1948

I definitely had a “look” going this spring.

In May, I wore a peplum blouse made from Advance 4858 (1948) to the wedding of one of my cousins on my dad’s side of the family.  I had another wedding to go to in less than a month, which meant serious crunch time.  I decided to make Advance 4864 (1948) because it had the same general shape, so most of my fitting work would already be done:


But since the second wedding was that of another cousin on the same side of the family, the fabric had to be really different.  This is cotton from Spring Creative Group, which appears to be the generic brand for Hancock’s:

I behaved myself and made the actual dress this time; the version on the right with the giant bow.

I wish I had some kind of funny and/or mildly traumatizing story to tell you about this pattern, but I don’t.  It’s a perfect lady: Everything fit together the way it was supposed to.  It didn’t even need much alteration.  I even added a small pocket in the right-side seam (there is a zipper in the left side) and it went in without any hiccups.  My only trivial issue was the one I always have, which is that I swear tie ends are never long enough to look the way they do in the picture.   Even if the waist (or the neck, in this case) fits, the ties are never long enough to tie properly on me.   The Chicken Dress was terrible about this–the ties are just long enough to tie into a hard, back-bruising, little knot but not an attractive bow, even though the waist fits and doesn’t need them to hold its shape.  Am I the only one who has this issue?

Anyway, I don’t have great pictures of it.  Here I am cropped out from between my dad and one of my cousins.  Ignore the wine glass.

It’s also a ridiculously comfortable dress, which is great because it’s really a day dress and not a dressy-dress, so not only can I wear it on a normal day, I’d actually like to wear it on a normal day.

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I have three cousins getting married in the next few months.  Luckily, I am running out of cousins to marry off because I can barely keep up with the sewing.

I had to be realistic and accept that I had procrastinated too long and frittered away too much time on non-necessary projects, and I wouldn’t be able to complete a full dress for the first wedding.  I’m old-fashioned enough that I feel a bit weird wearing black to weddings, especially summer weddings, but . . . oh, well.  It was time to trot out the black skirts and settle for making a new blouse.

I picked one that looked comfortable but also looked like it couldn’t have too many fitting issues.  Advance 4858 is from 1947 or 1948:


Classic postwar design: Extended shoulder line, long waist, big skirt.

The red flags were length (easily remedied; I always have to add length) and neckline (thin shoulders; boat necks and I do not get along.  But necklines are also easily altered).  I decided I’d switch to a back-button closure because I seem to be going through that kind of a phase (see the Simplicity 4727: Black sundress post below) and make the whole thing into a peplum blouse.

It didn’t need a lot of help–I lengthened it a little, closed up the neckline some, and changed the button opening, but the bodice itself was basically fine.

I completely winged it on the peplum: I drew a rectangle (two, actually, front and back) that matched the waist circumference, then slashed and fanned it out until it looked the way I wanted.  And that was it.

In fact, it was so OK that I put the entire thing together without a hitch despite the fact that my copy of the pattern has no instruction sheet.

And here it is.  Sorry, my hair won’t do anything.  I live in braids.

The fit is a little blousy but I think that’s intentional.  It also has massive shoulder pads.  They look less ridiculous here than I thought they did, actually.

The necklace is a double-strand of faceted crystals that belonged to my grandmother.

Close-up of the back with the awesome huge iridescent plastic buttons:

The fabric is, as usual, cotton.  I had originally chosen a purple stylized floral but then decided it was too funereal.  It was also an out-of-print remnant and I didn’t think I had enough, and couldn’t get any more.  I’m not wild about splattery magenta prints but at least it was happier.  (Don’t get me wrong: I love me some funereal fabric, but it wasn’t my wedding, right?)

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I love gingham! It’s such a classic look. So when I wanted to make a simple summer dress just right for those hottest of summer days, I chose a black and white gingham cotton.

Fabric: black and white gingham cotton ($4/yd)
Pattern: Simplicity 2502
Year: 1948
Notions: buttons (from stash)
Hours to complete: 6-ish
First worn: May 2012
Total cost: ~$12

I had some fun with the seam finishes and special vintage construction details.

Black and white striped bias tape!

Sneaky hidden buttons in the fly front!

There are more photos and construction details over on the blog.

Also, I’m destashing some plus sized vintage patterns c. 1950s-1970s. If any of you would be interested in giving them a new home, check out all of the details here.

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Here is my version of Vintage Vogue 2339.

I constructed it back in 2005, and pulled it out of the closet this week for an evening of Mahler with the Marin Symphony.  Although the suit has a few issues (please don’t look too closely at my first attempt with bound button-holes) I love how it shows how far my sewing has come, and how much more I have to learn!

More pictures may be found over at my blog, Lilacs & Lace.

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