Vintage spring

Spring is finally here! Well, theoretically, the weather here has turned grey again after the sun of last week. But we’ll just ignore the rain and focus on the calendar! So I figured it’d be time for something a little spring themed. I’ve been looking a lot at vintage sewing pattern covers. They’re a great example of fashion from a period. I always preferred the 1950s above the 40s and 30s, but they’ve been calling to me lately. Although I still love the wide-skirt silhouette, you see a lot of interesting detail in seaming and patterning in 40s and 30s dresses. 50s tends to be a bit more clean-cut, which makes dress patterns slightly less interesting. I love circle skirts, but pattern wise once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

So, for this post, a focus on 30s and 40s vintage dresses! I love the pastel tones with these dresses, and figured pastel blue would be perfect for a spring theme.

1930s with a nice waistline treatment. I really like how the blue dotted fabric is sheer at the top. Not entirely sure about the hat it’s been paired with though…

30s 40s red floral white dot sheer print swing war era  McCall 9653 Vintage 1930s Sewing Pattern Dress by studioGpatterns, $28.50:

I love these styles, they seem very comfortable yet fun at the same time. I think I prefer the one in the middle, with pintucks and lace detail.

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Clean lines for a sophisticated look. The little details are what makes this period. I love how the overlap on the neckline features a round edge.

1930s McCall 3344 Misses Flared Skirt DAY DRESS womens vintage sewing pattern by mbchills:

Another lovely grey-blue pattern. Also, this has a bow on the back, which is just perfect.

1940s Misses Short Sleeve Dress:

A lot of 1940s dresses feature buttons all along the front. You can see the skirt starting to widen at the bottom, but the top is still pleated for a closer fit.

Fashion Frocks 1940 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!:

Lovely zigzag trims on this one. And again; a bow in the back! The bodice is fairly simple construction wise, signalling we’re getting on in time.

1940s Misses Dress Vintage Sewing Pattern day dress casual floral red white pink blue war era WWII color illustration fashion style house wife looks:

A slightly darker blue. I love how they provide different detail/style options on this pattern. Exactly what home-sewing is all about! (Also, I’d love for patterns to be 15cts again 😉 )

lovely dress:

 

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1820’s Ballgown

A couple of months ago I was at a fabric market and stumbled on a lovely light-blue fabric with silver ribbon embroidery on the sides. I totally wasn’t planning on anything where it would work, but it was too pretty to leave! Also, it was pretty cheap, being a poly-satin, but the color was so nice that it didn’t actually look too cheap. As a good price is always a good incentive to buy stuff you don’t have plans for, I got it.

The color, drape and border really spoke regency to me, especially the latter regency where emphasis on the hem was getting more pronounced. Say early 1820’s. This was also a nice new challenge, as my previous regency projects were a bit earlier, with the waistline directly below the bust. In the 1820’s, the waistline started dropping and I suspected that would actually be more flattering on me. I don’t really have a lot of bust, so regency dresses make me very tube-like. Of course, that was the idea at the time, but a little more waist emphasis can be more flattering to a modern eye.

I still had a couple of other things to finish up first, but I did start thinking and playing with designs.

 

This is the design I came up with:

I wanted to use the ribbon part for the hem and the sleeves, but also let it return in the bodice a bit. To not make it too overpowering, I decided to just use it in the center-front. The little stripes on the bodice were inspired by this dress (natmus.dk), and are stuffed fabric tubes. I also decided to make a ‘waistband’ as in this example to lower start of the skirt a bit more, and to make the back bodice gathered as in this example.

Brunrød silkekjole, 1816

I did nearly all of the work on the dress in one weekend. I started with lengthening my bodice pattern for the regency dresses a bit, and after that was cutting the fabric!

The lay out for the center bodice part. I cut off the sides of the pattern and cut those from the plain fabric. The pieces will be sewn together and the seams hidden by the fabric tubes.

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All the bodice pieces cut out. I flatlined the bodice in white cotton, because the blue fabric was very slippery.

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The back panel was made wider in the center-back to allow for the gathering. I made the lining slightly shorter than the outer fabric so it wouldn’t show. The pink stripe on the lining is the original width of the bodice.

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A picture which shows the bodice pieces sewn together. To make the fabric tubes I used fiber fill and rolled it into strings, wrapping it in fabric strips and hand-sewing them closed, then hand-sewing them onto the bodice. I believe the original versions of these were made with carded wool stuffing, but I happend to have fiber-fill laying around. It worked okay, but I had to be careful to make the tubes even. I also didn’t cut the strips on the bias, which probably would’ve made them a bit less wobbely as well.

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What it looked like with half of the fabric tubes sewn on! The waistband is still just pinned at the center-front so I could stuff the tubes in the seam.

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I didn’t take much pictures after this, but construction was fairly straight forward. The sleeves were the typical regency-sleeve pattern, only extended at the bottom to be a couple of cm. longer than the original pattern. The back bodice was gathered onto the waistband, the top raw edge of the bodice folded over and hand-stitched to the lining. I attached 2 cotton cords to the shoulder seams to run through the folded-over outer fabric towards the back. These will be the draw-strings to close the back. The skirt was basically 2 rectangles, the back a 2m wide one gathered to the side & back panels, with a slit in the middle.

Finished photos!

 

And because I couldn’t resist, one with an old version of Pride & Prejudice

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Regency bonnet

When I decided to make a spencer jacket to be able to wear my blue Regency dress outside, I figured that was also the perfect opportunity to finally make up a bonnet. A few years back I bought a  straw half-sunhat-thing on a discount which would be a perfect base for a straw bonnet. I delayed decorating until I had something to wear it with though, and now I’m glad I did because it fits with my dress now!

 

My main inspiration was the blue/straw bonnet in this fashion plate:

Although the straw bonnet is a regency stereotype, I believe fabric-covered bonnets were actually more common. Most fashion plates show other types. The straw version was easiest to make though, so I chose that. Aside from the blue ribbon, I really wanted flower decorations to fancy it up a bit.

 

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I bought a fabric (plastic) flower from Xenos and took off the blossoms. I then pinned them to the side and pinned the ribbon over it to see what it would look like. This was the approved version.

 

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I started with sewing on the ribbons to tie it close

 

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I then glued on the flowers with my glue-gun. Not very period, but the whole thing is plasticky anyway, and it wasn’t going to show.

 

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I don’t really trust glue, so I sewed on the flowers for good measure.

 

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And then I sewed on the blue ribbon around the brim.

 

And finished!

Photo’s of the bonnet worn will come soon!

 

 

Regency spencer jacket

Now my blue regency dress is done, I want to wear it and the next event is in a couple of weeks, so good news for me! The only problem, it’s outside, in the Netherlands, in December. So thin silk and cotton are not going to cut it. I therefore decided to make a spencer jacket. And a muff. And a bonnet. And if possible a chemisette. A bit optimistic, but who knows. In any case, the spencer has the priority here, and as I already had the pattern and fabric, this should be very doable. So two weeks ago I cut and printed and assembled the pattern. I made the mock-up and made adjustments. Last week, I cut the fabric, the lining, sewed them together and pinned the bodice together. Last weekend I assembled the pieces, made the collar and sleeves, put everything together and finished the raw edges. I even started on the button-holes. Because, of course, for a last-minute project it’s a good plan to make 5 hand-sewn button-holes. Well… at least it’ll be pretty when it’s done! At the time of writing, I’ve made 3 button-holes and attatched the buttons, so if I run out of time it will close with 3 instead of 5 buttons!

Finished pictures will come after the 7th of December, when the event has happened, but I have some construction pictures!

The spencer is made from light-weight blue wool, which is gorgeous, but should really be seen in daylight. My flash doesn’t do it justice. The lining is white cotton, and I used Sense & Sensibility’s spencer pattern, but adapted it to have a high closure and fit my figure a bit better.

The inside of the sleeves before attaching them to the bodice.

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Gathering the sleeve cap

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The bodice assembled, before finishing the edges and the sleeves.

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And from the outside, on my dummy

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And from the back.

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Pinning the sleeve into the arm-hole.

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And with the sleeves attatched and the edges finished. Pinned to close.

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Close-up of the sleeve cap. The color is a bit weird here, it’s prettier in person.

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From the back!

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And a little preview of it worn over my dress! I’m still in love with the fabric, this picture shows the color best.

 

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Blue dotted regency dress – Finished!

I finally got around to make some photo’s of my new dress! I also made long sleeves, but I forgot to take one when we took the pictures, so I only made pictures with the short-sleeved option.

 

 

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The front of the dress. Two puffed sleeves and a gathered front to the bodice. The outer fabric is sheer silk, so I lined it with the blue cotton I also used for the waist and sleeve bands.

 

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I wanted the front of the dress to not be gathered, to create a slimmer silhouette, which I think worked out quite well!

 

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From the side. I made loads of gathers in the back for the regency ‘pouf’. (Does my butt look big in this? Yes? Good!)

 

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And from the back. I made the closure with hooks and eyes, with a ribbon at the bottom of the waist band to ensure that fitted closely.

 

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Center back.

 

Construction posts:

Dress construction

Concept

Inspiration – Blue Natural Form

Another inspiration post. I started looking for images for this post with the idea of selecting any blue natural form fashion plate dress I liked. Apparently, that wasn’t specific enough, as I was finished with over 25 images. So for this post, my favorite dark-blue natural form fashion-plate dresses. Maybe I’ll do a light blue version later…

 

Inspiration – Blue bustle gowns

I’m busy working on my regency dress, and it’s actually starting to look like something! No pictures yet though, but working with the lovely blue fabric is amazing. It’s such a lovely shade, and it catches the light in a very sublte way which makes it change color, it made me think of the color of the sea. A bit blue, a bit gray and a hint of green somewhere.

So as I don’t have any pictures yet, I was inspired to do a post on blue dresses. And because there’s so many amazing blue bustle gowns, a focus on the 1880’s.

Some deep-blue dresses from the period:

Metmuseum

William Benton Museum of Art

 

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And some blue/white seaside dresses in fashion plates:

 

And one extant example:

Metmuseum