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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1950s | 1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Blackmore So-Easy 9266

By on May 31, 2017

vintage blackmore 9266

The pattern and the fabric were just waiting for each other… and for the the penny to drop, given both have been in stash for quite some time!

I’m not sure of the date, maybe late 50s or 60s? But its definitely a style I’m fond of. And works perfectly with the bark cloth. I just love the tropical print and it was lovely to sew up.

vintage blackmore 9266 sewing pattern

It took 3 toiles to fit and I’m happy with the result but still needs a few small adjustments. Namely the position of the straps and tweaking the bodice a bit more. I had to take in the skirt substantially to get a snug fit. The pattern illustration is a bit misleading as per usual!

vintage blackmore 9266 dress front view

Shame I didn’t have enough fabric for the little jacket but to be honest a little black linen jacket would do just fine.

For more details, hop over to ooobop!

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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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