Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dress of the Century: 1930-1939

I am working on a real mid-1930s dress at the moment and it's time for the next installment of my series: the 1930s! Which also happens to be my favorite fashion decade! Enjoy:

1930

1931

1932

1933

1934

1935

1936

1937

1938

1939

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dress #25 -- McCall's 6993 (Archive Collection skirt)

Hey there! I made the skirt from McCall's 6993 "Archive Collection" pattern:

It turned out nicely once I overcame some of the poor drafting and silly instructions. Here's what I had to work with:

The Right Yoke piece is about an inch too short! I don't know if all of them are like this or if I just got a bum batch, but add an inch or so to the narrow end of piece #5. I had to sew mine on after the fact. This is the piece that is too short:

I also didn't really like the instructions for sewing on the yokes. Here's how they have you do it:

There's NO FLIPPING WAY I'm going to get nice clean points doing it that way! Lol. I actually did it this way at first and I just got a rounded, bunched-up mess. So I unpicked the entire thing, pressed under the yokes' seam allowances, and topstitched them on. The result was nice pointy points! I didn't line or interface mine, though, but if I did line it I would have hand sewn it on. The fabric I used was stiff enough to not need it.

The actual skirt when made up reminds me of a 30s/40s hybrid. It actually leans more toward 40s with the shorter length and the bell shape. The hem on mine is 5/8! That's it! So it's kind of too short to be "1933" (as the envelope proclaims!) If you want a classic, proper 1930s look, this pattern is not it! But -- I wore it out last night all done up 1940s-style and I got compliments on it. I like it. I'd make it again now that I know what to do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dress #24 -- Simplicity 7583 (1976)

Hey! St. Anne has come down and put her blessing on me because I actually made another dress! I made it from leftover fabric in my stash so the fabric choice may not be "era appropriate", but this one I really just made for fun:

I've never made a dress this late in the 1970s -- the collar/facing instructions were rather different from anything I've ever done. I was a bit confused at first, but once I realized what was going on it was simple as a pimple! The back shoulders has a yoke and there is some gathering above and below the yoke, but besides that this dress is essentially a muumuu that is sewn straight up the sides -- armholes and all:

There's no zipper or buttons -- it pulls on over your head very easily. Belting it pulls it in and gives it that "dirndl"-style gathered waist that was popular in the late 70s and early 80s:

I really didn't think I was going to like it and I really did just make it as a bit of a joke in that fabric and all....but I really like it! It's actually flattering, it fits perfectly, and it's incredibly comfortable! I might make it again in safari kakhi ;)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Fall Patterns For 2014

I have been seriously lacking in the sewing department lately. Like, I went to Jo-Ann's last week and couldn't even be bothered to search through the fabric! I've got plenty to make, just no motivation lately. I'm sure it will come back soon, though. In the meantime, here are some new vintage and vintage-y Fall 2014 patterns from the big 4:

Butterick 6108 (1912)

Butterick 6093 (1912)

I am quite happy about these two!! I will certainly be buying them and I will more than likely make the skirt for 6108! I'm not too crazy about the featured version for number 6093 -- all those lacey ruffles just remind me of a nightgown and they may be totally out of my sewing league! Luckily, there is a very cute short-sleeved, collared version that can be made and I adore it! I've been needing a 1910s dress in my wardrobe and this one may just be perfect:

Butterick 6093

Butterick 6094 (Gertie)

Butterick 6105 (Gertie)

Gertie has a couple new Fall patterns. I might pick up 6094. It reminds me of the dresses I used to buy at Bettie Page Clothing (now Tatyana Boutique). Being me, I'd rather make my own and save about $50 instead of overpaying for stretch polyester...(shade!). The jacket (6105) can be made in two lengths, short and mid-thigh. I'm not much interested in jackets so I won't be buying or making it.

That's it for Butterick's vintage-y goodness! Overall, very happy. The 1912 patterns and the Gertie circle dress are impressive and I just can't wait to sew myself 6093! Let's see what Simplicity has to offer:

Simplicity 1319 (1950s)

This is it! Once again, Simplicity disappoints! I have a TON of REALLY AWESOME vintage Simplicity patterns so I KNOW they can do better than this -- even going by old look books! It's like they don't even try anymore. Like, how many toddler "retro" patterns do we need? NONE, that's how many we need. Simplicity, dig out those 1940s look books and get researching because your retro line has been AWFUL lately.

And the latest offering from Vintage Vogue:

Vintage Vogue 8999 (1954)

Meh. Another overdone circle skirt. Seems to be mostly what VV does. I might pick this up in a sale -- not sure if I would make it. I really truly am sick of 1950s/circle skirts taking over the vintage repro pattern market. I guess they sell the best, but I find them to be all the same sans slight bodice differences. *sigh* I would love more 10s, 20s, and 60s!! Get on it pattern companies!!!

And as for the last big company, McCall, you can see my previous post about their much-anticipated "Archive Collection" for Fall 2014. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dress of the Century: 1920-1929

As worn by the everyday woman as illustrated in Sears catalogs:

1920:

1921:

1922:

1923:

1924:

1925:

1926:

1927:

1928:

1929:

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Ease Problem

I have only been sewing since 2008 and I am by no means advanced, or an expert, or anything like that. I'd say I'm low intermediate. I only really sew cute little frocks from common apparel fabric -- nothing too extravagant. That said, it took me all those years (and still learning) to figure out what fits me with zero alterations.

I am lucky -- my measurements are perfect stock sizes! 39-31-41. And I never got the hang of refitting. I can go one size up, but more than one size up and I make a mess! LOL. Going down a size I could never do right, but beginning to learn (just ONE size down, though!) Then there is the issue of EASE. I candidly put my measurements out there: 39-31-41. Through trial and error, I've found that these sizes for these eras and brands fit me perfectly:

Hollywood Patterns, late 30s/early 40s, Size 20:

Simplicity Patterns, late 30s/early 40s, Size 18:

Simplicity Patterns, late 60s/early 70s, Size 14:

All modern patterns, Size 14:

These just so happen to be my preferred eras to make, so this is why I have it all figured out. I don't have any original 1920s patterns. I have original and modern repro patterns spanning 1945-1965, but I just don't like that era of fashion very much so I have no clue what size I would wear in the vintage originals. Modern repro is always a size 14 so I usually make those if I get a hankering for a 1950s circle dress ;)

Vintage pattern from the 30s and early 40s are almost ALWAYS the size they say they are on the envelope. Hollywood patterns are pretty exact to my measurements whereas Simplicity has a bit of room to play -- not excessively like modern patterns, but just enough for a snug, nice fit (like I like!) I don't know when 4 inches of ease came in, but modern patterns have just that -- 4 inches of ease is usually the standard. My bust fluctuates between 39 and 40 inches depending on hormones and water weight and all that fun girl stuff.

This is a size chart on a brand new 2014 pattern. Going by this, I should be wearing a size 18 because I have a 40 inch bust. Nope. I have to cut and make a size 14. Here's why:

There will be three areas on the patterns with this little circle and a cross symbol. These are the finished garment measurements for the bust, waist, and hip. As you can see, even though it says size 18 is a 40" bust on the envelope, when the garment is all made up you end up with a 43.5 inch bust line. Look at size 14 -- 39.5 finished garment bust line. Perfect for me! Even though the envelope says size 14 is a 36" bust, it's really a 39.5" bust. Three and a half inches of ease is HUGE. This is why a lot of new sewers get disappointed that their finished garments are so big. I've been there! I had no idea there was a "Finished Garment" measurement on the actual pattern until recently! Most often, size 14 is a 39.5" bust, 31" waist, and 41" hips. Could be an inch bigger sometimes, but when I have shaping garments underneath a size 14 ALWAYS fits perfectly.

So, with this, I hope I've saved someone out there the agony of having your first sewing project turn out TOO BIG. And it will if you go by the measurements on the back of the envelope.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Dress #23 -- Simplicity 4019 (1942), 2014 & 2009 versions!

I'm on it! My next creation is from 1942:

Yea, that's me modeling it! Ha! This was a very simple-to-make WW2-era day dress pattern that went together fast -- much like almost every other pattern from this era. The most time consuming part was the pockets. You have to hand-fold them, iron them, make sure they are pinned on evenly...all that fun stuff. I also decided to make use of the fancy stitches on my machine:

You can also see a closeup of the fabric that is called "Butterfly Spice." It's made for Jo-Ann, but I couldn't find it anywhere online. I bought it in a physical store because it reminded me of a feedsack from that era. As for the construction -- everything fit together like a perfect puzzle and the size on the envelope is the SIZE IT IS (no 4 inches of ease!) And how do I know it's from 1942? I found this stamp on the back:

Simplicity 4019 was very easy to make. So easy, I didn't even really use the instructions. But I've had this pattern for a long time and I made this dress once before in 2009 -- my first year of sewing.

It looks ok from here, but I had used a zipper that was way too short, causing the front facing to stick out and the zipper being way too low (there's a safety pin in there!). I cut the skirt straight instead of on the bias like the pattern calls for -- and I always wondered why the skirt flopped inward and hung awkwardly. Heh! The inside facing is terrible! I had NO IDEA how to sew in facings at this time and I noticed I skipped them all together on a lot of my early creations. I either folded the raw edge over or used bias tape! The rest of the dress, pretty good. I love the fabric I used, too. Kinda gothy!

Here's one last look at the 2014 version on my dress form: