Friday, January 3, 2020

McCall 3601 'The Mulberry Hill Dress'


This may be my FAVOURITE 1940 McCall make of 2019. This pattern has turned into the perfect 1940s day dress!


Perhaps it's the fabric or maybe it's the autumnal/winter brown but with a splash of colour? Or maybe it's the tailored shirtwaist design?



I used McCall 3601, which has quite an interesting bodice design. There's these little pocket type things on a somewhat princess seam. The pattern also features a four panelled skirt and my favourite--pleated sleeve caps!!


The bodice shape is actually quite slimming. It fits really well but I probably could have done a minor  Full Bust Adjustments (FBA) to get rid of that horizontal crease on the bust line.  But I'm actually ok with it because you can't really tell it's there with the fabric print unless it's a close-up!


I was super excited to find this fabric as it reminded me so much of a very similar fabric I saw in one of my 1940 McCall's magazines! I was actually holding out to use the fabric with this exact pattern but I still haven't found that pattern and I really wanted to use the fabric!


I even had the most perfect buttons in my stash--I got these many years ago on a shopping trip with Mena from Make This Look to one of her favourite haunts!


My friend and stunning photographer, Darja Bilyk, took these photos at the Edinburgh Botanics Garden. All of nature seemed to match the colours of the dress! It was magical!


They had set up the park for a holidays light show in the evenings--so we conveniently used the Christmas props! Love it!


The fabric I used is a mid-weight dress cotton --which is nice for this time of the year and holds the lines of this more tailored dress well including the shirtwaist!


And I just love the pleated sleeve cap detail. One of my favourite fashion trends from the late 30s/early 40s! I actually like this sleeve detail much better than gathered sleeve caps (and it's much easier to sew too)!


My other lovely friend, Ariana, put my hair up into a nice 1940s set that lasted for days!



I'm wondering if I should make a matching belt for this dress or whether you think it's fine without? I opted for without as I don't know if it would show up--but maybe it would look nice? What do you think?


YAY for classic shirtwaist dresses. There's some blue in this fabric as well--so I think I can play with that and wear this year round, even in springtime!


I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and best wishes for a 2020 filled with sewing, vintage fashion or all the things you love!
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Thursday, December 26, 2019

The 1943 'Purple Star Gazing Dress'


This gorgeous fabric deserved to be made into a fabulous 1940s dress....


I made this dress using McCall 5384, a pattern from the year 1943.  It features an overlapped shoulder section onto gathers on the front bodice and a fairly straight silhouette with amazing pocket details:


I've made this dress twice before as I simply love the design.  The first time I made it in this synthetic linen (see the blog post here)--which is a great fabric for the dress.


I loved the pattern so much I made it a second time, again with a synthetic linen fabric. This time in my other favourite colour, teal (see the blog post here)!


Well, I've decided to make the dress pattern again, this time in a super luscious embroidered silk fabric that I got from Myanmar. This fabric is so divine and is one of many border prints--all in delicious bright and gorgeous colours that I got from Myanmar. I can't remember what state this is from but it's their traditional fabric.


The reason I chose McCall 5384 for this fabric was that I knew it would be perfect for a border print fabric such as this one--because the design of the dress is fairly simple. That way it allows the fabric to shine!


I really like the dress in a silk fabric.  One change I did do was to make the dress slightly longer in this version --not a lot but about 1.5 inches. I made the sleeves slightly longer too.


I knew I wanted the small star print on the bodice and the border print at the bottom of the dress. I didn't even think about the star placement but phew...it's ok. 1/4 inch lower and it might have been a bit pointed so to speak! lol.


We took these gorgeous photos (with my amazing friend and photographer Darja Balyik) in the small town of Culross in Scotland. There were these gorgeous orange and orange/yellow houses that were so perfect as a backdrop for the dress (and for also walking around and snooping around! lol)


The dress has a side zipper and a back placket with buttons. In previous versions, I was a bit lazy with the back placket and putting only one button or no button as in the pink version (gasp! hahaha). This time, because the silk is a bit less structured then the linen, I put three small buttons. Very proud of myself! haha.


Overall, super happy with the dress! I'm so glad the fabric really shines through! 


So I've now made this pattern for a spring dress (pink), summer dress (teal) and now this more autumnal dress (purple)...I'll have to think of a winter version in one of my other favourite colours (green? burgundy?) and finally do the 3/4 sleeve version and maybe in a lightweight wool? hmmm....what do you think?
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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The 1941 Orange and Black Colour-Blocked Dress


Making a full colour-blocked dress has been on my list of dream 1940s makes for quite some time.  So glad I made it a reality!


The whole concept came about when I bought these two-coloured black and orange frog closures on a recent trip to Myanmar (I also bought some grey and light pink ones).  And when I was planning this dress, there was still several months to Halloween and this just seemed like the perfect holiday dress!


I used McCall 4092, a pattern from 1941 as it was the best pattern in my stash that had some clear lines that I thought might work for colour-blocking.


The skirt has eight gores and I ended up doing these in blocks of two so that they create a bit of a peak at the top.



I decided that it would probably be more slimming to put the darker colour on the outside of the skirt and also on the bodice and then do the details and sleeves in the contrast orange:


I'm a bit torn about whether to leave the bodice pockets on or take them off OR just take one of them off. As you can see, they are a bit uneven to the centre, this was the result of using the frogs instead of standard buttons (and probably also of not measuring correctly!) Hmmm...what do you think? I think it could look quite sleek without them?  OR I could take the frogs off and put on orange or even black buttons.


I found an online vintage hat reproduction seller, the Little Shop of Gorgeousness and Fripperies, who makes two-tone turbans and I asked if she could make an orange and black one and she said yes!  So I actually had the hat made first and then once it arrived, I went fabric shopping so that I could match the orange in the hat. It's close but not perfect as the dress fabric is a little bit lighter but I think it works well!


I also recently got these 1940s reproduction shoes from Aris Allen.  I decided to buy some orange ribbon and replace the standard black shoelaces with the matching ribbon. Ooooohhhh...it makes me so happy! :). I want to do this for all my dresses! lol.


Overall, I am quite pleased with the outcome. One thing with the frog closures is that they aren't as secure as buttons. So I had to also use a snap at the top and what I didn't realise is that I should have put one at the bottom of the waist front too.  So if I slouch, the bottom bit gapes open. Which is why I have such perfect posture in these photos! hahaha. I've since fixed it so that I can actually wear this dress!


Yay!!! I'm definitely in love with colour-blocking and many thanks to the amazingly talented Darja Biliyk for these photos that we took in the wee town of Culross in Scotland that just so happened to have lots of fabulous orange buildings!

Here's a short video of me doing a lot of happy dancing! lol


I definitely want to make more colour-blocked dresses--perhaps in pink and grey next? What colour combos do you think would look good?


Also, what do you think I should do about the pockets and the closures?
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Thursday, December 12, 2019

McCall 3698: The Shrewsbury Dress


This is one of my favourite stylings of a me-made garment ever.

This is my new handmade dress. I made it from a fabulous striped material that was made by my friend's social enterprise – Weaving Destination which includes hand woven by women who have been rescued from trafficking and have developed co-operatives to make money by weaving fabrics.

I used this 1940 McCall pattern. I was very inspired by the stripes on the cover illustration. Now I kind of wished I would have sewn on the front pockets but at the time I thought they would be too much and I was struggling with having enough fabric (hence the short sleeve version).

The topper for this outfit is the FABULOUS hat that I got from The Little Shop of Gorgeousness and Fripperies. Wow, it's amazing how much this just completes the 1940s look! I LOVE it!
 

The colours of the dress are also my favourite -- burgundy shaded by a subtle pink colour. And I love the details of the dress including the gathers at the shoulders and the pleat at the bottom of the front of the skirt:

And I love how the dress matches my stockings from the What Katie Did and my vintage shoes.

It was so fun to make a short video of this outfit photoshoot with Sally Sparrow Photography--I just love it because I feel like I'm back in the 1940s with this outfit!!

I also got my hair done by one of my icon hairdressers-- Bethany Jane Davies who does vintage hairstyling in Manchester area and whose book on Vintage Hair Styles of the 1940s is my go-to guide.

So very excited about this outfit...it also makes me want to make complete looks (with hats, etc) for all my 1940s makes!!

What about you? Are you a fan of vintage hats with your vintage outfits?
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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Embroidered Seaweed: The 1960s Seaside Dress

This is the most fun sewing that I've had in a long time!

I just adore this fabric and dress pattern.  The pattern is Vogue 3767 from the 1960s and I made the version with the short sleeves but also really love the other two looks as well:

The fabric is an amazing embroidered silk that I got in Myanmar. I have to say some of my best border print fabrics have been purchased in Asia.  I just love this print and I placed some of the border print on the bodice of the dress.


One thing that I'm not used to is sewing the wider shoulder bodice of the 60s patterns...I'm so used to the narrow and built up shoulders of the 1940s. But I really like wearing this style.


We took these photos at the Scottish seaside and I wasn't anticipating how perfectly the dress colour would match the wind strewn seaweed--but somehow it works wonderfully in drawing out the colours of the dress.


I also had these shoes before I bought the fabric and I can't believe how well they go together!


It was such a windy Scottish day and the dress held up great--no Marilyn moments...hahaha.

I actually have some more border print fabrics--one in an amazing purple colour that I'm thinking of revisiting this pattern with--perhaps the sleeveless version with the bows at the shoulder?



I'm now also in love with this colour combination--green with coral. It's funny because this year I'm very much drawn to the colours I wear least (at least in the past)--so expect to see many more green and purple outfits! :)  What about you? Are you drawn to certain colours at the moment?

Photos: Darija Balyk
Shoes: Bait Footwear
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