Tuesday, March 20, 2018

McCall 3893: The 'Film Noir Dress'

Oh! I am SO EXCITED for my most recent make.  One of my absolute favourite features of 1940 McCall patterns is the draping, shirring and gathers and this beauty is exceptional in all regards!

Meet McCall 3893--my new favourite pattern!  The photo above is from the Winter 1940 Singer Digest showing a model wearing the dress (photo from myvintagevogue.com).

And here is the original pattern:

I actually got this pattern early in my collecting days--but then had a blog giveaway for this pattern! Can you imagine? It was before I was super confident on drafting and the size 12 (bust 30) was a bit of a challenge.  Years later, as I really started to get into the 1940 McCall Project challenge, I realised what a treasure it was. Low and behold about 6 years after giving away the original pattern, I found it again online and in my size (size 16)! And boy did I snatch that pattern up quick! haha.  And I'm so glad I did!!

I made this up in a lovely deep teal colour viscose fabric.  Viscose is actually my favourite fabric to use in these patterns from 1940 that have a lot of gathers/shirring because the fabric is very stretchy but still substantial and they iron and wash well.  I'm planning to do a blog post maybe later this week with all my 1940 viscose dress makes.  I still have two viscose fabrics in my stash too--so potentially more viscose dress projects this year as well!!

The October 1940 McCall's magazine has this to say about the pattern: Right sided-- the thing that makes this dress stand out from other one-sided frocks, is the concentration of all the interest over at the right side. And that shirred pocket is a new note.

We took these very film noir inspired photos in the Rodney Street tunnel, an abandoned railway tunnel in Edinburgh. How amazing does the light look in this? It's very reminiscent of the film noir period--which is perfectly suited to this dress! It was amazing working with Philip Stanley Dickson for the photographs – you may remember him from the fabulous photos of my 'Aviator Dress'.

In terms of sewing, the dress was very straight forward – surprisingly easy for the amount of detail it contains.  The back and skirt is straight and all the detail is at the shoulder and pocket but with very clear instructions and fabulously drafted pattern pieces for the shirring and gathers.  I could have probably taken about a 1/4 of an inch off each shoulder--but the extra length there is solved a bit with the addition of the shoulder pads that I'm wearing.

I styled the dress with 1940s reproduction (and super comfy) swing shoes from Aris Allen and a cute little tilt hat that I got at the Urban Eccentric vintage store in Washington State.

I truly feel like a 1940s femme fatale in this dress. I love it sooooooo much! I might have to sew up this pattern again soon!!


Thursday, March 15, 2018

True Vintage: 1950s Snowflake Sweater

What to do when it snows in Edinburgh?  Wear your favourite 1950s beaded sweater that reminds you of snowflakes :) 

I'm a huge sucker for 1940s and 1950s beaded sweaters.  I own two – both in beautiful pastel colours with white beading.

I got this sweater at Carnivale Vintage shop in Edinburgh. You will hear me talk of this shop a lot because the owner, Rachel, is a dear friend and a fab member of the vintage community, regularly hosting fun get togethers in her shop and always up for a vintage adventure!

I thought it would be nice to do a regular series on some of my favourite 'true vintage' pieces.  It's so wonderful giving a vintage garment or accessory a new life and treasuring it as I imagine it's original owner(s) did.

What I love about this sweater in particular is that the beading is on the side of the sleeves as well as down the front and all around the bottom of the sweater:

Gah, what a great piece--I just love it to bits!  I am hoping to sew up a few boleros and do some beading myself but I appreciate the high quality of vintage beading.

Perfect atmosphere to appreciate a vintage snowflake weather! Thank you Edinburgh :)

Photos: @Dashiee

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The 'Economy Design Feedsack Blouse'

I'm so happy to share another recently finished sewing project that has been in the project pile for a couple of years!!

Meet my new favourite 1940s blouse pattern from Economy Design:

I've always enjoyed the pattern illustrations on these British patterns.  There is something about the drawings that are so rich in colour. And if you notice on the bottom left hand corner of this pattern it says it only needs 1 years of the narrowest vintage fabric (36").

Which made it the perfect pattern for this original 1940s feedsack fabric. There is an amazing history to feedsack fabrics ––which is basically that this fabric was actually a sack of mill/oats/grains at the outset of WWII. Amazing condition!!  When I got the fabric at an antique mall in Vancouver, WA, it was actually shaped like a sack with sections stitched together.  There is a great tracking link over at Collectors Weekly to find feedsack fabric on eBay (uh oh, I think I may become addicted! I just love the designs and history!!!)  So it's fairly safe to say that this is indeed early 1940s fabric.

There are a couple of amazing design features on this blouse that mean it can also use fairly minimal fabric.  What I love most is the scalloped collar:

How adorable is a scalloped collar?  I just love the effect--it's a bit of a every so slightly more feminine look than a peter pan collar.

The other design feature that is unique is the fake button placket down the front.  This is actually a slip over the head blouse. This also saves fabric and is why there is a slit at the throat that is then closed with a hook and eye just under the collar.  Absolutely brilliant construction.

I'm wearing the blouse with a pair of reproduction 1940s trousers from Miss Candyfloss which features a side closure with lots of matching buttons going up the side.  Love these trousers (though I will definitely also wear this with my me-made trousers from my tried-n-true (TNT) Simplicity 1941 reproduction trouser pattern (see the ones I've made here).

I made few alterations to the pattern except to make the bodice length a bit longer than called for in the pattern.

I do love the small details on this blouse including the bodice front detail of the overlapped seam over the small gathers.  This provides a great fit as well with the high neckline!

The back is very straight, no gathers or specific details but just a nice straight line:

These amazing photos were taken by @dashiee (instagram)--an amazing local photographer in Edinburgh at this small lane called 'Circus Lane'--it's so picturesque and seems very much like it hasn't changed over time. 

My hair was also done by the amazing Ariana at Vanity Thrills.  I just adore a mid-centre part a la Hedy Lamarr!!

I'm so, so happy with this 1940s blouse and I'm now on the lookout for more Economy Design patterns (don't worry--I'm still ultimately a 1940 McCall girl :)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sista Love

Thanks to all the love on instagram for these photos..I decided to do a blog post on the dresses from my 40th birthday sister's extravaganza to Hawaii :)

My sister is so awesome and I'm so happy that we got to spend my birthday together and it's a great excuse on her birthday (today) to dig out these fabulous photos!

What I love is that these photos totally capture our relationships --lots of laughter and fun.  And it was so nice to be in the beautiful sunshine!

So onto the dresses!  The time was too tight for me to sew my own tiki dresses for the trip, so I decided to do the next best thing which is to support another seamstress.  I got the blue tiki dress from    She's Dynamite Clothing

I just adore the fit of this dress.  The back is ruched meaning it fits comfortably and I love the cross over bodice effect and the cascading fabric down the side front – a true tiki dress!

The second dress and petticoat are from Pinup Girl Clothing and the dress is by Laura Byrnes.  I have to say this is probably my favourite reproduction clothing dress I own.  The quality of the fabric and construction is so good.

I know there are patterns out there for this type of style but I can honestly say that I probably wouldn't get the same fit as this dress provides (I've heard how hard it is to actually get those shelf busts to fit and look right especially if you need full bust adjustments).  And I certainly wouldn't have lined it as well! hahaha.  

Alas, this particular print is sold out but I did find it in another print.  I'm kind of thinking of trying out the other dresses from this line.

My sister is also rocking an awesome dress she bought at a local shop in Hawaii – how fab is the print and design?  I love how we have different decades...she totally rocks the 60s and 70s and I do more of the 40s and 50s!

What a fab trip and I'm so glad I had an opportunity to post these pictures. They make me so happy!!


Friday, March 9, 2018

Butterick 6055: The 'Ice Princess Dress'

Move over Elsa, there's a new Ice Princess in town.  I am beyond excited to share my most recent make on my newly relaunched blog (*squealing with excitement*).  As with a lot of my upcoming makes, this was an 'unfinished object' or UFO in sewing world lingo.  I originally started cutting out the pieces to this dress during December 2016!

I used a Butterick reissued retro pattern originally from the year 1950.  I just fell in love with the bodice shape, the collar, raglan sleeves and the pockets...oh the pockets!!

As many of you know, I sew primarily with true vintage patterns and have hit or miss success with reissued or new pattens.  But this pattern is PHENOMENAL. I adore it so much (already dreaming of all the pretty fabrics I could make it in as well as SOLIDS with contrasting bows...gah, the possibilities are endless!)

The fabric is a great polished cotton snowflake print that I picked up in the Philippines in 2016.  The fabric is gorgeous --beautiful and sparkly.  This poor fabric and pattern were sitting in my projects storage box (oh yes, I have several projects started but not finished).  Then something extraordinary happened. It snowed A LOT in Edinburgh.  This is pretty rare. I know you think it would snow a lot here since we are so far north but that last time I remember snow that stuck for multiple days was in 2010.

Suddenly this project sprung to the top of my sewing queue and with gusto! I really wanted to finish this great pattern and capture the beautiful fabric with a snowy Edinburgh backdrop.  I seriously felt like I was back in my 'Sew Weekly' days with adrenaline pumping to finish this dress before all the snow melted!  It was such a nice change to be so focused on one project.

I'm so giddy with how it turned out. I just adore the pattern and fit.  And those pockets with the adorable little bows (which thankfully don't have to be turned inside out to be sewn. phew! thank you Butterick!)

I didn't really spend much time on pattern matching since the snowflakes are a bit asymmetrical across the fabric.  I also really like how the pockets blend in slightly until you see that sweet little detail.

The dress closes with a side zipper and I'm really pleased with the bodice fit.  The collar got a bit tricky but only because I used some fusible interfacing that got a bit wrinkly and required lots of coaxing with the iron to straighten out.

Looking at the fit of the back, I could probably have taken a quarter of an inch off the back to prevent the wrinkling...but not bad overall.  And unlike the early 1940s patterns – attaching the bodice to the skirt is super easy (right sides together unlike the overlapped and topstitched early 40s patterns).

And boy, did Edinburgh cooperate with the naturally beautiful backdrop. I literally feel like a snow princess in these photos which were taken by the seriously talented @Dashiee (on instagram) in Holyrood Park.  It seriously looks like we are deep in the Highlands!

And the dress (and backdrop) match my vintage accessories. I got the late 1920s ermine cape from Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair in Edinburgh about a year ago and I literally bought the white muff on a whim two weekends ago from my dear friend Rachel's vintage store (Carnivale Vintage) before this dress was a serious contender for finishing.  I'm so glad I did--isn't it cute (and very functionally warm)?

Yippeee....LOVE this dress and look forward to making more with this pattern.  And a perfect project to celebrate the relaunch of my blog :)


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Blog Relaunch

I'm so excited to be relaunching my blog after a TWO (2!) year hiatus!!  The last two years have been a crazy journey for me. Many of you know that I split with my partner of many years in late 2016 – it was my decision and while we have both tried to make it as amicable as possible – it has still been a difficult period. One thing I noticed was how important sewing is to me – I've missed it incredibly during these past two years and I know now that I'm indeed happiest when I allow myself that creative and community space.  I'm in such a positive space now and super duper happy to be delving back into regular blogging alongside my other vintage creative pursuits.

In the past year, I've really connected with so many amazing vintage enthusiasts in Edinburgh and reconnected with many of my friends from the sewing community online again through instagram.  And I can't wait to make more friends and be even more inspired by this amazing online community we have!

You will have noticed that I have changed my blog name. It's a long story that involved my original domain name expiring and then going to auction. Needless to say it was bought at auction for something like $450 and then I got a weird message from a dodgy person on Facebook asking me if I wanted it back.  I decided then that it was the perfect opportunity to start a new chapter in my blogging life and focus more on the 1940 McCall project and some of the pinup fashion that I've been increasingly getting into.  I'm still working on switching over names (for example I'm not sure how to change my facebook page name)--but I'm happy to have gotten my ideal domain name – Ms1940McCall!  Woohoo! (but a note to change any links you have because I have no idea what will become of the other domain name! eep!)

I've been finishing up and photographing quite a few UFOs (Unfinished Objects) that I had started many years ago alongside new projects and it has been immensely satisfying!  So I look forward to sharing these new sewing projects with you all over the coming weeks as well as continue my research into the year 1940 and the McCall pattern company.

It's so good to be back!

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