1940s | Dresses

DuBarry 5986 (1944) St. Patrick’s Day

By on March 18, 2015

Actually, I learned yesterday that March 17 is also St. Gertrude’s Day.  She’s the patron saint of travelers, mental illness, “against mice”, and cats.  I’m picturing an eccentric lady with cats in an RV.  Anyway . . . I guess I’d better start planning a cat-themed dress for next year.

DuBarry 5986 is adorable:

Dubarry 1944 5986 packet

but the “Easily made” bit is a half-truth at best.  It did assemble easily, I’ll give it that.  Actually getting it to fit, though, was an uphill battle.  I’m usually a pretty standard bust 34, with a few minor tweaks for fit, but that wasn’t an advantage this time around.  My pattern was missing the bodice back, but I borrowed a similar one from another 1940’s DuBarry pattern and went on my merry way.

I added 1 1/2 inches width to each side of the skirt front because it fit, but the gathers looked chintzy.  We’re not really on fabric rationing any more, anyway.

At it turned out, things were too short, too blousy, not blousy enough, etc.  It took me six and a half (six, with the last one altered on a second go-round) bodice muslins to get this thing right.  And it was worth it, mostly.  It will never be my favorite dress, but it’s cute, and I might like it better if I made it out of a better fabric.  The holiday-themed cotton is adorable–green and gold shamrocks on black–but the fabric itself is pretty cheap and not very lovable.

Dubarry 1944 5986 done

Hemmed it a little too short, too, and I need different shoes.  These are nice and green but they’re 1970’s and kind of pinchy.

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1950s | 1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Green Holiday Dress, McCalls 6121 from 1961

By on January 19, 2014
McCall's 6121 front
My travel mug has a sweater that matches my dress. McCall's 6121, front.

For the holidays, I made a green and red dress. I picked up this wonderful festive green fabric while in Ghana, West Africa, and it has served me well for several projects. I started with a sloper from 1961, and I turned the tight round neckline into a boat neck with a slight scoop. I laid out the pattern pieces so that the medallion and the “V” would be in the front of the chest, the dark blue edging along the waist, and the other medallions strategically placed.

I have not decided if this dress is hideous, or it is so kitschy that it is totally fabulous. I like the nice cap sleeves and snug bodice of McCall’s 6121, so I have made this basic pattern with all sorts of alterations, such as different necklines, collars and cuffs, princess seams, or as a button-up shirtwaist dress, etc.

Technical

This pattern was a snap to put together. The darts make it easy to fit any shape. Since I am shortwaisted, I shortened the backwaist length by one inch. Next time I might shorten it by an inch and a half. I raised the bodice front dart by three-quarters of an inch. Then I raised the side front dart by half an inch, and at the same time re-angled it and shortened this dart length. If I had not raised and re-angled the side front dart, it would have intersected the bodice front dart.

McCall's 6121 vintage sewing pattern from 1961
McCall's 6121 vintage sewing pattern from 1961. Notice that I changed the neckline.

Also notice above, my travel mug has a sweater that matches my dress. I always match all of my accessories to my clothing (shoes, purse, and hat) so I absolutely cannot have my travel mug a glaring mismatch.

For more information on this and other projects, please visit WesternSpinster.com.  Happy New Year, may the coming year be filled with joy and laughter!

McCall's 6121 back
McCall's 6121, back.
McCall's 6121 side
McCall's 6121, side.
McCall's 6121 holiday dress
All I need to make this a true holiday dress is a Star of David on my head and some ornaments. McCall's 6121.

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Vintage Sewing

Be gentle….I’m a newbie!

By on January 7, 2014

Very excited to post and share my very first attempt at a classic vintage holiday dress!

I have not yet been sewing a full year and have not yet had any lessons, but have had so much fun playing around with vintage and vintage-inspired patterns, and experimenting with different fabrics and designs.

This dress is a mash-up of Simplicity 3045, (a lovely vintage dress pattern with a softly pleated skirt and scalloped neck edge), and my favourite Sewaholic Cambie dress bodice.

I decided to use the Cambie dress bodice pattern rather than the one for Simplicity 3045 as it gives a very snug and flattering fit on my torso with minimal adjustments. (I have at least 10 dresses using the Cambie pattern for this very reason. It’s a sure-fire winner for me!)

Using a bargain bin red velvet remnant (NEVER again- what a mess to sew with! So slippery. Any hints?) and a sweet vintage-inspired holiday fabric from Etsy, this dress turned out quite well I think. I added a pretty vintage brooch and thick black “Santa” belt to complete my festive ensemble.

(As I was sewing it, I also listened to Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” album a million times, so it’s very likely that added some extra holiday flair!)
Hope you like it!

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