Saturday, March 30, 2013

Sew For Victory!

So I kind of decided to join in the Sew for Victory sew along hosted by Lucky Lucille  at the last minute but I did manage to finish and wear my 40s dress by the deadline!

I did have some 40s patterns and appropriate fabric in my stash. In fact, the only thing I had to purchase for this dress was the zipper! 

I opted to make a white shirtwaist dress using Simplicity 3517 form 1940. I just adore early 40s

This dress came together really simply. It's made from rayon which is a dream to sew with!

My biggest issue was trying to keep it clean while working with the white fabric! But I was successful.

I did use metal buttons because they were super cute roses and I rationalized that in 1940, the war had barely gotten started so rationing wouldn't be as huge of a deal yet (especially here in the states) and a seamstress might have such darling buttons in her stash already.

I accessorized with American Duchess 23skidoo shoes. Since it's an early 40s dress, 30s shoes are ok. ;) Plus I love the fact that they are white!

I also popped with red accents but the great thing about this dress is that I can wear what ever color accessories I feel like!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

WIP: March

I've been working on bits and pieces of things, but knowing that it is much too chilly to wear any of these even if they were finished has given me creative ADD. So, instead of one finished project, I give you several works in progress.

1. Early 40s shirt dress

While at Costume College, I took a class taught by the lovely Lauren of Wearing History on making a working vintage wardrobe and I took detailed notes on the essentials that I wanted to make. One thing that really intrigued me was the idea of a basic white shirt dress that could be matched up with a rainbow of different accessories for tons of looks. I finally cut into the 6 yds of white rayon I brought home from the LA garment district and started this dress. It just needs a few more buttons and hemming....and about 40F higher temperatures.

2. Lavenda Droplet Bolero

I thought a good spring project would be a bolero and I fell in love with this one from A Stitch In Time Vol. 2. It's actually knitting up rather quickly. I've got the back and one side done and the second side is almost done. I'm switching out the long sleeves for the short sleeves from the matching blouse so this project should be finished in the next month or so.

3. My first Vogue

I've started picking up a couple vintage Vogue patterns whenever they go on sale but this is the first time I've ever made one. Since I haven't worked with this brand before, I opted to make a muslin which was a good idea because it needed a bit of work. I've found that muslins are a great way to use up those leftover bits of fabric that are too big to toss but not big enough to really do much with. I've got a great novelty print fabric for this dress and I'm super excited for it!

Have you moved on to Spring/Summer projects or are you trying to squeeze in one last winter projects?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Youtube: Among the Roses

More short hair styles coming your way! This style was inspired by this photo I found on pinterest:


Monday, March 25, 2013

HSF#6: Stripes

 It's another Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge! I missed #4 embellish because my project did not get done (I'm saving it for a later challenge now) and #5 peasants and pioneers because I didn't really have anything I wanted to do for it.

The Challenge: Stripes
Fabric: It's a poly cotton blend so not terribly historically accurate, but I had such a hard time finding 1" stripes in an appropriate weight and lack of stretch.
Pattern: I used a 1915 pattern to determine the width of my skirt and then just pleated it to a waist band.
Year: 1915 or so
Notions: 6 snaps, 2 hook and eye
How historically accurate is it? Aside from the polyester content, I think pretty accurate.
Hours to complete: A few, but only because I hand sewed the hem.
First worn: Not yet, but this project is for Costume College. Plus I have to make a blouse first!
Total cost: $15 or so

For this challenge, I was inspired by 1915-1917 beach wear. Plus with the by the sea challenge right around the corner, the matching blouse will be perfect for that challenge. Here's some of my inspiration.

I love the full skirts and light colors! It makes me long for walks along the beach!

I love the yellow striped skirt! Although I did consider the blue dress on the right for a while!

I love this yellow and blue number with the rope belt. Ladies in the 19-teens tended not to wear more than one color plus white but not always!

The top row in the center dress is great! Blue with stripes!

Ultimately, I fell in love with this pink ensemble! Next up, a stripey belt and middy blouse with pockets!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

There's nothing quite as thrilling as a new frock

If you follow me along on facebook, you'll already know that I wore out a new dress on Saturday!

Tada! Rebecca correctly identified it as a Bernie Dexter dress.

As a seamstress, I don't usually buy dresses so this was quite an indulgence for me!

I wore it out to a bar to hear a great band play. It's called Sibling Rivalry and the girls asked for a shot with me!

It was a great night out! It was a bit chilly so I wore the dress with a newly shortened cardigan. Once the band got rocking, the bar warmed up enough for me to take it off!

As a rule I don't wear green on St. Patrick's day, but on St. Patty's day eve, I let a bit slide in with the cherry leaves. I so popped in the sea of green!

And I think I need more yellow in my wardrobe. I had no idea it would look so good on me!

Love these shoes!

Now for the dress review part. This dress did not fit me all that well when it arrived, but I really expected that. If this had been a backless/halter/strappy type dress, I probably could have gone down a side, but I went with a large because a too big dress is better than a too small dress.

I too some out of the center back at the zip. I also took a bit out right under the arm. Lastly, I made the princess seam curve more at the top so the neckline wouldn't gape. It's kind of a reverse FBA. It fits pretty well right now except that the back of the armhole does something a bit funky when I slouch. Just have to remember to have good posture!

 Since I did do a bit of remodeling, I got a chance to see the inner workings of the dress. It's really nice. Everything was clean and of good quality. I love that there were pockets! And there was a bit of boning in the bodice inset which gives a nice shape. The belt also seems pretty good quality. The only thing I didn't like was that it had a tiny hem and I would have loved if I could have let it out a bit since it's a bit shorter than I prefer. (And I'm not that tall either....)

One bummer with this dress is that they only ship one day a week and I happened to buy it the day after the weekly shipment went out so it was almost a week before it shipped.  (I bought it directly form Bernie Dexter's website as opposed to a retail place that carries the line like Mod Cloth.) So keep that in mind if you have a specific event you'd like to wear it too. It's 100% cotton but is labeled dry clean only, which really annoys me. They are probably worried about shrinkage but for cotton, the most delicate I'll do is hand washing.

Bernie Dexter Clothing is a small business and they do produce the dresses and run things here in the US which I love! These dresses are great but being a seamstress, I know I could easily make a similar dress for much cheaper if I could find a similar fabric (because then there'd be no labor costs/shipping/etc). Bernie tends to use a lot of Micheal Miller fabrics so I'll probably keep an eye out for these fabrics rather than buy another dress even if I have to get a different color way. For no sewers, the price is pretty reasonable since it's comparable to what I'd charge to make a dress like this with this fabric especially when you take into consideration the overhead for making this dress. (Being married to a small business owner has been quite an eye opening experience especially with pricing!)

With all of that said, I adore this dress and I'm going to wear it till it falls apart! Going into this purchase, I wanted a quality repro piece even if it meant paying a bit more. Grad school has kicked into high gear and sewing time is quite rare right now. I'd definitely recommend this brand to anyone. I'm sure you guys will see this dress loads this summer!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Youtube: Pin Curls and Short Hair

And here's the tutorial for the hair style that snuck in at the end of last week's video! Enjoy!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Quick Fix

Sometimes, when you are in the midst of a long, complicated project, you just need a quick pick me up project to get your creativity going again. After so much historical sewing this year, I needed just such a project.

Fabric: 1 yd green gingham probably poly/cotton blend ($?)
Pattern: Butterick 7328
Year: 1950s
Notions: Buttons ($6)
First worn: March '12
Wear again? Yes! It's still a bit chilly for this blouse, but it's going to be great for this summer! :D

 It was pretty chilly so I topped it with a cardigan and my Freddie's of Pinewood capris. It really was too chilly for them to but I was so ready for summer!

Plus my hair was so cute! It deserved a nice outfit.

Are you ready for summer? Or are you more content to just ease on into spring?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wearable 1950s Makeup

There is a misconception that if you like vintage (in particular the 50s) you have to wear loads of makeup but that's not true! Here's my toned down 1950s look that's great for day or work. Enjoy!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lilly Rose

Today I'm bringing you the fruits of a "secret" project I've been working on-testing the Lilly Rose dress pattern from The Tailor's Apprentice! She has several new 1940s patterns in the Miss Page Vintage 1940s collection but I was immediately drawn to the Lilly Rose dress. The collection also includes patterns for an evening gown, a sailor outfit, a land girl ensemble and a wedding gown.


This pattern was a pdf and it prints on both A4 and US letter sized paper (which I didn't notice till after I'd printed it on A4 paper....). I really liked that it had a grid on it so that if you are type A like me, you can measure out the size of the squares as you tape them together so they end up straighter than with other pdf patterns. I don't normally like pdf patterns because I don't feel my taping skills are up to snuff but this helped out loads.

I opted not to do a muslin and the top came out the right size but I did something really dumb when cutting out the skirt piece. I cut out the waist two sizes too small! Eeep! I don't know what I was thinking since I cut out the top and waist band the correct size. Oy! This was completely a user error, and had I cut out the correct size, the pattern would have fit great. And I didn't have enough fabric to recut the skirt pieces. I was able to let a bit out of each seam but since I did French seams, I couldn't let nearly enough out. I really wanted to use this fabric for this dress, so I did what I think any thrifty 40s gal would have done in the same situation, I added strips of fabric to the side seams to make up for the width needed at the waist. The busy print mostly hides it.

On the bright side, all I have to do for next time is print out the skirt pieces and cut the pattern out with the correct size.

The neckline on this dress is just gorgeous on the front and back. Pretty enough on the front that you don't need a necklace and the keyhole on the back is just darling! The original design had contrasting bands on the sleeves too, but I ran out of fabric. I really wanted a matching bolero to go with this dress and I didn't end up with enough contrast fabric for all of the things so I left off the sleeve contrast. It was a bit chilly with the bolero so I swapped it out for a sweater today.

I choose to do a bunch of French seams on this dress and hand stitching the hem and the contrast on the neckline (because I couldn't find thread that matched well enough) so it did take a while to stitch up but it came out really nice and I love the little details that make a dress special.

Overall, I really enjoyed working with this pattern. I'd make a few changes next time I made up this pattern-cutting out the correct waist size, adding the contrast back to the sleeve and using a contrast fabric that is more similar in weight/stretch etc to my main fabric because they didn't really play nice with the shaped waist band. The directions are clear with lots of pictures and include info on extras like dress shields and making your own shoulder pads.

The pattern is recommended for intermediate sewers but I think an advance beginner would do ok if you were confident in installing a zipper and you were willing to be patient with the more fiddly shaped contrasting neck piece. The hardest bit for me was the fabric chart which was only available in meters but I believe an English chart is being worked on. I used 2.6 yds of 56" fabric for my main fabric and I used a mix of sizes 8, 10 and 12 (which is normal for me).

Note: I was given this pattern for free in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I've been knitting!

I've been knitting! I had two pieces almost finished that I finally got around to finishing this weekend.

This is the scarf from the Fez and Scarf from A Stitch in Time Vol. 2. I had one leftover ball of yarn from a snood I knit from the same book that came out WAY huge because I didn't swatch first. So I knit this up and was planning on frogging the snood to finish it but then I couldn't find the snood for a month or so. But I found it this weekend. I plan on making the fez to go with it some day. Ravelry page for this project.

I also had this shawl done except for weaving in the ends and it's sat around since Christmas break. Finally finished it too but I still need to block it. Ravelry page for this project.

I've also knit a cute bobble hat from A Stitch in Time Vol. 2. So cute. Can't wait for spring so I can wear it! Ravelry page.

I've just cast on this darling bolero but I'm going to do short sleeves.

This is as far as I've gotten. I've got a long way to go. lol! Ravelry page.

Monday, March 4, 2013

An Evolving Personal style

Style shouldn't be static even for those of us who take inspiration from the past. Here are 10 things that I'd like to really make part of my personal style this year.

1. Circle Skirt

One of my first sewing projects and I still wear it all the time!

These are my most worn articles of clothing and I love making them! And they are separates which are great for a versatile wardrobe.

2. Hats

I adore vintage hats and one of the things I hated about short hair is that it's harder to wear hats with. I'm so looking forward to wearing more hats as my hair grows out!

3. Hair Flowers

The same goes for hair flowers. I love them and they are great for me to wear to work because they look cute without being over the top.

4. Cropped/vintage length cardigans

An appropriate length cardi keeps you from having awkward lumps and bumps in the waist and hip areas!

Cardigans are a must for a vintage wardrobe and ever since I got a nice short cardigan, I've realized how much better it looks with my vintage looks that modern hip length cardigans. I'm going to try and shorten some of the cardigans already in my wardrobe and be on the look out for cute short ones.

5. Jersey Tops

A black knit top is so versatile!

I've come to the realization that I don't wear a lot of my me made tops and it's because they are woven and I just don't like woven tops that much. And since I have no desire to sew tons with jersey, I'll be adding cute jersey tops to my list of allowed purchases.

6. Fun Prints

I adore this dress!

I love fun and novelty prints so I'm going to run with it. I'm ok with fun prints that are not "historically accurate" and beside, novelty prints are so 40s and 50s!

7. Some Rockabilly Flare


I'm approaching graduation and I've been thinking a lot about a good work wardrobe. I'm a chemist and vintage and lab work don't really go together. I really want to move in a bit of a modern/edgy/Rockabilly direction for work so I can still enjoy some vintage in my day to day life. Plus there's loads I like about Rockabilly style.

8. Bangs

I've been looking back at past blog posts to try and decided what to do with my hair. And I really like myself better with bangs even if it does limit my style options a bit. Plus, it looks great with Rockabilly and is very work friendly. I'm sure I won't always have them but I want to make them a more regular part of my style. Now I just have to decide how long I want to grow my hair out before I cut them again.

9. Winged Eyeliner

Love the brows too!

I do wear winged eyeliner on a daily basis but lately I've been experimenting with a bolder look and I really like it. (Especially since I can go bolder when I'm wearing glasses or lab goggles). Here's to more eyeliner practice!

10. SOWERS/outside appropriate outfits

Aren't they so cute!

Aside from needing work appropriate clothes, I need some outdoor appropriate clothes. I am so not an outdoors kind of girl but I am part of SOWERS at church where we teach elementary school kids about nature/science and God. It's really fun but during the summer we do outside activities like gardening, creek stomping and playing games. As much as I would love to be a skirt girl, I need some outdoor summery things. I really want to make some overall shorts and a bunch of light cotton blouses.

What will be driving your personal style this year?