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 | Jackets | Mad Men Inspired | Mens | Vintage Sewing

Le Smoking Jacket AKA the Ninth Gate of Hell.

By on January 20, 2014

 

So, I found this amazing pattern for a smoking jacket from 1951, Butterick 1769. Despite being neither a smoker nor an idle rich guy from a Hollywood melodrama, my Husband decided he needed one in classic satin and quilted velvet. He accompanied me to the fabric store on a Saturday (an event never to be repeated), where he picked out this gorgeous Asian style brocade. We splurged and bought the fancy dress velvet to do the collar and cuffs. I made up a muslin sample, which actually fit him pretty good. I just needed to shorten the sleeves and he decided he would prefer a belt to buttons, so I drafted one. This is where the fun ensued. Slick satin just refuses to be sewn, especially when you are trying to meaningfully join it to any type of napped fabric. Sheer hell. Puckering. I ended up using tissue paper between the layers, which helped some, but not enough. I had to hand baste the batting to the velvet to do the quilting, which took forever and isn’t totally even. The piping was a pain, and in retrospect I should have used a finer weight cording. To top it off, I forgot to cut the back pleat into the lining, which I didn’t discover until I handed the jacket to my Husband to try on. I had to buy more fabric to recut it. Despite the hellacious and neverending trouble this pattern gave me, I still think it turned out pretty good. My Husband likes to strut around the house with a martini while wearing it, so mission accomplished. The moral of the story is that choice of fabric and finish details can make a BIG difference in your work load!

 

 

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1950s | Accessories | Mens | Vintage Sewing

The Super-Secret Christmas Robe from 1951

By on January 7, 2014

A couple of years ago, I found an amazing vintage Mens’ robe pattern on Etsy and fell in love. I snapped it up, ordered some gorgeous rayon fabric and some ultra-soft micro fleece to line it with. When the pattern arrived  I was so excited… and then somehow I never made it. You know how it is, projects pile up, work gets too busy and then before you know it, it’s two years later – no robe.

So this year I was determined to sew it for my husband for Christmas, and I was determined that he wouldn’t even know I was sewing something for him. In the middle of finals project and a really busy month at Mrs. Depew Vintage I was sewing this robe like a crazy person. And let me tell you, lining rayon with micro fleece is about as easy as getting a puppy to hold still during a cat parade.

I sewed between assignments and studying, before and after work, at midnight while he was working night shifts (gotta love the military) and every time my husband rode his motorcycle into the driveway I madly dashed to stash everything into my studio closet and delint the threads from my clothes to hide any evidence of my undertaking.

Vogue 8753 Robe Front

 

Vogue 8753 Robe Lining.

 

Vogue 8753 Robe Cuff Embroidery

The work paid off though and it came out perfect –  and he loves it!

If you’d like to see more pictures (I didn’t want to bore you with too much) you can read the full post on my blog A Few Threads Loose.

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