Or, What do you do with your old North Korea maps?!  We have been weeding lots of out-of-date maps at work (Soviet Union, anyone?), and I’ve been doing my best to put them to good use.  One vintage-related use is to redraw patterns onto these maps, to make them sturdier.  Another, which I’m actually more pleased about, is to turn the old maps into envelopes, mark the pattern name & number on the front with a short description, and then put the original pattern, its envelope & the newly-traced pattern all inside. Because the new envelope is a LOT bigger, it requires much less folding (ergo, less frustration), and it means the more fragile vintage pattern doesn’t have to be manhandled back into a tiny envelope, which, by the way, is probably tearing, too!  

Here’s Bella, supervising me from under a North Korea map…

 

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I sewed this dress as a muslin for the Hollywood Sewalong challenge. This seasons movie theme is The Notebook.

Hollywood Sewalong: The Notebook | SewsNBows

Butterick 5846

I love the pleats and shirtdress style! It’s actually my first successful women’s clothing garment in a decade. I mostly sew for kids. So I’m proud of it even though there’s plenty of room for improvement.

1940s inspired vintage dress with pleated bodice

I have a few things I need to work on for my final dress, like making my slip stitched collar look nice. The bodice back is very roomy, and it bunches out. I need to figure out a way to eliminate some of the bulk. I know it’s a popular style right now, but it’s not for me! (Photos on the blog, linked below.)

Butterick 5846 by SewsNBows

I’d love any tips you might have for me! Also, I thought the We Sew Retro readers may like to stop by and see all the other 1940′s inspiration! Our final reveal is in May. Read about it here: SewsNBows Hollywood Sewalong : Part II.

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Many thanks to everyone who gave advice for finishing this dress.

I used this cotton Donna Wilder Fabric

 

I took off all the ruffles, took it in at the waist, shortened the sleeves, and hemmed it to hit right at the knee.  I would have liked a navy belt to go with it, but I don’t have a navy belt buckle yet, so I added my vintage red flower buckle belt I created for another dress last year.  I wore it out last weekend when a friend and I went to Colonial Williamsburg (which explains the large tag and the large straw hat on my head – my friend and I do Revolutionary re-enactments, so the hat will become one of my props!).   And I even got a few compliments on the dress from other tourists there!  This one is sure to be worn many times.

 

 

Can't resist acting like a model

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This robe was made using a pattern I drafted myself. However, I still think it has a place here because a shape like this, ankle length and flared, is something I see all the time in ladies’  and sewing magazines from the late 1940′s and 1950′s. And those can have any kind of sleeve, set-in, kimono or raglan, like mine.

My robe has wide, deeply set raglan sleeves which are gathered into long jersey cuffs. The robe itself is made from a fairly thin cotton toweling fabric with matching jersey for the facing, cuffs and belt.

It has pockets, patch pockets which were sewn from the inside so there is no visible topstitching (I made a tutorial for those.

For more pictures and the full story, go to my blog.

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I’ve wanted a green dress, to fell better after this rainy winter…

I’ve found the fabric last summer with no idea… then I’ve found in my “atelier” a pattern that I’d forgot…

 

A Vogue model : 8789

I’m very happy to wear it because it’s really a pleasure, it’s fit well and I’ve no problem with the V neck in front and back.

 

I’d a lot of chance with the weather …

 

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Hi guys!

 

I fell in love with this pattern as soon as I clapped eyes on it! I finally got round to sewing it last night, im still deciding on buttons (it’s always a big decision for me) so it’s not completely finished yet.

I had to do quite a bit of adjusting on the pattern because im pretty short. I chose a torquoise and black houndstooth and a plain black trim. Theres a godet in the back centre seam, which I also did in the houndstooth.

Anyway heres a quick photo and I’ll post one of me wearing the dress once I’ve put the buttons on. Im really pleased with how it turned out :)

 

 

 

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Hi Everyone!

I’m back with a pinafore dress I’ve made using various patterns and ideas.  I’m quite pleased with it and hope you like it too?

Apologies for the back photo first – I’m having problems getting photos into the right place on here?

Anyway… I used 5 different pattern pieces from 5 different patterns to make this dress.  The back bodice is from a 1960′s pinafore/jumper dress I loaded onto here recently.  The front bodice top piece is from a purple 1960′s dress I posted too.  The midriff section is from a 1950′s dress that I drafted the pattern from.  The front skirt is from a pencil skirt I drafted and the back skirt is a half circle pattern I just chalked onto the fabric and cut out.

I wanted to play with the check pattern on the fabric and see how it turned out.

 

I added self made black piping to bring attention to the waist and midriff part.  There is an invisible zip on the side and I fully lined this dress.

Some of you may recognise me and this fabric from a circle skirt I posted recently.  In the shop I asked for 2 metres hoping there was enough on the roll.  As it happened there was about 2 and a half metres on the roll and the shop gave me the extra half metre for free as it was the end.  Happy days!  That is how I managed to get a dress and a skirt out of the same length :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back in October I posted on here an introduction to a big sewing project I was taking on: reproducing a version of Charles James’ Tree Gown:

Charles James: The Exhibition - Threads

My excuse for tackling this, apart from the challenge of it, was to wear at the 2014 Toronto Garrison Ball.  Which was actually last weekend – yes, the dress was finished beforehand ;o)

This project was made possible/feasible by the generous loan of a pattern taken of the dress’ foundation made by a former curator of the Chicago History Museum for their Charles James exhibition in 2011.

I documented the process at each step along the way and blogged about it, but didn’t post all of those here because I thought they’d get tedious.

But now it’s FINISHED and I’ve caught up with my blogging (that lagged when it got to the stress-sewing point) so I’m sharing here again!

Here’s a brief(ish) retrospective on the process:

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And finally I ended up with this:

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A CHARLES JAMES GOWN OF MY VERY OWN!!!!

I cannot tell you how RELIEVED I was that it actually turned out well, lol.  I was nervous about it right to the very end.

If you’d like to follow the process in more detail (there is some fun stuff in there) here’s a link to all the Tree posts.

You can go here if you just want to see more of the finished dress – and the “superhero” evening cape I made to wear with it!

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McCall’s 7456 & Simplicity 6693, from the 1980s & 1970s, have been getting lots of use at my place…ever since I saw the guitar gods in Cracker, both wearing Western shirts at a concert & thinking, “Hey, the Roommate should be able to dress like a guitar god, even if he doesn’t play guitar!”  A request from a friend for a similar shirt, led to me making 2 shirts, because I couldn’t resist doing one for his little boy, too.  The yoke/cuff/placket contrast for both is from some fabric I got on our trip to West Africa, so it’s authentic wax print.  I’m running out of that, though, so used some regular cotton for the main part of the boy’s shirt, and some Marimekko from Crate & Barrel Outlet for the main part of the men’s shirt.  Find out more on my blog, Bella Industries, Inc. 

 

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I’m at the final stretch of finishing this dress, but am having second thoughts about it.  I did the pink view, but used navy fabric as a contrasting ruffle – thought the flowers to be too much.  Now the dress fits nicely, but I’m getting the feeling it’s more like a fancy old-lady potato sack.  Any thoughts?  Should I continue as is with the navy trim?  Get rid of the ruffles altogether?  Do the ribbon like on the green dress?  I wonder if putting some navy bias tape on top of the princess seams just to break up the pattern?  Or just scrap the whole thing?  (Excuse the bathroom selfies – and I haven’t set in the sleeves  yet)  :)

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