Tag Archives: 1950s

It’s all about the practicality

Or at least, it’s all about practicality with this creation!

Not that you’d think so to start with – after all, why on earth would one need a bed jacket? I’ve never really understood the concept – is it some sort of 1950’s ladies-who-lunch variation, where instead you sit up in bed eating breakfast and lounging around glamourously? Heck knows, but there seem to be a lot of patterns out there for sewn and knitted bed jackets from the 1950’s!

And inevitably, one (or maybe two) of those patterns has made it’s way into my stash. In this case, Simplicity 2778, from 1958.

Simplicity 2778

I bought this pattern for the slippers though, not the bed jacket. (And I’ve even made the slippers!) I never expected to make the bed jacket – sure, it’s kinda cute, but really, why?? (Also, why do they all have their mouths open on this pattern cover? Plus, those are all pretty massive earrings for wearing to bed. Yep, clearly bed jackets are all about glamour!)

And then I had the Little Man, and spent a heck of a lot of time sitting up in bed in the middle of the night feeding him. And the idea of a bed jacket started to make a lot of sense. Shorter than a dressing gown, so you can easily throw it on while sitting in bed for an extra layer of warmth. Yep, not a bad idea at all, really!

(Except that I never quite got around to making one while still doing night feeds with the Little Man.)

But this time, I am prepared! Yes indeed! (Well, semi-prepared. Got a five-days-overdue baby bump going on and I’ve only just finishing this, but still – it’s done before it’s needed! Win!)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And here it is – my version of a 1958 bed jacket. In a dusky pink sweatshirting. Because you know what? This is only ever going to be worn in the dead of night, in bed, while feeding a baby. It’s not about glamour, it’s about warmth. And it will Never Leave The House. Nuh-uh.

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It will, instead, be cozy and warm. 🙂 (Or that’s the theory, anyway.)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So saying though, I did do a bunch of topstitching on it, just because I could. It wasn’t thought-out topstitching, there was no plan, I just did what I felt like at the time until I ran out of the pink thread I was using. So I ended up with some topstitching on the pockets, on the facings, and on the collar. I was going to do some down the centre back as well but then I ran out of thread, so it got left as it was.

(‘Scuse the alignment of this – it does line up in real life, I promise! Just clearly not in this photo, at all. This is where I miss having photos taken by fellow bloggers – they spot this type of thing, haha!)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Pockets! Those are gonna be useful for a burp cloth on one side and snacks on the other side. Because let’s face it – there is a constant need for snacks when feeding a child in the middle of the night. Mmmm…. snacks….)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Speaking of the collar – rather than doing the collar facing in the same thick sweatshirting, I used some of the cotton left over from my Tania culottes. To stop it from peeking through at the edge, I trimmed a couple of mm off the collar facing’s outer edge and then aligned the inner seams when pressing so the collar rolled to the inside a little.

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

When I went to put the fastenings on, I had a moment of realising – this jacket’s never actually going to get done up, due to it’s purpose for existing. So, I flagged the fastenings and just did some top stitching instead. 🙂

Not really a lot to say about the construction of this – it’s a basic kimono-sleeve style, with cut-on facings, so very few pattern pieces. Fairly usual late-1950’s Simplicity instructions. And an unmarked pattern, so holes punched in it to indicate darts, grainlines, etc. (Which, by the way, I prefer – far easier to transfer markings when you can just chalk through the punched holes!)

Here’s something I hadn’t seen before, though – this pattern comes with a ‘fold sheet’ – a plain sheet of tissue paper that’s there for the sole purpose of having the rest of the pattern folded up in it. Brilliant! It keeps it nice and smooth in the envelope, and helps keep all the little pieces together.

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So there we have it – one baby-night-feeding vintage bed-jacket pattern, made up and ready to go! (Whenever this little one decides to make an appearance, that is. Hmmm…. In the meantime though, it makes for a good book-resting-place.)

A Practical Bed Jacket | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Apples and turtles for Dolly

Getting in right at the last minute for Sew Dolly Clackett, I made a dress this weekend!

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, I had big plans for the Dolly Clackett sew-along. I love dresses, and I love quirky prints, and cottons. (And I love Roisin’s style.) So this sew-along? Pretty much perfect, really.

Fabric was chosen, as was the pattern (to start with, making two Cambie dresses). And then, it happened.

The lack of sew-jo.

For a month.

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And not only that, exhaustion set in as well. I was just too darn tired to do anything except fall into bed at a crazy early hour every night.

My sewing machine was gathering dust. The fabric was sitting in it’s pile, untouched and ignored.

What happened?!?!



Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Yep, that’s a 13-week baby bump, folks. 🙂

(Which also means there was no way I was gonna be able to squeeze into any Cambie dresses anytime soon. Or anything else with a fitted waist, for that matter.)

And then it was Easter. A 4-day weekend. And the end of the first trimester. The exhaustion lifted slightly, I was rapidly running out of things to wear. Gloriously, the sew-jo returned!

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I dug out Butterick 4513, a re-released 1950’s pattern that I’ve made once before, way back in 2010. It’s a crazy-easy pattern to make, with a total of four pieces – front and back skirt, front and back bodice. Four darts, some elastic at the back, and you’re done. Voila!

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

It’s super-easy to wear, as well. A pull-on style, with elastic at the back so it looks fitted around the waist but that fitted-ness can stretch as required as a baby bump grows. Then spring back into shape for post-baby wear! Win!

Now, I was going to show you a photo of the first time I made this pattern, way back when. I know I did a blog post about it. But can I find it, anywhere?!?! No, I can’t. Argh! Instead, I’ve trawled through the archives and dug out a rather terrible image from Me-Made-June 2011. Here ’tis:

(What you can’t see here is that the top and armholes of the bodice are edged in red bias binding, which extends to tie in bows at the shoulders, just like on the pattern envelope. You’ll just have to imagine that part, I’m afraid.)

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I decided to make a couple of changes this time around. Firstly, I moved the darts, as they were in the wrong place for me. I moved the side bust darts down a couple of centimetres, and moved the bust darts across as well as lowering the point by a good inch. (Can’t remember the exact amounts – I wrote ’em down, but the paper has gone walk-abouts.) I also shortened the bodice by 2cm as I found the waist of the first dress I made from this pattern was a bit too low. (In hindsight, 1.6cm would have been about perfect for shortening. Next time.) And I shortened the skirt by about 16cm or thereabouts.

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The other change I made was to the shoulder straps. While I like the bias binding finish and the little bows of the pattern, I’m planning to wear this quite a bit over winter with a long-sleeved merino top and tights underneath, and little bows on the shoulder look kinda bulky under cardigans. (Plus, I’m trying to channel Roisin’s style a bit here, and she goes for wider shoulder straps.) So instead, I just made some wide, flat straps and attached them at front and back.

(I reckon the result looks a little bit like this dress of Roisin’s. Only with little wee turtles and fruit on it, instead of floral.)

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m pretty happy with how this came out. It’s super comfy to wear, is gonna work for the next month or two of pregnancy, and will be all good to wear after the baby arrives as well. (In fact, I’ve been wearing it quite a bit the last few days. I’m seriously thinking about making another one with the same adjustments. And pockets, which I forgot to add to this one. And we all know pockets make things awesome-er.)

As to how it’s channeling Roisin’s style? Well, here’s what I was using for inspiration/ideas:

  • It’s a vivid colour (she is rather fond of blue)
  • It’s a cotton in a quirky print (little turtles! Apples and pears!!) (even though it’s a smaller print than she goes for usually)
  • It’s a 1950’s inspired style, with a fitted waist (plus elastic, woo hoo!)
  • It’s got a reasonably high square neckline and wide straps, like the Flora dress she’s been making a lot lately
  • Plus, it works well with brightly coloured shoes and a cardigan. And we all know Roisin’s about the shoes and cardigans. 😉

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So there we have it – Sew Dolly Clackett, maternity style! (And our front door is even blue, so I could attempt to mimic’s Roisin’s photo shoot style. Hah.)

Dolly Turtles dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Cherry Ripe dress

Woo hoo! My new laptop has arrived!!! And you know what that means? I can start catching up on my backlog of blog plans. Plus, I can start to catch up on my backlog of reading of other people’s blogs. Yay!!! 🙂 (Sorry real life, I’ll be busy doing online stuff for the next few days. See you in a bit.)

Cherry Ripe dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

To start with, here’s one I’ve been wanting to share for a while. It’s been surprisingly long since I made something using a vintage pattern (back in September, in fact), and even though I’ve been loving working with indie patterns, I’ve also been missing the vintage action. December seemed like the perfect time to break that drought – there was a picnic-in-pretty-dresses with the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network, it was ‘Celebration’ challenge month on The Monthly Stitch, and I wanted a new dress to wear for Christmas. Cue cherry print fabric, and a pattern I’ve been wanting to make for a while – Academy 3377 from sometime in the 1950s.

Academy 3377

Such a cute pattern – I’ve been wanting to make this one for ages! Check out those sleeves – they’re cape sleeves, which attach with buttons, so you can wear the dress sleeveless or with sleeves. So cute! (Has anyone ever seen this sort of detail anywhere else? I haven’t, would be curious to know if it’s on any other patterns anywhere….?)

Cherry Ripe dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Since the dress was kinda for Christmas, I went with cherry fabric. Being down in good ol’ New Zealand, cherry season is right on Christmas time for us, so I always associate cherries with Christmas as they tend to be a Christmas-day treat. 🙂 And, you know, they’re also red and green, Christmas colours and all that.

Cherry Ripe dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The fabric is a basic cotton from Spotlight, that I impulse bought one day when I’d been standing in a queue to buy 1m of interfacing for nearly half an hour. I felt I had to justify the time spent there a bit more than just by spending $6 in interfacing, so when this leapt out at me from the clearance table for $8 per metre (woo hoo!) it kinda accidently slipped into my stash. Conveniently, just enough of it to make this dress. Clearly it was meant to be, right?!?

Cherry Ripe dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Being a typical 1950s pattern, and a typical Academy pattern, the instructions were somewhat sparse. I still have no idea what direction I was meant to fold the front and back skirt pleats in – I just picked a direction and went with it. *shrug*

I didn’t make many changes to this. I graded out at the waist (since I’m a bigger size in the waist than I am in the bust). And I added interfacing down the front button plackets for a bit of reinforcement. I also added an in-seam pocket on one side – skirts with pockets are the best, yes indeed. Oh, and I still haven’t gotten around to finishing the belt – I’m considering leaving it as a tie belt, what do you reckon? Or should I make it a typical belt instead?

Cherry Ripe dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, I kinda-but-not-really apologise – this is going to be a picture heavy post, due to the sleeve variations. You see, I can wear this sleeveless, or with the sleeves buttoned on. And since the sleeves are identical back and front, and button on, I decided to make them reversible – with the contract chocolate brown fabric on one side, and the cherry print on the other. So, you know, I have to put up pics of all the variations, right? (Especially since I’d like to know – which way does it look best? I can’t decide if the sleeves stick out too far or not – what do you think?)

Cherry Ripe dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

For the fun of it, I used contrast fabric for the inside collar and the belt. I also used the same fabric to make bias binding and used that to make piping for contrast trim along the shoulders and the sleeve edges, so when I wear it sleeveless or with the cherry print side out on the sleeves, there’s a bit more contrast brown to go with the collar and belt. Since the dress is covered with cherries, I went with the theme and used a chocolate brown poly-cotton (from a duvet cover actually, and left over from one of my maternity dresses). Coz it’s fun to make dresses that remind you of chocolate bars. 😉

Cherry Ripe dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The buttons down the front are vintage self-covered buttons, which I covered in the cherry print fabric. I went with plain red buttons (purchased from Made Marion) for the sleeves though, as a) I didn’t have enough vintage buttons in the right size, and b) I wanted them to lie flat for when I wear this with cardigans or jackets).

I used vintage green cotton tape for the hem. The pop of green on the inside makes me happy, yes indeed. (Hem tape – so much fun!)

Cherry Ripe dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Despite all my efforts, I didn’t get this made in time for the sewing bloggers picnic. Or for Christmas. I was so tempted to rush through it, but I decided to take my time, get the covered buttons right, make the piping, etc, and I’m so glad I did – it’s those little details that I’ve discovered make me appreciate my me-made garments more. So this dress’ first outing was in early January, to the wedding of a lovely lady I’ve been friends with since we were 13. She got married in First Church in Dunedin – a pretty Gothic style church where our high school used to have yearly events. It was a beautiful day – there was a piper piping us all into the church (can you spot him in the photo below?), and the ceremony and reception afterwards were lovely – happy and relaxed and perfectly suited to the bride and groom. I love weddings like that. 🙂

First Church, Dunedin, New Zealand

They also had a gorgeous vintage car, so I got a photo taken with it. Coz, you know, 1950s dress and a vintage car – it would have been wrong not to use the opportunity, right?!

Cherry Ripe dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The rest of the photos are taken out at my parents place, just outside of Dunedin. (Thanks to my father, who played photographer for me in between brilliant sunshine and bursts of rain. Strange weather that weekend, it was.)

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this dress. It’s a cute print, and I enjoyed wearing it. (And will wear it again soon!)

I’d make the pattern again too. Although next time, I’ll lower the waist by about an inch, as it’s a bit high on me. Aside from that though, it fits pretty well, so overall I’d say this one is a win and a good start to 2014. 🙂

The “Powder Room” Slippers

After all of the pajama party fun last week, I felt like carrying on with making comfy lounging wear. (That, and the weather suddenly turned rather cold and I didn’t have any slippers. Not a good combination, with wooden floors.) So, I made slippers!

The Facts
Fabric: scraps from my stash – cotton, polar fleece, and vinyl-type-stuff
Pattern: Simplicity 2778
Year: 1958
Notions: about 30cm of elastic for the back, bits of interfacing all over, and a length of bias binding
Time to make: 2.5 hours
First worn: as soon as I finished making them
Wear again?: yep
Total cost: maybe around $2 for the bias binding?

I used a pattern from 1958 – Simplicity 2778. They were pretty easy to put together, although I must admit they took me a bit longer than I expected. (For some reason, I always think small things will be fast to make? Heck knows why – it’s not like size has anything to do with complexity when it comes to sewing. *shrug*) I do have a small gripes with the pattern though, which is a bit unusual. Firstly, it completely forgot to instruct to cut out facings for the slipper uppers. It mentions the interfacing and the upper, and that’s it. It’s only when you get to the “with wrong sides together, based facing to upper slipper” part that I went “huh? What facing?” and had to go cut some out. Grrr. Oh well, they came together quite well in the end, and I’m wearing them now and loving them, so it was just a small annoyance.

I used the scraps from making my Powder Room PJs, because it’s cute fabric, and also I like the idea of having slippers that match my PJs. It makes me giggle a little with joy. 🙂 I lined them with red polar fleece for some winter snuggliness, and used some black vinyl-like stuff from my stash for semi-waterproof soles. Next time, I’ll make the soles thicker though – with this style of slipper, they need to be quite stiff so they don’t flop around. (Although I’m not sure how well that will work at the points where you have to stitch bias binding over 8 layers of fabric…. Hmmm…..)

They’ll keep my feet warm and cozy from our wooden floors, and I figure they’ll be especially useful in a few months when I end up having to get up several times a night to feed the little creature once it arrives. Therefore, I’m considering these a part of the Sew Baby challenge – in the categories of ‘separates’ and ‘vintage’.

The “Journey” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: about 3 metres of ‘travel icons’ print craft cotton, on sale from Spotlight last year, $4/metre
Pattern: Weigel’s 1703
Year: unknown, looks early 1950’s?
Notions: 4 vintage hooks from stash, 4 mismatched burgundy buttons from stash
Time to complete: 6.5 hours
First worn: hunting (unsuccessfully) for a new lounge suite
Wear again? yep
Bump: 20 weeks (halfway!)
Total cost: ~$12

Check out the fabric of this dress – isn’t that just so cute?!? (Well, I think it’s cute. Steve disagrees. But then, we have different taste in, well, pretty much everything. Hence the unsuccessful lounge suite hunt, over two full days. *sigh* Anyway….)

I picked this up in Spotlight down in Dunedin on Boxing Day – my mother and I inevitably go to Spotlight on Boxing Day, just coz we can. And they tend to have a pretty good sale down at the Dunedin store then. Also inevitably, I buy too much fabric and struggle to get it all in my suitcase to go home again. Oops! Luckily I managed to fit this in somehow, as when I found out the challenge for this week was ‘pink’, I knew immediately what I had to do – use this fabric!!! I’ve been hanging out to use it for a while. Different shades of pink, with little icons of planes and buses and taxis and suitcases all over it? Brilliant.

Weigel’s 1703 is a rather interesting pattern. It’s a bit different from the standard maternity patterns from the 1950’s, with their skirts with cut-out circles and their tent-like tops. (All of which are rather cute, I might add, and some of which are likely to end up in my wardrobe soon.) This dress does something rather nifty at the waist – the four pleats closest to the centre front are held together by hooks and thread loops, rather than stitched in place. See?

Then there are three more thread loops inside each pleat, so as your bump expands, you can expand the front of the dress. Meaning you don’t have to wear a tent until you need to – the tent grows with you! Pretty cool, huh?

And it buttons down the front, for once the baby arrives. (I’ve been informed I need things that button down the front for ‘easy access’ at that stage. I figure this dress fits the bill. Close those pleats to their tightest loops, add a belt, and it should be all good to go.)

Yes, that belt is worn above the waist at the moment. For some strange reason, it just doesn’t fit around my waist any more….. Go figure.

I indulged in a bit of blue to go with the pink (after all, I have no idea if this bump will be a boy or a girl, so probably best not to exclude either from a creation at the moment, haha!) and used some blue hemming lace on the hem of the skirt and also the armholes.

It’s a bit too cold to wear by itself around here these days, and I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold, so you’ll have to ‘scuse the merino top underneath. (It’s also a bit windy around here today, even though we were in a sheltered spot. Notice the vertical bit of hair on top of my head in some of these pics? There’s a reason I have long hair – so I can tie it back on windy days.)

My one issue with this dress is the fit in the bodice. Even though it’s for my bust size (in theory) it’s rather loose. Not sure what’s up with that – perhaps they just expected that everyone with a 34″ bust would swell up to a 38″ bust and not change pattern size? *shrug* If I make it again, I’ll take a bit of volume out of that front bodice somehow.

Actually, now that I remember, I had one other issue with this dress. The front skirt pattern piece was missing. Argh!!!! So I hacked it together by using the back skirt piece, drawing the pleat lines on to match the front bodice pleat lines, then measuring what was left and making it into a pleat on either side (as indicated on the pattern envelope) to make it fit the front bodice nicely. I think it worked out quite well. Gotta love those little hacks at times. I’ve worn this dress twice now, and I’m loving it quite a lot, so I think I will be making the pattern again. Next time I make it, I’ll take the time to properly draft a new front skirt piece so it’s there for whoever makes it up in the future.

And just because this is a maternity dress, here’s a photo of the bump. 20 weeks now, halfway there! Eek!!

(It also fits in nicely with the Sew, Baby! challenge, for both the vintage and the dresses categories. Yay!)