1930s | 1940s | Dresses | Modern Patterns | Vintage Sewing

Modern & Vintage

By on August 30, 2017

This Dress was a long time coming.  I started working on it in November of last year. Originally, I intended to make it from a wool crepe and that the red rayon would be a wearable muslin.  Using the Colette Patterns Oolong Dress pattern (purchased for 1/2 price, when they were discontinuing the pattern), I decided to make one modification – add godets to the skirt in the princess seams to give it a little flip and flare.  That version was not so exciting, in fact, I was so disappointed with the fit,  I put the dress back on rack to wait for some inspiration or divine intervention, whichever came first.

 

Earlier this summer I needed a dress to wear to a tropical themed Art Deco party, so I pulled the dress and pattern out of storage and decided to see what I could do.  Necessity is the mother of invention, right?  Well I ended up combining 3 patterns to make this one look – the Colette Oolong, Colette Parfait and the 1930s Ladies Afternoon Tea Frock – Reproduction Sewing Pattern #T3221 from Vintage Pattern Lending Library.

Here is a closeup of the finished dress!
And a view from the back

In the end, I’m pretty happy with the results.  I don’t think I will make it up again, but If I did, I would fit the skirt a bit differently and make the godets come up higher.  I’ve worn it twice now – once to the tropical event and once to a local production of Castle Happy, a play about William Randolf Hearst and Family.

If you are interested in seeing HOW I worked with the fitting and the patterns, visit my Blog for the full post.

Until Next Time….Happy Sewing!

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1940s | 1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Significant birthday dress

By on January 2, 2017

ooobop party dress

This is the dress I made for my significant birthday party in December. Inspired by a Dior dress I saw in a magazine which I could never hope to create but which kickstarted the need for a puffball skirt. It’s a full circle plus 16 extra inches around the waist for four box pleats, two at the front and two at the back. The hem is all gathered up into a mini a-line underskirt, both of which are attached to the bodice at the waist seam.

ooobop in the woods

The bodice is from a vintage Weldons pattern, undated but I’m assuming late 40s, early 50s. Just by nature of the really basic instructions and the hair do on the illustrated cover!

weldon 3833

I used a black and red, two-tone dupion silk which was a dream to work with. And I sewed cockerel feathers to the yoke, just because!

ooobop party dress back

 

More details and photos over at ooobop!

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1950s | Pattern Drafting

Party dress in grey

By on May 11, 2015

voorI made this dress to wear to the wedding of friends last Friday. Initially, I didn’t plan on posting it here because it’s not a ‘real’ vintage project. By which I suppose I mean it was neither made from a vintage pattern nor solely inspired by vintage styles. However, the overall silhouette is still pretty 1950’s and everyone on We Sew Retro Sew & Tell has been so nice about it that I thought I’d post it here anyway.

d4b770a09dc5b406d3495518c70e4850 22.01.31Oh, and this picture from the 1950’s was part of the inspiration too.

The idea for this dress has been at the back of my mind for a while. It seemed like a nice challenge. A way to combine all the different kinds of sewing experience and skill I have collected over the years.

It was just the kind of thing for which you need a special occasion…

straplessMy dress has a strapless bodice with bra-style undewired cups made from lingerie foam. The fashion fabric is pleated and draped over the boned bodice.

I made the skirt using knot design nr. 1 from the first Pattern Magic book. I just placed the knot and pleat at the front dart position of a straight skirt sloper. This also allowed me to remove the side seam closest to the knot and convert the other one to a dart (so most of the waist-to-hip shaping in the skirt has been converted into the pleats radiating out from the knot).

achter 22.01.45For a bit of modesty during the more formal parts of the wedding and for a bit of warmth, I added a simple open-fronted bolero.

This was quite an involved project and I’m really happy with how it turned out. You can see more pictures and read about it in this blog post and I have written more about the construction in a three previous posts.

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1930s | Accessories | Burlesque / Pinup | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

It’s been New Year’s Eve, know what that means?

By on January 4, 2014

Glitz, glamour and silly headpieces, that’s what! My home town Stockholm, Sweden, is blessed with a great burlesque club, Fräulein Frauke Presents, housed in one of the city’s classic dance palaces with quite the bad reputation back in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Their annual New Year’s masquerade is the perfect  opportunity to break your sequin seaweed and your frivolous mask-making abilities.

New Year's Eve, photo by John Paul Bichard.

I bought this red sequin seaweed for last year’s celebrations, actually, but it got delayed at my local post office and I’ve been sitting on it since. The plans for the dress have changed during the year, for the better I think, and instead of a complicated, slinky number with a high slit and back cut-out, I made… a dressing gown. Sort of. I drew inspiration from a simple, but very glamorous and slightly quirky evening gown that Katharine Hepburn wore in the 1938 screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby, the one that has the entire back panel of the skirt ripped off in a memorable scene. I translated the inspiration into a long gown with an a-line skirt, containing all the width I could squeeze out of 3 yards of fabric, and a surplice bodice, buttoned at the side, with elbow-length sleeves and a modest v-neck. I really like that combination of the rather casual, simple cut with the inherently festive fabric. It’s a dress that looks comfortable, and feels easy to wear.

The entire garment is flatlined with red cotton poplin, to protect the skin from the somewhat scratchy sequin fabric and counteract a slight transparency, since the base material is a synthetic tulle with very little stretch. I put it together with french seams throughout, for further protection against scratchy sequins on the inside of it, and finished the hem and edges with poplin bias strips on the inside. I also spent a lot of time cutting tiny 2 mm sequins in half, to clear at least some of the seam allowances of the extra bulk. The end result is a very heavy, but, yes, quite comfortable evening gown that I really think I will get a lot of use out of. It’s formal enough for white tie events at a pinch, what with the full length, but also frivolous enough for black tie and just plain parties, and I also think it turned out quite flattering.

Cutting a thousand little sequins in half to clear the seam allowances = major pain in the behind.

I also made the pearl… thing. It’s a masquerade, after all, of course you want a mask of some sort, and I didn’t feel like repeating last year’s sequin glove mask, especially since this year’s theme was the roaring 20’s, which really isn’t my decade, normally. I toyed with the idea of simply draping a few strings of pearls across the eyes, but that seemed a little too easy, and the project grew into this, after having a closer look at showy Art Deco headpieces, the Ballets Russes and Russian kokoshniks. It’s all based on a plain plastic headband with teeth, my favourite notions shop turned out to have an old lot of vintage glass pearls in stock, and the  rest is steel wire, lots of pearl string and thousands of knots, topped off with two enormous artificial peonies.

Pearl headdress in progress, from the very beginning to close to finished.

And it was fun. All of it, including New Year’s Eve. Hope you all had a great New Year’s too, have yourselves a happy new year!

More on both projects over at the Fashion in Shrouds, for once.

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Vintage Sewing

Expert Guidance Sought ….

By on October 9, 2013

Having more genuine vintage fabric than anyone individual should have I have a creative juices overload so seek the expert guidance of you all dear readers of WeSewRetro!

A new purchase to my collection, this delicious 1950’s crepe is even better in the ‘flesh’. (Purchased here)

Now I do a storm in cushion families BUT I fear I am hemming myself in (see…. everything is sewing based)!

For my up and coming vintage fair

CHOICE 1 : Full Apron …. from a vintage pattern of course

CHOICE 2: A little girls ‘party’ dress, again from a vintage pattern

What do you think? Other ideas are welcome, if I recall without digging it out I have 2m of this oh sew pretty fabric.

As always thank you for your time x

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1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

An ode to “The Party”- In the form of a dress

By on July 29, 2013
Have you ever seen the 1968 Peter Sellers movie “The Party”? It’s a slapstick comedy set at the party of a Hollywood director. What starts out as a sophisticated dinner party soon turns into an overblown rave with drunk waiters, pools turned into giant bubble baths and a painted baby elephant!
It’s rather fun and good for a giggle on a Saturday afternoon while sewing.
When making this dress I was reminded of this movie. The bright pink and purple would be perfect for a party dress! The little orange dots in the fabric go well with gold jewellery and overall it has a rather frivolous feel to it.

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