1930s | 1940s | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

A Skirt Suited to Adventure

By on November 5, 2015


Hello again! I have been trying this year to add new neutrals to my wardrobe after years devoted to basic black. In that effort I decided I needed a light brown skirt for this fall! I wanted something a little different from the usual pencil skirt shape I always make so I added a circular flare to the side seam of one side. In theory this was easy enough to do, but for the first go I just didn’t add enough flare and the skirt hung sort of odd. To fix this I added a larger triangular shaped godet into the flared seam for more fullness. It drapes much better now but I probably should have weighted down the hem (sewn a small chain into the hem tape) for it to hang even better. I used a bias tape facing to finish the hem, in a lightweight shantung silk that is my new favorite fabric for hem facings! It just does the job so well, the only problem is that it is expensive stuff, luckily one yard is enough to do several hems!




I am really happy with how the skirt turned out in the end and plan on making a little bolero to match for a sort of suit.  I think the skirt looks sort of late 30’s/early 40’s and I can’t wait to style it for the colder weather with even more vintage looking accessories. For more photos of this skirt, visit me at theclosethistorian.blogspot.com/





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1940s | 1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Brocade Butterflies Dress

By on September 22, 2015


Hello everybody! I have another dress today, this time it’s a retro 40’s/50’s inspired wiggle dress in a beautiful poly brocade!



I had this butterfly and floral patterned brocade in my fabric stash for years, and it was high time I finally put it to use! I needed a dress to wear for an evening wedding and decided a classic wiggle dress would be perfect in this fabric. I used the same bodice pattern I used for my last dress I showed you all a few weeks ago, only adjusting the neckline into a sweetheart shape. I really like these little kimono sleeves as I like having my shoulders and upper arms covered if I can. I think the main thing I have learned about sewing with poly brocades like this one over the years is to finish the raw edges by sergeing or using a zig-zag stitch over them. I am super happy with how this dress came out as it will be so useful to have for nice dinners out and other evening events! You can see more photos over on my blog The Closet Historian!



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1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

A 1950’s Late Summer Dress

By on August 29, 2015

Hello again! I’m back with another me made dress, and this time instead of the 1930’s, I have jumped to the 1950’s!


I have made many summer dresses over the years, but I tend to always stick with a wiggle/pencil skirt shape. I wanted to branch out this summer and add a few full skirted dresses to my wardrobe! To make this dress I used a basic kimono sleeved bodice pattern and a full circle skirt. The dress is made from a lightweight cotton print from India (ordered from a now defunct shop on etsy) and is lined with off white cotton. I hemmed both the sleeves and the skirt hem with self bias tape I made from the same print fabric. I usually like to use bias tape folded over for an invisible hem on circle skirts but with the print being so busy on this dress I figured I could get away with just a bias tape hem. It feels a bit lazy to hem with bias tape, even though it takes some effort to make the tape itself!


Sadly I forgot to put on a belt with the dress before I took these photos, it looks even better with a thin black belt! I am excited to accessorize this dress with other colors in the future even if it looks good with basic black. I think red could be a fun pop against the neutral palette! I made one other dress this summer with this same exact pattern, only in a different tropical leaf and parrot print! You can see more of this dress and its tropical twin on my blog The Closet Historian.


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1930s | Vintage Sewing

A Rainbow 1930’s Wrap Dress

By on August 14, 2015


Hello everyone! I have been a Sew Retro reader for a long time now, and figured it was high time I started sharing my sewing projects with you all in return! My most recent make is this dotty rainbow colored 1930’s inspired wrap dress! I have included some vintage pattern illustrations below to give you an idea of what sort of shape and style I was aiming for. I have a standard short kimono sleeve mid-century bodice pattern that I drafted earlier this past spring that I modified to achieve this wrap dress pattern. I added a triangular shaped front drape (that blends in and becomes quite invisible!) to the front for a 30’s bias-ish detail.

30swrap1 30swrap2

I used my basic pencil skirt pattern for the skirt portion but I added a bit of flare emanating out from just below the knee for more of a 30’s feel. The edges, including the hem, are all bound in self fabric bias tape. I sorta cheated and sewed the tape on by machine instead of doing it nicely by hand. I can be a bit impatient sometimes (always) and occasionally (most of the time) succumb to some sewing shortcuts! This fabric is a polyester crepe in a really great (if a bit slippery!) weight. I found it on the bargain table of my favorite local fabric shop last spring and always knew I wanted to try and make something 30’s from it. I really like how the dress came out in the end!



Thanks for reading! For more photos of this dress and other vintage sewing projects, visit me at The Closet Historian! 

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