Dig My Wide Collar – 1973 Simplicity 6110 Blouse

Simplicity 6110, copyright 1973

Simplicity 6110, Misses’ Blouse, Skirt and Pants

Seventies fashion always makes me smile.  I absolutely love the exuberance of this era’s designs:  cheerful, big buttons, the oh-so wide pointy collar that spreads from sleeve cap to shining sleeve cap, it all makes me grin.

S6110 frontAccording to the envelope, “This design has the new narrow shoulder look.  The shoulder length of the pattern is shorter and the head of the sleeve is higher.”

I sewed this up using Michael Miller’s “Little Lifesavers” quilting cotton.   This type of fabric is perfect for the way I wash and wear clothes.  That is to say, hot water, high heat in the dryer, and I’ll likely spill something down the front every other wearing.

S6110 back full lengthFitting was simple, as there is no bust dart.  Instead, the front is gathered into yokes.  By comparing the measurement of the pattern to a blouse that fits, I determined I only need to make a rounded upper back and swayback adjustment.

I also shortened the sleeves about an inch and a quarter.  Otherwise, they end at my elbow crease, making my waist look wide.  Between the wide collar and the short, cuffed sleeves, it appears I have a waist (I’m actually pretty square).

Can you dig my exuberant collar?

Can you dig my exuberant collar?

I wanted to emphasize the very pointed collar and cuffs.  I tried Pellon 950S, ShirTailor, which gave a crisp feel to both.

Sewing the blouse was incredibly straight forward.  The instructions are clearly written, and the diagrams quite helpful.

Cuff Detail

Cuff Detail

The oversize buttons that I love didn’t look quite right down the front of the blouse.  I happened to have two sets of the same orange buttons in different diameters.  What can I say?  I like orange buttons, so I have a lot of them.  The three-quarter inch diameter buttons matched the scale of the little lifesavers, and I like the effect much better.

But the cuffs, oh, man, the cuffs were made for the orange 1 1/8″ buttons.  The sheer exuberance of oversize orange buttons makes me so happy!

 

Red Linen Wrap Dress

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Seeing as vintage can sometimes seem a little bit prim and higher maintenance, it can feel great to just toss on a wrap dress and be extra comfy. No petticoats or under structure, just a linen rayon blend and an adjustable waist tie!

I’ve made a 1930’s inspired wrap dress before, and I used the same pattern once again, a self drafted number cobbled together from my usual kimono sleeved dress bodice pattern and an A-line skirt pattern. I did change the sleeve shape just a bit to be a bit more square and actually kimono like, as I knew I wanted to take photos of the finished dress in a Japanese garden. The red linen/rayon blend is from Joanns, and they carry this same fabric in several colors in their linen section. I like the addition of rayon, it means the fabric wrinkles a bit less ferociously than a linen would on its own. This fabric also has a nice weight to it and holds a crisp edge well when ironed.

Here is a 1930s pattern image that shows a similar dress, though I think these 30’s numbers are meant to be more casual house dresses and I made mine more formal for wearing out and about.

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The most tedious thing about making this dress was making, ironing, and stitching on the self fabric bias binding along the edges. The dress is unlined, and has no facings, so the bias binding encloses all of the raw edges including the hem. I sewed the bias along the outer edge by machine (that was a lot of pins!) and then after folding it over to the backside stitched the entire length down with invisible hand stitches on the back. Time consuming indeed, but worth it in the end for a nice finish!

 

 

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I am so pleased with how the dress came together in the end and I already want to make another version in the black colorway of this same fabric! Perhaps that will be a project for next year :) For more photos of this dress and my day at the Denver Botanical Gardens visit me over on The Closet Historian!

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Blackmore 8194 vintage dress

Blackmore 8194 vintage dress

I’ve been wanting to tackle this dress for a long time. Don’t know what I was afraid of! It came together quite simply. But it helps that I’ve sewn vintage dresses before. The instructions on the back of the packet are minimal to say the least and include things like:

“Make darts in the back bodice where shown by dotted lines in diagram”. Quite literally the diagram which is the tiny pattern layout illustration on the back of the packet. So it’s anyone’s guess, really!

“Gather upper edge of side fronts to fit hip yoke of front as in sketch and stitch together matching VV to VV.” Again, helped by the fact that I’ve managed inset seams before when quilting so I know a thing or two about clipping and pivoting. It could have caused a tantrum or two otherwise!

Blackmore 8194 vintage sewing patternI made it in a hurry, like the day before the wedding so there’s room for improvement. I graded it up a size but could do with adding an inch of ease at least at the waist I was hesitant to do this for fear of losing the lovely silhouette but I think I can still retain the line by cutting and slashing from under arm to waist.

blackmore 8194 green vintage dress

As for the era… Blackmore Patterns finished trading in the 1940s by all accounts so I would naturally date the pattern from late 40s but Wikia Patterns says 1950s. So it’s anyone’s guess really!

My favourite details are the keyhole neckline and the skirt gathers on the hip yoke.

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I’m definitely going to have to make this again. Has anyone else tried this pattern before?

More info on the making of this dress and others over at ooobop.

 

My Vintage Suit ~ The Vintage Suit Sew Along

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Suit jacket pattern, Simplicity S-128 and skirt pattern, Advance 8443

Did you join us in the Vintage Suit Sew Along? It’s been keeping some of us vintage sewists busy for the last few months.

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Inspiration for my dream suit

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More inspiration

I opted for a lovely houndstooth fabric that was passed to me by a friend de-stashing, and for this I re-vamped one of my best hats, adding some fabric to co-ordinate with the suit.

My vintage suit sew along

I took my time with the toile, and getting the best fit….

My vintage suit sew along tall looking down nice shot

And I’m really happy with how it turned out, the shaping of the jacket is very true to the pattern illustration, with a nice wide hip skimming hem.

My vintage suit sew along swirl2

Some detail, bound buttonholes, cuffs and side seam pocket.

My vintage suit sew along gloves, cuffs

I have many more photos on my blog, and you can have a look at the making posts there too! Also, there are a couple of other makers working on their suits, soon to be shared, so take a look at the other makes while you’re there x

#vintagesuitsewalong #vintagepledge

Lingerie Design: A Complete Course & Vintage Details: A Fashion Sourcebook

I let out a prolonged “ooooooooh” when these two big beautiful books landed on my desk so I thought you might like to see them.

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The first is not technically a sewing book but I guarantee you’ll reference it constantly in your sewing if you love to sew vintage. We used Vintage Details: A Fashion Sourcebook as a giveaway prize recently and honestly I had a hard time letting it go to the winner. Imagine me wavering in a post office parking lot, clasping the packaged book and intoning “My preciouuuuussssssss” for a solid five minutes.

This book is both beautiful and huge. You’re going to put it on your coffee table and every coffee break from that moment on will last at least four hours as you get lost in the pages and pages of photos of necklines, cuffs, pockets, fastenings, darts, and flounces.

If you’re the kind of person who likes seeing a photo of a garment’s inside as much as the outside, I’m pretty sure you’ll love this book. You can find Vintage Details on Amazon here or trot down to your favorite independent bookstore if you have one locally. No room in your budget right now? Don’t let that hold you back – you can always ask for a copy at your local library.

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The second, Lingerie Design: A Complete Course, comes at a great time for the sewing community because it seems like more of us than ever are trying to sew our own underthings.

Sidenote: I’ve been a little bit obsessed with this Bra Making Forum facebook group lately…I’ve got the popular Shelley Bra pattern from Pin Up Girls cut out and ready to sew but working through the instructions in this book is definitely next on deck.

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What I love about this book is it doesn’t just cover the history of lingerie, the construction details and delicate embellishments, but it shows step-by-step how to construct your own sloper for slips, panties, petticoats, sleepwear, foundation garments and bras. Where the other book is all about inspiration, this is a practical guide to designing, drafting, and construction. Have a squiz at the contents…

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Lingerie Design: A Complete Course can be purchased direct from the publisher here or on Amazon here. Again, don’t forget your local library if your budget is tight!

 

My First Post: Butterick 4838, 1960s Cut Out Cover Up Shift

imageI’m so happy to be contributing here for the first time!

Today I completed Butterick 4838, a reversible summer shift or cover-up with only two pattern pieces. It’s still winter here, but after prolonged illness and also a huge house move I just felt like sewing something – anything – to get back into sewing. I’d always wanted to make this well-known 1960s pattern, because it looks cute, easy to wear, and would be a great summer dress (I suffer terribly with the heat).  I’ve also recently grown out of much of my wardrobe, ahem, so can justify the make because I NEED new clothes.image Really. Especially because my daughter has started stealing all my old ones because she has grown INTO them.

I didn’t bother doing a test run, as it’s such a simple pattern (please keep tsking and chuckles to a minimum). Contrary to the envelope illustration, where the waist seems somewhat raised and as if the cut-out ends at the back waist, it turns out that the cut-out is quite wide AND low, and not only that, is also quite open and revealing due to the generous cut of the mod, shift-like shape. I think if I were standing in a queue and there was someone right behind me and they bothered to look down, they’d probably be able to see right down to my undies! Whoops. I think I’ll only be wearing this over my swimmers to go down the road to the pool. You could say the clue was in the pattern description, which used the word ‘cover-up’.

Still, I’m happy with it – and I used up some original 1960s psychedelic fabric I thrifted years ago:image  a sheer synthetic, light as air, with a faint crepey texture to it. I have the perfect buttons for the dress – huge lime green plastic ones – but haven’t added them yet as I still havent unpacked my haberdashery stash (I can’t even find the box!). I won’t be making them functional buttons, because it’s loose enough to just be pulled over my head.

I will make this again and make it truly reversible (not just lined like this one) and will adjust the cut-out to be more wearable. I really recommend this fun mod pattern!