Tuesday, December 31, 2013

McCall 3574 and McCall 741: A Scottish Christmas Dress and Hat

I hope you all had a lovely festive season!  I've been enjoying catching up on all my blog reading and seeing the fantastic round-up posts for the year.  I'll do my own round-up post tomorrow but wanted to sneak in a final me-made before the end of the year!  This is a double effort.  I made the dress (McCall 3574) and David made me the hat for Christmas from McCall 741 (how sweet!!)

This is truly the perfect 1940 Christmas outfit--and I'm so happy with the way it came together!  The dress is made out of the most beautiful lightweight wool fabric I got from the Cloth Shop, a local Edinburgh fabric store.  It's a wonderful weight to work with and it feels so soft.

McCall 3574 is your basic 1940 softly tailored shirtwaist dress.  It features a button down bodice attached with a lapped seam to a pleated skirt.  The pleats in the skirt also match up with three pleats in each side of the bodice front.  The back of the dress has two darts near the neckline. Other than that, the back is very plain and features a straight skirt which allows the tartan pattern to be mostly uninterrupted.

Matching the plaid pattern took a lot of forethought and planning during both the cutting and construction phases. I'm really happy with my plaid matching throughout the dress including at the bodice front placket, where the bodice and skirts match up and even at the hem!

The sleeves are my favourite kind--pleated at the sleeve cap!  David even made me the matching belt buckle and belt.  We made a soft belt with hair canvas as the main material.  The belt buckle is from a 1950s/60s buckle kit that I got from my most recent pattern swap partner.  I also had some perfect vintage buttons in my stash in the matching green.

I am over the moon about the Glengarry hat.  This Scottish style of hat was very popular in 1940!  Plus, no one here blinks an eye when they see it--they are still very commonly worn in Scotland, especially on festive occasions.  I just love it!!

The hat pattern comes in one very oddly shaped piece that you configure together.  David sewed the entire hat by hand!!  I am super impressed and it fits me perfectly.  It is attached onto hair canvas as well which gives it enough body to hold the shape but makes it soft and very comfortable to wear all day long.  I secure it with two bobby pins/kirby grips at the back.

The hat is trimmed with grosgrain ribbon and fastened into a bow in the back.  The pattern also comes with instructions on how to make other hat trimming such as a cockade.

It's a great pattern and I plan to make many more hats from it.  I'm already envisioning a new hat for each of my 1940 makes!

YAY!  A happy Scottish tartan dress.  I know I will get lots of wear out of this one.

Hope you all have a lovely New Year's Eve and I'm looking forward to sharing our sewing adventures in 2014!


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Short Blogging Break

I'm taking a short blogging break over the next two weeks for the holidays!  I hope everyone has a lovely holiday season and I will be back later this month with more vintage sewing projects and goodies!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Great British Sewing Bee Christmas Special

You've probably heard that the Great British Sewing Bee is running a Christmas Special?  More details and some clips are on the BBC Website.

I can't wait!  Makes me crave a new season even more.  Does anyone know when season 2 will air?  I'm assuming spring??

Monday, December 2, 2013

McCall 9777: THE Awards Gown

On Thursday evening, I had the chance to attend the Times Higher Education (THE) Awards Ceremony in London.  It was a swanky, black-tie event and I just barely managed to finish this gown in time!

You may remember, when I first heard that I would be going to the awards ceremony, I held a poll on my blog for which gown I should make.  I had wanted to make a gown from one of my 1940 McCall patterns.  I ended up getting busy at work and waited too long to begin sewing the gown.  When I pulled out the 1940 McCall gown pattern, I realised it would take an astonishing 6 metres of fabric!  Eeps! I knew it would be too much to spend for a gown, since most of the nice dress fabrics are quite expensive here.  Then I remembered about this beautiful blue taffeta fabric I had in my stash that I had bought a couple of years ago from Croft Mill.  I had nearly 4 metres in total and knew it would be perfect for the event.  The question was, which pattern should I sew to go with it?

I went through all my patterns looking for something that would fit and would show off the fabric but also didn't require copious amounts of material.  Most of the patterns were for softer fabrics such as chiffon or crepe. Then I came across McCall 9777 from 1938 which I had picked up for steal on Ebay UK because of the damaged envelope:

At first it's easy to get lost in this gown pattern because there is a lot going on--ruffled dickey, fabulous belt, busy printed fabric…but if you look at the line drawings, you see a very chic halter dress gown.  And I knew it was a match made in heaven!

I made several changes to the original pattern:  The original pattern has a seam down the front which is partially covered by the ruffled dickey.  I decided that I would go sans dickey and instead sew the bodice front on the fold and eliminate the centre front seam altogether.   I also didn't opt to make the belt.

I tried my best to make the intricate embroidered flower detail of the fabric match up while cutting out the material. This was made all the more difficult in that both the skirt pieces are cut on the bias.  I was able to match up part of the design down the centre front and centre back but less so on the side seams.  Because of the bias cut, it gives an unexpected shape to the embroidery-which I really like!

I made the matching short collarless bolero, which cleverly catches the front facing in the shoulder seam..giving the illusion of a collar!

The back of this dress is amazing!  I just love the low-cut scooped out back and how the little bolero completely covers it up.  To give a bit of stability, I interfaced and lined the entire bodice.

The dress closes with a side hand-picked zipper and the halter has two hook and eye closures.  I ended up being able to just barely get enough fabric for the full-length gown and matching bolero.

Oh, did I mention that I ended up sewing up this entire dress (bolero and all) the day before going down to London?  Yup, things have been a bit crazy busy around here lately…I can't believe I got it done in time.  A big thank you to David for helping me hem the dress and for sewing the hook and eye closure at some absurd hour in the morning!!

And the awards ceremony was AMAZING!  There was a reception, followed by a grand dinner, the awards ceremony and the event ended with dancing. phew!

The set-up was very grand…

Javita and I had a great time with the other women who attended the ceremony with us.  Unfortunately, our University didn't win in the category for which we were nominated…but the University did win in another category!  Which was fantastic.

The other exciting bit of the evening was that it was hosted by Sandi Toksvig, a comedian and BBC 4 presenter:

She even came and sat at our table before starting--I was star struck!  It was such a fabulous evening.

Hopefully I can revisit my 1940 gown patterns for a holiday or New Year's Eve dress!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Our first Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday...

Wow, can't believe it is the very first Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday for Weaving Destination!  We are super thankful for all of you and to show our appreciation, we are offering a 20% discount code to our Etsy Store from now until Thursday the 4th of December!!

We've got some fabulous cotton and silk scarves and our new range of lovely 100% organic cotton fabric!  All of these make fantastic holiday presents or a little something for yourself :-)


Friday, November 29, 2013

Massive Vintage Pattern Sales

Have you heard of the 'Black Tie Black Friday Blitz' by the Pattern Patter Team on Etsy?  It's a group of vintage sewing pattern sellers and boy, oh, boy…have they lined up some fantastic deals from now until Cyber Monday.

Now is definitely the time to buy some of those vintage patterns you have been eyeing on Etsy!! Check out the participating Etsy stores and their discount codes:

www.etsy.com/shop/AdeleBeeAnnPatterns BTBLITZ 
www.etsy.com/shop/beththebooklady NOV13BLITZ
www.etsy.com/shop/SerendipityUnlimited BFBLITZ 
www.etsy.com/shop/sydcam123 BFRIDAY13
www.etsy.com/shop/patternshop SALE
www.etsy.com/shop/SoVintageOnEtsy BLITZ15 
www.etsy.com/shop/PeoplePackages SALE
www.etsy.com/shop/midvalecottage BFBLITZ 
www.etsy.com/shop/sewbettyanddot BLACKFRIDAY13 
www.etsy.com/shop/VioletCrownEmporium BFBLITZ
www.etsy.com/shop/DesignRewindFashions BFBLITZ15
www.etsy.com/shop/RosesPatternTreasury BLITZ20
www.etsy.com/shop/VintageNeedleFinds VNBLITZ
www.etsy.com/shop/pinkpolkadotbutton SALE
www.etsy.com/shop/MantuaMakerPatterns CYBERSALE2013
www.etsy.com/shop/ViennasGrace GEORGEBAILEY
www.etsy.com/shop/GreyDogVintage SALE
www.etsy.com/shop/kinseysue SALE
www.etsy.com/shop/stitchingbynumbers BLITZ
www.etsy.com/shop/nancesnostalgia BFNN20
www.etsy.com/shop/Denisecraft FACEBOOK5PERCENTOFF
www.etsy.com/shop/RomasMaison SALE
www.etsy.com/shop/KeepsakesStudio SANTASHELPER
www.etsy.com/shop/Jantiki BLITZ
www.etsy.com/shop/mightymadgescloset BLITZEN
www.etsy.com/shop/Redcurlzs BLITZEN
www.etsy.com/shop/Fancywork 25PERCENT
www.etsy.com/shop/omasbricabrac BFBLITZ20
www.etsy.com/shop/BluetreeSewingStudio SALE
www.etsy.com/shop/sandritocat SALE
www.etsy.com/shop/JeaniesShop BLITZ
www.etsy.com/shop/EmSewCrazy HOLIDAYSEWING2013
www.etsy.com/shop/uneedapattern BLACKFRIDAY
www.etsy.com/shop/SewingPatternStore BFBLITZ

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shop my vintage pattern stash!!

I've done my quarterly listing in my Etsy shop of vintage patterns from my stash!  Last time I listed patterns they disappeared really quickly…so don't miss out on these gems (you will recognise some of them!!)

You may recognise this pattern, as I used it to make my 'Aviator Dress':

I've also sewn up this blouse…love it!!

I hope they go to good homes!!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Vintage Underpinnings: Brassieres

Today's post is all about vintage-inspired brassieres!  Each decade has had it's particular silhouette, and nothing completes a vintage outfit more than the right foundation wear.

As you all know, I love sewing vintage patterns and have sewn items spanning many different decades.  One thing I have noticed is that the patterns fit much better with the appropriate foundation wear, including brassieres.  Of course, you can make slight alterations on the pattern (I'm thinking specifically about bust darts here) to change the look of the garment to suit more modern foundation garments.  I know a lot of people do this, but for me one of the reasons I love sewing vintage patterns is specifically for the vintage silhouette it creates!!

The three decades I sew the most patterns from are the 1930s, 1940s and the 1950s.  

Perhaps the most iconic decade in terms of brassieres is the 1950s and the infamous bullet bra look:

What Katie Did Harlow Bullet Bra

I list some resources at the bottom of this post for sourcing or sewing up vintage-inspired brassieres, but the most popular source at least in the UK is 'What Katie Did'.  I have several of their pieces including the Harlow Bullet Bra pictured above.  It's amazing what a difference it makes to the look of a vintage piece.  As an example, here I am wearing my 1950s me-made shirtdress:

In the left photo I am wearing the Harlow bullet bra and in the right photo I am wearing a regular modern fit bra.  It's amazing how the silhouette changes.  I only really feel comfortable wearing the bullet bra under 1950s dresses and I'm not so comfortable wearing it under sweaters or tight-fitting garments.  It is quite a 'pointy' look.  It helps having a very busy print to distract from that aspect!  I have to say that I always wear my vintage-inspired lingerie underneath a camisole or slip.

I don't do the 1950s silhouette very often, but it's fun to wear a midcentury frock every now and then.  I do wear my 1940s dresses almost every day!!  The only option I know of for a vintage-inspired 1940s brassiere constructed using vintage techniques is the CC09 bra from What Katie Did.  I wear it underneath all my 1940s me-made outfits:

I have yet to sew my own foundation garments.  I've seen a lot of great sewalongs and projects from the online sewing community… and am curious to try.  Though, at the moment, my sewing queue is growing longer and longer.  So, it might be some time before I actually get to try it out!  In the meantime, here are some amazing resources I've collated from the sewing community on sourcing and sewing vintage-inspired brassieres:


What about you?  Have you sewn any vintage-inspired lingerie?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Vintage Underpinnings: Thermals

This week I thought it would be fun to have a little series called 'Vintage Underpinnings', because what goes on underneath the clothes is often as important as the clothes themselves for creating a vintage look!  I'm looking forward to exploring some different types of vintage underpinning garments and will try to link to sewing patterns and places to source different pieces.  I'm also looking forward to hearing about some of your favourite vintage-inspired foundational garments!

For this new series, I've been trying to find 1940s vintage underpinnings and in this case, thermals--for those cold days and nights!  And boy, it's getting cold in Scotland.  Pretty soon I'll be packing away the dresses (except for those that layer well and go with winter tights) and wearing my me-made trousers.  I love trousers…specifically Simplicity 3688 trousers (a reproduction pattern from 1941).  I've made them in navy, tweed, green and black (with more to come, hopefully!):

Awhile back Cargo Cult Craft (...we miss you Susannah!!) posted about thermal 'vests' that women wore under dresses:

And I've seen some vintage ads for what we would call long underwear or thermal leggings.  But I had yet to see anything that might work well under high-waisted 1940s trousers.  So when I was contacted by Marks and Spencer (the UK equivalent of a Macy's or Nordstrom's--but they ship internationally for free!) about styling lingerie with vintage fashions, I was bowled over when I saw these...

High-waisted thermals!!!  How cool!  So I decided to give them a try to see how they would work under my 1941 trousers:

The high-waisted bit is a 'tummy control' panel that comes up quite high (just under the bra for me).  It's not too tight at all around the stomach--so I'm not sure how much 'tummy control' there actually is…Though, I did find it a bit difficult in the beginning getting them over my *ahem* thighs and bum. lol.  But once on, I found the thermals to be quite comfortable and I liked having the extra support!

Whoever thought of these--is brilliant! Thank you--now I can wear thermals with my high-waisted trousers, which is good since the green and tweed pairs of trousers I made are of lightweight wool. Definitely not warm enough to keep out the Scottish wind without some sort of thermals underneath.

On a side note, isn't this sweater set cute?  I got it a local vintage fair and I've been wearing it a lot because the white embroidered paisley designs remind me of winter snowflakes!!

Thanks to the Marks and Spencer team for letting me try these out!

Have you seen any other high-waisted thermals?  What about vintage-inspired thermals?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Scotland Sundays: Dean Village

This past weekend, David and I revisited one of our favourite places in Edinburgh, Dean Village.  Dean Village is a quite, tucked-away neighbourhood right in Central Edinburgh.  

You take an unassuming (and steep!) street down into Dean Village and a beautiful, picturesque place unfolds before your eyes...

The area used to be a grain milling community for about 800 years and there is still evidence of water mills and old mill buildings.

On this particular outing, I wore my 'Hiatus' dress, sewn using a McCall pattern (3939) from 1940:

The Water of Leith runs right through Dean Village, providing some very picturesque views looking out from the pedestrian bridge:

And of course, Autumn is a beautiful time with all the leaves changing colours.  There are more yellow tones in all the trees and they are rapidly losing their leaves.  We've had some surprisingly sunny days, which often fool me into thinking it's getting warmer.  However, when the sun goes down (at 4:14pm already!!!), it gets properly cold!

Soon it will be too cold to wear dresses without winter tights!

There is something so beautiful about autumn, don't you think?  I hate the impending cold weather and wish it could stay autumn for all the winter months too!!  I'm curious, how is your autumn or spring so far?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Simplicity 8493: Morticia Addams

What's creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky and all together ooky?  My halloween costume!!  I took my inspiration this year from the glorious Carolyn Jones who played Morticia Addams in the 1960s television show:

photo source

I delved through my pattern stash and came up with Simplicity 8493 as a potential match for the dress:

I made the floor length version with long sleeves.  The pattern has a nice v-neck and fitted bodice that I thought would work well for the costume.  I sewed up the pattern as it was with the exception of adding about 6 inches to the length.  After sewing, I then had David pin the dress to make the 'hobble skirt' effect (i.e. tight to the knees and then a bit flared).  I then sewed out the excess and had to mimic Morticia's walk! too funny!

With the excess floor length, David also cut strips of the fabric and then I sewed them right sides together. I then turned the tubes of fabric inside out to create the tentacles at the bottom of Morticia's dress.

The fabric I chose is a polyester/viscose blend and has quite a bit of stretch.  This allowed me to sew the sleeves fairly tight.  I created a v-shape at the wrist and then just folded the hem under.  I also attached chiffon to the underarm and then tacked it to the middle of the dress--so that it only showed if I moved my arms.

I was literally sewing this right up to the last minute before our Halloween party.

Their house is a museum 
Where people come to see 'em 
They really are a scream 
The Addams Family. 

So get a witches shawl on 
A broomstick you can crawl on 
We're gonna pay a call on 
The Addams Family.

Of course, David dressed up as Gomez Addams with the perfect pinstriped suit and he had me in stitches with his portrayal of Gomez...so much fun:

It's been awhile since I've dressed up for Halloween and I had a blast creating this dress.  I'm already plotting and planning for next year!!

What about you? Did you dress up? Did you sew your own costume?

Update: I entered my costume in the Mandors Fabric store competition (my local fabric store).  The winner gets £50 worth of fabric.  Can I ask a big favour?  Will you vote for me?  You can vote on facebook here by just liking my photo.  I would use the winnings to get the fabric for my 1940 gown project!!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
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