Wednesday, December 31, 2014

HSF #23: Modern History

This was perhaps the easiest challenge of the year for me to find something to do, but difficult to get photographed with the move and the gloomy Ohio weather. But I snuck it in right at the end of the year. So modern history-sew something historical or historically inspired that you can wear in an everyday context (ie what I wear everyday).

The original project for this challenge was a 1930s blouse which I made to wear when we drove to Florida. It did in fact get made and worn but I seriously underestimated how exhausting the whole moving bit would be so no photos got taken. 

This dress is a great 30s piece that was almost finished before the move. I ran out of snaps and couldn't decide on a belt buckle. A quick trip to Jo-Anns and a Christmas present lot of vintage belt buckles made this a quick finish post-move.

The Challenge: Modern History
Fabric: 3.75 yds 1930s repro quilting cotton ($9/yd)
Pattern: Wearing History Tea at Two
Notions: vintage buttons ($4), piping (stash), white cotton scraps (stash), belt buckle (~$1), snaps ($2)
How historically accurate is it? Quilting cotton is not really the accurate weight fabric for this period and the buttons are 50s not 30s so I'll say 8/10
Hours to complete: didn't keep track...
First worn: December 2014
Total cost: ~$40

 I really wanted fabulous buttons. One trip to Jo-Anns was enough to tell me that actually vintage was the way to go. I looked around a lot because I really wanted white buttons! Buttons, like everything else white, have a tendency to yellow over time but I did score some fabulous 50s buttons that were just perfect!

The belt buckle was another sticking point. I had a really hard time finding a white belt buckle that was wide enough for this belt. Luckily, for Christmas, my hubby purchased a lot of belt buckles that was on my etsy wish list and this blue belt buckle was in it! I'm not 100% sold on it but it will do until I find a white replacement.

I had a lot of fun sewing up this pattern. It's got the original 1930s sewing directions which could be tricky for a beginner sewer but was a fun challenge for me. The biggest construction detail I didn't like is that the peplum is topstitched to the skirt after the skirt and bodice are attached. I think it would be much more practical to sew all three piece together at the same time.

I did have a few hiccups.  Somehow, the peplum came out too big! I made an inverted box pleat in the back for an easy fix. I think it probably was a me adjusting the pattern issue rather than a pattern issue but I'll definitely fix that for my next version. Also, the top is very blousey! I didn't make a muslin because I don't like muslins so that's one more thing to fix for the next version. The wide belt over the waist seam helps a bit to hide this and make this one wearable.

The white accents made my American Duchess 23Skidoos a perfect match! I love these shoes and I'm so happy to have the opportunity to wear them more often!

My hair was a bit of a flop but that's what I get for using a curling iron on a humid day. I can't wait for more 1930s fashions!


  1. Very nice! Finally making a 1930's outfit that fits me is on my to-sew list for 2015...

    And about that peplum: Judging by the look, it is a curved piece of fabric and your description of the order of construction suggests that you will have finished the seam allowances and pressed them before sewing. A curved edge in any fabric is prone to stretching, especially when it has to be handled a lot before sewing. That may account for (part of) the size issue you had.

  2. Seriously beautiful dress! 1930s styles like this look so immensely at home on you, dear gal.

    Wishing you a truly awesome, happy, healthy, fun filled 2015!
    ♥ Jessica

  3. Your dress looks so cute!! Emileigh of Flashback Summer made a cute one which is dual colored, but yours is just as amazing all the same color!

    I love the fabric you used, I'm going to check my local JoAnns now!

    Have a fantastic 2015, Stephanie!

  4. Lovely outfit, this is a great dress. Happy New Year.

  5. This looks fantastic! You did an amazing job! What did you do in attaching the buttons on the bodice? Did you connect the pairs with thread?

    1. I connected the top pair with thread. The bottom two pair I just sewed on to the peak-a-boo middle panel that goes behind the two bodice fronts.