1920s | 1930s | Downton Abbey Inspired | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Sewing a 1920’s Art Deco Evening Gown

By on June 11, 2017
Art Deco Ball - Jennifer Serr
Art Deco Ball - Jennifer Serr
At The Ball

Well, the day (Art Deco Society of California’s) of the  Preservation Ball arrived and I was prepared!  This year’s theme was Death on The Nile (the Agatha Christie Murder Mystery) with a focus on Egyptian Revival of the Art Deco era. I was lucky to be gifted some beautiful fabric, salvaged vintage trims and good luck at Britex for the finishing touches to my gown and headband. Thanks also to Barbara Mooney at Daisy’s, here in Alameda, for lending me the PERFECT necklace and pointing me to some wonderful coordinating earrings (in her shop) that I will treasure for years to come.

Dressed Up with My Handsome Husband
Dressed up with my Handsome Husband

In the end, I’m happy with the final look. My foundation garment worked well on the dress form so that I could drape my gown to my measurements, however, did not work under the dress when I was wearing it.  It still needs some modifications to the cups and the straps showed. Fitting can be a challenge sometimes and often requires multiple fittings (which I did not do this time – ugh).  I ended up wearing a 1920’s-style corset that I made two years ago.  It’s strapless and gave me the right silhouette.

Front View of my Dress
Back View of My Dress
Back View of My Dress

Below are some photos of the process by which I created this dress – Draping the fabric directly on the dress form.  For a more in-depth view of my process including inspiration, sketches and step-by-step photos, visit my blog posts here, here, here & here

Taping the Dress form and foundation for Draping
Taping the Dress form and foundation for Draping
Draping the Back Bodice
Draping the Back Bodice
Draping the Side Bodice
Draping the Side Bodice
Fabric Draped and trims placed
Fabric Draped and trims placed

See more of my projects and vintage inspiration on my blog or connect with me on instagram!

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1950s

WDW Dapper Day Dress

By on November 19, 2016

We decided to brave the crowds on Veteran’s Day weekend and headed to Walt Disney World for our first ever Dapper Day! I spent several weeks procrastinating/agonizing over which pattern from my stash to sew and ended up choosing Butterick 6820. Vintage Pattern Wikia dated it as 1954img_2002This pattern ended up being one of those small miracles where something fits with almost zero alterations. It didn’t call for it, but I chose to line the bodice and used the lining as my fit muslin. The only things I had to change were to let the side seams out just a hair and to adjust the hem length. I also put in a longer zipper than called for. It was a side zip and I could barely get it over my head at first. The bodice fabric is vintage cotton that I found on Etsy and the skirt is just Kona cotton from Joann’s. I wore two lightweight crinolines, one vintage and one that I made previously. The skirt was pretty heavy and probably needed a stiffer crinoline, but I just didn’t have time to make one. I also made a little bolero using non-vintage Simplicity 3921 and cotton flannel. I used some of the bodice scraps to give it cuffs. All in all I’m really happy with how it turned out and it was a pretty comfortable dress to wear. And those giant pockets were great for stashing candy and lipstick! Dapper Day was a blast! So much fun seeing all the unique, handmade dresses and chatting with other sewists!

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1940s | 1950s | Skirts

Parrot Print Gathered Skirt

By on November 10, 2016
Akram's Ideas: Parrot Print Gathered Skirt

I love big novelty print skirts! Novelty skirts are kind of a staple of 40’s and 50’s fashion.

While I do love novelty print skirts, I actually have very few in my wardrobe. Since I get my fabric second hand I don’t usually come about interesting prints, mostly solids or modest floral prints.

However, when I came across this lovely vintage (or at least old) parrot print fabric I knew I was destined to make myself a novelty skirt.

Akram's Ideas: Parrot Print Gathered Skirt
This print makes the prefect Novelty Skirt

Originally I wanted to make a nice full circle skirt but alas, I didn’t have enough fabric. So in the end, I did a traditional gather skirt with waistband.

While the light weight cotton or print may not be autumn appropriate I’m still very happy with this skirt and can’t wait to get some serious wear out of it this summer.

Akram's Ideas: Parrot Print Gathered Skirt
Can’t wait to wear this next summer

To read more about my process for this fun novelty skirt see my blog Akram’s Ideas (http://akramsideas.com/vintage-inspired-gathered-skirt-parrot-print/)

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1960s | Blouses

Simplicity 2154 View B – Bow Blouse

By on June 17, 2014

I’ve had this retro pattern in my stash fr what seems like ages and I’ve not yet sewn anything from it. Yesterday I sat down with a yard and a half of a pretty (but unfortunately polyester) fabric I grabbed at Joann’s a few days before. I knew this fabric would present some problems, mainly with it being really slippery, but I was not expecting it to literally disintegrate along the seams the minute any pressure was placed on them.

I stitched this up in a few hours, put it on, and as soon as I reach to grab something, the center back seam split completely apart. I took it off, and barely applied pressure to another seam, and it shredded apart too. Ugh! I wasn’t expecting that at all. After the seam shredding business, I busted out some bias tape and bound all of my seams, hoping that would  keep them together. I’ve been wearing the blouse all day today without any incidents, so it appears to have worked. We’ll see how it fares in the wash but I think it will be okay. In hindsight, I’d cut this with slightly large seam allowances and use French seams on it if I make it again out of a similar fabric- Its a close fitting blouse and there isn’t much easy at all in it.

The directions call for a button and loop closure at the neck, but I went with a hook and eye instead mostly because I have literally thousands of hooks and eyes and they were within reach.

I love the ridiculously large bow and the collar is really cute. I might make this again in a solid color cotton as I really like it, but not sure as its pretty distinctive. I don’t have this up on my blog yet, but as usual, you’re welcome to pop by and say hello!

http://debsinstitches.com/

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