Wednesday, July 27, 2016

• 1940s Evening Gown •


I'm very excited about today's post!!  :)  I never thought I would be making, much less posting about a vintage-style evening gown so soon, but it worked out for me to make one just a month or so ago.  There's something fabulous about vintage ('30s-50s) evening gowns; they are more often than not the absolute opposite of today's idea of an evening gown (ie: plunging neckline, strapless, short, tight, slits everywhere, etc.  Not good!).  Instead, they were elegant, gorgeous, and (typically) modest dresses that are nothing short of beautiful.  And who doesn't love wearing a long, pretty dress?!
(See my 1930s and 1940s evening gown Pinterest boards for inspiration.)

 It all started with this gorgeous rayon fabric my dear friend Sarah gave me; I needed to make a dress to wear to a friend's wedding, and this fabric seemed to be just the ticket.  I couldn't decide what style of dress to make for the longest time, but finally decided on a more formal-style evening gown, as opposed to a day dress.  I was still agonizing over the design, but then I saw this dress, the design of which really appealed to me.  Rather simple, and with almost a shirtdress-type bodice, but still very elegant and unmistakably formal.





The only problem with that design was that I didn't have enough fabric!  The skirt I made ended up taking an awful lot of fabric, so there just wasn't enough left for the bodice.  I ended up going to the fabric shop and finding an 18-somethings repro print that matched really well!  It's definitely not a combination you would expect to go together, but I think the two patterns and colors compliment each other nicely. 

I used Simplicity 8050 for the bodice, making the neckline just like the pattern, and adding a (very much needed!!) modesty panel.  I didn't want to try to alter the neckline, as doing so would have completely changed the look of it, as much as it would have needed to be raised.




I looked at '40s evening gown patterns that I could find online to see what the width around the hem was, in order to have an idea of how full to make the skirt.  They were surprisingly full, on average, so I ended up using a vintage '50s pattern for the skirt, just lengthening it, you know.........a lot.  ;)  I really love the way it hangs, and it's full enough to drape really well in the rayon fabric.




I made a cummerbund, using the Simplicity 1459 piece as a guide (although I may have made it wider than the pattern piece, I don't recall).  I did NOT cut it on the bias, however, and it's a very good thing I didn't, as the rayon fabric keeps stretching out each time I wear it!  I already took it in a bit, and it stretched out beyond that once again.  The side "seams" of the cummerbund are "boned" with collar stays, as is the back opening.  We won't talk about the night-before-the-event cheat of using hook-and-eye tape for the back closure.  ;) 




Just reading the directions, the collar seems really crazy to put together, but once you are actually making it, it's quite easy!  It was rather difficult in this case, dealing with one layer of persnickety rayon and one layer of un-persnickety cotton, but it still came out perfectly.  I half expected the dress to come out of the wash with a very shriveled collar, but it came out looking perfect, thank goodness!  ;)  I would love to make this dress up in a pretty cotton floral!

A side note on the fit of 8050; I'm not quite sure what they were thinking when they came up with the measurements for that pattern, but I ended up cutting the bodice out almost a whole size bigger, while having to cut the waist smaller.  If I recall correctly, they allow something like 1" of ease in the bust, while allowing around 4" at the waist.  And they don't want you to wear a belt.  Hmmm.....




Sarah, who is an amazing seamstress, has a gorgeous 1940s-style dress made out of this exact rayon fabric for sale in her shop here, if you are interested!  It is an extremely comfortable-to-wear fabric, very good quality, and has a lot more body to it than any other rayons I've dealt with.  Do check out the listing!  :)




The sleeves of my dress are from a vintage 1930s pattern.  I had read in several different places that the armhole area and sleeves of Simplicity 8050 were not comfortable as-is, so I went ahead and just used a different armhole and sleeve, since I wanted a sleeve with detail anyway.





The true test to see if a dress is really a good one or not, is seeing if it twirls well.

This dress passes the test.  ;)




We had fun finding some new locations to take pictures!  This house is one that was built around 1902-05  (hurrah for one of the very few historical houses/anythings in our area!!), and is quite gorgeous from all angles!  Unfortunately it is a private residence, so we couldn't go and putz around inside, but at least we got to take some fun pictures on the grounds!  ;)  

Thanks so much for stopping by! 
Follow Me on Pinterest

Thursday, July 21, 2016

• Nautical 1940s Blouse •



Today's post is about a simple little blouse I made back in March of 2015.  This post has been very long in the making!!  ;)  Somehow I just never got pictures of it, so we remedied that this past week.

The fabric was originally purchased for an apron, but true to form, I cobbed it for a garment instead.  ;)  The only problem was, there was just one yard of it, so I had to come up with a way to fit a blouse out of that amount.  I settled on using Simplicity 1692, and sewed a strip of solid blue fabric on the bottom of the blouse, a couple of inches below the waist.  I never wear the blouse untucked, so it works out just fine.




Things didn't go quite as smoothly as planned, however.  First off, I had a dull needle, so it was pulling threads to its heart's content on the shoulder seams before I realized it.  Boo.  It has only taken me, what, 3 years?  But I finally am remembering to check/change needles between projects, and in between times as well.  It's definitely worth the very slight effort to avoid ruining a garment. 

The second hiccup was one that is rather hilarious; I picked up the scissors to snip off a stray thread, and what do I do instead?  Just snip a hole in the back of my blouse.  No big deal, you know.  AGH!!!  I patched it up as best I could (which wasn't that good, but.....), so I don't really notice it now, but what a thing to do!!!  Lesson learned; be extra careful when clipping threads with giant shears.  :P 




The neckline and sleeves are edged with baby ricrac, and a bow accents the front neckline.  It's a very simple style, but a rather cute one nonetheless.





Ironically, I ended up making a scarf out of this striped fabric, which happened to be the accent fabric that I was going to use on the nautical apron.  :)  Rather unfortunate for my Etsy shop, but nice for me!! 




Paired with the blouse is my Vogue 1019 skirt.  My wardrobe is severely lacking in the skirt department, but I am working on a 1940s skirt right now, so hopefully that problem will be remedied soon.  

Thanks for stopping by!!  :)


Follow Me on Pinterest

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

• Civil War Series, Part III •


It is time for the final Civil War Series post, at long last!!!  ;) 

As you probably have gathered by now, we had the grandest time wearing our dresses and taking these photos, so be warned; there are quite a few of them.  There were just too many fun ones to leave out.  ;)  I hope you enjoy them!  




First off, however, is my mom's dress!  It is made in the same basic style as my dress, with only the slightest of variations.  Her fabric was purchased from Whittle's Fabrics as well, and is also an 1860s reproduction.  The color and pattern of the fabric suit her so well!!  :)




It was so fun to have a different location for each of our dresses to be photographed in, even though we were in a very small park area in town.  We'll definitely be going back there for pictures!





She used gorgeous pearl buttons for a false front effect.  We happened to have the perfect buttons for each of our dresses in the stash, which was a rare and exciting happening!  ;)




Her bonnet is also from Regency Austentation, decorated with beautiful silk taffeta from Ensembles of the Past.  I love how the colors of the silk match her dress so perfectly!!




Accenting the neckline is one of her grandma's many crocheted collars.  And speaking of crochet, Mom made her reticule from her own self-drafted pattern.  She is a regular trooper when it comes to crocheting, and is never satisfied until what she's making is just perfect.  I think she definitely succeeded in making it that way, don't you?  :)  It is made of cotton yarn and lined in cream-colored cotton fabric.




















One simply must have watched the movie "Cranford" to fully appreciate this photo.........  ;)







Some of us elegantly fan ourselves, some of us  primly fix our bows, and some of us just twirl.  ;)  It is rather addictively fun in these dresses, I must admit.  















Follow Me on Pinterest

Thursday, July 7, 2016

• Red, White & Blue 1950s Separates •




My mom made this blouse for the 4th of July, and I found it utterly too fabulous not to share immediately.  ;)  

She found this nautical novelty print fabric at our favorite antique shop in La Crosse, Wisconsin (Antique Corner) for $0.50.  It is such a cute print, and the colors were perfect for a 4th-of-July-themed blouse!  The tiny polka dot fabric (JoAnn) was the perfect accent.




She is currently working on a dress made from a vintage 1950s pattern that Robin of Auntie Establishment on Etsy so kindly sent us, and this blouse is essentially the wearable mockup from that pattern.  It is always nice to be able to put your efforts into something wearable when making a mockup, rather than something that you can never wear.  

Robin sent another pattern for a stunning draped 1940s dress that I can not wait to get started on!  (What am I waiting for, that's the question.....!!)





She made tiny strips of binding out of the polka dot fabric to accent the sleeves.  It adds such a perfect nautical flair, don't you think?  





Her skirt is made from a 1950s pattern, but she altered it so much, it might as well be her own self-drafted pattern.  ;)  It is an eight-gore skirt, with in-seam pockets, incidentally, made from the most wonderful poly or poly-blend fabric from Hancock Fabrics.  I think a large *SOB* covers that subject pretty well.  

The waistband of the skirt, as well as the front, is accented by button tabs that act as belt loops when she wears a belt with it, but just make for pretty accents when she doesn't.  Gotta love that fun '50s flair!!




As always, she matched up the pattern *precisely*.  I think I shall hire her to do all my matching from now on.......... ;)

These cute little round buttons were the perfect accent for the blouse, and she sewed them on in groupings of three for added vintage flair.  I have the same buttons as well, and can. not. wait. to put them on *just* the right dress.




Her shoes are sadly hidden in most of these pictures, and I believe it is their first airing on the blog!  Sadness!!  They deserve a whole post to themselves, I think.  ;) 

They are the cutest shoes ever, inarguably, and she got them for an incredible price.  Miss L Fire "Betty" sandals, which retail for $165.  I happened to be browsing on Modcloth one day, and lo and behold, they had ONE pair of them left, in size 8.5, which is what she wears.  For $50.  Yep, you read that right.  Needless to say, they came our direction very shortly thereafter.  Now if I could just shrink my feet by approximately 30%, I could wear them too!!!  ;)




This blouse and skirt of mine are fairly new makes as well, but I wanted to save posting about them until they are paired with the right pieces.  This photo was too fun not to share though.  ;)

I recently added a clearance section to my Etsy shop, so do hop over and check it out!  Have a lovely week, and thanks for stopping by!  
Follow Me on Pinterest