Thursday, October 28, 2010

Butterick 5919

With much delay, I'm finally able to post my latest interpretation of a vintage sewing pattern. I must admit that three exams in three days takes it toll, but all in all it went well. I passed both my interpretation exams, so now I'm done with the interpretation part of my education - yay! I won't know the results of my financial translation exam until late November, so I have my fingers crossed.

I've been watching all episodes of the latest take on Agatha Christie's classic stories about Miss Marple, starring Geraldine McEwan (and later Julia MacKenzie) as the crime-solving spinster, and I must admit the costumes are fantastic. Most of the feature-lentgh episodes take place between 1950 and 1952, which are some of my favuorite years for fashion.
One day, I was watching the new interpretation of 'Sleeping Murder' and I completely fell for the pink shirtwaist dress with white polka dots that the character Gwenda Halliday wore at one point:

Sophia Myles as Gwenda Halliday in 'Sleeping Murder'.
No copyright infringement intended.

The series have had a lot of criticism because the plots of the stories have been changed quite a lot, so if you'd rather not see Agatha Christie's stories altered, you should steer clear of this series. If you don't mind the alterations, however, you're in for hours of classic 'who dunnit'-fun and great costumes :)

Anywho, here's the pattern I found in this shop on eBay:

And here's my interpretation:

Unfortunately, the pictures don't show the gorgeous bubblegum pink colour of this cotton fabric, but if you want to know what the colour looks like, it is actually the same shade as the fabulous vintage prom dress that was sacrificed in the 1980s film 'Pretty in Pink'. There's a picture of it in the post Gertie did about the sewing scene in the film over at Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing.
The pattern was very straightforward to use. I didn't do any major alterations to the pattern, except my usual shortening of the hem by 2", and I also ended up using five buttons instead of the three suggested by the pattern. The reason why I increased the number of buttons was because I had some vintage 1980s white enamel snap buttons that were roughly the same size as the polka dots on the fabric, so I thought it would be a great idea to 'hide' them by placing them on the polka dots :P

I was a bit worried how the scalloped pockets would turn out, but I think they ended up looking great. Here's a closer view of one of the pockets:

I had previously heard of how tricky scalloped edges were to do, so seeing as I was hoping mine would turn out well, I decided to document the process.

Firstly, I ironed on some fusible interfacing on one of the two pieces required to make a pocket and I drew the scallops on with a pencil:

The original pattern piece for the pockets had had its seam allowance trimmed off around the scallops, so it didn't have its original rectangular shape, but I reconstructed the seam allowance when I re-traced the pattern.

After I had sewn the pocket pieces together, I did the slashes between the scallops as shown in the pattern instructions:

I don't know if it makes any difference, but I always use an old fashioned razorblade when I have to slash fabric.

The next step was to trim the seam allowance. A friend had advised me to do multiple clips around the scalloped edges at this stage, but my pinking shears managed to achive the same effect:

Here's how the pocket looked after I pressed it:

Maybe I was just lucky with how my pockets turned out. I do, however, think that the combination of using a stiff fabric with fusible interfacing was a big help to get them to look good.

Thank you for reading :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Vintage Sewing Giveaway - Vote for me!

Hi everyone! Turns out I'm one of the five finalists in the Vintage Sewing Giveaway over at the Vintage Patterns Wikia. My entry is Butterick 6710:

I'd really appreciate it if you'd vote for me here.
Thank you :)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Butterick 6710

Long time, no see! School started again, so I'm a very busy little bee. I have much less time to sew and to top it off summer's definately over; it was literally like summer one day, fall the next day. This left me feeling quite autumnal and I ended up postponing some more summery projects indefinately. Not only would these garments not get used, but the fabric and the colors were completely off for this time of year. I started looking through my pattern collection, as well as shopping for more vintage beauties, and I've found quite a few things to keep me occupied in the coming months.

Here's the pattern for my first fall project this year:

Here's how my interpretation looks:

I only made my usual adjustement of shortening the hem by two inches. The pattern was very straightforward and I highly recommend it. Here's a close-up of the tab:

The fabric is a chocolate cotton with a turquoise print called Lillies. As you can see, the texture is quite coarse. The fabric is also quite stiff, so I didn't have to wear a crinoline for the above pictures, but I think it would look lovely with a crinoline underneath. The skirt has six gores and is quite full. The buttons are faceted turquoise plastic shank buttons. If I can find some wide turquoise elastic, I'm considering making a cinch belt to match.

I've already got a new project in the works. Here's a little sneak peek:

My camera didn't capture the cute pink color of the fabric very well. Hopefully the pictures of the finished garment will be much better :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Butterick 7245 (Dress)

I've always thought this pattern looked like it would make for a nice outfit that could be worn for many occasions, but I never got round to buying it until about two months ago, when I found it in a vintage size 14 in Historically Patterns' shop on Etsy. Here's the pattern envelope:

Seeing as I'm quite happy with the fit of size 14 patterns issued before 1956, I didn't make any alterations to the pattern except for shortening the skirt by about 2 inches. The dress does not have a slit or kick pleat, so I was a bit worried that it would be too restrictive, but it was fine even before I hemmed it. I did a lapped back zipper and I think it turned out okay. It adds a nice finish to the garment, so I'm happy to have learned that technique. Anywho, here's my interpretation of this pattern:

The fabric is a tomato red cotton twill, a fabric I've grown quite fond of. I'm very pleased with this dress and I really love the fit. It's a wee bit blousey in the back, but I think it would be difficult to put on if it was tighter. The cotton twill is very stiff and thick and it therefore has a cinching effect in itself, so the belt only functions as an accessory. I also noticed the dress looked it's best when I wore my pointiest bullet underneath (if you're curious as to how pointy it is, it's available here). Depending on your bust, you should probably keep that in mind if you opt to make this dress in a fabric of similar thickness and stiffness.
I've bought some classic plaid fabric to make the jacket from this pattern. I don't know when I'll get round to making it, though, but hopefully it'll be sometime during September :)

If you like this pattern, it's quite easy to find. There's links to several sellers on the pattern's Vintage Patterns Wikia page. The listings are for vintage sizes 16 (bust 34) and 18 (bust 36) and they're quite cheap too :)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Hollywood 1341

I found this early 1940s pattern on eBay back in January:

Here's the front view:

And the back view:

You may recognise the printed cotton fabric from this dress. I simply adore the combination of light green and pink, not to mention floral fabrics, so I just had to buy several yards :)

This was the first time I worked with an unprinted pattern. I was a bit worried that the perforations would be confusing, but the instructions had a neat little layout explaining the functions of the perforations:

When I picked the pattern for the 'Poolside Pretties' category of the Summer Essentials Sew-Along, I initially thought that the mini sarong was a separate piece, however, it is attached to the bikini bottoms:

The bottoms provide a lot of control of the sarong and they actually have a much more flattering fit than I thought at first.

The alterations I made using this pattern were very minor. They are as follows:

Graded it up from a vintage size 12 to a vintage size 14.

Used snaps instead of buttons.

Did a pink top-stitch instead of applying the suggested rick rack trim.

Did not line the bikini top.

The outfit came together quite easily and I'm very happy with it. It is a very wearable set and I've worn it plenty since I finished it :)

Butterick 8149

I bought this pattern ages ago from Vintage Jubilee on Etsy:

I used a light-weight half panama weave with a citrus fruit print as well as some plain white cotton. Here's the front view:

And the back view (including awkward posture due to boyfriend cracking jokes):

This dress is one of my entries for the Summer Essentials Sew-Along. It was pretty straightforward to put together, but I did have to adjust the sizing; vintage size 14 Butterick patterns with a 32" inch bust fit my measurements very well without adjustments, but seeing as Butterick 8149 was made after Butterick changed the bust size of a size 14 pattern from 32" to 34", I ended up spending a lot of time fitting the bodice. I made a muslin of the bodice from the same white cotton used for the band, straps and bow. The citrus fabric is somewhat see-through, so I decided to use the bodice muslin as lining. The skirt isn't lined as I figured I'd wear a simple pencil half-slip with it.
Other than the bodice adjustment, I took about three inches off the skirt length.

Following Gertie's lapped side zipper tutorial, I did my very first lapped side zipper. Wonky stitches aside, I'm pretty happy with the results:

With regard to the Summer Essentials Sew-Along, I'm going to have to admit defeat. The description of the sew-along set the deadline as 'August-ish' and I think one week into August is as far as I'll push it. I had made a schedule for all five projects, but even when I'm not studying, I still don't have enough time. The halter top and pedal pushers will be finished later this month. The pajamas are still on my to-do list and will not be postponed indefinately, but I have not set a deadline for them yet. The 1940s bikini will, however, be revealed later today :)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Summer Essentials Sew-Along - Update

As July comes to an end, I thought it would be a good idea to let you know how my projects for the Summer Essentials Sew-Along is progressing. I still have a fair bit to do to get the items done, seeing as I've had some health problems the past two weeks. Nothing serious, just enough to keep me from sewing as much as I'd like. However, the sew-along description does say that you need 'to sew five(-ish) warm-weather friendly pieces by August(-ish)', so I'm going to take advantage of the wording and upload them to the Flickr group as well as blog about them as a part of that sew-along, despite of finishing in early August ;)

Hope everyone is enjoying summer :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Simplicity 3967

I bought this pattern from one of my favorite Etsy sellers, Midvale Cottage:

I made view 1 using a printed cotton and pink satin bias tape:

The pattern was very straight-forward to work with, but I'd sorta lost my sewing mojo so it took me a while to finish the dress. I wore it to a wedding last weekend, but apparently I'd also lost my blogging mojo, that's why it took me so long to get this posted, hehe.

This pattern is very similar to another wrap dress pattern I have previously made, namely Butterick 6914, but the construction of Simplicity 3967 is a lot better in my opinion. An example of this would be the fact the grosgrain ribbon used for the fastening of the back piece also works as a waist stay (I do apologize for my wonky stitches):

In comparison, the back piece of Butterick 6914 has no waist stay and just a little elastic to fasten it in front. Another problem I had with Butterick 6914, which I intend to correct, is how unruly the neck opening got because the instructions didn't mention anything about facings, although that probably would have been a good idea. While the instructions for Simplicity 3967 didn't call for any suppoort for the neckline either, I decided to apply a facing with fusible interfacing to the sweetheart neckline to have more control when sewing on the bias tape, and it worked like a charm. If you're going to make this pattern, I would recommend making some kind of facing with interfacing or maybe using stay tape. Whatever suits your fancy :)

Other than the addition of facings, I made the following alterations:

Shortened the skirt of the front part by a couple of inches.

Used bias binding instead of making a hem.

Used three sets of snaps instead of the suggested set of a hook and eye to fasten the back piece. I figured it would be a plus to be able to adjust the tightness of the back piece.

Made a series of small pleats when gathering the bust instead using the suggested gathering stitch.

So, what's up next? Well, I've just finished pre-shrinking the fabrics I'll be using for my summer projects, so now I just need to trace the patterns as I go. I hope to have at least one summer outfit finished by the end of this week, hopefully more :)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Essentials Sew-Along

I signed up for the Summer Essentials Sew-Along back in the beginning of June and now I'm ready to reveal what patterns and fabric I'm going to use. Sew-alongs aren't normally something I sign up for, mainly because I often find the deadlines too strict for my busy studying schedule. But now I've got two months till I go back to school, so this sew-along seemed just right and I thought it would be a great way to get some summery sewing done without non-summery projects getting in the way. Here's the categories and my choices:

Poolside Pretties: Anything that cools or dries you off when there’s lots of sun and water around. One and two-piece swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, surf shorts, sun hats, oh my! One versatile swimsuit cover-up I find lovely is a terry cloth dress. Double-duty, that’s what I’m talking about.

The fabric is a printed cotton. I'm planning to make view 1 and wear some bikini bottoms in matching colours underneath. I'm not really that hot for the bikini bottoms in view 2, but I'm not ruling them out completely :)

Clam Diggers & Co.: Bifurcated bottoms of every style and length, from flowing linen pants to short-shorts and all the inbetweens—clam diggers, pedal pushers, Bermuda shorts, etc.

The fabric is again cotton. I bought this fabric ages ago, intending to make some pedal pushers, but just never got round to it, so I thought this sew-along was a great way to get them checked off my list. Seeing as I'm going for pedal pushers, the length will of course be shorter than what the pattern suggests, but this is the only pants pattern I have that fits my measurements as it is :P

Sweet & Sassy Skirts: Prints and solids, short and long, low-slung and high-waisted. But most of all: Airy, flirty, flattering.

When I wear skirts, they're usually pencil skirts. Whenever I wear something with a fuller skirt, it's usually a dress, so I'm skipping this one and saving the fuller skirt for the next category.

The Sundress: Need I say more? To me, the perfect sun dress strikes that cord between casual and elegant—arms and collarbones, looking good barefoot or high-heeled. It’s something you can wear to both a barbecue and a summer wedding. A summer staple I’ve never owned until now.

This fabric is a lightweight half panama weave. I intend to make view A with the straps and band in white cotton. While I'll be making other dresses this summer, I wanted my entry for the sew-along to be the summeriest design I could possibly think of and this pattern and fabric combo was it.

Tees, Tunics & Blouses: Yes, please! I’m finally understanding the worth of blouses as they also strike that balance between casual/formal, totally versatile. I’m also thinking mini-dresses that do triple duty as tunics, dresses and cover-ups.

You might have noticed that this pattern doesn't quite fit the description for this category. Seeing as I don't really wear tunics and the likes, I decided to do a little creative interpretation of this category; I wanted the pattern to be something that could be used both casually and formally, as well as being super comfortable in the summer heat and a halter top was what I arrived at. I'll be making view 1. I don't know what the fabric is, it has a significant amount of stretch and the weave reminds me of denim. If you view the full-size photo, you'll see it's flecked with cobbery thread.

Those Summer Nights: Pullovers, cardis and hoodies may be the last thing you’re thinking of with the mercury rising, but there’s those cool summer nights, not to mention every last establishment with the air con blasting. Or: for those of you where thunderstorms are a daily summer experience, a lightweight trench?

I'm going for view A. Long pajama pants may seem a little weird for summer, but I think this outfit will be quite nice for breakfast on the balcony and snuggling up with my fella on the couch for a scary movie during a thunderstorm. The fabric is actually a bedsheet I bought at the local supermarket... Seems kinda appropriate to use it for a pajamas, eh? :D

This is what I have planned so far. I may make a skirt if the right fabric and pattern turns up. Some short shorts is also an option. Another halter top isn't ruled out either and there'll definately be more dresses, starting with a wrap dress I'm making for a wedding I'm going to next week. I also intend to make the sailor playsuit reproduction from Wearing History on Etsy, but I didn't know what category it would fit into, so that's just an extra feature :)

Butterick 6836

There's just something about wrap dresses that make them irresistible to me, so I was very happy when I stumbled upon this pattern at VintageDressmaking on Etsy at a very favourable price:

The design is significantly similar to that of Butterick 6015, but the construction of Butterick 6836 seems to be a bit better and I think the collar is a great addition. Another plus about the the design of Butterick 6836 compared to many other wrap dresses of the 1950s, is that it doesn't use the usual "pencil skirt with an overskirt"-design, which usually rules out using a crinoline. While I don't tend to wear crinolines, it's always nice to have the option to use one and the design of Butterick 6836 makes the use of crinolines possible. Anywho, here's the results of my attempt at this pattern:

Due to the season I decided to use all cotton. The floral fabric is from Michael Miller Fabrics and it's called China Garden. I found it on sale earlier this year and I'm so happy I bought a couple of yards, it looks particularly beautiful on the back of the dress:

The pattern was pretty straightforward to work with. The only alterations I made were:

Grading the pattern up to a vintage size 14.

Making the shoulders a little narrower.

Taking off a couple of inches in the length of the skirt because the fabric wasn't very wide.

Using bias tape instead of doing a hem, again because the fabric wasn't very wide.

Using four sets of small snaps instead of the two sets of hooks and eyes suggested to fasten the front bodice in the back.

I had some concerns as to whether the front bodice would ride up, but I wore the dress last night and had no problems whatsoever, so using snaps instead of hooks and eyes probably wasn't a bad idea. Another concern was how well my bound buttonholes would turn out; the last time I did bound buttonholes was about 6 years ago, but I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out :)

So... What's up next? Well, seeing as I passed all my exams, I've been planning what contributions I want to make for the Summer Essentials Sew-Along, so stay tuned to see what patterns and fabric I have chosen :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Butterick 6063 (frankensteined)

I had a little time between exams to have a go at this lovely pattern that I bought from Midvale Cottage on Etsy a few months ago:

The fabric was thrifted and I only had 1.5 meters of it, so I decided to use the pencil skirt pattern from Simplicity 1412 instead:

I must say I'm really pleased with how the fusion of these two patterns turned out. While the blue spinlon fabric is quite thick, it is nowhere near as thick as the cotton I used for my first attempt at Simplicity 1412, so I decided to do the kick pleat originally suggested for the pencil skirt:

You might notice that there's a couple of dark horizontal stripes across the back of the skirt. They fit with how the fabric was folded when I found it and I suspect them to be related to age (the fabric is most likely from the 1960s) as well as poor storage conditions, such as too much exposure to sunlight and/or uneven temperatures. I don't mind them much as they are only on the back of the skirt, but I would still be happy to get rid of them. Anybody have any suggestions? :)
All in all, Butterick 6063 was a pretty straightforward pattern to make and I'm really pleased with the results. Seeing as the size is a vintage size 12, I had to add 2 inches in the body to bring it up to a vintage size 14; this was achieved by adding an inch down the middle of the back and a half an inch to each of the side seams of the front bodice. Sewing wise, the only really tricky bit was attaching the collar to the lapel, which I decided to do by hand for the most part.
This past weekend me and my boyfriend went to the Bedrock Weekend, an annual rockabilly event in Denmark. I got some very flattering compliments about the dress from some gals who were surprised that it was homemade. It even caused a few wolf whistles, too!

While the bodice pattern calls for buttonholes, I cheated and went with snaps instead, because I haven't done bound buttonholes for like 6 years and I didn't want to risk ruining the fabric with my clumsiness. I did, however, sew on these fabulous vintage 1950s plastic buttons from rakubuttons on Etsy for detail:

The exam season is coming to an end for me and supposing all goes well, I'll be able to sew more frequently and thus present you with more frequent blog posts. I've signed up for the Summer Essentials Sew-Along and I already have several summery projects lined up :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Butterick 6020

The pattern:

Front view of the finished dress:

And the back:

The fabric is a cotton with a little bit of stretch. I can't really say for sure as it was thrifted.

This was my first time matching stripes like this. Fortunately, the process is often described in especially older sewing books, so I had come across it previously. I do, however, owe some thanks to a friend of mine who helped refresh my memory. She also said it was a good idea to write on the pattern which colour each stripe was, seeing as I was dealing with three different colours of stripes. Here's a picture of how it looks on the pattern piece (note: the placement of the pattern on the fabric in the picture below is completely random, the fabric merely serves as a background):

It's pretty simple to do and I was very pleased with the result. What you do is you place the pattern piece on the fabric according to what the piece dictates with regard to the straight grain of the fabric. Then you take a ruler and draw lines on the pattern piece that are a couple of inches long, or whatever you find best, representing each stripe. Then you turn the pattern piece to make sure you get a mirrored piece, making sure the stripes match each other in colour. I had to turn the piece around by 180 degrees, because the fabric had three different colour stripes.

The pockets are the really special thing about this dress. I decided to sew them on by hand because the fabric had a tendency to crawl together when I used a sewing machine, so it took a while, but it was pretty straight forward. If i make the dress again in a fabric that is easier to work with, I will probably use a sewing maching to attach the pockets. Here's a close-up of them:

All in all, this pattern was a positive experience, albeit demanding due to the stripes. I often use size 14 Butterick patterns from the early 1950s and I usually have to take them in a little. This one, however, seemed to run a bit small, but fortunately it all worked out.

Thank you for reading :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Simplicity 1412

Things have been very busy lately with exams taking a much bigger toll than I expected, so all my sewing projects have been delayed by about a week, but at least I finally have time to post the results of my attempt at Simplicity 1412.

Here's the pattern:

Front view of the finished product:

Back view of the finished product:

I treated this as a sort of wearable muslin, seeing as I made no major alterations to the pattern, except for making a slit instead of the suggested kick pleat, because the fabric was too thick for the kick pleat to look good. I also omitted the welts as the thickness of the fabric wouldn't make them look good either. I found the fabric on sale, dramatically reduced, and I didn't use a zipper as the fabric is quite stretchy. It's a rather thick cotton, the type of cotton you use for sweat-shirts. As for the colour, it unfortunately looks somewhat grey in the pictures, but it is a green pastel colour flecked with silver thread.
I had heard many good things about this pattern beforehand and working with it was definately a positive experience. It came together quickly and the darts and soft pleats were all in the right places. Particularly the soft pleats at the front of the skirt are really flattering:

Although I like wearing foundation garments, many times I simply do not bother because I'm in a hurry or it's too hot, and then it is nice if the garment is constructed in a way that flatters the tummy area and the soft pleats of this pattern ceratainly do that. I have used a similar pattern that also had soft pleats in the front part of the skirt, namely Simplicity 2144:

The fabric I used for this pattern was boiled wool, which is also rather thick. The soft pleats ended up looking like this:

They're not as flattering for my figure as the ones Simplicity 1412 presented, so I think I'll stick to Simplicity 1412 from now on. I already have some leopard print fabric lined up for my next version of it. The only alterations I intend to make to the patterns is taking it in by a little less than an inch down the center front and the same down the center back and I 'll probably leave the welts out again.
I also intend to make the jacket included with Simplicity 1412, as I have heard many good things about that part of the pattern as well.

Lastly, here's a sneak peak of my current project, Butterick 6020:

I'm going to wear it to a dance I'm attending on Saturday the 29th, so at least I have a deadline for it. The results will probably be posted around the same time, maybe before, it all depends on how demanding my next exam is :)