1930s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1930’s Dress Complete – Gatsby Summer Afternoon 2017

By on November 10, 2017

 I made this dress for the 2017 Gatsby Summer Afternoon at Dunsmuir House, in Oakland CA.  It was sewn using two VPLL patterns. You can see the prototype dress here – made from the 1931 Dress pictured above left. The only changes I made to the pattern, after making my prototype was an increase of 2″ to the hips and I changed the sleeve, using the VPLL 1930’s dress, pictured above right (one layer only). I also followed the method of stitching the bodice shirring after sewing the midriff to the bodice, that Dierdre from VPLL suggested in my prototype post comments. That method looked much better, for sure. Otherwise, this pattern sewed up very nicely.

Full length dress front
Full length dress Back

If you would like to read more and see the full post you visit my blog.  Happy Sewing!

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1930s | Pattern Sizing | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

A Tweed Skirt From a Vintage Sewing Pattern

By on November 6, 2017

The Bay Area Sewists met up at The Sewing Room (my Sewing School) a couple of weeks ago to talk with me about pattern measuring.  This is often a step overlooked by the home stitcher and I will admit that I fall prey to the impatience of just wanting to sew up and finish something without first making sure it will fit me. Case in point – This 1930’s skirt pattern.

Front Skirt

 

Back Skirt

So, this tweed version is my 3rd attempt at making this Vintage Pattern Lending Library style #T1047 skirt.  It’s labeled 30″ waist. The first time I sewed it up, I added 1″ to the pattern, overall, because my waist is 31″ and I figured that should be enough.  Well, as it turns out, that was not enough. and the skirt I made was much too small.

You might think I would have learned my lesson, but instead, I just cut out another skirt but added added several inches to the hips and waist, based on the garment I tried on before.  I wasn’t totally off base, and in fact, the skirt fits me pretty well, however now a little too big. Sadly, I never even changed the pattern. What was I thinking? no notes, no nothing.  Well, it did give me the opportunity to share this experience with you….If you would like to find out more about how I created this well fitting version using a more methodical process, head on over to my blog, where I go into more detail.

Until next time….Happy Sewing!

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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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1930s | Buttons | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Late 1930s Button Detail Dress with Tulip Print

By on June 23, 2017

1930s tulip print dress

Sometimes you buy a sewing pattern just for the details and this was definitely the case here. The pattern I used for this late 1930s dress was an original 1940s one that I bought from Til the Sun Goes Down. It had the most beautiful shoulder yoke section, which you only ever seem to see on late 30s/early 40s patterns, and I knew I needed a dress with this as a feature. The skirt part of the pattern wasn’t really what I wanted, mainly because it looked very 1940s and I wanted a late 1930s style as this is the era I tend to wear the most.

The beautiful abstract tulip print fabric that I used was a vintage fabric, which feels like a soft cotton but behaves like a crepe or rayon. It was a dream to work with and, along with all the era-accurate techniques I used, helped to create a truly authentic look. In fact, someone I met whilst wearing this dress actually thought it was genuine vintage!

The 22 buttons that feature on the dress were all beautifully covered by the company I use a lot, London Button Company. I asked them to specifically use the coloured parts of the pattern, rather than the black background, to make them really pop out. The matching belt features an original 1930s Art Deco buckle in a bright yellow and I love how it really stands out against the dress.

1930s dress shoulder yoke detail

1930s dress button back closure

1930s dress waist detail

More photos and details about the techniques I used, and how I made the matching hat, can be found on my blog »

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1950s | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Butterick 6299 just in time for Autumn

By on March 18, 2017

It’s getting cooler here in Aotearoa New Zealand, while all you sewers in the north are getting set for summer, I’m glad things are cooling off now!

I have just finished this dress, it’s made with some lovely fabric my nana gave me, and I used a stunning Butterick pattern which was new to me this year, along with a couple of other lovely vintage patterns.

These ones!

The pattern is a size and a bit too small for me, so I graded it up, and voila! New dress! In my blog post about the making of this dress…

…I share how I graded it up, it’s pretty easy, you just need a basic pattern (or pattern block) that fits well.

The crossover bodice was a bit fiddly, and adding the bias trim gave me more bulk to deal with, but in the end, I am happy with it.

From the back…

And the bias trim….

The bias binding colour was perfect, but just enough to do the neckline and sleeve cuffs. So happy!

Happy Spring or Autumn Retro Sewists!

The blog link about this dress is here, and now I’m off to make another jumpsuit!

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1930s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1930s Dress Made Using Original Vintage Fabric

By on January 24, 2017

1930s ruffles dress front

Every now and again you come across a truly beautiful piece of original vintage fabric. You carefully unfold it, hoping and praying that it’s in good condition. You check it over thoroughly, measure it and finally take the very brave step of washing it. At this point you’re on tenterhooks, will it fall apart the second the water hits it? It survives the wash, it dries well and then you press it, checking thoroughly once again for any holes, tears or marks. And finally, you realise you have one incredible pristine piece of 1930s/1940s fabric that’s long enough to make an entire dress. You, or indeed me at this point, then do one hell of a happy dance!

1930s ruffles dress

As you can imagine, I was terrified to cut into the fabric, but I truly believed that this fabric had found its way to me for a reason. I’m very much someone who believes in buying vintage and using it. Every piece of vintage clothing I buy gets worn, I don’t store things away in a dark cupboard but, rather, enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed. That was how I felt about this fabric. It needed to be made into something and not waste away unloved and unappreciated. And it deserved to be made into something authentic.

1930s dress back

I used an original 1930s sewing pattern and original 1930s sewing techniques from both the pattern and a 1930s dressmaking book. The trimmings, such as the rayon hemming tape, were also vintage. The only modern parts of the dress are the white crepe I used for the yoke section and the metal button blanks for the self-cover buttons. That’s why I call this my brand new almost-vintage dress!

You can see more detail photos and find out more about the fabric, pattern and techniques I used on my blog here.

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