Vintage Simplicity 4525

Inspired by the Vintage Pledge of 2015, I thought I would continue into this year by making up some more of my patterns. It has been stinking hot here recently and I desperately needed to make a new sundress as last year’s ones either don’t fit any more or I’m no longer in longer in love with them or quite the opposite and I’ve worn them to death!

Time for a new dress (it’s always time for a new dress though right?)!!

Searching through my patterns I found this little treasure I’ve been wanting to make for a while, vintage Simplicity 4525 from sometime during the 40s.

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You will note my copy is for a 32″ bust, which I definitely am not!  To “grade” this, I first tissue fit the pattern i.e. held it up to my body in the mirror. I could see it needed to add extra at the centre and definitely some more at the sides. I ended up cutting the front bodice and yoke 1″ from the fold, with a 2″ seam allowance on the sides. The back I also cut with a 2″ side seam allowance.

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This method seems to have worked beautifully, the fit pretty good and required only a little tweaking at the side seams for fit.  I didn’t overfit as I wanted the dress to be looser fitting to be a little cooler in our sticky summers.

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The back buttons are ridiculous! How the heck is anyone supposed to do them up, I certainly am not fancy/rich enough to have a lady’s maid nor am I so flexible to do them myself. I made the buttons functional but also added a side zipper so I could get dressed on my own!

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You will also note I left off the sash ties.  I did have them on originally, however hubby dearest didn’t like them as you could see the reverse of the fabric which being white stood out. I couldn’t double them over as the seersucker I used for the dress was too stiff.

I love the pockets, they are huge!!  I did debate the addition of rick rack, but felt combined with the polka dots it might all be a bit twee.  I am happy with this decision.

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I really enjoyed making this dress, it’s so different from sewing a modern pattern. The cover artwork is lovely, the instructions comprehensive and well illustrated and as with almost all vintage patterns there are extra design details which make the garment a bit different.

I’m already thinking about making a navy version with white trim for a nautical look.

PS – this already counts towards my self-imposed pledge to make at least 5 vintage patterns this year (even though the vintage pledge hasn’t been announced for 2016 yet!)

#VintagePledge – mission complete!!

Earlier in the year I pledged to make three vintage garments for the #VintagePledge run by Kestrel Makes & A Stitching Odyssey.  I wasn’t sure I would get them done given I am so easily distracted! However, here is my final vintage garment for 2015, Butterick 5880, a reproduction 1951 pattern.

B5880The bodice is as per the pattern, although I did need to make a couple of alterations. I took it up at the shoulders and had to take some extra fabric out from under the arms – fairly common with a kimono sleeve and large bust combination.

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Although you can’t see them with this fabric, there two parallel bust darts and no waist darts. I love this little point of difference that you so seldom see on modern patterns.

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I made this using a cotton sateen after running up a quick muslin to check for sizing. I just adore this print and couldn’t resist purchasing it, I love the vibrant blue against the black background.

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Construction of the dress was very straightforward. I chose not to line the dress and instead made facings. The sleeves I finished with a narrow hem. (I think next time I would line the dress just to give a more professional finish inside and out)

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For those familiar with the pattern, you may have noticed I have swapped out the skirt for something more wearable for my every day.  The skirt is from McCalls 6503, one of my favourites, full, but not too much, also not too fabric hungry. Of course I added pockets, because, well, pockets!

I will definitely make this pattern with the intended skirt at some stage. I love the wrap & sash but I see it more as something I might wear to Frocktails or a work function or suchlike.

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I’ve really enjoyed the Vintage Pledge, it has meant I’ve ended up with a few different styled garments, off trend but in a good way. I like that I have made up patterns using the design features I love but with modern fabrics to make garments I can wear every day without feeling costume-y.

I already have more vintage patterns lined up to make now I’m in the groove! Wheeeee – watch me go!

Did any of you participate in the #vintagepledge?  How did you go?

Canberra Frocktails and Vintage Simplicity

I bought this fabulous cotton sateen fabric at a recent Spotlight sale. I asked my dear darling husband “do these colours suit me?”. “No” he says. So of course I ignored him and bought it anyway (what was he doing in Spotlight anyway??). I just couldn’t resist the vibrant colours with the vintage feel. It just had to be made up into a vintage dress, the only question was which one?!

I settled on Vintage Simplicity 3316 which Wikia says is from late 1950s/early 1960s. I was particularly drawn to the kimono sleeves and the coat (which I have a plan for soon).

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I did a muslin of the bodice and it fitted really well and so with no adjustments I cut into my fabulous fabric. I sewed the majority up on the Sewaway weekend in Melbourne, but it was too cold to constantly try it on so I left the finishing for home. I ended up taking 1¼” off the shoulders as I had some fabric pooling under the arms, but apart from that, no adjustments. No FBA!!

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Of course this fabulous dress needed a fabulous event and Canberra Frocktails was it! Those girls sure know how to organize a fun shindig! Blimey there was a lot of champagne, so much for the two glasses included, more like 5 or 6. I must have had a dodgy canapé though as I was talking to the porcelain telephone later that night 😉 Oops!

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Can you guess who took my photos? The fact I can’t stop laughing might give it away.

3316Oh dear, the pics are getting blurry now – always the sign of a good night!! 😀

raptorPictures taken by the wonderful lady that is Amanda – this girl is so warm and genuine and of course an all round sewing wizard with rad raptor poses! And blimey she can rock a tulle skirt!!

PS – that’s the second of my Vintage Pledge dresses complete – one to go!!

Vintage Pledge – V2876

Hellooooo again!  Soooo…I signed up for the Vintage Pledge..yep it’s out there in the Blogosphere so I’d better do it huh? I have loads of vintage patterns, mostly from the 40s and 50s. I love the artwork and the interesting details not often seen on patterns nowadays. I also have a number of the reproduction vintage patterns and have been meaning to make them for a while now. I thought the pledge might be the motivator I need to actually sew them instead of just stare wistfully at them. I have started small and have pledged to sew three patterns this year.

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This is the first, Vogue 2876, a vintage reproduction.  The pattern is for knits and wovens apparently, I chose an ITY knit to give a dress in the Leona Edmiston style that I adore.

PSA: This pattern has EIGHTY steps!!  Don’t let this put you off, this is not as complicated as it sounds. A lot of the instructions are super basic and in my case, I felt some were completely unnecessary e.g. I omitted the shoulder pads so that eliminated 7 steps, and I left off the side opening and zip as it neither were required with the knit fabric eliminating a further 16 steps.

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The insertion of the diamond was the most tricky part as it is done via top-stitching it on rather than a back to back construction approach.

The bodice is also supposed to be attached to the skirt by top-stitching but this was not really possible with the slippery knit fabric. Instead I placed the bodice and skirt back to back and stitched most of it together this way except for the wrap section which I pinned extensively and top-stitched.

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Changes to the pattern:
– As usual I shortened the bodice, this time by 2″.
– I took the pleats out of the sleeve and made them 3/4 length
– narrowed the shoulders by 1.5″
– 3″ off the length of the skirt

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Look – faux wrap!

 

What I like:
– the front diamond and bodice gathering
– love the style
– it’s dressy enough for work
– it feels amazing to wear

What I would change for next time:
– nothing and there will be a next time for sure, I’d love to make it in a plain fabric to show off the details more

PRO TIP – Don’t try to do clever things like play pattern tetris and flip your pattern pieces. Doesn’t work with an asymmetrical pattern if you only flip some, you just may end up with two right fronts – ask me how I know 😦

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Are you participating in the #vintagepledge? How are you going so far? If I make two of these does it count towards the pledge??

Fall for Cotton: Vintage Shirt-Dress

I have a reasonable size collection of vintage patterns that I seem to admire more than I sew. When I saw that Rochelle and Tasha were holding a Fall for Cotton sewalong and the Monthly Stitch challenge was vintage, well I took the not so subtle hint to make up another of my patterns.

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It was definitely difficult to narrow it down but I finally decided on Mail Order Pattern-o-rama 8299, date unknown but has to be 40s I think.  I love me a shirt-dress and really like the button detailing on this one. Plus I already had the fabric and just the right amount of matching buttons in my stash! It was meant to be!

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The sweetheart neckline is cute too

The construction of this was fairly straight forward, although a little unusual by modern standards. The front bodice is sewn together, then the back pieces are sewn together and they are joined at the shoulders. As the back does not have a waist seam, but the front does, it is a little weird to try on at this point at you end up with a back skirt and no front skirt!  I was wanting to check for fit as I had only tissue fitted, I didn’t make a muslin. My cotton fabric was cheap at $2/m so I was treating this as a wearable muslin with my effort towards quality of finish varying depending on the fit! (spoiler alert – I was happy with the fit so it has been finished properly)

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The collar was then attached, followed by the front skirt, side seams and then the sleeves. No zip, the button front is functional unlike my previous vintage shirt-dress.

Most times when you read about vintage patterns people say there is no ease so buy your measurements. However, this pattern is a size 35″ pattern and my bust measurement is 37″ and it fitted perfectly with no alterations required.  I only shortened the bodice by about one inch and narrowed the shoulders by about an inch as they were pretty wide and likely designed for shoulder pads.

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I felt a little bit “Call the Midwife” looking as I made this but made a few changes to try to stop it looking too nurse-uniform like.  The buttons help a lot I think, they are vintage, embroidered and picked up on a trip to Cairns last year for 10 cents each! If only buttons were this reasonably priced!!

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I also played with my machine’s fancy stitching on the hems of the sleeve and skirt.  I knew I didn’t want to hand stitch and I figured if you were going to see the stitching I might as well make it pretty. I know it’s not traditionally vintage, but I don’t mind, I wasn’t going for a completely authentic finish (although I did pink all my seams, mostly because I didn’t have matching thread!).

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Sorry, I did the buttonholes on my machine 🙂 I know I could have done them by hand, but to be honest, I didn’t want to! I really don’t like hand-sewing, yep lazy I know, but if my machine does it then why not, and I’m all for efficiency.

I did shorten the skirt by about 5″ to a more wearable modern day length.  I think even “back in the day” I would have had to shorten it too, I am only 5’2″ after all and besides wouldn’t I have had to ration fabric?

BTW – the “pockets” are completely decorative, just flaps!

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Details:
Pattern – Pattern-o-rama 8299
Fabric – 2.4m of cotton poplin from my stash
Notions –  11 buttons also from my stash (I have one spare in case I lose one!), thread

So that’s my Fall for Cotton/Monthly Stitch dress – what about you?  Did you make something for either of these challenges?  If so, share in the comments below, I would love to see!

Mad Men Challenge – the Trudy Dress

When I saw that Julia Bobbin had announced a second Mad Men Challenge, I was pretty excited.  I missed last years one as it was pre-blogging and before even discovering all the amazing sewing blogs out there!

My only problem was what to make, I love a good Joan dress, but I am not sure the shape would suit me without some serious foundation garments.  Then there is Peggy and Betty who both have some great dresses.  The outfits I considered are on my Pinterest board.  For some reason the character whose outfits I seem to be drawn to most are Trudy’s wonderful and patterned shirtdresses.  I do love me a great shirtdress!

Could she look more stunning? 

I had a pattern in my stash already which perfectly matches this, even down to the welts and cuff turnups.

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I didn’t even try to match the fabric with the inspiration as those colours don’t work with my colouring, but instead went with a pretty vintage inspired floral print I bought from fabric.com last year.  The pattern was in my size but I even did a quick muslin of the bodice to sort out any potential fit issues (I am getting good at doing this muslin business).  I ended up narrowing the shoulders by 2cm and shortening the bodice between the bust and shoulders by about 1.5cm.  The rest of the measurements were perfect, even the waist! Quelle surprise!

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I am loving the result and the fit is perfect, plus the fabric has just the tiniest bit of give making it super comfortable as well.  Couldn’t be happier!

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The bodice has some cool details like welts on either side, not welt pockets, but who would use that area as a pocket anyway, not sure that I need more bulk in that department!! 

I made a matching belt – can you see it?  It matches almost too well!!

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I changed the construction a little as it is supposed to fasten with the front buttons and then you are supposed to cut a vent in the skirt of about 10cm/3″ to help you get in the dress.  That would have resulted in a crazy gap right over my lady bits and way too dangerous for wardrobe malfunctions! Instead I sewed up the waistband without the strange vent and put in an invisible side zipper, much safer!! I also took some of the fullness out of the skirt as I didn’t have enough fabric, it is supposed to have about another metre in width, but I am pretty sure that might swamp me.

Now I just think I need to make a crinoline to go underneath – have you seen Rachel’s tutorial?  Also, storage top tip from Dolly Clackett via Twitter is to roll and bag them, not hang them so they keep their fluffiness.

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photobombed!!

Thanks for holding the challenge Julia, it was super fun and now I can channel my inner Trudy goddess!!

 

Vintage Vogue 9463 and a spot of tea

Do you ever go away for the weekend and then find it takes several days to get back on track again?  I went to Melbourne last weekend and still don’t feel back on top of things. Why do chores not just do themselves?

Anyway, enough moaning and on to the point!

As you may have heard in the blogosphere, Mel of Poppykettle arranged a high tea (Sewcietea) so that sewers have the ideal opportunity to show off their fancy garments.  What a perfect excuse for a weekend away to Melbourne. I used airpoints and mooched accommodation from my brother, so a cheap weekend away. Plus it was my birthday last week, so it was like a present to myself!

This dress is a combined birthday/Sewcietea dress. The pattern is Vintage Vogue 9463 from 1958. I love the bow detail and the pleating detail on the skirt.

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I used a light cotton that was a dream to sew, is light to wear, falls beautifully and isn’t see through – what more could a girl want from a dress?!  It also went together really well with no major alterations needed.  I think the only change I made was to the sleeves as I didn’t have enough fabric to do the cuffs.

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We had such a lovely afternoon eating little sandwiches, mini savouries and of course dessert!  Check out the pictures of the day here.

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I am sure I ate too much, but can you really have too much of a good thing?? I had so much fun meeting a bunch of sewers I had previously only chatted to on Twitter or via blogs.  There were 26 of us all up, all in our own homemade dresses.  It was really funny how we were admiring fabrics, finishes, patterns and construction.  There was a lot of turning up dresses to see the seam allowances!!

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One of the best parts is that it is going to be an annual event!!

PS – thanks to Rachel of MyMessings for taking my blog pics 🙂

Sew for Victory Dress Completed

Happy Easter everyone, I hope you have enjoyed a lovely break.  I have spent the time catching up with hubby, enjoying some downtime from work and of course a spot of sewing.

When Rochelle of Lucky Lucille announced this sewalong, I knew I had to participate.  I love patterns from the 40s and 50s, the artwork is always fabulous and the designs have such great details you almost never see on RTW nowadays.

I chose to make a mail order pattern, Marian Martin 9231, it doesn’t have a date on it, nor on the postmark, but the design and detailing all points to somewhere in the late 40s, can anyone assist in an accurate date??

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I was lucky enough to source this in my size so I didn’t need to make any alterations aside from shortening the bodice as I am a shorty.

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I was drawn to this pattern due to the button detailing that I thought was cute. I also liked the gathering at the top of the yoke on front and back.

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It’s a really different silhouette for me, I am not used to the blousing look that was common in the 40s, but I think I like it, and it’s comfortable whilst allowing good arm movement.

The pattern pieces are the usual perforated pieces, but they still have all the markings, darts etc but just marked with holes. Once you get used to them they are actually pretty straightforward to use. The only thing to look out for is the extra pieces that may not be supplied that they ask you to draft up yourself, like belts or facings.

Bound buttonholes

The buttonholes down the front are all bound and as the buttons now cover them completely and the dress has a side zipper, they are completely functionless I just had to show you that I did them!

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A close up of some of the design details. 

Vintage invisible zips

Look at these great zips I picked up at a thrift shop recently. I thought that invisible zips were a recent invention, but these are really old, the lady in the store thought they were from around the 40s.  These are so much stronger than the plastic zips, but are super difficult to put in as they have no flexibility at all and the teeth are quite large so an invisible zipper foot doesn’t work.

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The pattern gave the option of hooks and eyes or a slide fastener, so in keeping with the times I used the old invisible zipper. I also pinked all the seams, so I feel I really made it keeping true to the times.  The fabric was from my stash so all I bought were the buttons, not bad for make do and mend! I even made shoulder pads!!

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Thanks Rochelle for making this a fun sewalong, I loved all the additional information about the 40s she posted.  If you haven’t already, check it out her posts here.

Prizes, pressies, swaps and goings on

Happy 2013 everyone!

I finished a couple of garments just before Christmas but haven’t had a chance to photograph them yet, so in the meantime I thought I would share some of the treasures I received recently and what I am up to.

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Firstly, the above is mostly courtesy of the giveway held by Kerry of Kestel Finds and Makes
that I was lucky to win recently. The giveaway gave me a generous $25 to spend at Miss Betty’s Attic on Etsy. Well Miss Betty’s patterns are reasonably priced anyway and then she had 25% off for Kerry’s readers so I was in heaven!  I couldn’t decide or narrow my choices down, so I chipped in a little extra and bought the above.  I know two shirtdresses, but they are slightly different 😉  Check out Miss Betty’s store, there are some great patterns in there.  Thanks again Kerry, I am so grateful to have been the winner!

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The above amazing two patterns and buttons are the result of a swap with Judy of Sew Blessed Maw.  Judy was so taken with the pattern from my red Vintage Vogue 5557 that we arranged to do a swap for the pattern.  I knew I wouldn’t use the pattern again so loved the idea of giving it another home and so the swap was born.  I sent her the pattern and asked her to surprise me – the day before Christmas the above arrived!  I particularly love the vintage pattern, it is very me and perfectly suited to our weather right now.  Thanks Judy – it was super fun to swap with you!!

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The above amazing treasure was part of my Christmas pressie from my lovely hubby – isn’t he fabulous?  Ok he might have been sent a few links as hints, but what great patterns (another shirtdress hehe) and check out those amazing buttons, perfect on a shirtdress amirite?   

Now, some insight into what I am working on right now.  Well, to be honest with my family staying with me the past couple of weeks I haven’t been able to do any sewing, but I have managed to knit a little.

The below is destined to be a cute linen sundress – assuming my pattern alterations all work out as planned.  Wish me luck!!

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I have also started knitting the Emelie jumper from lovely soft wool (I think part alpaca) that I bought at La Droguerie in Paris early in 2012.  I am just hoping I have enough wool, I know it will be close! By the way, my Ravelry name is Sundar if you want to friend me!
 
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What’s on your project table at the moment?  and did you receive anything lovely for Christmas?