Tag Archives: 1940s

The Debi dress

I seem to be on a bit of a ‘squeezing in at the last minute’ roll with sewalongs at the moment!

But, better nearly-late than never, right?

D’you remember back in, oh, February (eep!) there was a vote on my blog for which of three pattern-and-fabric combinations I should make up during March? Well, I was a good girl and started on the winning combination at the beginning of March. And then it didn’t go so well, and had a bunch of fitting issues, and I got grumpy with it and put it in the naughty corner and proceeded to make other things to cheer myself up. While in the back of my mind planning on getting it finished for the Sew for Victory sew-along.

It was a close call which dress was voted in, but in the end it was McCall 5676, a dress pattern from 1944, made up in a pretty, lightweight and silky-feeling floral cotton.

McCall 5676

Finally, that dress has seen the light of day, just in time for the end of Sew for Victory! Yippee! And after all the pain of making it, I even like it!!

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Both the pattern and the fabric came from Debi, and since I discovered the gorgeousness of 1940’s designs and got inspired to sew 1940’s patterns through seeing all of her lovely creations, this dress seems to be quite fittingly named after her.

I chose to make view A in the dress, sans lace. Instead, I left the little cap sleeves plain.

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern itself was reasonably easy to make up. Gathers at the front waist and front neckline, a band to finish the neckline, and button placket down the back (to which I added interfacing, even though the instructions didn’t call for it. Did they have interfacing or some equilivent back in the 1940’s?). I used some vintage self-covered buttons for down the back.

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The problems came with the fit. I usually (somehow?!) fit 1940’s dresses more-or-less out of the envelope, with only a slight grading to a bigger size at the waist and a small bust adjustment. So I was rather surprised when, even with trying it on at points in the construction, I finished attaching the buttons and discovered the waist sat far too low. Heck knows how that happened, since it seemed to be fine when I was trying it on earlier! Anyway, I’d been all nice and tidy and taking care with my finishing, so not only was there a gathered seam on lightweight delicate fabric to unpick, I’d also top stitched it down right close to the seam itself. Ugh.

(This was the point where the dress made it’s way to the naughty corner for over a month. Yep.)

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Then one day, it dawned on me. I needed to take the waist up by a couple of centimeters, so why not just cut the skirt off, and then when I reattach it it’ll be in the right place! Far, far easier, and sure enough, it worked well. ๐Ÿ™‚

(Although yes, I’m aware it doesn’t look like it’s sitting quite right in a bunch of these photos. That’s coz there’s a baby bump in the way that’s pushing the belt up higher.)

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The other fitting issue was in the back. There was a big gape at the centre back, again not discovered until I could actually do the dress up properly, by which point the buttons and button holes had been done. Ugh once more. (Admittedly, it would have been fine and sat flat if the neckline had been worn wider, but it just wasn’t sitting as wide as it was meant to on me and staying put, so that just wasn’t going to work.)

Time for another hack. I just moved the buttons, and folded the interfaced button placket under enough for the new button placements to be stitched on through the interfacing. (Ssh, don’t tell anyone!) Naughty maybe, but it worked, and got this dress off the UFO pile, so I’m calling that a good hack. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now that it’s all done, I think I quite like it. The gathers are pretty, and while I debate whether cap sleeves ever look any good on me, they’ll be good for keeping direct sun off my shoulders while still being nice and cool next time summer rolls around.

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Plus, bonus hidden in-seam pockets in the front of the skirt! I think this is officially my favourite feature of this pattern. Because, pockets! Functional ones!! In an unexpected (yet still logical) place!!!

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My mother is in town visiting this weekend, so my sister and I took her out for a one-week-early Mothers Day surprise High Tea at Sweet Pea cafe in Petone. (More about the High Tea in a later blog post.) Petone is one of the oldest Wellington suburbs, and has lots of cute late-1800 and early-1900s houses and buildings. We took photos outside the historic police station. In use during the first half of the 1900’s, this teeny tiny building was both police station and jail for the area. Ain’t it cute? It’s now a Historic Places Trust building, sitting set back a few meters from the main shopping street in Petone. I’m hoping that one day I’ll get to have a look inside coz I bet it’s super-cute on the inside as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Birds of a Feather Dress

1940s dress

The Facts

Fabric: a couple of meters of some pretty, shiny, floaty something-or-other that I got for $3 per meter in the Global Fabrics sale a couple of years back

Notions:

  • set of 6 pearl snap fasteners (~$7 from Made Marion)
  • a couple of vintage small snap fasteners
  • about 1.5 meters of piping (bought from the Trelise Cooper fabric store a few years back – maybe around $5 per meter?)
  • about 1.5 meters of pink ribbon for hem binding (about $1.50? Been in my stash for years)
  • some iron-on interfacing (bought hurriedly from Made Marion yesterday when I couldn’t find my stash of it – eek!)

Pantone Challenge colors: Acai (purple) and Carafe (brown) (plus some green piping that’s not quite Emerald but about as close as I could get!)

Patterns: bodice from Bestway C.493 (gift from Bea in the pattern and notion swap), skirt from Simplicity 4649

Patterns

Year: 1941 for the Simplicity pattern; sometime in the 1940’s for the Bestway pattern

Time to complete: about 7 hours I think – hard to say for sure, since time was snatched in little bits and pieces around a baby’s nap time

First worn: today, for these photos!

Wear again? Oh yes. To work tomorrow, probably.

Total Cost: about $22 (most of which was notions!)

1940s dress

I’m guessing a lot of you will have heard of The Sew Weekly before. It was a weekly sewing challenge, run by Mena Trott, with a community of people who sewed along with a weekly theme for two years. As well as being a lot of fun, it was also what got my sew-jo kicked off again – I sewed along with every theme during 2011 (and as many as I could in 2012 what with having a new baby and all the time challenges associated with that), and the challenge of sewing along with a community meant that as well as making 50 garments in one year (while the year before I’d made maybe 6 in total), I also got my blog properly underway (as I finally had a focus for it and things to write about!). So yeah. I kinda credit the Sew Weekly with getting me into the amazing and super-supportive and wonderfully creative sewing blogging world, and “meeting” a whole bunch of amazing lovely people (several of whom I’ve now met in real life).

1940s dress

Anyway, sadly the Sew Weekly vanished this year. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ (Since it hasn’t come back, Mel, Juliet and I have started up The Monthly Stitch coz we were missing the challenges and the community.)

But now, the lovely ladies who were a part of the 2011 Sew Weekly have put on a reunion! Yay!! ๐Ÿ˜€

And like all good Sew Weekly related things, it has a theme and a deadline. The theme was the Pantone Fall 2013 colour palette.

I went digging through my stash and unearthed this gorgeous fabric, all soft and silky and floaty, with feathers printed on it in brown (‘Carafe’) and purple (‘Acai’). Perfect!

1940s dress

The Bestway pattern was a gift from Bea as part of the Sew Weekly Reunion pattern and notions swap. (Thanks Bea!) I used the bodice from the Bestway pattern, and the skirt from the Simplicity pattern (as I had to adjust it at the waist and couldn’t quite be bothered figuring out the adjustments needed to keep a pleated skirt even all the way around. Hah! Laziness, yes indeed).

I must admit that the Bestway pattern confused me no end to begin with. On the outside it says it’s in five sizes, but only one size is actually given, and there are no markings anywhere that say what size it is. I hunted out a pattern that I’d made before that had darts in similar places and laid it out over the Bestway one to figure it out. (Conveniently, it happened to be the exact right size. Win!)

Neckline

I decided to add contrast piping to the seams down the front bodice and around the waist, just for fun and to break the colour up a bit. I cut the fabric for the centre bodice panel out with the leaves going across instead of down for contrast as well.

The Bestway pattern called for snap fasteners as closures, so I went with that and used a set of 6 pearl snap fasteners down the front, with a couple of small vintage silver ones hidden between some of them to keep everything nicely closed.

Piping

I used a pale pink ribbon for hem binding on the inside, and hand stitched both the hem and the sleeve cuffs. (Not as invisibly as I wanted it to be, but the fabric was so light I had to pick up a bit more of it than usual when stitching.)

HemBinding

I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out – it’s fun to wear, and I reckon it’ll work both in summer (since it’s nice and lightweight) and in winter with a merino top underneath (just like in the photos!).

FeatherBack

The “40s Meets 80s” Bolero

The Facts

Fabric: random sweatshirting that’s been hanging out in my stash for years. Origination unknown
Pattern: McCall 804
Year: 1940
Notions: none
Time to complete: about 1.5 hours
First worn: out for coffee with friends
Wear again? yep
Total cost: free!
Bump on the day of the photo: 40 weeks (and two days – officially ‘overdue’)

After a couple of week’s of maternity leave, aka hanging out on the couch with books and cats, my sewing mojo is finally starting to reappear. Yay! So, for the first time in over a month, here’s a Sew Weekly challenge creation.

This week’s theme is ‘polka dots’. I love polka dots – I just find them super cute, don’t you?

I’m not sure where this fabric came from originally – it’s been lurking in my stash for years. I suspect it may have been part of my mother’s stash ages ago? My guess is that it hails from the 1980’s, that decade of crazy printed sweat shirting fabrics. (Hence the name for this garment.) There was roughly a metre left, in an odd shape due to whatever had been cut out of it previously. Which meant there was the perfect amount to make up another version of McCall 804. (This is the third time I’ve made up this pattern – previous incarnations were the 40’s Tartan bolero and the Bookclub bolero. I never would have guessed a bolero pattern from 1940 would become one of my go-to patterns, but hey, turns out it has! I’ll be using it again in the future as well – one day I’m going to make up the collared variant.)

Since it’s made out of sweat shirting fabric, I didn’t bother to line the bolero this time, or even use facings. I just did a basic overlock then stitch under around all the edges – anything else seemed like it would be overkill for this bolero. Which meant it was super fast to put together – about 1.5 hours all up from start to wearing.

It had it’s first outing to Rata Cafe on Sunday, for coffee with friends. Rata Cafe is up near Zealandia (a native bush and wildlife reserve), so we grabbed some photos with pretty native bush in the background. (And me squinting into the sun a bit, as it turns out. Not sure how I managed to not notice that while we were taking the photos…. Gah.)