Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dress #29 -- Hollywood 1391 (1937)

St. Anne really gave me her blessing with this one!

And for fun, a birdie in the sky!!!

My, oh, my did I love this pattern! Someone put it up for sale on a FB group and I was at the right place and the right time. I snatched this baby up as soon as it was posted! The envelope art is good enough, but I seriously think my rendition is better!

The skirt was easy enough to make -- it's 10 gores, which gives it that flouncey bottom! The bodice was a little bit of a challenge for me. The basic pieces went together nicely, and so did the sleeves, but I had some issues with the collar and front zipper. The collared version is supposed to button up the front, but I liked the zipper better. Putting in the zipper was no biggie -- I just ended up having to remove it and re-sew it more than once!

This is why: the collar gave me some issues. There is no neck facing in these 30s patterns. They have to do a lapped collar instead. While I can easily do that, I just don't like it that much. It also left a bit of raw edge between the collar and the zipper and it didn't look good. This dress was too perfect to just make it "passable" so I tore the collar off and made a facing for it. Aaaah! It sat much better and looked so perfect! But then the zipper sat up too high...lol. All this and I managed to finish it from Friday to Monday. It was my baby and I became addicted to getting her just perfect!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dress #28 -- Simplicity 1253 (1944)

Hey! It took me a little while, but I made this 1944 Simplicity dress:


The bodice went together well with the princess seams and all. Then I sewed the skirt pieces together and gathered them entirely sewn together! The instructions called for it so I did it! It wasn't difficult, just annoying. This time I used TWO gathering stitches instead of one. I still need to work on it a bit, but it does look less "twisty." The points on the skirt/bodice seam gave me a little bit of trouble, and they are not even, but I added the little bows to cover them up!

The animal print on the sleeve band was my own addition. I thought something needed to set the neckline off. The neckline was the hardest part. Not so much the front, but the back where it overlaps the button facings. I had to make some stuff up at that point, but my hair hides it! To top the dress off, I decided on 13 small, dark green buttons. I like the complimentary color scheme and I think a long row of small buttons is more eye-catching!

Another thing I realized with this dress is that I fit size 18 in 1940s Simplicity patterns perfectly. No alterations. I made a size 20 Simplicity pattern from 1945 and it was way ginormous.

Friday, September 19, 2014

My Outfit From 1997

The 1990s. I graduated high school in 1993. I guess most of the 90s would be my "coming of age" decade. During the 90s I was painfully aware of everything being "90s" -- clothes, music, movies, TV, slang, etc. And as a result, I saved some of my 90s clothes because I knew one day they would be sought-after. One of my favorite outfits is this number I bought in 1997. I took very good care of it because I knew it was "90s as fuck" even then. Unfortunately, it does not fit me as well as it did in 1997, but here she is on my dress form. Let's have a look:

Isn't she adorable? I loved the bright, clashing orange and yellow paired with the 100% polyester fabric. It was definitely a 90s-does-70s look and I had to have it! I remember where I bought this -- Park City Mall in Lancaster, PA.

It's a cute two-piece with a cute little mini-skirt. The pockets are all fully functional. One day I wore this skirt with darker underwear and someone told me they could see through it....oops! So, the material is a bit see-through. I'd have to wear a Spanx under it if it still fit me -- just to hide my undies!

Design detail.

Care label.

"26 Red Sugar" was the brand. Not sure if they are still around, but I seem to recall seeing their items mainly in skating/surfing shops that were rampant in the 90s. I know I had other clothing items by this company, but this one was my favorite!

Ooooh, I found an overlock chain!!!

Overall, the dress is pretty nicely made. It's fully surged, The facings are neat, stitches are straight. The skirt has an invisible zipper in the back and the bottom is not sewn in (a pet peeve of mine!) The material used is a nice polyester that is wrinkle-free and snag-free. If it fit I would probably wear this! I'm pretty sure my body shape has changed a bit since I was 22 years old so this may never fit me again. But maybe it can be my retirement fund when 90s fashion is "all the rage" in 2034. LOL.

I found this picture of me wearing this from 1998! Soooo 90s!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Dress #27 -- Hollywood 1322 (1937)

Hola! So happy with this dress! After my last failed 30s dress, this one is always a pleasure to make (my third version!) I made it in two days, everything goes together perfectly, and it fits perfectly! You can see my second version at the end of this old post! But here is the September 2014 version:

I swear I ironed it...lol. But....I don't care about such things as made evident in my last post ;) I can't rave enough about this pattern! I'm pretty sure it's my favorite in my entire stash. This time, I decided to do the neck inset and it came out marvelously! The back upper neck has a slash and a button:

According to the directions, you can either face the entire neckline OR you can put in the inset and put bias around the slash. Well, I managed to FACE the back!! I thought the bias looked weak and unclean. I caught the back of the inset into the facing and it came out perfectly. I tacked the rest of it down into the shoulder seam. The button I used is totally wrong, but I didn't have a white one in my stash. One day I might fix it. If not, my hair will cover it!

So that's my "Satisfying Sewing" project. I think whenever I make a boring dud I should make this directly after to get my sewing swing back in gear. The last dress I made kinda took it out of me. Bleh. And just for fun, here is a little peak into my closet:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

"Vintage Lifestyle" Things I Don't Do

Hey! Today I'm just going to compile a short list of "vintage" things I don't really do or like. I know "vintage" can get a bad rap because people can be too purist and snobby about it, but not this gal! Nope. Here's why:

I'm inspired more by "regular" people than by Hollywood glamour.

I do love me some Hollywood glamour, but when I look at candid photos of your average, everyday woman from the 1930s I get more inspired. More often than not she will be wearing an ill-fitting cotton dress (possibly a hand-me-down), socks that don't seem to "go" with her dress, and sensible shoes with small heels. Her hair will probably be frizzy or windblown. She won't have an "ideal" figure and she'll totally bust the myth that all women in the "Golden Era" were tiny. Her posture will be less than perfect, too. I love these Depression-era Janes more than the Harlows and Crawfords. Examples:

Looking at and collecting photos of "everyday" people has allowed me to not be so fussy if my hair doesn't want to curl right or if my skirt gets a wrinkle in it. I'm secure in the fact that women in 1939 didn't have perfect hair and often wore second-hand clothing that did not fit them properly!

I don't swing dance.

Yep, I can't do any of the old dances -- only my special versions of them, lol. I prefer Madonna Dancing at 80s night. Modern swing dancing, dare I say it, is cheesy (ducks tomatoes!) LOL -- but I don't look down on anyone who does it! If you love it that's all that matters! I can only respect it fully when it's done fast and properly -- not by awkward white people in a church basement (wink!)

I don't wear real vintage.

...beacuse I prefer to make my own. Again, nothing against those who wear real vintage head to toe or those who like repro. I just love to sew all kinds of dresses from the 1910s to now. Sewing is so therapeutic for me and helps control my anxiety. I also like the fact that the garment is new, sturdy, and can take a bit of a drunken beating when I wear it out ;) If I wore real vintage out I think I would be uptight all night. I also like that I can make it look exactly as I choose -- no limited options. And this ties in with the next one...

I don't do the vintage look 24/7.

Yup. I used to. When I first learned to sew I wore it to work, the grocery store, everywhere, lol. Now, I realize there is a time and place for it. I always have a "vintage-y" flair to me -- it's just such a huge part of my life that people comment on my "old-fashioned" look even when I am in t-shirt and jeans. It comes from within me, I guess, and an all-out "look" isn't necessary. Again, don't care if you like to go pump gas and stop at CVS in your 1938 ball gown, but I'll save mine for when the appropriate occasion calls. After looking at "normal" women (above) they liked comfort, too, when they had nothing special to do.

I have quite a few tattoos!

This one gets me from time to time! People have actually said that "no respectable girl" in the old days got tattoos. Well, no shit, sherlock. Let me just say I don't give a shit about historical vintage accuracy, I realize it's 2014, I love my ink and want more, and I never said I was a respectable girl! ;) Actually, all my ink is 1920s and 1930s based. I think most "purists" would dig the actual art.

Being a "Proper Lady" isn't what I'm about.

People who love vintage often get stereotyped as "good two shoes." LOLOLOL. Not me. I can drink and curse like the best of them in my "ladylike" 1940s skirt and sweater set! If you like being ladylike, wonderful. I like being stupid!

I like the whole 20th century.

Even the 1990s! I have my favorite era of course -- the time between the two World Wars. A lot of "Golden Era" fans stop there. Others are hardcore into post-War stuff into the early 1960s. You'll hear lots of "vintage" people claiming the 1960s "ruined fashion." There's lots of dissing the 1970s and 1980s! Not me! I LOVE the later 1960s. And the 1970s were more than orange and brown polyester and disco. There were lots of interesting lines in the early 1970s that were very 1930s-influenced. Just look at these passable 1970s patterns I have:

So, I fully admit to loving stuff past the early 1960s. I admit to loving 1970s fashion. My least favorite era of the 20th century is probably post-War. Late 40s to the early 60s.

I have NEVER EVER said I was "born in the wrong era."

This saying makes me cringe a little. I don't think very many people today could hack it -- with all of our modern privileges. I like modern menstrual science, I like birth control, I like not fearing catching polio of TB when I go out, I like anti-anxiety meds, I like modern underwear, I like modern music, I like modern labor laws, I like civil/women's/gay rights, etc. Now, I'm not painting the past as all bad -- this is just the way it was back then, which can look "bad" through modern eyes (except the labor laws and civil rights things -- BAD.) But if I had to choose between a belted bulky pad and a cup you put up there for 12 hours, I'll go with "B." I like that we can be out of the closet now. Just think of all the unhappy people from the past who weren't allowed to love whom they wanted because of stupid social conventions. And YEAY GOD for anti-anxiety meds! If only these were available to Clara Bow her life may have turned out completely differently. People have said to me "I bet you feel you were born in the wrong era, don't you?" I hate it. I have to say "No. I like 2014." The saying is just so awful to me I can't even lie for the sake of small-talk!

And that is it. What "vintage lifestyle" stereotypes do you smash?

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dress #26 -- New York Pattern Co. "Hollywood" Pattern 4141 (ca. 1935)

Hiya! It took me a while to finish this one. I got bored toward the end and it is not a successful project:

I knew it was going to be trouble when I noticed all the gathering. I HATE gathers!!! Maybe I just don't know how to do them, but they always look twisted and sloppy when I do them. I do not like the cuffs on this dress. They are GATHERED down around the wrist, which makes the sleeves hang awkwardly. And for some reason, the one pleat won't hang correctly.

The seam allowances on this dress were weird, too: one inch around the edges, 5/8 everywhere else. Never saw that before. As a result, the zipper pokes the side seam out a bit. It won't lay flat no matter how much I iron it down!

This is the second 1930s pattern I've made from New York Patterns and I have to say I didn't like either of them. Had problems with both of them laying right. Both looked sloppy. I think from now on I'll stick to easy patterns, like REAL Hollywood patterns. They always turn out perfectly :)

Dress #5 -- Simplicity 8485 (1969)