1940s | 1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Blackmore 8194 vintage dress

By on September 3, 2016

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.

blackmore 8194 vintage dress

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.

 

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1940s | Blouses | Vintage Sewing

Adventures in Baby Cord – Simplicity 3688

By on July 15, 2015

A me-made 1940's look created with vintage patterns | Lavender & Twill

Color blocking fun - white, aubergine, grey and blue | Lavender & Twill

1940's vintage style | Lavender & Twill

Gum leaves, a beaded purse, and shoes with bows on them | Lavender & Twill

A daytime 1940's outfit with Simplicity 3688 | Lavender & Twill

Welp, as you might be able to tell ~ simply by the fact that a whole month has gone by without any progress posts on the Sewing All The Things challenge ~ that things have gone a bit squiffy for me recently!

After all the trouble I had with my wrap dress, I was kind of feeling a bit ‘meh’ about sewing and wanted to do something simple. So I picked Advance 3886, and some mauve jersey knit I had in my stash, and went ~ “This should be fairly simple right?” …..

Advance 3886 - vintage 1940's pattern | Lavender & Twill
Ah, about that?

Spoiler alert: it wasn’t!!  ( ̄。 ̄;)

Firstly, I was wrestling with a super stretchy knit fabric with tons of give, and all the pieces I cut ended up being around two inches shorter than the pattern pieces! Which would be okay ~ except for the bodice where it really wasn’t.  I thought I’d have to bin the whole thing, but then I had the dubiously “genius” idea to add an extra piece in at the shoulders to make up for the missing length.

Okay, project saved right?

Nope.

Number one tip for cutting knits? NOTCH OUTWARD NOT IN! All the little “v” cuts I made to mark the seam joins went into the seam allowance, and apparently that makes it super, super hard to make sure the cut is all caught up in the overlocking seam so that there aren’t any holes in your dress.

Really hard.

As in going over the same seam five time in a row hard.

Yikes.

I’ve got to say, that was bad enough, but the lovely gathered detail at the shoulders ~ that really was the last straw.

I tried to follow the instructions, but I don’t know ~ something went wrong somewhere and the ruching just looked… wrong.  So I ripped out the stitches and went “I give up!”.  Hence the overly long story of how July’s dress ended up in a UFO bag on my shelf. Humph.

Then I dusted off my unhappy sewing self and went with a really simple pattern ~ the blouse from Simplicity 3688.

Simplicity 3688 - retro re-release pattern | Lavender & Twill

This pattern, thankfully, was actually easy! Score! (ง •̀_•́)ง ☆

I used some pinwale corduroy from my stash in white and aubergine {or eggplant for us Aussies!} and while I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought it {one meter of each color? Really?}, it turned out to be a happy accident because I love how the color blocking turned out with this pattern.

Because the blouse construction is so simple, it really lends itself to playing around with your fabrics. Also, it’s a fun pattern to sew. I really enjoyed the process of putting it together. The sleeve heads are super cute with darts to add structure, rather than typical gathers, and the yoke section with bias binding around the neck line looks nice.

This time I cut the blouse to fit my nursing bust size rather than attempting an FBA, and while that helps with the chest squashing problem, I can see that the fit across the shoulders is too big. And I had to run two one inch darts down the back of the blouse to take in four inches of excess fabric from the back. I know the blouse is supposed to be “blousy” in fit, but there’s cute puffy and then there’s way-too-much-fabric-to-tuck-in puffy!

I paired the blouse with my grey scratchy wool skirt ~ yes, that’s it’s name ~ and thankfully in winter, stocking seem to negate the scratch.   (¬ ᴗ ¬)  I really like the combination of the simple colours, although *gasp* I just realised I don’t have any patterns in this outfit at all!  This must be a first!

Now at last I can mark another pattern off the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge ~ I have three down, {one, two and this one obviously!} and two to go. While my sewing schedule may be all out of wack {annoying my OCD list ticking self}, I am definitely learning things along the way. We are getting there!  ヾ(^-^)ノ

~ Project Details ~

  • Year: A retro re-release of a 1940’s suit pattern
  • Pattern: Simplicity 3688
  • Fabric: 2 metres of pinwale corduroy; 1 meter of white, 1 meter of aubergine. From the stash: $7.00 a meter
  • Notions: A button and a hook and eye for closing the back slit
  • Time to complete: Two weeks
  • Make again? Yes. I think this blouse is pretty, and I’m keen to play around with some different fabrics using this pattern. It’s easy to make, comfortable to wear and has a nice authentic 1940’s look.
  • Wear again? For sure! I need some more 1940’s separates, and this is a good start.
  • Total Cost:  $14.00, but that was ages ago. Stash busting ftw!

xox,

bonita

༺ ♡ ༻

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1940s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

An Emergency Bolero (Pauline Pattern 2217, c. 1940s)

By on August 25, 2014

I’m sure we’ve all been there – no jackets/boleros/cardigans in your wardrobe matches your chosen outfit?!?  I had that dilemma the day before the Sydney Fifties Fair, nothing matched my chosen dress (a 1940’s rayon day-dress by Mynette).

Luckily, I had Pauline 2217 sitting on my sewing desk and the bolero seemed to be the answer to my emergency!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love all the details on this bolero – the winged collar, the strong shoulders, the faux pockets. The pattern is from the later part of WW2, with the focus on the military-inspired shoulders. It’s economy standard, i.e. no seam allowance, no facing pieces provided, instructions printed on the back of the packet.

IMG_2744

Ouch, this pattern was hard to put together.  The instructions consist of two sentences, basically: sew the pocket flaps on, sew the side seams together, attach the collar, set in the sleeves, face the edges. Not a pattern for the faint-hearted!

And it complemented perfectly! The length hit me where it should (just above my waist) and the fit was so good that I didn’t need to make any adjustments. The judges must have liked it too, as my partner and I also won the ‘Best Dressed Couple’ competition.

If you’d like to read more, or see photos from the Fifties Fair, just head on over to my blog

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1940s | Vintage Sewing

Vintage Vogue 2787

By on July 29, 2013

 

 

This is a Vintage Vogue reprint of a 1948 pattern. I love asymmetry, so the S-curve down the front and the gathers made me very happy. The shoulder pads did not. If you’re interested, there is more on the shoulder pad adventure on my blog. I had a truly strange rolled spaceman sleeve going for a while.
This pattern is simple and easy to sew. I went the extra mile and made the button and loop back closure instead of using a 7 inch zipper. There is also a side zipper so that it is possible for person to actually get into the dress.

The gathers make this dress rather forgiving in the midsection—always a plus. One of the things I really love about this dress is that the style and the fabric justify the silver shoes I impulse bought last summer. Finally! If you’d like to read more, please check out my blog.

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1940s | Accessories

A head-shawl

By on May 14, 2013

Headline News booklet
I came across a charming booklet entitled Headline News via the Vintage Pattern Files website and decided I simply had to try out some of the crochet patterns there; it had to be something that I could actually wear, though, which meant the strictly practical ‘head-shawl’ featured on the right-hand side of the front cover (suitable for ‘motoring or riding your bike’) rather than the exotic ‘fascinator’ on the left, let alone the flower-covered ‘captivator’ illustrated inside!

I’d wanted something like this for some time and had actually planned to make up one of my various hat-and-integral-scarf patterns – I have one with a bunch of bright crochet flowers on that I’ve meant to try for years – but felt that this would work quite well to fulfil the double role of keeping my ears warm and stopping draughts whistling down the open V-neck of my tailored coat.

Unfortunately none of the patterns in this leaflet give any indication as to tension, so it was complete guesswork as to what thickness of wool I ought to be using and what size crochet hook. The yarn being advertised (“Lily’s No.600 Crochet and Knitting Cotton”) was evidently quite chunky as crochet cotton went, so I thought I’d try some of my vintage 4-ply wool on the grounds that this was fairly chunky as vintage yarn went, and picked a 2.5mm hook after experimenting with a 2mm hook and deciding that the resulting crochet didn’t look as ‘open’ as the fabric illustrated. All these first three patterns in the booklet are essentially a basic triangle shape gathered in different ways, and the base of the triangle seemed wide enough to drape around my shoulders adequately, so I reckoned this was probably about the right size.

When I reached the apex of the triangle, however, it became apparent that it was on the contrary very much too small! The neck-cord was supposed to be threaded in a semi-circle at a radius of 12″ from the edge of the shawl, and the entire shawl was less than twelve inches deep – something had evidently gone radically wrong.

Fortunately this was crochet and not knitting, which meant it proved possible to retro-engineer a complete six-inch additional section of shawl (with the aid of some mathematical calculation) and then slip-stitch the upper loops on to the cast-on edge in a fairly stretchy manner without the join’s showing too much…

Join just visible towards upper edge of triangle

I’ve read descriptions of young ladies conversing while ‘knotting a fringe’; I never realised how long it took in real life. No wonder they regarded it on a level with doing tapestry as a means of avoiding idle hands!

Winding wool to size around a card before cutting more lengths to knot as a fringe

The next problem was trying to get the weird cockscomb crest working. I wanted it to match the fringe rather than the body of the shawl, and as I’d used a thinner yarn for this I was back to experimenting with hook size again. I tried a large hook, I tried a small hook, I tried using the wool doubled, and eventually came to the conclusion that folding up a thick strip to get the heavy cartridge-pleated effect visible in the photo wasn’t going to work. I also came to the conclusion that the instructions about how far along the strip to place the folds were simply wrong!

So in the end I winged it to produce a lighter and shorter strip that would stand up better under its own steam – the heavy one simply weighed down the front of the head-shawl and caused it to flop – and decided that the mysterious instruction to ‘gather slightly’ the folds implied gathering each separate fold width-ways across the strip to spread the bows a little at the top, rather than gathering the strip lengthways into the actual folds required. At any rate it seemed to provide the requisite stiffening.

After all this I wasn’t particularly pleased with the finished article, which didn’t look much like the original pattern photo despite all my efforts. However I tried it out in the cold and snow of this past spring, and found it surprisingly effective despite the open mesh; it’s not proof against a direct blast of icy wind, but it does keep your head pretty warm otherwise. And I had been getting very, very tired of reknotting my large polyester headsquare, which persisted in slipping undone and was very unflattering.

The drawstring design of the head-shawl (essentially, you just pull the cord tight around your neck to fasten it on) proved as practical as advertised, although I haven’t used it for riding my bike – and the long ends of the triangle hanging down in front fill in the neck opening of a coat very conveniently. It doesn’t have the same tendency as a neckscarf to come unwound if you turn your head, and I found I didn’t spend so much time hunching rigidly to try to keep the draught out. Meanwhile the ‘crest’ on the front does actually serve a purpose in making the design noticeably more flattering than a basic headscarf – it removes the ‘low forehead’ appearance and is much less reminiscent of a Russian granny!

So in fact I ended up wearing it on a more or less daily basis throughout the prolonged wait for Spring: it’s easier (because less bulky) to carry around than a hat and scarf, doesn’t look like a peasant headwrap, and is surprisingly effective as a warm garment. I’ve even been told that it looks appealingly ‘retro’, which is perhaps unsurprising in a 1940s pattern…

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1940s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Sew For Victory

By on April 2, 2013

Hello Everyone! Here is the Sew For Victory suit I made from Simplicity 1447. This project seemed like the perfect opportunity to try some techniques I’ve read about and never used, such as pattern grading, color blocking, underlining and bound button holes. I thought it’d be fun to jam them all into one project.


I used two colors of linen-silk blend for the suit and underlined it with silk organza. I’m now an underlining convert. I graded the pattern up one size using the cut and spread method and it worked perfectly. I did have to buy industrial strength shoulder pads from Britex, though, to make the jacket hang correctly.

I’m quite happy with the suit, but I did have my share of challenges.  If you’d like to read more about my…er…adventures?… with bound buttonholes and color blocking, please visit my blog.

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