Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resort Fashions!!!!

Are you excited? I am! January is resort fashion month at Midvale Cottage! I am so looking forward to listing lots of great swimwear, sunsuits, sundresses, and beachwear for all ages and spanning multiple decades. To get you in the mood for summer breezes, the call of soft sandy beaches, and the vintage fashion to wear there, I leave you with illustrations drawn for Life magazine back in January 1947.
Counting down...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In Search of Style - 50s Evening and Afternoon Dress

A dress in an Bergdorf Goodman ad from New York caught the eye of a seamstress in 1956 but its hefty price tag of $25 (!) clearly motivated the seamstress to look for a good match in the patterns of the day. It is easy to see why this dress attracted her attention, appealing to "country and casual" city style in the rather formal colors of black, navy, mint, and blue.

She found it in Advance 8079, which matches nicely the scoop neckline, short French sleeves, fitted bodice, and full skirt of the dress in the ad. There are some differences - the Advance version has a full circle skirt and back zipper closing, while the advertisement clearly shows a full skirt with soft cluster pleats, and shirtwaist front button closing. But the Advance pattern shows lots of variations that surely inspired the seamstress back in 1956. :) We will never know if she could have come closer, or if she simply found the perfect pattern for her.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Looking Ahead

Where did the month of December go?! For that matter, where did the year go? Now that the majority of the holiday crunch is behind me, there is time to plan for the new year. What fun is in store! Here is a peek at the coming months.

Resort Fashions
Yes, resort fashion month is almost upon us! I can hardly wait to list the fabulous and charming patterns for swimwear and summer fashion from the 1940s to the 1980s.

Sharing Style - the Gift of Fashion
Thrift was essential during the 1930s and the Great Depression as well as during the 1940s and World War II (and beyond). So many women copied and traced favorite patterns to share with family members and friends. These treasures turn up in estate sales from time to time. So in the spirit in which these patterns were made, I am going to be giving these patterns away to my readers and customers! Is that not fun?! I will photograph the pieces, and describe the details as best I can, and then will use a random number drawing for those readers who respond with their desire to win the pattern. The first item will be posted at the beginning of February, and will become a regular event on my blog. I am not sure exactly how often these will occur, but at a minimum they will be once a month, possibly more frequently.

Like Mother-Like Daughter
Mother-daughter patterns were immensely popular from the 1940s and 1950s (and even into the 1960s). I've been slowly accumulating pairs of patterns and look forward to listing those gems. I will also be sharing images from my many vintage sources of mother-daughter fashions.

And More...

And throughout, I will be continuing my findings for The Hundred - one of my slower efforts to be sure. But an interesting challenge for vintage patterns. :) In Search of Style is another one I love - I always am delighted when I find a newspaper clipping of a fashion item (for which the pattern was a great match) tucked in with the pattern pieces. I look forward to posting more fabulous "Before and After Hit Parade" items - the successful and delightful work of my customers. What could be more rewarding? :) And there will be new themes in the works, such as all things wedding and bridal, designer fashions, the history of refashioning, and oh, well, there are just tons of inspiring patterns just waiting for you! :D

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Necklines: The draped neckline

I hope this posting is one of many on the elements of clothing design, as expressed in vintage patterns. :) I'll just jump in and start with necklines.

As the holiday season has begun, the drape neckline is a great element to consider. The drape neckline is exactly as its name implies, featuring soft folds at the neckline. It is not a common neckline, and when I do come across it, the drape neckline invariably seems to be a designer pattern, and one for formal and evening wear.

Vogue Couturier Design 2775 (Valentino)

Advance 7914 (Anne Fogarty)

Vogue 5782

Draping can also be applied to collars to beautiful effect. This draped collar from Spadea is a great example.
 Spadea A-2147 (Anthony Blotta)

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Vintage Perspective on "The One Hundred": Animal Print

Nina Garcia includes the animal print as a must-own for the stylish woman, in her fashion book "The One Hundred".

Who would have thought? Finding vintage patterns with animal prints in the illustrations was not easy! And vintage animal toy patterns don't count. :)  But fortunately, I managed to find two in my stash.

This adorable pattern from the early 1950s and McCall's features animal print accessories, including hat, bag, and scarf. This certainly meets the criteria, for Nina states that an animal print accessory is an opportunity to be a little bold.

This is hardly ladies' fashion, but for gratuitous fun, I had to include this pattern from Lovely Lingerie and the early 1970s, which features animal print briefs for men. What a handsome hunk!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Getting to the Point

Dress elements that include an extended point or peak have been popular through the decades, even the centuries. Whether at the waist, drop waist, or high waist, whether sharp or curved, the extended point always adds class.  Here is a short set of examples of the extended point across the decades.

Let's begin with 3 examples from the 1940s. The first dress illustrates the most popular use of the extended point, the basque bodice, here with a short drop waistline. The second dress inverts the point, creating a beautiful mirror to the sweetheart neckline. The third dress narrows the extended point and takes it into the midriff - a delicious design.

1950s dresses also made great use of the extended point, as these graceful New Look dresses demonstrate.

These wedding gowns from the 1960s take the upward extended point to the empire waistline, to beautiful effect.

These adorable dresses from the 1970s use the same upward extended point starting at high and empire waistline.

And in the 1980s, formal dresses  such prom dresses and wedding gowns, added a romantic touch with the extended point of the basque bodice.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Before and After "Hit Parade" - 1950s Dress with Bonny Details

 The Seamstress: Jennifer Gough
The Pattern: Vintage 1959 McCall's 4951 Misses' Dress with Slim and Full Skirt

Jennifer picked this particularly adorable dress with its wonderful neckline and collar details.

The Result: A fabulous dress with charm to spare! Jennifer chose a beautiful yellow and black tartan to sew the full-skirted version. Jennifer states: "As far as construction; the measurements were pretty spot on, but I added some length to the bodice and I recall that I had to play around with the skirt pleats quite a bit because of the plaid fabric, but since the pattern pieces there were just big rectangles it wasn't a big deal."

Jennifer has since made this pattern up again in the teal with white collar like on the pattern envelope, too, though she doesn't have photos of it on the web. Be sure to check out more photos of this first version of the dress on Jennifer's Photo Bucket album. Wonderful results, Jennifer - the dress and you look so lovely! Winning style, all the way around. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

By Any Name...

Recently I had listed and sold the following coat (McCall's 4685 from 1958), described as a trapeze coat.

And then I acquired the February 1962 edition of Seventeen magazine, which featured very similar coats.

The cover of the magazine features this beautiful blue coat described as having a "baby-doll look", with empire waist, flared skirt, double-breasted closing, and slender bracelet length sleeves. And that cute hat is a "checked baby cap." ;D

A few page into the magazine is an advertisement for these coats described as having the "new A-line silhouette". :)

So what is the difference? The trapeze silhouette is narrow at the top and wider at the hem, almost triangular in shape. The A-line silhouette is defined as being narrower at the top, flaring gently wider toward the bottom.  The babydoll dress is defined as having an empire waist and loose, A-line skirt.

By whatever name you call it, it's adorable, inspiring fashion!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Before and After "Hit Parade" - Fresh 40s Frocks!

The Seamstress: Elisabeth
Today you get "two-for-one"! My customer Elisabeth sent me great pictures of two dresses she created using patterns from my shop. Both dresses are late 1940s, have such wonderful, graceful style, and Elisabeth's photos are fashion-model fabulous! You can follow Elisabeth's sewing adventures on her blog: Sewing Fairytales.

The Pattern: Vintage 1940s Simplicity 2907 Misses' One-Piece Dress

The Result: Isn't the result sunny and adorable?! I love the choice of fabric, it has a very vintage-style motif. And those cute matching shoes are perfect! Elisabeth shortened the dress to a charming just-above-the-knees length. And if you visit Elisabeth's blog, you will see the back of this dress in the blog header image - awesome!
 Here are her comments on the sewing of the dress:
"I loved the pattern as soon as I saw it. The front and the back of this dress are so elegant and feminine. I used a polyester fabric. This was not the best choice, but I loved the print. Sewing the dress was a bit more complicated. The pattern is not so easy, but the fabric added some difficulties as well. But all in all I really like it. I really have to make another one out of some better fabric (maybe in a nice solid color?)."
The Pattern: Vintage 1940s Simplicity 2842 Misses' One-Piece Wrap-Around House Dress and Housecoat

The Result: Elisabeth sewed this in its original graceful, beautiful tea length, complete with cap sleeves. Even the fabric looks very much like the view on the right (view 2). 

Here are Elisabeth's comments on the sewing of this dress:
"I made this dress out of 40s fabric I got at eBay. Sewing was easy,  except maybe the finishing. The fabric was not the best for the dress, because it is a bit stiff. All in all I am pleased with the dress. Unfortunately it really is better suited as a house dress, because if the wind blows, it´s a bit difficult to wear. Maybe I will sew another one out of another more suitable fabric one day."
Kudos on a lovely pair of dresses, Elisabeth!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

In Search of Style - Designer Couture Evening Gown

This search for style begins with an advertisement from the early 70s for a fabulous evening gown from Saks Fifth Avenue. The advert describes their collection and this gown from their designer salon in romantic terms: "A romantic mood pervades. Soft and subtle draping. Slinks or ruffles. Movement from fringes as you float by. Soft clear colors, jerseys, chiffons and more. Here, all ruffled up. A sleeveless dress, close-to-you on top, full and flounced below. Nylon zigaline in white with navy. $425."

A dream of a dress, don't you agree? Our seamstress found a remarkable match for this beauty with a Vogue Americana pattern designed by Oscar de la Renta, pattern 2879. The stunning plunging neckline trimmed with ruffles and full skirt seals the deal!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Before and After "Hit Parade" - 40s Refashionista Beauty

The Seamstress: Vicki Muise
The Pattern: Vintage 1948 McCall 7286 Sewing Pattern Misses' Dress

Vicki chose the view on the right to sew up a graceful late 40s summer dress in a luscious tea length.

The Result: I love this dress - it's garden party-perfect! And the story behind this dress is a delight - a story of  preparing muslin-turned refashionista. :D

Here is Vicki's story of this dress:

"I sewed a muslin from this flowery $1 sheet because I had to make a few routine changes (SBA, increase the waist, shorten the skirt). Then everyone who visited me saw this muslin hanging up in my sewing corner and said that they would wear it as is! I had already cut out some vintage polyester with a nicer drape, to make a final version, but decided to put the finishing touches on the muslin just to see how it would turn out.

I posted the dress on The Sew Weekly and another member wanted to try it as well. Since I had already traced the pattern to make my adjustments, I shared it with her and she will post her version soon too."

Is that not awesome? And that's a self-fabric buckled belt, too! I can't wait to see the other member's version of this dress on The Sew Weekly. This is such a great story, Vicki. Thanks for letting me share your wonderful result. :)

Oh, and you can follow Vicki's sewing experiences on her blog: Another Sewing Scientist.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Before and After "Hit Parade" - Idyllic 50s Dress

The Seamstress: Kellie Falconer
The Pattern: Vintage 1957 McCall's 4251 Sewing Pattern Misses' Dress

The Result: It's dreamy!! Kellie says "I purchased this darling pattern [from Midvale Cottage], and wanted to let you know how much I am enjoying it! I thought you might like to see the first dress I created from the pattern - I am hoping to make a custom listing for it in my Etsy shop." Kellie's shop on Etsy is Kellie Falconer Design. Be sure to check out all her fine creations. This dress is adorable with exquisite details. It's such an inspiring creation, hopefully it will a listing in her shop soon!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

In Search of Style - An A-line Angle

Occasionally I come across a pattern where the seamstress has tucked in clippings of similar styles. This tells a story we can relate to, where we see a dress in a magazine or newspaper, and search through patterns to look for something as close as possible.

In this example, the seamstress had clipped the following dresses:

From these we can see that she wants an A-line dress with a shaped bodice, maybe some top-stitching, a V-neckline (with a collar? without a collar?), maybe princess seams. The pattern she found that was closest to the looks of these two dresses is Vintage 1972 Butterick 6846 (Misses' Dress, Tunic and Pants):

Pretty close, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Before and After "Hit Parade" - 50s Wiggle Dress is Sleek in Latex!

The Seamstress: "Essential Latex"
The Pattern: Vintage 1959 McCall's 4617 Misses' Dress, Skirt, and Jacket

Essential Latex used this fabulous late 50s pattern as inspiration for a recent fashion show! Note the view I've circled, which inspired her to create a stunning dress sewn out of latex!

The Result: Essential Latex says "My model loves this style and it completely suited her!" Isn't it gorgeous? This seamstress is located in Copenhagen, Denmark and has her own line of fabulous latex clothes. Be sure to check out her shop on Etsy: Essential Latex.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Before and After "Hit Parade" - A 5-Star Salute to the 50s Sailor Dress

The Seamstress: "Polly Esther"
The Pattern: Vintage 1950s McCall's 4395 Sailor Dress

Who doesn't love that timeless sailor style? Well, Polly Esther took this great pattern from the 1950s and McCall's that she purchased from my shop to sew up an absolutely fabulous version of the slim-skirted view.

The Result:  And here is just one view of the chic results. Needless to say, she drew compliments and raves! For more pix and details of all the construction decisions and successes of this sophisticated sailor dress, see Polly Ester - A Sewing Obsession.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The A-Line - Iconic Dress of the 60s

I happened on this video of The Ronettes from 1965 on YouTube and look at those fabulous A-line dresses! Too bad this isn't in color. With scoop neckline and long sleeves, they look very chic and hip! Not to mention, The Ronettes totally rock! Sweet sounds! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Before and After "Hit Parade" - Picture-Perfect Sisters Dress Up 50s Style

The Seamstress: Stephanie Youngs
The Pattern: Vintage 1957 Butterick 8245 Girls Dress, Jumper, and Blouse

Stephanie chose this pattern to sew matching dresses for her daughters, Aubrey and Olive. 

The Result: Two adorable sisters looking picture-perfect in their beautiful 50s party dresses! 

In Stephanie's own words:
"Aubrey and Olive love their 50s style dresses! I love using older patterns because they are so simple and sew up quickly. I did, as many of us sewers do, make some changes to the pattern. Because my material was so light in color and weight I cut extra pieces and lined the top of the dress. My grandmothers especially loved the dresses because it took them back to the dresses their girls used to wear!"

The result shows true inspiration on the part of the Stephanie, when you compare it with the pattern illustration. The matching cummerbunds add the perfect finishing touch. Such cuteness - makes me want to hug these two!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Before and After "Hit Parade" - 40s Pinafore and Pinafter

The Seamstress: "Good Twin. Bad Twin."
The Pattern: Vintage 1940s Marian Martin 9378 Misses' Sundress

To see how super cute 40s fashions can be, I have to point you to the blog of one of my customers. She started with this pattern for a pinafore-style sundress from Marian Martin and the war years:

The Result:  And here is just one view of the absolutely adorable results. For more pix and details of all the construction challenges, decisions, and successes, see Good Twin. Bad Twin. :Sewfisticated.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Vintage Perspective on "The One Hundred": The A-Line Dress

I recently picked up the book "The One Hundred" by Nina Garcia, a guide to the pieces every stylish woman should own. I am inspired - not to necessarily build out my wardrobe to include the "basic" 100 - but rather, to feature patterns for as many of the basic items that Nina Garcia lists in her book. Obviously I'll be challenged on some of the non-clothing accessories, but I'm going to give it a try!

We begin with the first chapter, the A-Line Dress. I love what the author says, because it is true - no matter what, the A-line dress always flatters your figure. It's no-fuss, great to accessorize, and was THE iconic dress of the late 60s and 70s. It released women from the constraints of the New Look's hour-glass figure, and went hand-in-hand with the women's movement for equality.

In the coming week or two I'll be posting not only fab A-line dress patterns, but also some A-line fitting patterns from Vogue and Butterick. Here's a sneak peak of A-line dresses I'll be posting this week!

Vogue's Basic Fitting A-Line Shell
Simplicity A-line Dress and Cape
Simplicity A-line Dress and Tunic with Flared Pants
Butterick Mini A-line Dress and Tunic with Flared Pants
Vogue Basic Design A-line Dress with Empire Waist in Two Lengths