Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Skating Costumes through the Decades - An Enduring Style!

Winter is coming! And for those who face freezing winters, ice skating comes to mind. Skating outfits over the decades barely changed. Just look at these great examples.


This skating ensemble consists of skirt, jacket, and trunks. Skirts are full circle and lined. In the 1940s they loved to trim an outfit with hand embroidered motifs - hearts and flowers in this example - adorable! And don't forget to notice - trunks match the skirt lining. Perfect for both ice and roller skating. :)


Here the skating ensemble (ice and roller skating) includes the full circle skirt, a snug vest, matching trunks, and blouse too. Tap dancing was huge in the 1950s - note the tap shoes on the dancer on the right.


In the 1960s there were more options for girls! Twirlers and majorettes use a variation of the same ensemble as the skaters in this pattern. The skirt and bodice are joined into a one-piece costume, but otherwise the skirt is still a full circle, lined, and matching trunks (briefs) are included.


 In this 1970s pattern, a cheerleader joins the twirler/majorette and the ice skater and roller skater. And in this pattern the full circle skirt is replaced with princess seams and bias flared gores that are one-in-piece with the bodice - a very 1970s style! Note the option for inserting godets for extra flare. Matching briefs included, of course.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Edith Head's 116th Birthday Anniversary

Happy Birthday, Edith Head! In honor of the 116th anniversary of her birth, here is a double bonus - the amazing designer Edith Head being interviewed about the design process for Audrey Hepburn's costumes for Roman Holiday!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

18th Century Costumes - Then and Now

Continuing on the theme of costumes, here is how an 18th century costume is interpreted through the decades. Note how most of the costumes have draped fabric (panniers) at the sides, and the Puritan costume is frequently included.





Monday, October 21, 2013

Little Red Riding Hood - Then and Now

Halloween is getting very close, so I thought it would be fun to look at how costumes change (or don't!) over the decades. There are perennial favorites, and ones from fairy tales are always winning choices.

Here is a rare and lovely costume from the 1930s that features Little Red Riding Hood and an angel:

From 1996, this pattern features Little Red Riding Hood, too, as well as Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz (or simply a darling country dress with pinafore).

If you are sew quickly (and most costumes are designed to be sewn quickly), there is still time to put together a fine costume!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Timeless Tied Fringe Edging

This timeless tip from the 1920s describes knotted fringe - a style that returned in the 1970s and was ever so hip! Simple to make and fun to wear, Ruth Wyeth Spears provides easy-to-understand steps for creating this easy, feathery edging using silk or fiber floss.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Before and After Hit Parade - 1950s Girl's Dress Hits the Stage!

Seamstress: Rachel Danay - Lincoln Community Playhouse
Pattern: Butterick 7009

This adorable girl's dress from 1954 was purchased by Rachel to sew as a costume for a community theatre production of The Bad Seed. Isn't that exciting?! She's been working hard to have as much ready as possible by Oct 20.

And here is the dress, which is terrific and looks great on this young actress! This fabulous photo is the work of Bronson Gierhan of Lincoln Community Playhouse, and following it is the show's awesome poster. So if you are in Lincoln, Nebraska later this month, be sure to enjoy the performance (it's a drama mystery/thriller), and enjoy the vintage costumes, sewn by Rachel!. :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Costume Time - Tudor and Victorian Belle

As Halloween draws near, an intense focus on costumes occurs here in the United States. However, sometimes I think the UK provides more opportunities for dressing up in period costumes than we here in the US. Here are two excellent examples, as shared by my customer Jan in the UK. She originally shared her story of sewing a historical costume for her daughter in my post "Before and After Hit Parade: Girl's 1940s Wartime Frock - Reliving History!".

After I blogged about that wonderful experience, Jan shared pictures of two more costumes that she had sewn for her daughter, Georgia, for school events. Georgia makes such a beautiful model - and the detail of the costumes is fabulous.

Here is Georgia in a Tudor costume, complete with fabulous gable head-dress decorated with pearls and daisy medallions. The gown is sewn in a rich fabric, complete with a square neckline edged with tulle, and a standing collar or ruff.

The next picture shows Georgia in a Victorian dress that Jan sewed for Victorian day at school. Jan said that Georgia had a bad cold that day, and so she thinks the photo isn't as good as it could be. She also made a matching cape which isn't in the picture (and regrets not getting a picture of). But look at the fine details: fitted bodice with center trim and long sleeves, full skirt with front draped apron, high demure neckline, and matching bonnet.

Lucky Georgia, to have a mother who sews so well! And lucky Jan, to have a daughter who looks so beautiful, no matter the fashion era. I look forward to seeing more of Jan's creations. And happy sewing to all of you who are sewing costumes for Halloween and other fun occasions!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Spotted in a Shop Window - A Short Cape!

This cute short cape in extra large houndstooth was spotted in the window of Nordstrom's in downtown Seattle. I love the toggle closing. Sporty, fun fashion!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - A Petal Collar for Your Evening Wrap

This sewing tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears and the 1920s adds a petal collar to a straight evening cape - a "luxury of the feminine wardrobe"! According to Ruth the collar is the most important part of the cape, and given the straight lines of these capes, I have to agree. :)

This tip includes a pattern for velvet petals that are sewn in tiers and create a soft, becoming frame for the face. 


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

1950s Refashion - Another Fur Remodel Yields Cute Results

While this refashion involves a real fur coat, don't let that stop you from consider faux fur fabrics for a fun and very 1950s short coat!

The refashion started with an old "dyed beaver coney coat" that was out of style. For those not familiar with it, coney is another word for rabbit. :)

The coat was turned into this wonderful boxy topper, with easy fullness, a natural shoulder, and perfect for wearing anywhere! :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - The Straight Cape

It's another practical evening wrap, this time the 1920s version of the cape. Sewn of crepe satin, and trimmed with thin strip of fur at the base of the neck frill, this "tip" provides all the instructions you'll need to look "Great Gatsby" gorgeous and Flapper Era fabulous. Note how the neckline ruffle or frill is interlined with light canvas so that it stands up well. Thank you, Ruth Wyeth Spears!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

1950s Refashion - Fur Coat Remodeled into a Cape-Stole

While real fur coats are a current fashion heresy, nonetheless, they were definitely a sign of wealth and high fashion in the 1940s and 1950s (well, and in a lot of decades). In this 1950 refashion, a worn out fur coat from the 1940s or older (it's hard to tell) is remodeled into this chic cape-stole, using a Woman's Day 3269 sewing pattern. The pattern was especially designed for real fur and actually included a real furrier's needle (not easily available in those days).

Here is the "before", a short coat of caracul fur. The caracul is an Asian sheep with a dark, curled fleece when young. The coat is old and very worn, with not much good fur left. The cape-stole is the perfect pattern for using small amounts of short-haired fur worth saving.

I love the cape-stole result, whether made of real fur or faux. The tie closing is a lovely touch.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - An Easy Evening Wrap with Corded Shirring

You need only 4 yards of velvet and the same amount of silk. Ruth Wyeth Spears describes how to turn all that yardage into this luxurious evening wrap . The shirred collar is extra warm, since it is shirred over cording then doubled over cotton padding and stitched. The wrap is also corded at the hip for a bloused effect.

This is one wrap this is, literally, wrapped around you, and simply held in place. That's 1920s evening elegance!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

1950s Refashion - From an Old Skirt to a Fresh New Jerkin

Sewn without a pattern, this refashion begins with a skirt that has a fringed edge and ends with a jaunty tweed jerkin.

And what is a jerkin? Originally worn only by men back in the 1500s through the 1800s, it is a sleeveless and collarless short jacket worn by men or women, often with extended shoulders. It is an item that seems to have morphed into the vest or sleeveless pullover in today's terms. In any case, in the 1940s and 1950s, they were popular, and typically considered for casual wear.

Check out how this refashion was done!

The jerkin is cut in a single piece from the seamless skirt, wide enough to extend beyond the shoulders and long enough to fit from front to back hip over the shoulders.

The piece was then cut across the shoulder line, with the back slightly longer than the front. Shoulder seams were sewn in a sloping line. The neckline was rounded and a short stand collar added. A neckline slit was made at center front and faced with scraps.

Darts were added at the waistline for a neater fit. Bias binding was stitched to the side edges, then turned under and hemmed.

The belt was created from the skirt waistband, which had the button and buttonhole removed, the open side and ends re-stitched, and a buckled added.

Nifty, neat fashion that looks cute to me!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Scraps from the Past - Wartime Cartoon Supports the War Effort

From time to time, a vintage pattern will contain newspaper clippings, but not in the typical sense. These are sections of newsprint that were used to make an altered pattern piece (so the seamstress did not have to cut or tape or otherwise damage the original).

It is always interesting to see these. Sometimes they show the want ads, sometimes grocery store prices and other advertising, sometimes local sports, rarely the headlines of the day.

Click on this image to make it easier to read!

The clipping, found tucked in a pattern from the war years of the 1940s, provides most of a specific comic strip, although I have no idea of the name of it. It shows that saving items for the war effort was very important during those difficult years. It's very touching humor. :)

It's also sort of fun to note the fashions of the day as illustrated in this cartoon, especially for the ladies.