1920s | 1930s | Dresses

Re-Creating My Grandmother’s Dress – Gatsby 2018

By on October 5, 2018

Every year the Art Deco Society of California puts on the The Gatsby Summer Afternoon. This Gatsby Event is the highlight of my year, as far as vintage events go, and this year was no exception. The weather was perfect (high 70 degrees and breezy), the picnics were exquisite and the company eclectic and entertaining.

For this year’s ensemble, I chose to replicate a look that my grandmother wore (see photo above) in one of her modeling photos. I’ve admired this dress for years and have not quite had the nerve to re-create it until now. That front neck detail with the capelet and ruching really had me flummoxed.

When I mentioned, on Instagram that this was my plan, Deirdre from Vintage Pattern Lending Library suggested I use one of her patterns to start and then she sent it to me! How lucky am I? Thank you Deirdre! The pattern was a perfect jumping off point and it really took the pressure off to have a pattern to start from.

I’m pretty pleased with the overall look, considering, in the end, I only had about a week to pull it off. I completed the ensemble with me-made purse, hat and jewelry. There are a few changes I would make, given the time and inclination (neckline wider and capelet longer in the back). Overall, though, I’m pretty happy with the whole look.

To read the complete post, see pattern adaptations and more pictures from the event, please visit my blog.

Thanks and Happy Sewing!

xo – Jennifer

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1920s | Coats | Vintage Sewing

1920’s Style Blue Velvet Evening Coat

By on September 24, 2018
JSerrBlueVelvetCoat

I wore this Blue Velvet Coat to the Miss Fisher Convention this year in Portland, Oregon. In this photo shoot (Thanks Mom!) I paired the jacket with a true vintage 1920’s silk lace and chiffon dress, along with some rhinestone / crystal accessories and coordinating shoes and bag.I think it all works together quite nicely.

When making this Coat, I really wanted a long attached neck scarf like Phryne Fisher (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) wears on many of her coats. As I was cutting out this silk velvet, I really had to squeeze every inch of what I had. So, that meant that I had to piece the scarf. It left a seam on one side in the front that I really didn’t like and the naps were different. This was a dilemma at a late hour. Luckily, I had two beaded appliques that worked perfectly. I bought 3 of them, and glad I did.

I’m really pleased with how the side gusset turned out. At first, they seemed a little small, but after inserting them in the side, they give the coat, just enough swing. Also, there was not enough fabric to make them any bigger, so I certainly can’t complain.

The Patterns I Used – Both from Vintage Pattern Girl on Etsy – 1929 Ladies Straight-Line Coat – Reproduction Sewing Pattern #Z2545 & 1934 Ladies Dress With Coat – Reproduction Sewing Pattern #T1418

For the complete blog post and to see HOW I did the pattern adaptations, please visit my Blog.

 

Until Next Time – Happy Sewing!

xo

Jennifer

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1920s | 1930s | Blouses | Downton Abbey Inspired | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

A 1920’s Blouse Done 3 ways with One Vintage Dress Pattern

By on June 25, 2017

Three Blouses from One 1920's Dress Pattern

As part of my quest to build a “Miss Fisher” wardrobe, I’ve sewed up three little blouses inspired by separates her character wears in different episodes.  This post will show you the 3 blouses I have made, starting with one pattern.  The base pattern is the Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1920s Ladies Frock with Pleated Skirt Inset – Reproduction Sewing Pattern #Z2773.

Here is my Finished Blouse 1. I love it and wear it all the time!

 

For the first blouse the fabric was made from a printed stretch silk charmeuse and coordinating white silk habotai collar and tie ends.  I kept the tie exactly as on the pattern, making the ends contrast and the tie the same fabric as the blouse.

For blouse #2,  there were a few revisions to the pattern/construction – namely adding a loop under the collar to hold the neck tie, omitting the bottom band (with added length) and omitting the contrast tie bottom on the neck tie (adding length here again).

Close up view of front neck
Front view of finished blouse

Blouse #3 has to be my favorite so far.  It’s a departure from the other two but was easy to create using the same pattern. I sketched it after watching Series 2 episode 3 (Dead Man’s Chest) and decided to modify this pattern to get the look.  This version was made in a printed paisley cotton lawn and the flat piping was made from white seersucker scraps that I had floating around as well as white covered buttons (joining sleeve ends) that were also floating around in my stash. On a related side note, there was some great conversation about Miss Fisher’s blouses in The Miss Fisher Philes podcast , when they discuss this episode (Series 2 episode 3 (Dead Man’s Chest)), making reference to Miss Fisher wearing more separates than dresses.

If you would like to read more about how exactly I revised the pattern to create each of these looks, visit my blog post here.

See more of my projects and vintage inspiration on my blog or connect with me on instagram!

Thanks and Happy Sewing!

Jennifer Serr

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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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1920s | Downton Abbey Inspired | Vintage Sewing

Early 1920s Cardigan

By on April 20, 2016

One garment from the 1910s and 1920s that often gets overlooked is the belted cardigan. However, it’s actually a classic piece of fashion history from this time period and often pops up in period dramas based in these eras. Women wore them about the house to keep warm before central heating became the norm, you could probably equate them to modern day hoodies!

1920s wool cardigan

I’ve always found them fascinating and have always loved to have one, but most were knitted and I, very annoyingly, cannot knit. So, when I saw this original 1920s wool jersey one on Pinterest I knew I needed to try and make my own version. It would be a perfect challenge for my next Vintage Pledge.

Early 1920s outfit

And here it is! I based the design on an original 1930s cardigan sewing pattern I had, although the 1920s detailing of the large patch pockets and double button belt were just guess work.

Top stitching detail on 1920s cardigan

Sportswear inspired clothing was just beginning to creep into fashion during the early part of the 1920s and one detail that was used in the majority of these garments was top-stitching. I added loads of it to this cardigan to really give it a sportswear feel which was a huge challenge, trying to keep it straight and neat everywhere!

If you would like to read more about how how I made this early 1920s cardigan and see more photos, feel free to pop over to my blog.

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1920s | Blouses | Downton Abbey Inspired | Giveaway | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

1920s Silk Blouse and Pleated Skirt

By on March 11, 2016

After admiring everyone else’s achievements last year for A Stitching Odyssey’s Vintage Pledge I decided that this year I was going to join in. My own pledge was to challenge and push myself with my sewing. I’ve just finished my first outfit for the pledge, a 1920s silk blouse and pleated skirt. I created the pattern for the blouse by tracing around a simple silk top I already had and then making my own adjustments. The pattern for the skirt was McCall’s M7022 pleated skirt which I lengthened to a more suitable 1920s style.

1920s blouse, skirt and cloche hat

I used a beautiful Pre-Raphaelite inspired green and purple floral silk for the blouse which I bought from the fabulous ClothSpot and this was my first challenge. I’d never worked with silk before so was really, really nervous about starting it and I put it off for about four months. The Vintage Pledge was just what I needed to force myself to be brave and just get on with it. As it turned out there was nothing to worry about!

Pre-Raphaelite inspired silk fabric

I added vintage, probably early 20th Century, jet buttons to both the front of the blouse and at the side to close the band around the bottom.

1920s blouse, skirt and cloche hat

The skirt is in a black cotton twill that I dug out from my stash. I’m not overly happy with it, mainly because the fabric is all wrong for the style of skirt, it’s way too stiff. I’m not sure if I’ll try and adjust it or just make a different one.

If you would like to read more about how the whole outfit and see more photos feel free to pop over to my blog. And while you’re there why not check out my latest post where I’m running a giveaway of £40 to spend on fabrics at ClothSpot. (Giveaway ends midnight 20th March 2016)

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1930s | Coats | Downton Abbey Inspired | Vintage Sewing

1930s In-Between Seasons Coat

By on February 10, 2016

Last autumn one of my goals was to make a 1930s lightweight coat so I can wear it during those in-between months, when it’s not quite warm enough to go without one and not quite cold enough for full on winter coat, scarf and gloves. After trawling both Etsy and eBay I finally found this beautiful original 1930s pattern by Bestway, a company who produced sewing patterns for the home sewer and were available to order via the Bestway magazine.

1930s Bestway Coat Sewing Pattern

1930s lightweight coat

I used an amazing aubergine and grey mix suiting fabric that looked and behaved like wool but was actually a polyester mix and it was a dream to work with. It took me forever to make due to the traditional tailoring techniques I used but it was definitely worth it in the end as it hangs so well.

1930s Bakelite buttons

The buttons had to be authentic and after many hours of searching I found these original 1930s Bakelite ones on Etsy. I absolutely love the classic Art Deco lines on them and I think the size of them really adds the right amount of detailing to the coat.

1930s aubergine coat

If you would like to read more about the coat and see more photos feel free to pop over to my blog.

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