1910s | 1950s

New to Blog Intro Post

May 20, 2011

Hello, everyone!  I’m really excited to be participating in this blog–I’ve been a long time “lurker” but finally decided to take the plunge and actually give a little back.  

I got a late start sewing–I didn’t actually start until I was a junior in college and began exploring in the costume shop of my undergraduate theatre program.  I quickly became hooked, got a Master’s degree in it, too, and then started working professionally in regional theatre costume shops.  Eventually I spent 10 years teaching at the university level, and now I’m on my own making my own stuff!  If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that you can’t cheat or skimp just because you’re making a costume.  In real life, no one wears the same outfit 8 times a week doing dance routines for 3 hours!  We had to learn to do it right, do it well, and do it for real.  And in some cases, do it better than real because real clothes wouldn’t survive!

Most of my experience in costumes has been in reproducing one vintage look or another, and I’ve had the pleasure of working in a variety of different periods on lots of different types of clothes.  But every time I see a new post from Sew Retro, I’m inspired once again to explore even more!  Recreating fashion from the past is so different than sewing contemporary styles–I find it to be much more demanding but therefore more rewarding as well.  The patterns themselves seem to have more personality and style.

I have been reproducing some vintage looks and putting my own “spin” on them.  I made a 1950s jacket (Vogue 2934–by the way, their patterns are currently on sale for $4.99 through May 22!) but put fabric painting on it and modified the front closure to incorporate a silk scarf.  

I’ve also been playing with a Poiret inspired Cocoon coat (from Folkwear #503) of velveteen with some hand painted fabric flowers along the collar.

Right now, I’m making an unusual Frock coat out of silk brocade with an Asian motif.  It’s going to be quite unusual!

Anyway, I’m thrilled to be joining this blog, and I plan to post my new creations as my retro sewing experience continues!  It’s been interesting making women’s clothing–no one has ever tried on any of my stuff!  I’m a guy!  Haha!  So I think I may have to turn my attention to menswear a bit more, unless I can find some models!  I have three sisters (I actually made my sister’s prom dress years ago) so they’re set for Christmas.  : )  

But regardless of gender, there’s nothing like sewing patterns from history and recreating that retro look.  I’m enjoying creating garments I simply can’t find in stores.  It’s fun!  And I’ve been enjoying seeing what you all have been making–I look forward to much more!  
  1. Welcome and I look forward to seeing what you sew. I have just finished V2934 in a dark green crushed velvet, hope to post it soon. You did a lovely job on the fabric painting.

    If you start sewing more men's clothes I would love to swap tips, I sew for my husband but it great to get an other man's idea.

  2. Exquisite work – thanks for sharing! I love the silk scarf jacket in particular. I look forward to seeing more of your projects! 🙂

  3. They are beautiful, and it's very creative of you to be able to put your own spin on the original. I have NO imagination and just copy! I'm really looking forward to seeing your other work.

  4. I have been eyeing up that Poiret coat from folkwear (not that I would have anywhere to wear it). Yours looks amazing. I love the scarf front you did on the Vogue jacket as well. I look forward to seeing more of your stuff. Your sisters are very lucky.

  5. Welcome to Sew Retro! It's such a great place to find other vintage sewing enthusiasts!

    All I can say is Wow! Your Vogue coat creation is stunning! The hand painting is fantastic! You should definitely start a blog (and then do a tutorial on hand painting 🙂 I'm so looking forward to more of your creations! I'm sure you have loads of tips from working in the theatre industry on seam finishings and closures, etc. to make things last!!

  6. Wow, beautiful work. I would really look forward to seeing menswear. (My DH also works in theater as a scene carp, and the sewing ability of the folks in his costume shop blow my mind.) Can't wait to see more from you!

  7. My Dad was the one who taught me how to run a sewing machine.

    Infact, he was responsible for some of my best Halloween costumes. So cheers to men who sew!

    I love your fabric and embellishment choices on the Cocoon Coat. It is properly dramatic. 🙂

    I hope to see more from you soon!

  8. Nice work and your surface design freshens things up and gives the garments a contemporary – yet classic – touch. Beautiful.

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