Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Little Update

It's been a crazy busy summer so far!! Lots of sewing and traveling and much more planned! One of my recent projects has been testing a soon to be released pattern from Wearing History, but more on that later.

I just have a quick post today to let you know I've added some new things to my etsy shop. I'm hard at work creating vintage reproduction pieces to sell. (Read about my plans here.) My master plan is to have a small inventory to list this fall. Between now and then I will have a few special blog posts about my progress and the results of my clothing survey. (Your feedback has been amazingly helpful so far!! Thank you!!) But in the mean time I need to clear some space. More things will be listed soon!

Satin Wedding Shoes from 1937
1930s satin wedding shoes
Sporty 1930s cotton dress
1950s cotton dress


Thursday, July 9, 2015

1940s Blouses by Du Barry

Here is another outfit post from the MAAM WWII weekend. I have more more planned but I'm still waiting on a few photos from a photographer. (I had the opportunity to do a really awesome photo shoot!! I can't wait to share!) Be sure to check out the official event photo gallery, you'll spot a few photos of Cori and I in there if you look carefully. Although I only ending up wearing one, I made myself two new blouses using Du Barry 5172. This is a great little pattern that dates from 1941. I think it's my favorite blouse pattern by far! It incorporates many of those vintage details that I really enjoy.

The sleeves have a set of small pleats at the ends and little pouf shoulder. The front of the blouse is constructed with shoulder yokes and the collar is a simple rounded shape. Another thing I like about this blouse is that instead of being straight from underarm to hem, the blouse is cut to fit the torso. My first blouse was made from a white figured cotton muslin that I purchased on sale from Joann's Fabrics. (Note to self. Gotta get some pictures!) I wanted to trim the white blouse with lace as shown on the pattern envelope but couldn't fine any I liked. The red and white stripe is a cotton fabric that came from my mom's fabric stash.

Photo by Neal Howland


Photo by Neal Howland
Although the pattern doesn't say to, I decided to cut the shoulder yokes and placket for the buttons on the bias. This helped to break up the stripes and add a little more visual interest to the blouse. I had a couple people ask me about working with stripes. I personally really like working with stripes and plaids for some reason. Most of my historical clothing is made using stripes, checks and plaids. (see my cross barred gown.) Stripes can be your best friend or worst enemy. Be patient. I often find that stripes can really be helpful when lining up pattern pieces. It can be fun challenge! Depending on your project you may need to allow for some extra fabric if you are worried about matching up the stripes like I did with my Dorr Mill Hoodie. Pin carefully! Then baste or sew. Craftsy has some good tips here, there are also a few here as well.

My skirt was made using Du Barry 5296. I love this skirt! It has a slim fit and a generous pleat in back for easy of movement. I have a lovely blue and white pin striped wool that I want to use to make the whole suit as shown on the envelope. The blue linen I used was left over from an 18th century frock coat that I made for my brother a few years back. It wrinkles easily but linen is so comfortable to wear especially when the weather is hot! This skirt has become a good vintage basic and mixes and matches well with other items I have. I've worn this skirt about 5 or 6 times now!


For the dance Saturday night I changed into my linen pants (Simplicity 1306) and flats. After wearing heels all day, something I'm not use it, my Bleyer Liddy Hoppers felt like heaven. They are super comfortable dance shoes! I bought mine when I was still in high school and dancing all the time. (Wow, how many years ago now?! Yeah, it's been a few.) Sadly I don't get to do much dancing these days so I'm soooo out of practice. Cori doesn't really dance and the closest swing dance scene is a good 2 hour drive from home. But I did manage to get him out on the dance floor that night, it's a lot of fun dancing to a live band!


One of the official event photographers, Big Bloc Photography LLC, took these photos of us and our friend Max beside the MAAM's B-25J bomber Briefing Time. You can see his complete gallery, along with tons of other great photos from the air show here. I love the Kodachrome coloring! Cori and Max are wearing their 1940s LADP uniforms. They were the only two from the police group able to make it to the airshow this year. We're hoping for a bigger turn out next year.



Outfit Details
Blouse - Made by me, Du Barry 5172
Skirt - Made by me, Du Barry 5296 
Pants - Made by me,  Simplicity 1306
Shoes - Wingtips from Blyer
Victory Pin - local antique shop

Photo by Neal Howland
Summary of the Patterns
Fabrics: Cottons for blouses, linen for skirt
Pattern: Du Barry 5172 (blouse) and Du Barry 5296 (skirt)
Year: 1941
Notions: Buttons, thread, and snaps, zipper and matching lace hem tape for skirt
How historically accurate is it? Pretty darn good! Cotton is perfect for the blouses. I don't know how popular linen was used for clothing but it's what I had and I love it.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? The button holes for the blouses. I dislike them but I'm getting better the more I do.
Did you change anything? Surprisingly, no. Both patterns went together very well. I had some fitting issues with the waist of the skirt but nothing major.
Time to complete: About a four hours for each blouse including buttons and button holes. About the same for the skirt
First worn: June 2014
Total cost: About $6 for each pattern, less then $10 for the white fabric. Buttons, striped fabric and linen fabric from the stash.
Notes: Linen does wrinkle easily but it's so comfortable especially when the weather is hot. I love this skirt and need to make another!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Dorr Mill Plaid Hoodie

At long last I present to you my late 1930s Dorr Mill Plaid Hoodie! I actually finished this earlier in the spring but it wasn't until recently that I was able to get some decent photos. This jacket counts towards my 2015 personal vintage pattern sewing pledge. In these pictures the jacket is worn over the blouse (Hollywood 1530) and slacks (Simplicity 1306) that I made last year for the Reading Air Show. It was very warm at the airshow this year but around 7:30 in the morning it was just cool enough and comfortable to wear the jacket. The first day of the airshow I wore my new yellow Du Barry suit.



Several years ago, probably ten now, I purchased this wonderful wool plaid from the Dorr Mill Store. They sell a lot of supplies for rug hooking and rug braiding but you can also purchase their lovely wools by the yard. If you like working with natural fibers like I do, a trip to their physical store is a real treat. The wool for this jacket was originally intended for a cold weather Civil War era dress. The fabric was from the remnants bin so I had to purchase three separate pieces to get the yardage I wanted. I got as far as making a simple petticoat, which I wore a few times for 18th century and Civil War era events, but that's about it. That's a good thing because a) I almost never get to wear my 1860s stuff any more (sad face) and b) if I had cut into the fabric to make a bodice of any kind I most likely would not have been able to use the fabric for another project. Fortunately when I made the petticoat I simply seamed together two panels of the wool and pleated them to a fitted waistband. The third unused panel was left untouched. I was able to cut all the jacket pieces except the sleeves out of one panel. Because I wanted to be able to match up the plaid I had to take apart the petticoat to cut the sleeves.



Yep, early spring in New England! You can see the mountain of snow outside my kitchen widow, a chilly contrast to the bright red tulips and tea pot on the table. That particular evening was spent drinking tea and eating brownies while putting the finishing touches on the jacket.

The cutest tea pot ever!
The sleeves are cut with an upper and lower sleeve section and are slightly gathered at shoulders. The jacket back is cut in one piece on the fold. The jacket fronts are made from two pieces each. And of course the hood, also cut on the fold. Hooray hood! The whole jacket is lined with cotton muslin. I was hoping to use white flannel as a lining to make the jacket a little warmer but couldn't put my hands on it in the stash. I know it's around somewhere, probably hiding with the red and black check flannel I picked up at the same time for another project, boo.



The hood on this jacket is HUGE! And I love it! :)
The whole jacket is gathered slightly to a wide fitted waistband and closes with buttons up the front. The buttons appear to be shell. I added a snap to the very bottom of the jacket. One of my favorite things about this jacket, aside from the hood that is, is the way the front is constructed. It was a little fiddly but I'm happy with the result. I did restitch one front section because the fabric shifted causing the plaid stripes to be off set. I flat felled the seams for a neater finish.



And here is proof that my friend Jason and I were at the same event! Jason is the man behind those awesome Greater Boston Vintage Society events like the White Lightning Ball (see my posts here and here) and the Roaring 20s Lawn Party (see my posts here and here.)


Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: 100% wool from the Dorr Mill Store, cotton lining
Pattern: Simplicity 2823
Year: late 1930s
Notions: Buttons, thread, one snap
How historically accurate is it? Very. Plaids were pretty popular in the 30s and 40s for outerwear.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? Fitting the gathered front sections to the waistband and jacket front. Not too difficult just a little fiddly.
Did you change anything? I reduced the size just a touch and added a snap to the bottom front.
Time to complete: About a week, I'm guessing 8ish hours? I'm back at keep track.
First worn: Earlier this spring, first good pictures taken June 7 at the Reading Air Show.
Total cost: I can't remember what I paid for the fabric because I bought it so long ago. I'd guess with the pattern the cost for this project would be in the $30 to $40 range.
Notes: The jacket fits great over a dress as intended and works well with 40s high waisted pants. If I were to make this again for modern wear I would lengthen it a little bit.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

WWII Airshow and a Yellow Suit for 1942

This spring I've been sewing like a mad woman. Between participating in sew a-longs (see my Spring for Cotton blouse here) and getting ready for the big WWII airshow in Reading, PA, I've accomplished a lot! I've been making a healthy dent in the fabric stash as well as my personal vintage pattern sewing pledge. Over the next two weeks I'll be sharing several of these projects.

Photo courtesy of Joanna of Dividing Vintage Moments
While I love my true vintage items, I feel it's important to add more reproduction items to my vintage wardrobe, especially for living history events. Being outside in all kinds of weather and moving around all day can put a lot of stress on a vintage garment. Sweat and sunscreen are also bad for older fabrics. So in preparation for the airshow, like a true crazy person, hauled out my stash of patterns and fabrics and set to work.

The Mid Atlantic Air Museum WWII weekend is an outstanding event. If you enjoy history, cool military vehicles and WWII era aircraft, you must go! This year was the 25th anniversary of the airshow and it did not disappoint. One of the highlights was seeing Fifi, the only remaining B-29 bomber still in flying condition, as well as 2 of the 3 remaining B-24s still flying! As a re-enactor I planned to be at the airshow all three days. I knew I wanted to make things that would be comfortable, always key, but also were true to the styles of the war years. I have a lot of 1940s patterns, (shocking!) some I know date between 1940-45 (thank you McCall and Du Barry for including copyright dates!) but others I'm less sure about. My crazy goal was to make things I could pin point to between 1938 and 1944. Below are the patterns I selected. I made two new blouses with Du Barry 5172. (dated 1942), a skirt from Du Barry 5296 (dated 1941), and a suit using Du Barry 5371 (dated 1942). I rounded out my wardrobe for the weekend with the blouse and slacks I made last year and a jacket made from 2823. I brought the Red Birds dress with me too thinking I would wear it for the hanger dance Saturday night but ended up wearing my slacks instead.



Today's post is about the yellow suit as that's what I wore the first day. The yellow crepe for this suit was left over from my Winter Formal Dress made from Simplicity1469.  I received several nice compliments while wearing this. But this suit was so bright outside in the sunlight, yikes! Particularly when standing beside so many drab green military vehicles and tents. I pin curled my hair the day before and brushed it out in the morning. It looked pretty good for the first hour or so but after that the curls went flat. Too much humidity in the air I guess. By the end of the day it was so hot that I said the heck with it and pinned my hair into a messy bun just to get if off the back of my neck. At least my victory rolls lasted all day! My decision to pair the suit with red shoes and a blue hat came from the same newspaper article I used for my recent spring photo contest.

My hair still looking half way decent in the morning.


Du Barry 5371 is dated 1942. The skirt is a classic 5 panel skirt. The jacket can be made with long or short sleeves with or without trim. One of the things I really like about this suit is the mock blouse, or dicky, that is attached to the jacket. This could easily be changed out with one of a different color or style to create a completely new look. Other then fiddling with the waist/hip size of the skirt, the only change I made was to add additional snaps to the end of the dicky. I found it to be a touch too short and didn't want to stay tucked into the front of the skirt. A few extra snaps to the bottom of it and the inside of the waistband of the skirt helped keep everything together. The buckle I used is a vintage one from my stash. The color is a shade darker then the jacket trim but I still like it. I may need to let the jacket out just a touch where it sits at the waist/hips so it sits a little more smoothly. Overall this suit went together pretty quickly. The most time consuming part was attaching the red bias tape trim. One side is sewn using the machine but the other side is hand tacked to the inside.

The untrimmed jacket and a peak at my messy sewing area.

Attaching the red bias trim.
Photo by Neal Howland
Blogger photo op!! Look who I finally had the chance to meet! The wonderful Joanna from Dividing Vintage Moments!! It was great to meet someone I've come to know through the world of vintage blogging. And look at her suit! Isn't it fantastic!?! We made such a colorful pair. Joanna's husband kindly snapped a few photos as proof of our meeting. Maybe next year we can organize another meeting with other vintage bloggers. (I'm looking at you Miss Emileigh! ;) )

Photo courtesy of Joanna of Dividing Vintage Moments
Photo courtesy of Joanna of Dividing Vintage Moments
Outfit Details
Suit - Made by me, Du Barry 5371
Shoes - red pair from Etsy, brown pair are repros from Dancestore.com
Stockings - Trailer Park Flamingos
Pins - Victory pin from Ebay, flowers by 1940s Style for You

Photo by Neal Howland
Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: Mustard/yellow crepe from discount fabric store
Pattern: Du Barry 5371
Year: 1942
Notions: Zipper, snaps, red bias tape, vintage buckle
How historically accurate is it? Very! The crepe is very close to dresses of the period and the trim was inspired by the pattern artwork.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? I had some fitting issues with the skirt when it came to attaching the waistband but was finally able to work those out. I think that was more on my (rear) end and not so much the pattern. :P
Did you change anything? Other then sizing I just added a few extra snaps
Time to complete: About a week and a half working during the evenings.
First worn: June 5, 2015 at the MAAM WWII weekend
Total cost: Around $30, although this is the second outfit made using this fabric so in reality it's closer to $15
Notes: Overall very happy with how this turned out! Next time I'll make the dicky a touch longer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Miss June Runner Up!

Exciting news! I just learned today that my photo was selected as a runner up for the Vintage Life Magazine Miss June Contest! I don't know if the runner ups are published anywhere other then Facebook, does anyone know? I will certainly be buying a copy of that issue if my photo is in it. :) Thank you to everyone who liked, shared and commented on my photo.

Right now that yellow dress is on its way to a lucky lady in the UK. The dress didn't fit me as well as I would like but I'm happy it's going to a new home! (You can see more photos of the dress here and here.) If you follow me on Facebook you may have spotted a few new photos from my trip to the Reading Air Show this past weekend. I will be sending one in for Miss August. I just need to pick one! lol!! I'm working on blog posts about my outfits and will be sharing them soon!




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