1960s

McCalls 6569: Gold Satin Evening Dress

By on February 11, 2017

This year I made a decision, a decision not be to scared by fabric. For a couple of years now I’ve had some gold satin I brought back from Vegas in my stash and I’ve been so scared to use it having never worked with anything like that. This year it’s my tenth (?!) wedding anniversary and I thought it would make the loveliest dress for our celebratory meal out.

I picked McCalls 6569 for the pattern; a gorgeous sixties evening dress.

IMG_20170101_203502_925

The first thing I did was post in the We Sew Retro Sew & Tell facebook group to ask for tips, it’s one thing I LOVE about the sewing community, you have a wealth of experience and advice online in a group like that and people are only willing to help and wish you luck. So armed with my new found advice I bit the bullet and cracked on. As you may have noticed if you read my blog, I don’t often make muslins of my clothes but as I was working with an unforgiving fabric I thought I probably should get it right the first time, as a seam ripper might not be the best friend it previously had been to me. I measured up, perfect in the bust but 2 inches bigger on the waist and 4 on the hips (not live I’ve had a baby in the last year or anything….). It was going to need a little adjustment.

To read more about the adjustment process and how I sewed my muslin up pop over to my blog.
IMAG2518 IMG_20170125_204847_210

So on to the dress….

I spent a whole night cutting out and marking up the pattern pieces (including the adjusted pieces – see my other blog). My, my, what a pain in the arse. It turns out satin is the most slippery material known to man (slight exaggeration, but it did feel like that at the time).

IMG_20170126_212414_336

The following day I sewed the bodice together which went very well but then it was time for the lining. I should say at this point I have never lined anything in my life but as I was sewing with satin I thought it would probably be a good idea just to bit the bullet and do it.

I then spent a long night sewing the lining to the skirt pieces following this, and here was where I made one of my major mistakes. I have no idea how I marked the fabric up wrong but somehow I managed to.

IMG_20170130_210751_879

When it came to the later stage of sewing it together it meant that I had a row of stitching down the back of the skirt next to the centre seam which I then had to unpick.

With a day to go to my anniversary (and after a lengthy trip to the dentist for two fillings) I spent a full day sewing the skirt pieces together. I attached the skirt to the bodice with relative ease and inserted the zip. Mistake number two: I was silly enough to not check that the fabric was taught when I basted the zip in, meaning that when I went to sew it I, again, had a big chuck of stitches to unpick which left a rather messy side zip insertion.

Thankfully it’s a side zip so really no one’s going to see it unless the come up really close to have a look . I finished sewing the lining pieces together at the waist and was quite impressed with how it looked inside out.

At this point I thought I should just leave the hemming to my anniversary and cut my losses before I cried.

So the day of my 10th wedding anniversary (last Friday) I sewed right up to the last minute but I did finally finish my dress with a couple of hours to spare, and I did get all dressed up and we did go out for the first time on our own in seven months. And here I am in my dress!

IMAG2584 2017-02-11_05-03-32

Overall I am extremely happy with how it turned out. What do you think?

To see more photos of my mistakes and successes and to read more about it, please have a look at my blog 🙂

Continue Reading

1940s

1940s Evening Dress – Simplicity 1469

By on January 20, 2014

I realized the other day that it’s been ages since my last post here. So I thought I would share my final vintage sewing project of 2013. A 1940s evening dress in mustard yellow crepe with sequin trim! I used Simplicity 1469. I’ve wanted to make a 40s dress with a peplum for a long time. I wore this to a 1940s themed winter formal.

The construction was pretty easy and straight forward. After cutting out all the pieces the bodice, or waist as the pattern referred to it, was assembled and the sleeves attached. The tops of the sleeves have a line of gathering stitches that were pulled up to help fit the sleeve into the armcycle. They also help, along with the shoulder pads, to give the sleeves that little pouf on top. The peplum is made of two pieces both cut on the fold. The skirt was four pieces – two front and two back – with a slit at the bottom front. That made walking in the dress much easier. 🙂

I wanted to use three different colors of sequins but in the end I went with just the black and red because that’s all I could find.I’m pretty happy with the final design. Eventually I would liked to have added more sequins to the sleeves and peplum. The black beaded flower motifs are Victorian/Edwardian era pieces that I’ve had for a long time now. I acquired a small box of jet bead trims that someone carefully saved from what must have been some very stunning pieces of clothing! The construction of the flower motifs is pretty interesting too. It looks as though the tiny jet beads where first sewn to a long length of cord. Then the cord was fashioned into the finished design. Talk about time consuming!

I wore a pair of black 40s heels, and some of my rhinestone jewelry. The necklace and earrings I’m pretty sure are 1950s and the bracelet is probably later. I admit I felt a bit over dressed but they were really sparkly and fun to wear! I set my hair in pin curls the night before the event and waited to take them out until just before we had to leave. My hair doesn’t really like to hold a curl but now that it is a little shorter I have an easier time creating a 40s up-do and victory rolls. And my curls actually lasted the whole night so I was happy. It looked half way decent the next day too:)

I have a few more construction pictures as well as pictures from the winter formal on my blog if anyone is interested.

Continue Reading

1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

My first vintage pattern…

By on December 1, 2013

Hello, it’s my first post here, and my first try of using vintage pattern too..

Where to start? I needed a dress for a rather formal event.. After a lot of pondering and wasting time researching on pinterest and such, I thought I rather fancied this vintage Vogue Couturier Belinda Bellville dress:

V2112

The problem was I couldn’t find it (by that I mean couldn’t buy it for a reasonable price, the cheapest I found was £50+, and it’s not what I’m prepared to pay for a pattern.. )

To recreate this vintage pattern, I found another pattern from the same era, very similar Simplicity 8498:

S8498

As you can see the front looks absolutely identical. The view 1 even has a self fabric belt  buttoned in back that is very similar to a band with a bow in Vogue Couturier 2112. And it’s  much cheaper!

I was very excited to try a vintage pattern for the first time… but I’m afraid it was the case that on PatternReview website described as “pattern ok, but didn’t work for me”.  Well, it was a nightmare!

Now, according to my bust measurements, I’m between size 14 and 16. I bought size 16 to be on safer side.. but when I made a muslin for the bodice, there was no room in it for my bust! I couldn’t believe how small it was! (I mean the bodice, not the bust..)

I’m very glad that I made a muslin! I spent 3 days fiddling with it, and in the end there was no line or curve of the pattern that had been left unchanged!

You can read the whole saga of my troubles on my blog, here I will show only the result  🙂

DSC_1226

The back was a challenge.. Center back opening from Vogue 2112 just didn’t look good.. I ended up making a V-cut instead..

DSC_1239a

The fabric is lovely Duchess satin that I bought on Goldhawk road in London. When I was buying it I spotted discounted muslin, and I bought about 3 metres of muslin for making, well, muslin 🙂

It was the first time I made a proper muslin, and, as I said, it was the right decision. I couldn’t believe it, but it really speeds up the process! After all alterations were made on the muslin, it was so nice and easy to sew with actual intended fabric!

DSC_1245aDSC_1236
My thoughts on the pattern.

As I said, it didn’t work for me.. Maybe my shape is wrong for this particular pattern, or because it’s vintage. I don’t know.. Besides, I’m not sure about those french darts.  Next photo shows: the pointy problem with french darts; the second dart on the bodice that was not intended by the pattern; and that I could’ve done better ironing..

DSC_1235
DSC_1246aDSC_1253

Thanks for looking at my first contribution to this wonderful community (not sure whether there will be more, as this painful experience kind of put me off vintage patterns..)

You can see more photos and info on my blog.

Continue Reading

1970s | Dresses | Mildly Insane Photo

’70s Givenchy evening dress / Quaithe costume

By on December 3, 2012

Daenerys and me

For my Halloween costume this year, I made a 1970s evening dress by Givenchy, Vogue 2014. I was making my wife a Daenerys costume based on the character’s outfit in the season 2 finale of Game of Thrones, so with the help of a red mask I went as Quaithe of Asshai (the version from the books, not the show).

Vogue 2014 is a Very Easy Vogue pattern, and I was able to cut it one day and sew it the next. With the exception of the centre front seam and the facing extension, everything is finished by hand.

I made the dress in vintage black Qiana without alterations, thanks to the design and the stretch in the fabric. The one change I made was to substitute a string of beads for the pattern’s 18″ back tassel. It’s probably a little too heavy, but I like the effect.

Here are a couple photos of me in the finished dress, taken by the fabulous Rachel O’Neill:

Quaithe full length
Vogue 2014 by Givenchy - full length
Quaithe - back detail
Vogue 2014 by Givenchy - back detail

More details and photos on my blog here.

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

Advice needed

By on December 7, 2011

Hi Ladies, this is my first post on the new We Sew Retro!!!
I need your advice: I’m thinking about making a fast and easy dress for the upcoming Sylvester and I own the pattern in the picture. Do you think I might make something nice out of it as evening dress? What kind of fabric would you use?
I made 6 dresses out of this pattern and was very happy with them, but they were all summer dresses, so I’m not sure to get the same result for an elegant dress!

Thanks a lot for your help!!! Kisses from Sardinia!

 

 

Continue Reading