Vintage Sewing

Miss Ohio 1941

May 24, 2010

Ok now im going to get serious about this vintage sewing business.

And to prove it i just spent a small fortune on 12 patterns from Ebay, yes, Ebay AMERICA..
This is a big deal for us kiwis!
I really got a sense of what it must have been like in the 40’s for the kiwi girl, lusting after those jaunty American styles but being stuck with our boring old Academy patterns here on this little island in the back of beyond.
So i decided to break out and import some fancy stuff.

I felt like i had brought over some never been seen before breed of animal when I opened the packet. Even the pattern covers were shinier, the writing a nicer font, the colours..yes colours on the pattern.

So now i sit, decision made about which one to do first.
It wasnt difficult, this is the quintessential 40’s pattern for me, simple lines stylish but functional.

I am going to do this one carefully and with love. Im not going to rush in, im going to make a rough one first, to do the proper fitting and im going to enjoy each part.

This is the material i am using.
So as i carefully unwrapped her pieces you can imagine my joy when I discovered I could date her. The previous owner, 70 years ago had cut out pieces from a newspaper. Luckily she did because one of the pieces was half missing and now I can retrieve it.
The date is December 1941, Canton, Ohio. There was an article about Hedy Lamar and a disturbing amount of adverts for rat killer.

I cant believe that all going well I am going to own a dress from 1941.

I just have to figure out how to add 2 inches at the waist whilst keeping the bust and hips the same. Any tips?

  1. That is so very cool! Slash and spread maybe to get more room at the waist? I am by no means an expert and am guessing you'll get better advice from others. If you didn't already say you were in Australia, I'd tell you to check out Cynthia Guffey, who has the best handle on altering patterns to fit of anyone I have found. Can't wait to see your finished dress!

  2. You are going to use the seam method of pattern alteration for expanding the waist here. See this Threads Magazine article.

    Remember that you need to divide your total alteration measurement by double the number of seams involved to get the correct amount to add at each seam. So, if you have four seams that means you will divide that two inches by eight to add 1/4 inch at each seam.

  3. Well, you see I would like to see those Academy patterns I've heard about too! The grass is always greener…

  4. Wow…that newspaper was printed just two days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the start of World War II! Makes you wonder what the lady who cut out the pattern was thinking about at the time.
    Cute pattern though…will be interested to see the finished dress. Good luck.
    Are you going to post the rest of the patterns you won on ebay?

  5. Hi guys
    Thanks for all your comments and suggestions, i will study all tutorials hard and try not to muck them up!
    I will definitly post the others I won – as i plan to make most of them, I might sell one or two our local auction site to give the other kiwi girls a chance to get their hands on American goods!
    Isaspacey.. maybe I can help hook you up with an academy.. swapsie maybe?? message me on my blog.
    i have no idea what fabric it is – it was SUPER cheap in a buy the bolt sale, its quite soft but thickish, its blue so i thought i would do Navy topstitching and buttons to contrast.
    oooooo, wanna go home and get started, darn work!

  6. Copy the piece and make the alterations to that one. Kind of simple, but you'd be amazed at the number of times I've gone to alter and stopped myself from doing it to the real pattern.

    Personally, tho, I copy the pattern out, then before I cut it, I find my waist on the pattern and add the extra to all the seams (dividing the inches by # of seams). I use a dressmaker's ruler to connect the bust and hips properly, etc. Because I am even MORE lazy, I paper fit, but if I really have to, I make a mock up out of sheets or something at that point, and alter the test garment if I have to, which I tear apart and use as the pattern for my real fabric.

    Clear as mud, no?

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