Thursday, December 31, 2009

My 2010 Accessories Calendar

One of my favorite sewing books (ok, my only sewing book) "The Complete Book of Sewing" by Constance Talbot published in 1943 has a great chapter on "Accessories and Gifts". In it they have a seasonal calendar for accessories....

"The dates for seasonal changes differ in different climates and localities; but the check list which follows is general and can be adapted to your wardrobe and the climate in which you live. The recommendations in the list are by no means definite rulings; they are simply suggestions designed to stimulate thought so that you can make your own plan according to your particular needs".

And boy, did it stimulate some plotting and planning on my part. Here's the calendar they have:

So after much thought and planning, I've decided on my own accessories calendar for 2010. Some of the ideas I have borrowed from their calendar and others I've been wanting to do for some time or have seen done elsewhere.

Here it is:
January: Embroider initials onto a blouse and make a matching bow for your hair.

February: With a warm suit, carry a tweed bag and line one side of your hat with matching tweed (Ms. October in the calendar)

March: Make a dress and gloves to match a printed umbrella

April: Face or line a dark bolero with a bright print and wear a matching print hat (Ms. June)

May: Make a spring inspired skirt and line cardigan sweater with matching material.

June: Wear blouses with frilly ruffles, wear snow white gloves and make matching belts (Ms. May)

July: Make a print summer dress and cover shoes/sandals with a fabric to match (made much easier by a recent tutorial from WhipStitch Sewing)

August: Make a new turban and dress or blouse. Wear gloves in the predominating color of the print (Ms. February)

September: Make a matching apron for an already existing dress

October: Plan a basic dress. Add a detachable collar of black sequins; carry long net sequin sprinkled gloves. These and a sequin belt can be folded in your purse. At the end of the day, with these additions you are ready for dining and dancing (Ms. November)

November: Add a tie-on peplum of rich lame or lustrous satin to your basic dress. Make gloves to match and wear them alternately with your net gloves. With such interchangeable accessories, you can always be well dressed with a minimum of expense and time (Ms. December)

December: Wear a brilliant colored velveteen hat with bag and gloves to match and a dark sheer or wool crepe dress (Ms. August)

This should be fun! Have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

1940's Blouse Finished!

The 1940's blouse I have been working on this month is finished!  I used my DuBarry 5327 Pattern from 1942.

I chose to view 2A in a nice flower pattern with fabric I had picked up at a JoAnn's fabric store on the Oregon Coast.

Despite being an unprinted pattern, I found all the directions and actual construction to be fairly easy.  This was a lot of 'firsts' for me: first unprinted pattern, first pleats, first gathers, first buttonholes, first covered buttons, first hem, and my first set-in sleeves.  I definitely plan on using this pattern again and again!

The sleeves have these great little pleats on them:

There are pleats at the bottom front and back which makes it super easy to tuck this blouse into pants or a skirt.  The pleats on the back also give a bit of a pouffy look to the back which I think is great:

 And I covered the buttons in the front with the same fabric:

Ah, I love it!!  Now I feel inspired to make a 1940's skirt in a matching color (purple??)


Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Very Merry Christmas Indeed!

Lo and behold, under the Christmas tree was all of the patterns I had been longing for!  My sweetie really outdid himself with the presents and I am super excited to start sewing them all!

He got me this lovely blouse that I really wanted (remember I said I had a thing about ruffled collars?).  I am going to try sewing all 4 versions!

Then I got this fantastic looking suit from the 1950's.  Isn't the silhouette great?


And this amazing suit from the 1930's....

The jacket pockets have inverted pleats on them and there is an inverted pleat on the bottom of the skirt as well (love the details!):

But by far the best piece (and I know how hard David must have worked to get this one) is this pyjamas pattern from the 1930's.  I absolutely love the lines, the low back and the ties.  I am planning on making this up as pyjamas but also as an everyday outfit:

This is a close-up of the back:

Yipppeeee!  Can't wait to get some great fabrics for these patterns and to start sewing them!!!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I'm wishing you all a very happy Christmas and wonderful New Year!



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Best of 2009: Start-Up

December 22 Startup. What's a business that you found this year that you love? Who thought it up? What makes it special?

I love vintage patterns and some of the most inspiring start-ups for me has been reproduction vintage patterns.  I love browsing through the patterns at EvaDress, Vintage Pattern Lending Library, and the more recent find: Colette Patterns.  But the repro pattern start-up that most inspires me is Wearing History's reproduction patterns.  The patterns are mostly from the 1930's and 1940's and they are beautiful!

Wearing History's most recent patterns include the Romance in Paris blouse:
The Manhattan Melodrama (can't wait until this comes out in my size--I know, I could resize it but I would be afraid of messing up all the details!):

 And another one of my favorites, the Rise and Shine Hostess Pajamas (I have a thing for ruffled collars at the moment):


Monday, December 21, 2009

Best of 2009: Project

December 21 Project. What did you start this year that you're proud of?

Well, I can say without a doubt that starting to sew again is something I am very proud of and something that I love.  As far as one single project that I'm most proud of, I would have to say my 1950's dress that I finished with the detachable collar and cuff that I blogged about in November.  Here's another picture of me in the dress with a new belt I just got for it (the shades of yellow are hard to match!):


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Best of 2009: Book and Blog Find of the Year

I came across Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 Blog Challenge and decided to give it a go.  Each day there are prompts to reflect back on some of the best parts of the past year.  Thanks to Mandi at No Apathy Allowed for inspiring me to do this. Like Mandi, my favorite part of this challenge is that you are free to only choose the prompts that really inspire you and since only some of them are relevant to sewing or vintage fashion--that's good!

December 4th: Favorite book of the year.

One of my favorite books to come across this year is a book my Dad bought for me from Powell's bookstore in Portland, OR called "Forties Fashion from Siren Suits to the New Look" by Jonathan Walford.

It's a great history of forties fashion and includes tons of interesting facts and pictures!   It follows fashion through the war period with chapters such as "Kangaroo Pockets and Siren Suits: dress, patriotism, and propoganda in the first year of the war" to another chapter on "Zoots and Zazous: Anti-fashion in the time of crisis" to "Occupation Couturre: Paris ignores the war" to "New Looks: Rebuilding fashion in the post-war world".  It's a must read and includes lots of great pictures!

This is a blouse made from a military surplus silk map.  "Often called 'escape maps', these were made for airmen in case they were shot down over enemy territory. Silk was warm, durable, resisted creasing, and could be concealed under clothing.  Pectin added to the ink kept the dyes from running or washing out when immersed in water, even sea water.  After the war the maps were applied to various uses, including blouses and headscarves."

December 7th: That gem of a blog you can't believe you didn't know about until this year. 

There was definitely one blog find that started it all.  Sew Retro is a community blog where anyone can post their vintage sewing projects.  It is very inspirational and great to see all the talented sewers!  It has also lead to me finding some of my other favorite blogs such as: Ancien-Nouveau, Veronica Darling's Crafty AdventuresWearing History, and Whipstitch Sewing just to name a few.  Check out the links to all my favorite blogs on the left.

I just recently followed a 1940's hair tutorial from another one of my favorite blog finds of the year: Casey's Elegant Musings.  I really like the way my hair came out.  Just goes to show you can do a vintage hairstyle with even really long hair (mine is near my waist!):


View the original hair tutorial that inspired this look.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This Week's Fashion Inspiration

One of the books I have been pouring over recently is 'The Complete Book of Sewing: Dressmaking and Sewing for the Home Made Easy' by Constance Talbot published in 1943.  It's a wonderful sewing book and one of my favorite chapters is called 'Restyling--Remodeling--Remaking'.  There are so many good hints for using already existing material (either in dresses that are old or curtains, etc.) and remaking them into new clothes:


Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Snowing!!

It's snowing! Turning our sleepy village town in Scotland into a winter wonderland:


Maybe we will have a white Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Progress on the 1940's blouse

I finally found a good chunk of time today to work on the 1940's blouse.  I really like the pattern (DuBarry 5327):

I did the front and back gathers (first time doing gathers--very easy) and basted everything together (except for the sleeves).  Check out the back:

It's poofing a little because I am holding it in the front and it's sitting over my pants (it's the kind you tuck into a nice pencil skirt).  And here is the front:

I still have to do the neck facing and collar.....but I am loving how it fits!

Here's a close up photo of the back gathers:

Next up is to do the collar and neck facing and to try out buttonholes!!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

This Week's Fashion Inspiration

My sweetie and I watched the Thin Man last night...ah, what a movie.  I absolutely adore the characters 'Nick' and 'Nora'.  Filmed in 1934, it has some amazing fashions.  This is definitely one of our favorite movies!  Check out Myrna Loy's coat below.....

And her evening dress..... (which has a low cut back)...

I couldn't find a picture of my favorite outfit from the movie.  Here's a headshot....She's wearing a plaid hat with a velvet coat belted at the waist with a matching plaid skirt and bowtie.  I LOVE this outfit.  Anyone have a picture of this?

I can't wait to watch the rest of the movies in the series!


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This week's fashion inspiration

On Monday we celebrated St. Andrews Day--the national day in Scotland--by going to St. Andrews. All the museums were free that day, there were Scottish bagpipes, a street ceilidh and a torchlight procession down to the harbour. To start the festivities off, we visited the St. Andrews Museum that was having an exhibit on vintage clothing. Hooray!

Turns out they are doing a massive archive of vintage clothing in Scotland. They had well-preserved dresses and suits from most decades but what really impressed me were the dresses from the late 1800's. Check out these dresses:

Someday I would love to make a walking dress from this time period. Any recommendations for good patterns?

Here's a short video of the street ceilidh to put you all in a dancing mood!!


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Changing my mind Part 2

Back when I was in NYC, I was very eager and cut out fabric for a bunch of different patterns.  Now that I have actually started sewing, I look at patterns differently.  For example, I cut out fabric to make the following skirt and matching bolero with a plain cotton purple halter top and matching cuffs on the bolero:

I've cut out some beautiful bright fabric for this:

But now that I am looking at the pattern again, I'm not so keen on it.  The skirt has way too many gathers at the top.  With this 'busy' fabric, it may be too much.  Plus, I don't really like how short the bolero is and the halter top looks a bit odd.  I am thinking of using the fabric for a similar, yet different outfit.  I am hoping I can salvage the already cut out material to make the skirt from this pattern (view 1 on the right):


With the bolero from this pattern:

And the high-collared top from this pattern (the top will be in a plain purple fabric):

So, I'm not sure if it will work....but I will let you know!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

From the Pattern Stash

I've managed to accumulate lots of great vintage patterns that I absolutely adore.  One of the most recent additions is this fabulous Hollywood 1521 pattern from the 1940's:

I can see making this in lots of different combinations!  I recently also got some vintage fabric for £2 that is a great diamond pattern that might look nice as the top from this pattern (and I could get some matching green fabric for the skirt and jacket):


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Changing my mind...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I was very excited to take today off of work--especially after all the travel I have been doing for work.  And I woke up today feeling sick....arrrrggghhh!  So annoying!  Well, I did manage to use part of the day on sewing related projects.

First, I am reassessing my next project.  After I relooked at the instructions for the 1930's silk teal dress I want to make, I recoiled in horror:

Wow, no step by step guidelines....they really did expect a certain level of existing knowledge related to dressmaking in the 1930's!!!  So, I unearthed another project for a blouse that says 'easily made'.  It is also an unprinted patttern but it is from the 1940's.  I want to make the one on the right, view 2A (still deciding if I want the pocket or not):


The directions are much more manageable:

I am making it from a lovely fabric I bought on the Oregon Coast about two years ago--I wish I had gotten more of it!

You can see I am just starting to mark the tucks that are on the bottom front of the blouse.  Since this is an unmarked pattern, there are only small circles cut out in the pattern that tell you where tucks, darts, seams, etc match up or should be put.  The first thing you have to do is mark all of those on the fabric.  My vintage dressmaking book shows how to make tailor's tacks:

That leaves little pieces of thread in the spots that are to be marked for tucks or darts.  You can see the little pieces of thread in the fabric I am using:

I'll see how much I can get done on this today--I have a feeling I will be mostly marking and basting (appropriately on Thanksgiving!!).  Basting is running a seam that has really long stitches first so you can see how it looks and adjust without having to rip out really tight seams.  When you are happy with seam, then you can do the proper tighter seam and just take out the basting.  I just love the term :-)
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