Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Scraps from the Past and In Search of Style - Mad Men Party Dress!

This is a double jackpot in a pattern envelope: "Scraps from the Past" and a clipping that was "In Search of Style". :D

The Clipping: Found in the pattern was this 1963 clipping for (remarkably) another pattern! The mail order pattern illustrates a lovely full-skirted dress with a snug bodice, short French sleeves, drop-waist points, and a portrait collar.

The Pattern: Simplicity 2413

The Simplicity pattern is very close to the mail order pattern and a wonderful match. It has a snug bodice with extended points, drop waist, full skirt (in this case with soft box pleats), portrait collar (in this case with a notch in front and a pert fixed bow accent), and short French sleeves.

The Scrap: Based on the beautiful blue color of this scrap that was tucked in the envelope, I would venture to say that the sewer was inspired by the color of the illustration on the pattern. The fabric is a soft, winter-weight interlock jersey in a vivid blue color. It's easy to picture!

Spring & Summer 1965 - A Blue Belle

Blues are "in" this summer, so this wonderful dress from 1965 looks deliciously cool and perfect for today.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Updating a House Dress to an Afternoon Frock

Starting with a "straight dress pattern", Ruth Wyeth Spears walks you through easy steps to turn your simple house dress into a fashionable, flattering afternoon frock. She adds a bit of skirt fullness at the sides, cascading drapes, trailing fabric ribbons, and long sleeves. Just like that, an every-day frock is turned into a lovely one!

Note the fabric-covered buttons at the shoulders. Enjoy! And don't forget to click or tap the image to enlarge it for easier reading.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Summer 1938 - Three Flattering Frocks - Redux

Yummmm, more 1930s frocks!

The slender frock on the left is topped with a gem of a bolero with a swing back; matching sash belt is perfect.

The crisp summer frock in the center features saddle yokes and a flared skirt. A bright striped ascot and belt add contrast.

The lovely frock on the right has a snug midriff, a deep V-neckline edged with white or pastel ruched trim, and full flared skirt.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Create a Fabric Rose for your Hat or Frock

In this fine tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears, a template and instructions allow you to create a fine fabric rose (taffeta and silk are the recommended fabrics) to accent a hat or frock. Note that it is a "flat" rose, perfect for attaching to a garment. Once you've mastered the technique, don't stop at one!

Don't forget to click or tap the image in order to enlarge it for easier reading (and from which to print the template).

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Summer 1938 - Three Flattering Frocks

On the left, a crepe frock with a slim skirt, slim sleeves, and a colorful lightly gathered inset across the bust.

In the center, a pretty print redingote is worn over a plain slip of a dress, to excellent and flattering effect.

On the right, a full "Gibson girl" blouse of sheer fabric contrasts with a crisply knife-pleated skirt, with a print sash that pulls them together. :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Sew a Fixed Sash for Your Frock

It's all about that important "drop-waist" belt line in 1920s fashion. In this tip, Ruth Wyeth Spears shows her home sewers in the 1920s how to create a perfectly draped, fixed sash that snaps on!

Don't forget to make sure that the sash belt fits snugly. :) And don't you just love that simple, "wine-colored crepe satin frock" Ruth has sketched?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Salute to Boating Season!

The first Saturday of May is coming up soon and it's the official First Day of Boating. Port cities (like Seattle) usually have a parade of boats all tricked out with banners and pennants to celebrate the occasion. In honor of this annual event, I am beginning to post nautical-styled patterns in my shop. Here are just a few patterns for ladies and children, from the 1940s to the 1970s, to pique your interest:

Aye, aye, mates! Enjoy some timelessly great nautical fashion!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1938 Summer Fashion - A Fresh Spectator Frock

Oh boy, love those sunglasses - so very 1930s! And love that spectator frock - sporty and fresh, with short sleeves, an inset belt, and flared "action" skirt with a pleat in front.

Such inspiring style from the summer of 1938!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Easy-to-Make Frock with Pleats and Jabot

Perfect for summer, this frock is a snap to make - Ruth Wyeth Spears will tell you how! Note the  clever but simple jabot and the panel of crisp knife pleats in the skirt front.

You can start with or without a favorite pattern - just how clever do you feel? ;)  Just click on the image to make it larger and easier to read.

Monday, April 21, 2014

1938 Summer Fashion - Tennis, Anyone?

This culotte frock from the summer of 1938 is designed for action, in traditional white with a flash of color in the binding.

I love the crisp details in the wing revers collar and the flutter sleeves of this step-in fashion. I might just even enjoy playing tennis, if I could play it in such a cute frock!

Friday, April 18, 2014

1938 Playdress

Considered a short tennis dress in 1938, this playdress has sporty, yet feminine style. Note the princess seams, chevron breast pockets, and a matching kerchief to discourage the wind. =)

Sweet, sunny fashion!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Smart Plait Treatments

Accented box pleats are the focus of this excellent tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears and the 1920s. She provides two ideas - top-stitched box pleats with extended points (a very handsome treatment, I think), and pairs of box pleats trimmed with braid (note the use of a low-hung belt over the pleats -a nice extra touch!).

Fine flapper fashion, I think!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Summer Fashion from 1938 - High-Waisted Skirt and Bolero!

A doff of the sun hat to this fabulous high-waisted skirt with front-crossing suspenders - with its matching bolero, it's1938 summer fashion that's yummy!

Notice the shirring on the short gigot sleeves?

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Working with Striped Fabrics

When it comes to stripes, Ruth advises you to not be thrifty or skimpy with your fabric. Extra fabric is needed to align the stripes with symmetry. Ruth illustrates the resulting pleasing alignment when pattern pieces are laid out optimally, as well as the poor outcome when stripes are not aligned.

You may have noticed that Ruth uses the term "wash dress", a term from 1920s which I believe means a day dress that could be washed with the bulk of the weekly wash without needing any special care. I could be wrong, though. If anyone knows otherwise, let me know!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

1938 Playsuit for Summer Fun

With a bare midriff and flared culottes, this charming two-piece playsuit can be slipped over a bathing suit or worn for leisurely sunning. Such charming style from 1938!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Add Overskirt with Knife Pleats to Your Frock

I love crisp pleats, so this tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears for home sewers in the 1920s is especially fun. Ruth describes how to add interest to a plain frock by adding groups of sharp knife pleats. She illustrates knife pleats in an "apron tunic" on the left and in the "flounces" that trim the frock on the right . Her directions are spot on, so let Ruth be your guide as you sew and let her drawings inspire you as you design your frock with pleats!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

1938 Summer Frocks for Girls - Sunny, Sweet Fashion

Little girls love cute clothes too! These cotton frocks are perfect for play and special occasions for growing girls - and with 1938 style, they are timelessly cute fashion too!

From left: apron is gathered to shaped yoke; frock with bows and a belt; jumper frock with suspenders and blouse; frock with shirred waist & center front princess panel; frock with white collar and trim.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spotted in a Shop Window - Exquisite Formal Gowns

How exquisite is this wine dark dress? It has a very 1940s glamour about it. I will let the details speak for themselves. These gowns were spotted in the window of Luly Yang in downtown Seattle.

This has a more 1950s influence - a flowing garden of roses. Love the strapless bodice with snug midriff.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Neutral Grays for Spring - 1952 Fashion

Soft pleats distinguish the skirt of this lovely dress and add back fullness - a trend from the late 1940s that continued into the 1950s.

A big ribbon bow accents this soft gray capelet - beautifully matched with the dress.

White contrasting "punchinello" cuffs trim the eye-catching sleeves of this gray dress, also trimmed with bows.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Add a Tailored Finish with Top-Stitching

In this tip for home sewers, Ruth Wyeth Spears notes the "new" trend of top-stitching, and how this machine stitching adds a smart, tailored look to a frock. As always, Ruth's very clear illustrations and instructions let you learn this skill easily. Choose narrow or wide spacing for your rows of top-stitching, and you'll add a crisp finish to your frocks!

Click the image to enlarge it for easier reading.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Spotted in a Shop Window: Peplums for Summer!

Seen in the shop window of Anthropologie in downtown Seattle, this gorgeous tropical print blouse sports a flared peplum that dips low in the back. Simply superb.

In the shop window of Mario's in downtown Seattle, my eye was drawn to this divine little cardigan with the look of crochet, trimmed with a softly pleated peplum. Note the 3/4-length sleeves, and the scalloped edging. I just love all the details - want, want!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Before and After: Vintage Patterns Inspire Student Designer

This "Before and After" is a special one - and so exciting!!

The Trinity Fashion Society (of Trinity College Dublin, Ireland) hosted its annual catwalk event on March 19. One of the organizers was a good friend of the sister of Mark McNulty, who is a customer of my Etsy shop. This organizer offered Mark a chance to make some things for the show. So he purchased several patterns from my shop and modified them for the show. Here is his story. To read more about the fashion show (which mentions "design prodigy Mark McNulty who is a secondary school student" - wow!!), check out this University Times story.

Mark says: "I find vintage fashion has always influenced me. For my outfits, I wanted to have vintage silhouettes but with a twist. I wanted to mix the classic retro look with 90s grunge, so I went for sophisticated, sexy, smokey colours.

Pattern: Butterick 7956 (1950s) 

The Result: Dreamy strapless evening gown in soft, warm black velvet.

Mark says: "I made the skirt bigger than the pattern and added more fabric to the back to give it a small train. The black velvet was difficult to sew as it was so so so stretchy and I used it for a very structured piece. The dress called for thin sewn-in boning, but I made a built-in corset with steel boning to really hold it up and hold the wearer in. A self-drafted petticoat was also made, though I do regret it as I don't particularly like it;  but ah well.  

Pattern: Simplicity 2170 (1940s) 

The Result: A hot little dress with attitude!

Mark says: "For this green dress, I used the ice skater dress pattern. I altered it, making it less broad at the shoulders, took in the sleeves and waist considerably, and then added 2 inches to each gore of the skirt to give it more volume. I chose a crushed bottle green velvet that really brought that rocker touch to the dress. The extra fabric on each gore really added so much oompf to the dress when it was on the catwalk."

Pattern: McCall's 7002 (1960s)

The Result: A sexy, slim sheath - fabulous! It doesn't hurt that Mark's sister is gorgeous. :)

Mark says: "I made this black dress for my sister, using the ends of the fabric from the black formal gown. She wore it to her friend's 21st birthday the other day. Even in this dress you can see the 90s grunge influence, with the dark lips and smokey eyes."

What can I say? Fantastic results and congratulations, Mark!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Slot Seams Create a Tailored Frock

Slot seams are one of those techniques that produce a subtle and tailored effect and yet are rarely used. In this tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears for home dressmakers in the 1920s, slot seams add a tailored, polished look to a two-piece frock. Frocks may emphasize simplicity, but are not plain, as Ruth explains. As usual her excellent description and illustrations will have you using slot seams with ease on your next new frock.

Note that she has sketched a frock of "silk and wool serge in a beautiful warm brown." Can you see the color? :) Same or contrast fabric is perfect for the slot or stay strip. Be sure to click on the image to enlarge it for easier reading.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring 1952 - A Study in Crisp Black and White

A full skirt, a doll waist - it's a fabulous silk dress in crisp stripes. That cute boater hat sets it off to perfection.

Very wide, very striking shaped white collar and white wing cuffs for a dark dress.

A black sheer wool dress provides a straight silhouette, broken by a swing of contrasting white wool bolero.

This dress has an overskirt that flips back to reveal a pale, pretty lining.

Strange pose... is this a hallelujah moment? Dotted scarf collar is pulled through the bodice closing to create a large bow at the hip. Now that's dramatic fashion! Pouf!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

1950s Tent Dress - It's a Sunny Trend!

Read the fine print: This dress cost less than $9.00 to make from Advance Pattern 5960. :) This wonderful sundress was featured in Woman's Home Companion in March 1952. And a popular style it was!

The following examples of the versatile flowing tent-style dress, cinched in with a belt, are from 1953: