1920s | 1930s | Dresses

Re-Creating My Grandmother’s Dress – Gatsby 2018

By on October 5, 2018

Every year the Art Deco Society of California puts on the The Gatsby Summer Afternoon. This Gatsby Event is the highlight of my year, as far as vintage events go, and this year was no exception. The weather was perfect (high 70 degrees and breezy), the picnics were exquisite and the company eclectic and entertaining.

For this year’s ensemble, I chose to replicate a look that my grandmother wore (see photo above) in one of her modeling photos. I’ve admired this dress for years and have not quite had the nerve to re-create it until now. That front neck detail with the capelet and ruching really had me flummoxed.

When I mentioned, on Instagram that this was my plan, Deirdre from Vintage Pattern Lending Library suggested I use one of her patterns to start and then she sent it to me! How lucky am I? Thank you Deirdre! The pattern was a perfect jumping off point and it really took the pressure off to have a pattern to start from.

I’m pretty pleased with the overall look, considering, in the end, I only had about a week to pull it off. I completed the ensemble with me-made purse, hat and jewelry. There are a few changes I would make, given the time and inclination (neckline wider and capelet longer in the back). Overall, though, I’m pretty happy with the whole look.

To read the complete post, see pattern adaptations and more pictures from the event, please visit my blog.

Thanks and Happy Sewing!

xo – Jennifer

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1950s | Blouses | Pattern Drafting | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

My new spring outfit

By on May 7, 2018

Hello everyone,

since it is so quiet here, I decided to write a short post about my new favourite outfit for spring. The whole look started with the idea of an green outfit inspired by Karlotta Pink’s latest fabric collection. The colour of the print is quite difficult to describe, but it was very important for me that the colour of the skirt would make the colour of the blouse shine.

The pattern of the blouse is self-constructed, because I had fallen in love with a no longer available Simplicity Schnitt 1624. A very similar pattern was reissued by Simplicity, but due to my last experience I became a bit cautious with regard to fit. It should be a figure-hugging blouse and not a nightgown.

The Blouse

For this reason I set about reconstructing the pattern myself. That sounds a lot more awesome than it was. Since I prefer to adapt existing models out of pure laziness rather than develop a pattern myself, I am not particularly experienced at it. The drafting was quite easy and there were only little to adjust – for more information on drafting the blouse check out my blogpost here.

The Fabric Desaster

I wanted to use a lime green satin for the skirt, because it is always available at my regular fabric shop. They didn’t have the fabric at the time, but it was supposed to arrive soon. No luck. (They still don’t have it.) Then I went on a fabric shopping trip to Zurich and I was sure I’d find something. But: Nothing.

A little annoyed and under time pressure, due to to a sewing blogger meeting, I ordered 5 different green fabrics. I didn’t want “okay”, I wanted perfect (at that time I was really obsessed with the right material for the skirt). And in the package were even three possible fabrics. I then decided for the most harmonious combination with the kiwi green cotton-linen blend.

Grünes Set 5

 

In the end everything did go as planned. The blouse was a fast sew and the skirt did go together easy too.

If you wish to see more pictures and read the whole background story (there were more drama than mentioned in the text), you can hop over to our blog PeterSilie&Co or directly to the longer blogpost.

Till next time,

Sabine

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1940s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1940s Organic Cotton Gingham Dress

By on October 12, 2017

5955 McCall sewing pattern, 1946

After watching the brilliant documentary The True Cost, about the human and environmental impact of fast fashion, I decided to try and make a completely ethically-produced dress. I chose to make it using an original sewing pattern from 1946 that I had won in a competition on the Vintage Sewing Pattern Nerds Facebook group. It’s a little later than my usual style dress (1930s to early 40s) but, as it looked like it could easily be from the late 1930s, I decided to go for it.

1940s organic gingham dress

The fabric I used was 100% organic cotton gingham from the Organic Textile Company. They produce this beautiful soft cotton in two different sizes and both in three different colours, red, blue and black. As I loved both sizes so much I chose to use both in red and use the smaller one on the bias. Of course, each of the pieces I cut in this way had to be stabilised with straight cut facings.

1940s organic gingham cotton dress

All of the trimmings I used were either vintage pieces or items I already owned, even the ivory cotton thread I used to sew the dress up. This all adds up to an almost totally ethically made garment. However, there is one thing I did have to buy new, and it wasn’t organic or ethically-produced, so I can’t quite say this dress is 100% ethical.

Head on over to my blog to find out what this item was and, if you want to know more about why it isn’t ethical, have a read of the comments at the end of the post.

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1950s

Double trouble

By on

Dear WeSewRetro Readers,

meeting the Tailleur Bar in my ensamble

I had been searching for a vintage Simplicity 4538 pattern for some time, never having any luck with buying it. When I discovered that Simplicity has just reissued this design as a repro 8452, it landed straight into my shopping basket. The blouse is in fact a two-seam rectangle, but what a glorious rectangle it is. It is quick to make (it took me one afternoon form cutting to giving the final touches), drapes beautifully and has two glorious 1950s characteristics: it gives a wide yet soft-shouldered look and accentuates the waist like a solid cincher.

The black skirt is the bottom part of a vintage Butterick 6976 form 1954. Side note: it was one of the very first vintage patterns I have ever bought… The skirt has 6 panels and features 4 box-pleats, which amounts to a great fullness at the hem and creates very graceful movements.

To see and read more, I invite you to my blog, rvdzik.blogspot.com 🙂 Thank you for visiting!

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1930s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1930s Print Quilting Cotton Dress

By on September 7, 2017

1930s feedsack print dress

As a 1930s obsessive I’m often drawn to the beautiful 1930s reproduction prints on quilting cotton fabric. However, I’ve always been weary of it because of its stiffness and just knew it wouldn’t be right for the style of clothing I love to make. Genuine 1930s dresses were always made using a softer fabric with plenty of drape, whether it be cotton, linen, rayon, silk or wool, which always hung well.

However, when I came across this amazing feedsack reproduction print I just couldn’t resist it. I knew straight away that I wanted to make a Dust Bowl style dress with it, despite knowing it was going to be challenge.

I used an original pattern from the very early 1930s and, although it was my size, I did have to make quite a lot of adjustments. The main issue was the way it fitted due to the stiffness of the fabric and there was too much bulk everywhere. If it had been made in a much softer fabric, this would’ve gathered perfectly around the waist when the belt was added.

1930s feedsack print dress

For more information about the troubles I had with the fit of this dress, please have a read of my post here. However, if you’d just like to skip to the outfit post to see all of the lovely 1930s detailing and find out more about Dust Bowl dresses, then you can view the post here.

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1950s | Modern Patterns | Skirts

A Retro Gertie Butterick B6285

By on July 30, 2017

This skirt was almost the death of me! But it’s finished and I love it and I want to make more and more and more and… you get the idea.

This pattern is quite gorgeous. Mine is made from a heavy cotton sateen from Spotlight in the most vibrant red and black.

Pockets. Can life get any sweeter?

 

 

It was paired with a black eBay petticoat which is a bit scratchy, hence the slip underneath that. It was toasty warm and certainly made my Monday much more agreeable.

Those with a keen eye will notice the slash neck top is the Gable Top by Jennifer Lauren Handmade. It’s such a great staple top and I’ve been making more of them over the weekend.

Swing and/or twirl around to my blog to read the story of the skirt.

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1920s | Accessories | Capes | Downton Abbey Inspired | Vintage Sewing

Make a 1920’s Inspired Shrug for added Glamour

By on June 29, 2017

 

My friend Jonathan invited me to his 30th birthday party.  He wanted to leave his OWN roaring 20’s in style and asked everyone to come dressed up for the occasion.  What a great opportunity to play dress up and put on a made-by-me gown from my favorite era!

Original dress and wrap

Yay!  I had everything – Dress, shoes, stockings, gloves, hand bag and wrap.  But the truth is, I didn’t really want to wear a wrap.  I wanted something a little more glamorous. So why not turn my metallic gold organza wrap into something more special?  I could throw it together in a couple of days, right?  So I did.  It’s not 100% accurate to the era and time, but I think it evokes the glamour of the era (and my inspiration photo – see below) and went perfectly with my dress already (see this post for more info about the dress)

The Finished Look!
My Vintage Inspiration

Here is the finished look.  I am happy with the way it turned out.  It was created from a metallic organza wrap that I owned already, and a vintage white fox collar that was purchased online. The stitching was done entirely by hand and the collar is removable.

If you are interested in how I created the Shrug, visit my blog post about making it.

You can also visit me on Facebook, Instagram or Sign up for my Blog posts in your email.

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