  And the fit is quite good without any adjustments—you know how wonderful that feels for a seamstress!  I’m wearing it with one of my 1970s-era Simplicity 7880 skirts, made of $2 a yard black poly-cotton broadcloth.  For more information about the pattern and the construction (and more photos), please visit the blog that I share with my husband: Mr and Mrs Rat.

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1970s | Blouses | Skirts

Late Summer Muslin (Simplicity 7880 and Simplicity 8356)

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This blouse and skirt are both made form 1970s-era patterns, and have become favorites in my summer wardrobe.  I made them from unbleached muslin bought on sale at JoAnns fabric stores.  They wash well, are light and breezy on hot days, and only get softer with wear.  For more information about the patterns and construction, please come visit the blog that I share with my husband: Mr and Mrs Rat.

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1970s | Blouses | Dresses | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

Summer of Gingham (McCalls 6339)

By on August 7, 2017

 

I just finished my second gingham project of the summer, McCalls 6339 from 1978.  I’m pleased with how it turned out.  It is comfortable and has some interesting details, like flat-felled princess seams, self-bias binding on the bottom edge of the blouse, and a darted, then gathered full skirt.  For more details and photos, please visit the sewing blog that I share with my husband: Mr and Mrs Rat

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1950s | Modern Patterns | Skirts

A Retro Gertie Butterick B6285

By on July 30, 2017

This skirt was almost the death of me! But it’s finished and I love it and I want to make more and more and more and… you get the idea.

This pattern is quite gorgeous. Mine is made from a heavy cotton sateen from Spotlight in the most vibrant red and black.

Pockets. Can life get any sweeter?

 

 

It was paired with a black eBay petticoat which is a bit scratchy, hence the slip underneath that. It was toasty warm and certainly made my Monday much more agreeable.

Those with a keen eye will notice the slash neck top is the Gable Top by Jennifer Lauren Handmade. It’s such a great staple top and I’ve been making more of them over the weekend.

Swing and/or twirl around to my blog to read the story of the skirt.

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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!

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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

 

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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.

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