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

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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 | Dresses

Vintage 1955 McCall’s 7625

By on July 25, 2017
Sewing Vintage 1950s McCall's 7625 | Vintage on Tap

Hello, everyone!

Wanted to share one of my most recent makes, McCall’s 7625 which came out for Early Fall 2017 ☺️ It was originally released back around 1955!

Sewing Vintage 1950s McCall's 7625 | Vintage on Tap

 

I was actually suuuuper hesitant about the drop waist on this piece, but to be honest, it worked out. I suspect that its because of the fisheye darts at the natural waist line, which helped nip in the design.

 

Sewing Vintage 1950s McCall's 7625 | Vintage on Tap

 

Anyway, I’m really happy with how it turned out overall and am looking forward to making the short sleeve version for an upcoming trip.

 

Sewing Vintage 1950s McCall's 7625 | Vintage on Tap

 

Definitely check out the video series I did for this pattern, though, especially since I ended up tackling a full bust adjustment on this piece (princess seams AND fisheye darts?! Yes.)– my video series also went into the how-to-sew for this pattern, in case you’re thinking of making it.

 

Sewing Vintage 1950s McCall's 7625 | Vintage on Tap

 

More photos of this project over on my blog

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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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1920s | 1930s | Mail Order Patterns | Pattern Drafting | Skirts

Creating a Skirt from a 1930’s Dress Pattern

By on June 11, 2017
My Finished Skirt
Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern #T3221
Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern #T3221

Recently, I’ve given myself the task of creating a “Miss Fisher” wardrobe, inspired by the Australian TV series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries.  If you haven’t seen the show, I highly recommend to head over to Netflix and watch immediately.  The main character, Phryne Fisher – Lady Detective,  has a fairly AMAZING wardrobe, circa 1928,  filled with a variety of wardrobe staples – wide leg trousers, skirts, matching camisoles etc., and some downright outrageous statement pieces – embroidered coats, custom cloches and coordinating accessories.   All of which I’ve been sketching and analyzing as much as I can with repeated viewing of all the episodes.

The first stop on this journey is the staple pieces.  These are garments I can coordinate with many things.  With Summer approaching, a light weight skirt is was in order.  After struggling to find a skirt pattern I liked, I found a dress that had a great skirt –  Vintage Pattern Lending Library Pattern #T3221.

The pattern is quite sweet – a column shape through the body, with 6 small darts that gently shape the waist, and a skirt that has arched seams along the hip line and fluted panels that give it a nice little fare at the hem.  The pattern comes in one size – created for a 36″ bust.  I measured the pattern and found that it was a good fit for my hips at 42″ but that I would need to shape the waist to fit my own.   It was a fairly easy process:

  1. The pattern was cut at the natural waist line which is indicated at the center of the darts on the pattern. I squared a line at the CF, folded out the darts and shaped a nice waist.
  2. The darts were re-distributed into two darts (each side) at front and back and positioned somewhat centrally on each half of the skirt at front and back as well.  I new I wanted a 32″ waist finished, so my dart depth was determined by measuring the pattern at the waistline, subtracting the different and dividing the darts up accordingly.
  3. Then a waistband pattern was made – 4″ high x 34″ long.  This accounts for 3/8″ seam allowance and a 1 1/4″ tab for the button on the waistband.

The fabric used was a beige colored textured rayon jacquard.  The skirt sewed together beautifully, as per the pattern instructions.  I did serge the edges before assembling, to prevent fraying.  The bottom edge is a simple turn and turn 1/4″ clean finish hem.  And the standard zipper was inserted using a hand picked method.

Hand Picked zipper on the side opening
Hand Picked zipper on the side opening
My Finished Skirt
My finished Skirt

I’m really happy with the results, however, my 13 year old daughter thinks it should be several inches shorter.  What do you think?

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

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