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.


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 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!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Vintage Sewing Pattern Goodies!

Happy November everyone!  One of my favourite vintage sewing pattern websites, RetroMonkeys, is offering all my readers a 25% off code good until the 10th of November!  Just enter code: SEWHAPPY at check-out.  Woot! Woot!

Mary Beth from RetroMonkeys even just listed this 1940 McCall beauty:

I already have this one in my pattern stash, so I just might let someone else have this one!  :-)

I also came across some fantastic vintage pattern posts today...
Ok, off to RetroMonkey's Etsy store for some vintage pattern shopping...25% off codes (code is: SEWHAPPY) don't come along too often!

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