1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

The essential black dress

By on May 30, 2017

Detail from the pattern envelope, McCall’s 3326. Doesn’t that neckline make you swoon?

I cut this dress out, all organised and good to go, last year, when I was binge planning and cutting…..little did I know I would be getting it finished in time to farewell my dear, and very talented nana. She was nearing 90, and had be one of those women who sewed from a very young age, and kept sewing, then knitting and many other handcrafts for most of her life. Nana Joy had been very supportive when I took up sewing my own clothes as an adult, and was naturally, ready for critical feedback whenever she saw me in a new make. She is dearly missed and I think she would have approved of this little number.

But, I digress, sewing rolemodels aside, on with the dress! I wanted to remake the McCall’s dress with a circle skirt, after making some slacks, I had just enough of this black cotton/linen blend to cut out this dress, using the skirt from McCall’s 3468, above. Very straight forward, the patterns are the same size, feature a side zipper closure, and I have used them both, so, easy!

I really am smitten with the results!

And, I need another!

On my blog, you can read how I made my bound buttonholes, added faux horsehair braid to the hem, for that perfect swirl, (see above). And of course, more photos.

Blog post here.

Are you on instagram? Lets hook up here.

Angela xo

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1950s | Dresses | Modern Patterns | Pattern Sizing | Vintage Sewing

Butterick 6453, Spring Jenny Dress

By on May 23, 2017
Patterns by Gertie Butterick 6453, View A | Vintage on Tap

 

I’m ready for all the summer dresses!

I hope you guys have already found your favorite summer sewing pattern to whip up tons of sundresses!

Butterick 6453, Gertie Sew Along | Vintage on Tap

Patterns by Gertie Butterick 6453, View A | Vintage on Tap

Making this dress was definitely quite a journey.

I broke down the entire process, from fitting to completed garment, in a bunch of videos, which really allowed me to take my time and make this dress right. The video series was a total of 5 videos long.

Butterick B6453, View B | Vintage on Tap

Butterick B6453, Sewing Pattern | Vintage on Tap

Did I love this pattern? Absolutely.

Midway through writing this post I went ahead and browsed Etsy for more fabric. View A (the yellow tulip dress) is tooooootally where my heart is at right now and I love how similar the design is to Pinup Girl Clothing’s Jenny Dress.

Overall, the garment was super simple to construct, but of course the trickiest part was doing a full bust adjustment on a princess seam. It turned out really well, though, and wouldn’t be afraid to tackle it again in the future.

Vintage on Tap, Butterick 6453

To view the full photoshoot, including all my sewing notes, check out my blog.

To watch the Sew Along video series (including fitting videos), head on over to YouTube. 

 

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1950s | Vintage Sewing

Don’t Let the Pattern Matching Get You Down…

By on May 22, 2017

I can’t say for certain that we have all been there, but I know I’m not the only seamstress to have had a definite plan and then once you actually take a hard look at the fabric you have to work with in more detail, you realize the plan is just not going to happen! Such was the case with this dress, as I had planned originally to cut everything with the print mirrored along the center front, but as soon as I laid the fabric out properly I understood that certainly was not going to work out.

The fabric I used to make this dress had some pretty serious downsides going for it. Firstly it was left over yardage from another project that had been languishing in my stash for years, so the piece I had left was an odd shape to start with. The other issue was more of a problem; though the print was hypothetically perfectly mirrored…it was actually off-set by about half a centimeter. I assume this fabric, being flocked (mimicking cut velvet) , was made by printing down a layer of glue in the areas where the black fibers would be, and then applying the flocking powder and then repeating this process along the center of the yardage, and when they did this it was obviously not perfectly lined up. So my original plan to cut this dress with the mirrored center of the print going down the center front of the dress had to be scrapped, for if I cut it like that it would appear as if I had done a very poor job of it since the fabric itself was off kilter.

It is in moments like these, when you have your pattern pieces strewn around you on the floor trying to figure out how to place and fit them on your fabric, that it is very easy to get too frustrated and give up before you have even truly started. I was tempted to scrap the idea of this project entirely, but instead took a deep breath and the time to look at other options. I decided, after much deliberation, to use the white space between the printed motifs to my advantage and cut the center front bodice pieces with their center in the white areas so when they were sewn together there wouldn’t be a jarring break in the pattern along the seam. Next I had to determine what to do with the skirt, and though I knew no matter what I couldn’t get the print to match along the side seams, to try and find an angle where the print would at least sort of flow. I ended up cutting the skirt pieces diagonally, but not perfectly on bias. As Tim Gunn would say, make it work!

Though this dress was a challenge to cut out, and looks different that I had originally planned, I am happy I persevered and still made it despite the puzzle like conundrum at the start.  Lessons learned, don’t get too attached to your original idea lest it not work out, and two- take your time and consider all the possible solutions when pattern matching. Such lessons came in handy recently when making another dress and matching stripes! If only fabric was always printed perfectly on grain and perfectly matched up, but such is not the world we live in.

I wore the finished dress on a recent trip to Paris and if you would like to see more photos, you can check out a full outfit post over on The Closet Historian.

Thanks for reading, and don’t let the pattern matching get you down! 🙂

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1950s | Dresses | Mail Order Patterns | Vintage Sewing

First Time Re-Sizing: Anne Adams R4769

By on May 15, 2017

I have spent a long time trying to build up the courage to attempt re-sizing a vintage pattern and I finally took the plunge last week. While I definitely need to work out a ton of kinks, I could not be happier about finally trying. After a lot of unpicking and re-stitching I was able to stitch up Anne Adams R4769 in a wearable size!

You can read more about my adventure (and all of my mishaps) with this garment over at my blog. This experiment has rekindled my passion for sewing and I now can’t wait to start on another one!

Until next time . . . happy sewing!

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Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Show your Patriotism with a July Sew-Along

By on May 11, 2017
Join the #4thofJulyProudDressProject and/or #FlagsOfTheWorldDressProject

With the success of the #EasterSringDress2017 sew-along (see the roundup here) I’ve teamed up again with some amazing seamstress to bring you the next big sew-along.

Renta from Running In Style contacted me, along with  Judith of Judith Dee’s World and Bianca of Vintage on Tap, to team up and host two sew-alongs in one.

Announcing the #4thofJulyProudDressProject and the #FlagsOfTheWorldDressProject 

The idea behind both is to show your patriotism and make a dress or outfit that represents your country or nationality with the big reveal the week of 4th of July.

Vintage Ideas

While the sew-along doesn’t stipulate any specific pattern or style, I’d love to see some vintage style dresses in the big round-up.

4th of July Dress from early 1900's
4th of July Dress from early 1900’s

A quick search on Pinterest for 4th of July fashion will yield lots of ideas from early nineteenth century gowns to 1950’s novelty dresses.

Matching Mother and Daughters 4th of July 50's dresses
Matching Mother and Daughters 4th of July 50’s dresses

Of course red, white and blue also often bring a slew of nautical inspired outfits as well. I’m not sure why, but I love the idea of a nautical dress for 4th of July.

Nautical 4th of July dress 1900
Nautical 4th of July dress 1900

Join the Fun

If you plan to join in the fun post your creations between Saturday, July 1 thru Friday, July 7th  on Youtube, blog or Instagram using the hashtag #4thofJulyProudDressProject and/or #FlagsOfTheWorldDressProject 

1930's actress Marion Shilling in her firework stockings
1930’s actress Marion Shilling in her firework stockings

For full details on the sew-along and to sign up be sure to see my full blog post at: http://wp.me/p3yKY3-2Cv 

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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 | Vintage Sewing

Weekly Star Farmer/Pattern Bureau 1950s 2207 – Foal Dress

By on April 11, 2017

I’m usually a very slow seamstress, but occasionally–very occasionally–I actually work well under pressure.

I had an event coming up and decided I really, really, wanted a new dress to wear.  A themed dress.  I’d had the fabric for awhile but hadn’t given myself permission to sew it (this is an ongoing problem for me: I feel obligated to burn through a bunch of boring utility projects before I let myself sew the high-investment ones.  But of course I have limited time so I never get to the high-investment ones).

The fabric was Moda Purebred Bluegrass Foals in coral red (not quite this bright in real life.  The foals are natural cotton color, not bright white, and the coral is slightly faded):

 

It’s a big print.  The foals are about three inches each.

My pattern requirements were specific: It had to be 1950’s (big skirt) and it had to have a skirt that was four panels or fewer, and couldn’t have a lot of design elements, because I wanted to preserve the foals as much as possible.

I went around and around on this but kept coming back to Weekly Star Farmer (probably Pattern Bureau) 2207, from the early 1950’s.  This design was also sold as Pattern Bureau 2911 and, later, as 2593.

I love the pockets.   How can you not love those pockets?

It needed a lot of adjustment, partly for personal fit (longer bodice, added upper back width, minor full-bust adjustment) but also for design reasons.  The illustration is kind of a lie: The skirt is actually conical, not bell-shaped, and the pockets are set two inches below where they’re shown.

The skirt pieces have straight sides.  Not kidding.  And no darts.

I knew this would need alteration, anyway, because I have big hips, but the test muslin, while better, still didn’t look good and wasn’t comfortable.  The final solution was to both curve the side and center back seams, and to add 3/4 inch width per side in the back, and then create waist darts.

The other major issue was the collar.  The original collar was two pieces that, I guess, met in the back?  I didn’t like the way this looked and also thought it seemed structurally weak:

So I reshaped it to meet in the back as a contiguous collar.  But the test collar was enormous.  I am not kidding–it was as wide as the shoulder points on the dress, and it looked nothing at all like the illustration.  It was like wearing an open jacket flapping around all the time, except it was attached.  I narrowed it by two and a half inches (you read that correctly) and lowered the point in the front by an inch and a half.  It’s still plenty big but at least I’m not in danger in a stiff wind.

I mounted the pockets two inches higher than the pattern called for.  For the record: I’m a little over 5’7″, so I have no idea for whom the original pockets were intended.  Chimpanzees, perhaps?  I don’t know how a shorter woman would have reached them.  (They’re not crooked.  I’m slouching because the show lasted 15 hours.)

Still plenty of collar!  I think I could narrow that by another inch and it would still look good.

I sort of want to make this again . . . ideally in a large blue-on-blue gingham with solid trim.

And in case you’re wondering why I needed a dress with horses all over it . . . Lemmonade Live Model Horse Show 2017.

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