1940s | Coats | Jackets | Vintage Sewing

First Vintage-style Coat, Butterick B5824

By on February 14, 2017

Butterick B5824, Vintage Coat by Vintage on Tap

Not going to lie, I wanna give myself some props for FINALLY diving in and making a jacket. I’ve been psyching myself out for years now and now that the first one is done, I can breathe a sigh of relief. Not to say it was easy exactly- but at the very least it wasn’t the Big Bad Wolf that I thought it was going to be.

Butterick B5824, Vintage Coat by Vintage on Tap

My plaid matching could have been better, but its generally passable. I also underlined the ENTIRE coat, so I can say that this one is officially my warmest coat, even more so than my RTW.

Butterick B5824, Vintage Coat by Vintage on Tap

I lopped off about 4 inches from the bottom of the coat, so it would fall just past my knees. I’m 5’2″ and this thing would have dwarfed me. I also took in the lapels by about an inch and a half so they would be just above my shoulder (most accurate photo for that is on the mannequin)
Vintage on Tap coat inspiration

Another big change I did was to add a belt instead of the button closure. I was inspired by two things-

  • I think the tie is faster to deal with when you’re out and about
  • I didn’t want to deal with bound button holes
More photos of this coat are over on my blog.
Video tutorial for lining technique on my YouTube channel.

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1950s | Dresses

Capper’s Weekly (1950’s) 2875 Western dress

By on September 14, 2015

Capper’s Weekly (an agricultural magazine) 2875, 1950’s. I was outbid on this ages ago but then stumbled across another copy relatively recently. The copy I have is a vintage 10 (bust 28) and I’m . . . not. I know that two sizes is considered to be the maximum safe grade, but when you can’t just pop out and get another copy in your size, what do you do? You suck it up, grade three sizes, and make a lot of test muslins.

Cappers 00 dress

(Actually, I think there is a bust 34 for sale on Amazon, but I have enough duplicates, and I was going to have to personalize the fit, anyway.)

I really, really, wanted to wear this to a concert on Friday night so I graded and sewed like crazy all Labor Day weekend, most of the evenings last week, and all day Friday (which I had off from work). I didn’t quite make it and ended up pinning myself into it, but it was dark and nobody was going to notice that I didn’t have buttons.

The fabric is green plaid homespun with, yes, gold lamé running through it.  It had to be a cowgirl dress.  I got 1 yard + 3 yards, which was all my Joann’s had, and never did find any more. That’s a lot of fabric but not for a 1950’s dress so I had to make it count.  I didn’t trust snaps to hold a whole dress closed so I went with white pearl buttons instead:

cappers 2875 02 fabric

I cut the yoke on the bias and made self piping to play up the Western-shirt look. The lamé only runs in one direction so I had to piece it.

cappers 05 bodice back

Since homespun is comfortable but kind of flabby, I went overkill and lined the whole thing (this meant I had to alter the pattern pieces into a lining that was in single pieces, front and back, to avoid the bulk of the yoke seams and gathering). The bodice is lined in green sheeting scrap and the skirt in muslin. It’s heavy but I sort of like the feel and body of it.

Cappers 2875 lining

I finished the armscyes using the 19th-century neckline method of whipstitching the piping seam allowance to the lining. Worked great.

cappers 06 armscye

I chickened out on grading the skirt and used a “pattern” I’ve been messing with in small scale, for a gathered quarter-circle skirt. Basically between a circle skirt and a dirndl–lots of sweep but more forgiving to fit around the waist than a circle, but less bulk than a dirndl. It worked beautifully, although it took every inch of three yards, and I wish I had had enough to make it an inch or so longer.

I LOVE this dress. The only issue is that it still has a bit of “side boob” going on–it’s poochy around the front dart. Not along the dart, though; it’s not a dart issue. I made a copy of the bodice front last night, slashed it diagonally from center-front-waist to side-armscye, then perpendicularly from that slash to side-waist, and rotated the quadrants inward a bit.

Cappers 01 comparison edit 650

That left the waist, side, and front measurements the same but took up some slack in the side front (around my ribs, basically) and made the dart shorter and shallower.

Cappers 02 comparison edit

I made a really ratty test of it last night and I think it’s what I want. It’s not meant to be tightly fitted but it’s less baggy without spoiling the softness of the gathers into the yoke.

Cappers 03 bodice refit

(Link in comments to the Flickr set, which has pictures of what I did to fix the bodice piece.)

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1930s | Vintage Sewing

1930s Summer Plaid!

By on July 8, 2015

Well! It’s been a while since I’ve posted so I thought I’d start again with my new favourite number. A plaid 1930s style frock for summertime wear. I loved this dress so much when I saw one in a German fashion magazine dated August 1931 and I just had to have it so I draped it and I did so from memory because the magazine belonged to an antique dealer downtown who wanted $69 too much for it. I was going to snap a photograph of it but there were too many eyes upon me. Here it is anyhow, probably not exact to the style I saw but exact to what I desired.

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I made it a bit blousey for a change and I love that once in a while because it feels nice and cool on hot days.image

I also played around with the plaid which is something I love to do with all types of weaves and prints and patterns. I did the major pieces of the plaid on the bias because I love that about 1930s style and it makes me feel wonderful.image

I hope you’ll visit me on my blog! I have a few more finished articles there too and shall have many more to come!

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1940s | Vintage Sewing

1941 Bathrobe

By on February 16, 2015

For better or for worse, so much of my vintage sewing tends to be for plays – I work in theatre and my husband and I do a lot of community theatre, so I end up doing a lot of costume pieces for myself… which then work their way into my personal wardrobe. 🙂

This time around I’m playing Edith in Noel Coward’s Blithe Sprit, who comes out at the end of the play in a nightgown and bathrobe.  She’s the housemaid – so nothing too fancy – but I definitely wanted something that looked distinctively 1940’s.  I chose this sweet 1941 housecoat/dress pattern from EvaDress, partially because it was so sweet looking and partially because I wouldn’t have to do too much modification in sizing.

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The pattern calls for the dress/housecoat to be joined at the CF and zip up – I decided to finish off the CF edges and leave it open, like a bathrobe.  Because of that, I didn’t insert the sash into the waist as shown – I made that separate.  The only other modification was lengthening the sleeves (in the photos they still need to be hemmed) and leaving off the trim, other than on the pockets.

Due to fabric constraints I wasn’t able to pattern-match the plaids on the CF and SF pieces – I’m (mostly!) okay with that. 🙂  I love the swoop of the skirt and how nicely it fits – much more feminine than a modern bathrobe pattern!  Made out of lovely heather grey wool plaid flannel, with one pretty pink stripe in the tartan.  I used vintage pink rick-rack for trim.

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1950s | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

A polka dot, a plaid, a classic!

By on November 5, 2014

Hi there again!

I’ve recently sewn two skirts that are, in my mind, hinting to the classic vintage styles we all love here. One is a half circle in zesty red plaid and the other — full circle in gorgeous polka dot pattern. The last one I actually hemmed with a bias tape by hand! With the skirt being 5 meters in circumference, it took me about 3 to 4 hours I guess. I like to live dangerously ;).

DSC_0218dbl

Making the plaid skirt made me realise how important it is to think your garments through before you start making them. So, imagine I made a skirt out of the same fabric bit chose to makie it short and pleated. Nineties much? Pop-punk naughty teens in heavy shoes and ripped tights, drinking beer in a local park and swearing while you pass them by? That was my reality about 15 years ago! Well, all of it but the pleated skirt. A thought of wearing a skirt would’ve made me laugh my head off back then. I wouldn’t have been able to even imagine myself wearing a short skirt. I can now and that’s why I immediately decided against it and made this one hit me at mid-calf ;).

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With the polka dot skirt I was hesitant about the length and in the end am not all that pleased about it. It was great before hemming (as seen in the photos above) but afterwards it is just that particular tad shorter that I’m not very fond of, landing at the slightly bigger part of my muscular calf (which is totally awesome but requires careful styling not to look too thick). Also the added bulk from the bias tape made the hem hang differently from what you can see in the photos above, it actually looks like this now. Not that I care much, I still like it a lot, it just goes to prove that you have to do a lot of detailed planning beforehand if you want your piece to be just the way you like it! A lesson learned.

I made both of these using this handy circle skirt app. It’s very useful for making all the calculations and there’s no way you can make a mistake which was reasurring to me because I’m a complete math idiot.

You can read more about making these skirts and see more photos on my blog.

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