Tag Archives: 1940’s

The Don’t Trifle With Me Truffle

You know when I told you that I’ve been on a “not wild about what I’m making” kick of late? Well, this dress is a big part of that.

In many ways, I’m a fairly dutiful sewer. I follow instructions, I make muslins, I iron seams four times, I’m good that way. Of course, on the flip side I dry clean NOTHING and I rarely ever re-do anything because I hate re-doing things and I can usually live with the error. But as I’ve been trying to be more careful with my sewing this year, this dress, well, let’s just say I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.

I spent TIME on this thing, people. I made french seams, I hand stitched the bodice lining to the waistband seam, I hand-picked a lapped zipper, I  tied off all 20 darts, I was CAREFUL. I made it out of vintage rayon from my grandfather’s attic and a real metal zipper, also vintage, found (with several fellows) in its original packaging. This dress was supposed to be special. It was supposed to be the ONE. We were going to go out to dinner and then go on vacation and the dress would be like, “I’ve never felt this way before” and I would be like “Me neither” and the music would swell and we would fall into each others arms and NEVER LET GO. Yeah. Well, THAT didn’t happen.

Look, it’s not terrible, but it’s just not great. And why isn’t it great? Because of the damn bodice.

So I made a full bust adjustment, as discussed, and went on my merry way, only to come out with a bodice that is both drapey and too large. Part of this might be the super drapey rayon, but even after taking it in a full 2 inches on the side seams, I still have a whole lot of drape going on. It’s not horrible, honestly, but it’s not what I wanted. I feel like Veruca Salt.

Still, I wore it to the final opening night of our season, (and my last opening night with the company!) and I did get some complements, thank you, nice people.

I really love the skirt section, I do. It’s just a shame about the bodice. I don’t know, it’s somehow rather dowdy, which is odd.

A little backview, so you can catch a peak at the lapped zipper.

You can REALLY see how drapey and loose the bodice is here.

Still, it’s a pretty good jumping dress.

See? Good drape for jumping. Not good drape for standing still. The solution? ABJ. Always be jumping.

Ha, just kidding, I hate GlennGarry Glenn Ross. Shut up, David Mamet. Just shut up.

So that’s a sewing kerfluffle from me. It’s not terrible, perfectly wearable, just rather disappointing. I had wanted to wear this to an upcoming wedding but THAT’S not happening, so I will just have to go ahead and make something else.

What about you guys? Any recent frustrations or triumphs?

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Filed under Clothing, Colette Patterns, Sewing, Vintage

The Sleep No More Skirt and the I Don’t Believe In UFOs Blouse

What we have here, folks, is a double header.

First of all, I hope you had a merry christmas/awesome 6th day of hanukkah/day just like any other. I myself celebrated in the traditional way of my people, gorging on popcorn during Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows (it was awesome. AWESOME.) and then feasting on Chinese takeout in the company of my family. It was quite a day, I must tell you.

Second of all, quick, to the sewing project! Or projects, as the case may be. Because I recently completed an extremely frustrating little blouse that I decided to pair with a skirt I made the other evening and wear out to a neighborhood Christmas Eve party. Of course, no holiday is complete without me forcing my mother to take photos of me and yelling at her while she does so, so here we go:

As you can see from my charming expressing, I was being a bit of a jerk about these photos. I’m sorry, Mom.

Let’s break it down, shall we? First, the easy part. The skirt:

I love this skirt. Love. LOVE. It’s unbearably simple, but I believe it to be extremely flattering. It’s a basic six gored navy skirt made from Simplicity 3688, a reproduction 1940’s pattern. I love it. It’s full at the bottom but because of the gores it’s really nice from the side and the rear:

Glides right over, right? I think the key is, when you have a bit of junk back there in the trunk, which I do, and you like full skirts, which I do, you have to make sure that the skirt only fills out past the hips. Which is sad, because I love me a gathered skirt. It just doesn’t love me back….

Pleats are okay, though, right? RIGHT?

Whatever. Look at the pretty simple skirt:

It’s hard to see the gores, which are topstitched, but I love the 40’s flare of this skirt. I call it my Sleep No More Skirt (find out more about the show here and read my review here) because I was inspired by the event (on so many levels) and just adored the severe but elegant skirts of the female performers. So 40’s, so sleek and easy to move in but flattering and lovely. I whipped this skirt up over two evenings, and that includes hand stitching the hem and the zipper. I love 40’s style bottoms, they all use exactly one button which is a great way to get rid of those beautiful but seemingly useless one-offs you may or may not have haunting your button box.

I used a gold one. It felt right.

Now, to the blouse, which is more exciting, but also more ANNOYING. I call it my “I Don’t Believe In UFOs” Blouse, because really, I don’t. I don’t like, nay, I can’t physically start one project, one big garment, before I have finished the one I’ve started. I just can’t do it. I have to finish what I start, I just have to. And that determination is pretty much all that kept me going, I must tell you.

zI got this blouse pattern from a lovely Etsy seller, SewUniqueClassique, and I was extremely excited about it. I waffled for a week or two after I found it online and then finally bit the bullet. I imagined that this would be my new go-to-blouse pattern, I would make every variation and use it all the time. I love this style of blouse, and this one seemed to have the shaping and details I’ve been looking for in a pattern. It looks perfect on paper, right?

Quick and easy, eh, Butterick 8097? Oh, sure. SURE you are. So I guess I’m just slow and frigid, because I had a hard time getting this one into bed. First of all, for such a short blouse (you can’t see in any photos but it only reaches a few inches below the waist) it ate up almost three yards of fabric. Second of all, it’s fussy. Really fussy. Lots of hand sewing (on shirting poplin? Really? That’s not happening), lots of silly steps, general struggle, but who would expect anything less? And while the fit is nice, it’s actually kind of baggy around the waist, despite the diamond darts and oddles of shaping, and it’s got a lot of fabric bunching in the back:

I suppose I should have done a swayback adjustment, but I’ve never done one of those before. Sigh.

I should say that now that I’ve finished the thing I do really like it and will probably get a lot of wear out of it. That being said, I don’t know if I would make another of these.  I might, because I like a challenge, and because I like a lot about this style, but my hopes for the blouse I make seven of and wear daily have been dashed. Sigh. I like the collar, though:

And the gathered sleeves:

I like the color, too. It’s a stretch poplin I got from Fabric Mart for 1.99 a yard. Bam. And the buttons are from my beloved PA Fabric Outlet, real shell, too! Fancy dancy.

And there it is.

See? Happy Face. I guess it’s my own fault, really. I’m always looking for patterns I would make more then once, rather then something I would just do once but do really carefully. What about you? Do you look for patterns that will make one unique statement in your closet, or ones you can make over and over again?

I used picnik to make some 40’s style shots.

I’m reading Macbeth, because it’s the primary source material for Sleep No More. SO CLEVER.

Can you just see me keeping the home-fires warm?

Glamor Shot!

And there you have it.

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Filed under Butterick Patterns, Clothing, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

Flirting with the Forties Blouse

May I just say that I for one am really in favor of the silhouettes of the last, say, five years. High waisted full and pencil skirts, belts, natural shapes, embracing the a-line, I love it. I’m so glad we are over the heroin chic thing and back to something that halfway resembles normality, or at least, good health. Isn’t it just as  interesting to watch someone like Crystal Renn as it is to see someone like Kate Moss?  And while there may still be things like jeggings and uggs with which to contend, at least it’s better than parachute pants, right? I mean, at least now it feels like you’ve got more than one option!

Of course, I’m totally biased, because I really love vintage clothing. In truth I love anything from the last century, and even beyond, at least to look at, but in practice I’m a 40’s and 50’s and early 60’s girl because it’s simply most flattering on me. If I could Clara Bow or Twiggy it up I would, but, alas, I’m more fifties housewife then flapper or factory girl (only in terms of clothing. Ideologically speaking I’m very 2011).  But I think that one of nice things about moving beyond your adolescence (one of a million) is learning how to dress in a way that flatters you and your body and color scheme, rather than blindly following a trend. What a relief to have moved beyond a world in which a Delia’s catalogue tells you what to think.

Over the summer I found a beautiful fabric on sale a Joann’s. Brillent red with large pink roses which look painted on. It sounds sort of, um, disgusting, when I describe it, but it’s actually quite lovely with this sort of impressionist painter allure, like this or this . Because the fabric was on sale, I bought it, without having any idea what I wanted to do with it. Then I saw Burda Style’s Alexander Blouse. It’s such a lovely 1940’s style pattern. But the fabric has such a big not at all 1940’s print. And I was like, could this work? And then I was like, this wont work.

 

Yeah, it totally worked.

If I do say so myself, this is pretty darn cute. And so 1940’s! With the peplum (that flare thing coming down from the waist, for those that don’t know), and the pearl buttons:

And the tucks:

And the fluttery sleeves:

It’s so cute! And really flattering. And complicated. It was fairly complicated. I have no idea WHAT the fabric was, but it felt possibly synthetic. My mother declared it rayon. It might be a poly-cotton blend. Honestly, if it doesn’t say anything on the spool there is no way of finding out, is there? Whatever it is, it’s terrifically soft but kind of a bitch with which to work. So I struggled a bit with this pattern, but it was completely worth it, and I would make it again. Maybe in a nice crisp poplin…

Can’t you just see me in an episode of Masterpiece Mystery: Poirot? Just one question, would I be the killer or the victim?

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Filed under Burda Style, Clothing, Sewing