1930s | Coats | Vintage Sewing

By on December 19, 2017

1930s winter coat

One thing I’ve wanted to make for a couple of years now is a 1930s warm winter coat. In the past I never quite had the right coat to go with my 1930s clothing and this year I was on a mission to resolve that problem. After purchasing a beautiful original 1930s halo hat in dark teal felt wool, I knew this was the colour my coat had to be. It was neutral enough to go with most things, but wasn’t the same old black, grey or navy that most coats seem to be in.

1930s coat top stitching detail

I set on a mission to find the perfect matching shade of dark teal in a heavy wool fabric and after several months I finally stumbled across a gorgeous one from Dragonfly Fabrics. It has an amazing diagonal textured design to it, which creates a lovely interest to the fabric.

The pattern I used was a self-draft pattern from an original 1930s tailoring booklet, which allowed me to create one exactly to my size in an authentic 1930s design. I did make an adjustment to the front curved seam though, as the original line didn’t really suit me across the chest. This was simple enough to do and I actually think the final seam looks much better.

I also decided to make the top line of the cuff curve with the front seam of the coat to make it look like the line was carrying on. Thankfully this worked spot on when I sewed it all up, something I wasn’t entirely convinced would happen!

1930s coat - back

You can read so much more about this coat and how I made it by heading to my blog. You’ll also find loads of photos, including ones of the incredible Autumn inspired lining and all of the matching garments that create the entire ensemble.

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1930s | Blouses | Coats | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

December Red – a 1930’s Red Wool Ensemble

By on December 17, 2017

This outfit all began the fabric. The print (Asian Art Deco?) from this quilting cotton was irresistible and there was just enough of it (left to purchase) to scrape out a blouse. It seemed so suited for something 1930’s, but is a quilting cotton, so not terribly drapey. I already had a very long length of wool crepe that coordinated, so I knew I could make something to go with the finished piece.

I went in  search for the perfect 1930’s blouse pattern, to start, which proved to be a little easier said than done, as I had trouble finding a blouse pattern that suited the fabric. I did settle on a gorgeous 1930’s dress pattern with a fabulous neck bow, that could be converted into a blouse and skirt. Next up, I searched for a coat pattern and ended up finding all my patterns in the same place. Yay!

The Dress Pattern (above) that I chose to adapt to a blouse and skirt, appealed to me, at first, because of the bow, but also because of the angled shaping of the front opening and V-shape at the center front on the skirt. Because of the minimal length of fabric, I knew the fuller sleeve was not an option.  The short puff sleeve seemed more flattering as well, so I did end up using it in the end.

The Coat pattern was an easy choice.  I love that it had some flair to both the sleeves and the bottom edge.  It seemed a very easy and less formal design that would pair nicely with the finished skirt and blouse.

Each piece turned out very well and I’m excited to wear them all to a Caroling party next weekend.  The Red is VERY festive, don’t you think?

If you would like to see more of how I adapted the dress pattern into a skirt and blouse, some great sewing techniques for the coat and all my resources for the entire ensemble, please visit my blog.

Until next time, Happy Sewing!

xo

Jennifer

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1950s

Double trouble

By on October 12, 2017

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

A 1920’s Blouse Done 3 ways with One Vintage Dress Pattern

By on June 25, 2017

Three Blouses from One 1920's Dress Pattern

As part of my quest to build a “Miss Fisher” wardrobe, I’ve sewed up three little blouses inspired by separates her character wears in different episodes.  This post will show you the 3 blouses I have made, starting with one pattern.  The base pattern is the Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1920s Ladies Frock with Pleated Skirt Inset – Reproduction Sewing Pattern #Z2773.

Here is my Finished Blouse 1. I love it and wear it all the time!

 

For the first blouse the fabric was made from a printed stretch silk charmeuse and coordinating white silk habotai collar and tie ends.  I kept the tie exactly as on the pattern, making the ends contrast and the tie the same fabric as the blouse.

For blouse #2,  there were a few revisions to the pattern/construction – namely adding a loop under the collar to hold the neck tie, omitting the bottom band (with added length) and omitting the contrast tie bottom on the neck tie (adding length here again).

Close up view of front neck
Front view of finished blouse

Blouse #3 has to be my favorite so far.  It’s a departure from the other two but was easy to create using the same pattern. I sketched it after watching Series 2 episode 3 (Dead Man’s Chest) and decided to modify this pattern to get the look.  This version was made in a printed paisley cotton lawn and the flat piping was made from white seersucker scraps that I had floating around as well as white covered buttons (joining sleeve ends) that were also floating around in my stash. On a related side note, there was some great conversation about Miss Fisher’s blouses in The Miss Fisher Philes podcast , when they discuss this episode (Series 2 episode 3 (Dead Man’s Chest)), making reference to Miss Fisher wearing more separates than dresses.

If you would like to read more about how exactly I revised the pattern to create each of these looks, visit my blog post here.

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

Thanks and Happy Sewing!

Jennifer Serr

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1950s

The weather forecast

By on June 18, 2017

Dear WeSewRetro Readers,

I’ve had the Vogue V1137 pattern for some time now. In fact, its dress was one of my first dresses ever sewn. Now I decided to try making the coat. It’s an exceptionally well-drafted pattern. I love the silhouette that the swing coats and jackets create; glamourous yet comfortable. I’ve had some wonderful, thick and warm wool tweed in my stash for many years; it was sitting there, waiting for a perfect project with a perfect yardage. I had only 140cm of this wool (about 1.5 yard), so I went for a jacket based on a coat pattern, ordering some fluffy yet smooth wool for contrasts and facings. I had to modify the pattern by shortening it to hit 7cm (2.75 inch) below the waist, adding facings and lining (it’s a pattern for a double-sided coat), skipping the pockets and making some room at the front to overlap left and right sides, make bound buttonholes and fit in the buttons.

If you’d like to read and see more, I invite you to my blog, rvdzik.blogspot.com . Thank your for visiting! 🙂

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1950s | Vintage Sewing

Don’t Let the Pattern Matching Get You Down…

By on May 22, 2017

I can’t say for certain that we have all been there, but I know I’m not the only seamstress to have had a definite plan and then once you actually take a hard look at the fabric you have to work with in more detail, you realize the plan is just not going to happen! Such was the case with this dress, as I had planned originally to cut everything with the print mirrored along the center front, but as soon as I laid the fabric out properly I understood that certainly was not going to work out.

The fabric I used to make this dress had some pretty serious downsides going for it. Firstly it was left over yardage from another project that had been languishing in my stash for years, so the piece I had left was an odd shape to start with. The other issue was more of a problem; though the print was hypothetically perfectly mirrored…it was actually off-set by about half a centimeter. I assume this fabric, being flocked (mimicking cut velvet) , was made by printing down a layer of glue in the areas where the black fibers would be, and then applying the flocking powder and then repeating this process along the center of the yardage, and when they did this it was obviously not perfectly lined up. So my original plan to cut this dress with the mirrored center of the print going down the center front of the dress had to be scrapped, for if I cut it like that it would appear as if I had done a very poor job of it since the fabric itself was off kilter.

It is in moments like these, when you have your pattern pieces strewn around you on the floor trying to figure out how to place and fit them on your fabric, that it is very easy to get too frustrated and give up before you have even truly started. I was tempted to scrap the idea of this project entirely, but instead took a deep breath and the time to look at other options. I decided, after much deliberation, to use the white space between the printed motifs to my advantage and cut the center front bodice pieces with their center in the white areas so when they were sewn together there wouldn’t be a jarring break in the pattern along the seam. Next I had to determine what to do with the skirt, and though I knew no matter what I couldn’t get the print to match along the side seams, to try and find an angle where the print would at least sort of flow. I ended up cutting the skirt pieces diagonally, but not perfectly on bias. As Tim Gunn would say, make it work!

Though this dress was a challenge to cut out, and looks different that I had originally planned, I am happy I persevered and still made it despite the puzzle like conundrum at the start.  Lessons learned, don’t get too attached to your original idea lest it not work out, and two- take your time and consider all the possible solutions when pattern matching. Such lessons came in handy recently when making another dress and matching stripes! If only fabric was always printed perfectly on grain and perfectly matched up, but such is not the world we live in.

I wore the finished dress on a recent trip to Paris and if you would like to see more photos, you can check out a full outfit post over on The Closet Historian.

Thanks for reading, and don’t let the pattern matching get you down! 🙂

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