1950s | Dresses | Spadea | Vintage Sewing

A Failed Zipper, and a Finished Dress!

By on April 29, 2014

It has been way too long since I posted here, but I promise I have not given up my vintage sewing obsession!  I can always count on inspiration on these pages, not to mention all the new-to-me blogs I discover.  Thank you for keeping me motivated!

When I was contacted by Deirdre of Vintage Pattern Lending Library about testing this stunning Ceil Chapman pattern, I was ecstatic!  Ceil Chapman is a favorite of mine, and I was lucky enough to reproduce another one of her designs a few years ago, so I knew I was in for some fun, and a great challenge.

The biggest issue I had was figuring out the pleat lines on the skirt pieces, and once I had that I was off and running.

All of the seams were finished, including a waist stay, and a zipper guard made of grosgrain ribbon – and then the darn thing would not zip up.  Even with an extra pair of hands, the vintage metal invisible zipper would not make it past the waist seam when I put in on my body.  Aargh!!

I had a bit of a tantrum, and decided it would be best to put the project on hold.

Then the weather started improving and if I was going to wear the dress anytime soon (it’s made of wool), I needed to get to it!

A strip of silk organza and a standard nylon zipper came to the rescue (a similar fix can be found at the end of this post – what is it with me and invisible zippers lately!?!).

Now I have two Ceil Chapmans in my closet!  And if I ever find a spectacular fabric suited to the design, I just know I will be making this one up again.

More pictures of the finished dress may be found over on my blog, Lilacs & Lace.  I am so very glad I figured out a way to make this dress work!

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1940s | Capes | Dresses

A Special Occasion Gown

By on November 4, 2012

I have been very lax in posting my recent projects here.  One of the reasons is that I have been very busy in the sewing room.

The special occasion (and the perfect excuse to make something completely over the top) was the opening gala of a local symphony.

I used Butterick 6408 as my pattern.

Every few months I pull out my vintage reproduction patterns and feel guilty about all of the dresses I have not yet made.  Sometimes I even have the idea and the fabric on hand – all that is missing is spare time and, in this case, a suitable occasion.   Thankfully, I finally found the perfect reason to make up this full length gown.  One down, goodness knows how many more to go . . .

The project took an entire month, but I feel like all of the work and a few injuries to my fingers (thanks to all of the wire work) was worth it in the end.

The entire saga may be found on my blog, Lilacs & Lace.

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Vintage Sewing

Advice Requested!

By on October 23, 2012

I am currently working away on a Gala Gown that will hopefully be finished before next Sunday!

I am hoping to make myself an evening bag to match back to the dress, and would like to ask everyone if they know of an easy way to antique a purse frame that is currently bright gold?

If at all possible, I would like to avoid scary chemicals.

Does anyone have any suggestions, or know of any tutorials?


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1930s | 1950s | Dresses

Testing the Water

By on August 31, 2012

I have been so busy sewing, I have not been keeping up with my posts.  But I have been enjoying all of the projects being posted – and they are keeping me inspired!

Recently, I have been trying to expand my vintage horizons, and heading even further into the past than my comfort zone (the 1940s and 50s).  I am currently having fun exploring the 1920s.

The Jean Harlow, bias white silk satin look  of the 1930s always had me steering clear because I did not think the look would work for me, but this day dress has changed my mind.  Turns out, there was success to be had.

That is not to say that I have given up on my full skirted frocks!  Now that Fall is just around the corner, I am sure to get some wear out of this one.

Oh, and did I mention that both patterns are from Mr. Male Pattern Boldness?  Which, of course, makes me love them all the more!

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1940s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Fabulous Vintage Patterns

By on May 13, 2012

I feel like I have been cheating on my vintage reproductions lately with actual vintage patterns.  But perhaps that is not such a bad thing . . .

This pattern finally gave me the motivation to cut into a silk/cotton jacquard blend that I have been hoarding for years.  Seriously!  I have been pulling it out and staring at it for many years only to put it back, scared that I would ruin it, or at the very least, choose an unworthy project.

But, it would seem, the fabric was just waiting for this pattern.  Don’t you love when the perfect fabric shows up for the perfect pattern?!

More pictures and construction info on Simplicity 3448 may be found over on my blog, Lilacs & Lace.

This Hollywood pattern is my idea of the perfect summer dress.  I cannot wait to make a striped or plaid version and play with those bias cut pieces!  But for now, this pink cotton print was just too perfect to pass up.

And now I must get back to my vintage reproductions – they are feeling very neglected.

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1940s | Skirts

Time to Re-Think that Stash of Dress Patterns!

By on March 25, 2012

In keeping with my resolution to make more separates for myself this year, here is one of my recent projects.

The pattern is a 1945 reproduction from Eva Dress.  The original pattern is for a fantastic dress, which I have made twice!   It turns out, this dress makes a lovely little skirt (at least I think so).

Time to re-think all of those dress patterns – they really make excellent skirts!  Just add a waistband and you are ready to go!

More pictures and information about the altered construction of my new skirt may be found over at Lilacs & Lace.

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1960s | Dresses

Shocking Pink!

By on March 13, 2012

As Mad Men fever is sweeping the country, so many people are going 1960s crazy, myself included.

I have plenty of patterns to work with, but for some reason this newly purchased Simplicity pattern was calling my name.  I cannot find an actual date on the pattern, but it seems to be a late 1950s or early 1960s style.  Does anyone know exactly when this was first published?  It was a factory-folded beauty – this vintage pattern is in the best condition I have ever come across; someone obviously took wonderful care of her.

When the pink silk/wool blend showed up at my door a couple of years ago, I was convinced that I would never use the fabric.  However, my new pattern needed a fabric with some body, so I pulled it out.  Sometimes things are just meant to be!

I have been in the habit of adding a strip of silk organza to my zipper openings as of late, and it really stabilizes the fabric for sewing.  I would highly recommend the technique.

Normally, I make self-fabric belts for all of my vintage dress reproductions, however, I thought that would be a little too much pink.  I found the black beaded belt at a local thrift store last year and it works perfectly!

More pictures may be found over on my blog, Lilacs & Lace.

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