1930s | Blouses | Dresses | Hats | Vintage Sewing

Creating a 1930’S Capsule Wardrobe

By on June 23, 2021

Last Summer I started creating a 1930’s capsule wardrobe with several different pieces of coordinating fabric. I’ve been adding to the wardrobe this year with separates. Currently, my capsule consists of 2 hats, 2 dresses, 2 bags, one blouse & one skirt. I have enough fabric to add a jacket (with a cape) another skirt, and another blouse.

The fabrics & patterns I’m using are:

Lavender Cotton organdy – Nanette Blouse by Wearing History pictured above

Heavy Suit weight Silk Twill in cream with peach and lavender striations – 1930’s Ladies Skirt T1047 from Vintage Pattern Lending Library pictured above and possibly for the future jacket (Decades of Style)

Lavender Rayon Crepe and with coordinating Silk Charmeuse – Vintage sewing pattern reproduction 1930s 30s dress sewing pattern afternoon tea dressLady Marlow Patterns on Etsy

Peach, gray, lavender and White Dot silk crepe de chine – 1930’s Everyday V-Neck Tea Frock Vintage Sewing Pattern – Ready Printed Pattern – from My Vintage Wish on Etsy

Off White Linen – 1930’s Skirt made from 1930’s Everyday V-Neck Tea Frock Vintage Sewing Pattern – Ready Printed Pattern – from My Vintage Wish on Etsy – I have not photographed this skirt yet.

This project is lots of fun. I inherited most of the fabric from one estate and creating a whole coordinating wardrobe from it has been a joy.

If you would like to see more of my process as well as progress shots and videos on how to do some of the more complicated sewing, please visit the following blog posts:

Creating a 1930’s Era Capsule Wardrobe Part 1

Creating a 1930’s Era Capsule Wardrobe Part 2

1930’s Capsule Wardrobe Separates

Until Next Time, Happy Sewing!

xo Jennifer

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Vintage Sewing

Need More Vintage Garment Inspiration?

By on November 6, 2020

Come join our Facebook group, the WeSewRetro Sew & Tell, where 15,400+ of your fellow vintage enthusiasts from all over the world are showing off their vintage sewing every hour of every day.

I would show you a teaser pic but I don’t want to spoil the unfettered glee you’re going to feel on your first scroll through the amazing creations posted to the group. Come see us 😀

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Vintage Sewing

Pattern review: Vogue 1669: vintage coat

By on June 25, 2020

The pattern

Lined coat has fitted bodice, side front pockets with flaps, two-piece sleeve with slit and center back pleat. View A-Contrast bodice facing and upper collar. Views A, B-Optional bound buttonholes. Sew Rating: Advanced
Re-issue of Vogue Couturier Design 490 from 1949.

Additional info:

  • US 6-14 or US 14-22.
  • Recommended fabrics: flannel, tweed or lightweight woolens
  • Rated advance
  • envelope pattern with multiple sizes

The fabric

  • Wool-look polyester, but the description does not do it justice. It looks really beautiful. I used faded blue for the outside and night blue for the contrasting collar. Weight is 420 g/m² (17,72 oz.yd2)

The thick woolen fabric I picked for this coat works rather well, but it does make it difficult to have the pockets lay flat. Also, if you choose to do the bound button hole option, it might be difficult to fold this the fabric around the holes. Next time I would choose a slightly thinner fabric. The coat itself is definitely warm enough even with a slightly thinner fabric.

Pattern instructions
The instructions are very elaborate and I think anybody can do it, if you read carefully and take each step one at a time. If you plan on making one: here is a list of tips for the steps I thought might be helpful.

Don’t forget to keep two pieces of 2″ bias squares of main fabric for reinforcement.
Seembinding is optional.
Step 4, it asks for a part ease stitching. I don’t know why and I omitted it.
Step 5, I somehow got stuck where it makes the back pleat. The first 2 inches are sewn together, mine isn’t. It is not that difficult, I just could not figure it out after sewing the bodice to the skirt and saw it was different from the picture.
Step 7. Add part 13 first if chosen (bound button holes). It is easier to make the button holes in a piece of fabric instead of later on when the whole outside coat is finished.
Step 11, make sure the pocket is all the way up to the reinforcing stitch as the pocket is supposed to be in the corner of the stitches.
Step 14, under stitching pocket is very necessary, but it will be through 4 layers of fabric which was to much for my sewing machine so it looks a bit bulkier.
Step 41, Oh look, wrong side is showing, why is my piece right side up? Because 5 out of 7 fabric lay-outs are wrong.
Step 42, make a welt-like pocket out of button-holes is not doable with thicker fabric.
Step 58, My machine did not want to understitch facings and coat (since 4 layers of fabric). I sewed the facing to the seam allowances (3 layers of fabric) and pressed well.


It fits perfectly and the sizing chart is on point. I love the silhouette of the coat. It is long and amazing. The pockets and the lapels really stand out and make the coat.

I can’t wait for coming winter. I will be stylish and comfortable. If I sew quick enough, my mom in law and my sister will have their versions as well.
If you have a copy, don’t be shy to try it out. If I can do it, you definitely can. I had sewn one (kids) coat before and was able to pull it of.

For pictures during sewing see: https://sewingforgenerations.blogspot.com/2020/06/sew-along-vogue-1669-vintage-coat.html

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Vintage Sewing

Vintage Sewing Books & Manuals

By on July 15, 2019

I love collecting vintage sewing manuals and books! I’ve been collecting for years and I now have a collection of over 100 dressmaking and sewing manuals and books, the oldest of which dates from 1891 with the latest books coming from the mid 70s.

Just some of my most recent finds

I have always loved classic styling, fabrics and fashion. I am a dressmaker and trained in bespoke tailoring at the London College of Fashion. I now own a fabric shop and sewing school, More Sewing (www.moresewing.co.uk). Sewing and dressmaking is my life! I have always looked for vintage sewing patterns but have found problems at times with the pattern fit and the quality of the paper pattern itself. Being able to draft patterns, I have always got on better with sewing books.

I recently drafted this pattern for one of my regulars, the finished suit looked amazing

The books that I have fall into two categories. There are books that I love the look of, even when they are quite basic. 

These illustrations from the 60s look totally different but just as wonderful

Then there are the more advanced and technical books, they really do teach me something and I can use the techniques I learn in designing my own patterns or using them in the classes I run. 

This book from WW2 has patterns for service uniforms!
This book went with a Dressmaking TV programme from the 50s – love the stlye

Where do I find my books? Well, I cannot pass a second hand book shop or a charity shop without having a quick look. I also love a good jumble sale. I do not buy books on the web; I like to hold the book and look at it before I buy it. I am sure I could have a larger collection but I would probably have paid more for it and I would not have had as much fun. Quite a number of my books are from public and professional libraries. It’s sad that more and more libraries are being broken up but at least I am able to give this books a good home.

I love that this book on cutting (from the 30s) has these great illustrations from the author
Classic styling from the Golden Rule

What is my favourite book? It’s not easy to pick one but I do like the Lutterloh Golden Rule book. I have two of these. If you don’t know this book, it is a book of 1/4 scale patterns that you scale up to use with a special measuring system I’ve not come across anything else like them and I love the styling and the illustrations in the book. They are hard to find and if you ever see one going cheap – grab it!

Laura Rigby

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Dressing Gown

By on January 9, 2019

Hello all,

I am a long time lurker, who has finally remembered to take pictures of something so I can post it. I owe a great debt of gratitude to SeamRacer! She posted her gorgeous gown after I had bought the pattern, but sat on it wishing it had better instructions. After I saw hers I contacted her and she loaded me up with tips, tricks, and a lapped seam recommendation. So here it is, a vintage housecoat/dressing gown. I will be wearing mine around the house in the evening after getting the kids to bed. I always planned on wearing it over a nightgown, but I have it fully lined just the same. I am one of those perpetually freezing people who need layers and layers. Even the sleeves are fully lined. The original did not come with seam allowances, and I added none. I should probably have cut down the original a tad bit, as I needed to take it in quite a lot. I did all the fitting on the matte satin lining, and tried not to fiddle too much with the outside fabric. It is an icy mint green with silvery flowers. It is a rayon jacquard from Denver Fabrics. I used lapped seams on the waist area and they turned out very well. I made my waistband ties fairly thick and pretty long. I wanted them to make a statement if they were going to be there anyway. I have a self covered button as you can see, but it is simply stitched on over a snap closure. I did not want to put a button hole right on the front of that jacquard, very ravel-prone. Over all I am really thrilled with this and I know it will get a lifetime of wear.

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1930s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Repairing A 1930’S Orange Chiffon Evening Gown

By on November 23, 2018

Over the Summer (on the same day) my friend Annalee and another friend, Kelley, dropped off bags of goodies on my front porch. Annalee gifted me this gorgeous orange chiffon dress, rolled up in a bag and falling apart. And Kelley gave me this glorious belt with Diamante buckle (along with other wonderful things as well). And last year, my neighbor and friend, Joyce, gifted me a large collection of vintage pieces from her family including this divine black velvet coat (it only needed cleaning). Also among those treasures – another black velvet coat and a peach and black 40’s dress. Both of those were re-worked and given new life. You can read about them here:

Vintage Coat Crusade – Re-Fashion & Restoring my Vintage Coat Collection

Sewing My Gatsby Prototype – Using a Vintage Dress as my muslin….

The condition of this Orange dress was actually not too bad. The thread was disintegrating and the side seams had come apart completely. There was even scotch tape (why Annalee?) holding them together. And the garment was stained in several places with a burn hole right in the center front. I can totally understand why someone would think this dress unwearable but also so pleased that it came to me for rescue.

I repaired the dress from the bottom up, sewing up the side seams, reinforcing some sensitive areas, restitching the covered buttons to secure them in place. And I covered up all the holes and most of the stains in a strategic way.

To find out more about how I did all this, the slip I sewed for underneath the gown, my hair flowers and more, please visit the blog post here.

Thanks and Happy Sewing!


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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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