Thursday, May 29, 2014

Wedding Dress Pattern Help!

OK fellow costumers and vintage lovers. I need your help locating a pattern!! Specifically McCall 8315. I am desperately searching for a copy of this pattern in my size, or close to my size. (Ideally 32" to 34" bust although I could scale down a 36" bust if I needed to.) Or a pattern that is very similar. Can anyone help??

It just hit me today that I have about four months to go until the wedding and I have no dress. :( I have fabric, oh plenty of fabric. Yards of ivory lace and some ivory silk backed velvet, but no pattern. Well, actually I had one in mind, my 1930s Bestway Fashion evening dress pattern, but after making a test muslin decided I hated the little gathered bodice. I thought I could combine the skirt of that pattern with the bodice from another pattern .... three test muslins later .... fail. It's just not going to work. And now I don't know what to do.

I've given up trying to shop for a modern dress because nothing feels right and fits with our 1930s/40s wedding theme. I could wear one of my 1940s satin wedding gowns but, eh, I'm just not feeling the satin.  That and I don't want long sleeves and can't bring myself to alter a vintage gown to that extent.

So now this is the pattern I have my heart set on but must prepare myself for the fact that I may not be able to get a copy. I saw McCall 8315 posted on Mom's Vintage Patterns Facebook page last week. It's not one of her patterns just one of the many gorgeous vintage evening fashions she shared recently.

I love everything about this pattern. The cut of the skirt, the little sleeves and gathered bodice, and of course the back! The only change I would make is to add a little sweep train. If you own this pattern would you be willing to make a tracing for me?? Pretty please? I would be eternally grateful and will happily trace a pattern of your choosing from my own stash in exchange.

McCall 8315 - I need to find a copy!!!
Oh, and just a reminder that tomorrow is the last day of my Etsy brithday sale and the last day to enter my surprise giveaway!. Don't miss out!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wedding Flowers and Corsages!

I had a very special package waiting for me when I got home yesterday!! The corsages for my wedding arrived, safe and sound all the way from England! I know some of you may be thinking, I thought the wedding wasn't until October? Wont the flowers spoil by then? And you would be right! But not to worry, these are not real flowers. These little beauties are made of felt so they will last a long time. :)

They were lovingly made by Lucy of 1940s Style For You. Lucy has a blog and Etsy shop with the same name. I've followed her blog for a while now and absolutely adore her little felt corsages. They are all hand cut and sewn using 100% wool felt and original 1940s patterns. I contacted Lucy this winter about making the corsages for my wedding and was delighted when she agreed. She sent me color charts and we discussed various designs. She also made a few samples based on our email conversations and sent me pictures through the process of making them. She was great to work with. The corsages are wonderful and match the felt I'm using for the bouquets perfectly!! Thank you Lucy!!! :)

Little felt corsages by Lucy of 1940s Style For You. The large red flowers are my creation. Please pardon the crummy cell phone pic, I couldn't wait to share these. Flowers are much brighter and prettier in person.
Although our wedding is going to cost more then we originally thought, (why does everything wedding related have to be so expensive!?? I mean really, who wants to pay the equivalent of a year of college tuition for one single day? OK, maybe that's just me.) Cori and I are finding ways to make the most of our budget, save where we can, and eliminate waste. I would love to have enormous bouquets of fresh flowers for myself and my bridesmaids but after pricing out a few of our local florists I started to think about other options. Thinking about that also made me think about what to do for corsages for the groomsmen, parents, etc. Pinterest was helpful for the brainstorming stage. There are sooooo many options out there for DIY wedding flowers. What made me finally settle on the idea of fake flowers was the idea that the bridal party will be able to have them as keepsakes after the wedding. Real flowers are beautiful but they don't last forever.

I thought about fabric flowers, bouquets made from brooches, and felt flowers. I wanted something seasonal and have always loved the look of dahlias so when I found some tutorials for making felt dahlias I knew that's what I would do. As I mentioned above, I've been a fan of Lucy's lovely work for some time now. Her corsages make a perfect combination with felt bouquets. Plus the idea of supporting a small business and fellow vintage blogger was too good to pass up. I discussed it with Cori and he loved the idea!

Funny story about picking our wedding colors.We didn't really have any specific colors in mind when we started planning and we didn't want typical fall colors. The only thing I knew for sure is that I didn't want my bridesmaids to look like cookie cutter copies. Or for everything else to be super matchy, it doesn't fit our personalities.  I would like everyone to look like real people and not a snap shot from a bridal salon. Some of you my remember my post on my friend Erin's wedding. The bridesmaids all wore different color dresses and shoes, I loved it!

The main colors for my wedding were actually inspired by the outfits Erin and I wore last October to a WWII event. (You can read about that event here.) Erin wore a 1940s dark red crepe and velvet dress. I had on a navy blue WAVE uniform skirt with a light blue/teal sweater. We were standing outside near some trees with bright fall foliage and thought "hey, we look pretty good!" So yeah, wedding colors. :) The plan, which so far is working out, is to have the bridal party all in vintage or reproduction vintage attire.

I'll be putting together a tutorial of sorts about my felt bouquets to post at a later date. I need to take a bunch of pictures of the process since I'm doing something slightly different from the tutorials I found online. Until then please enjoy a few more pictures of Lucy's corsages. :)

Update: You can read Lucy's post about the corsages here.

Sample corsages. We made a few changes to these. Photo by Lucy of 1940s Style For You
 Some of the flowers have wired stems and all have safety pins stitched to the back so they will be easy to attach.

The (almost) finished corsages. The ones on the right were waiting for their little blue flowers. Photo by Lucy of 1940s Style For You

Monday, May 12, 2014

Cherry Sweater - A Long Overdue Post

Hello all! I have for you today a post that is very long overdue. This awesome reproduction 1940s sweater was made for me by the incredibly talented Regiane of Cool & Vintage Knitting. It was a Valentine's Day present for myself. :) A few of you may recognize this style sweater as Regiane has made a few of them for other people. Including this cute short sleeve version made for Jessica of Chronically Vintage. I first fell in love with this design when I saw it on Jessica's blog.

It can get very chilly in New England so during the cooler months I pretty much live in sweaters. Regiane was wonderful to work with. We exchanged a few emails and discussed what size to make, the design, and materials. The sweater is made from 100% acrylic which makes it very easy to wash. I love my wool sweaters but they can be harder to care for.

The sweater was packaged very neatly in this little box. Look how sweet is is! Not sure what I will use it for but I had to save the box.

Along with the sweater Regiane included two little cards with information on how to wash and care for the sweater. She cautions against wearing rings or other sharp objects when putting the sweater on. That's because the red and green threads connecting the cherries on the inside could catch and snag. A good piece of advice!

The sweater with it's lovely packaging. :)
Sweater with washing and care instructions
Here it is fresh out of the box! It has stretched a little bit with wear but is super comfortable.

I actually wore the sweater a couple times before I finally had a chance to get some pictures wearing it. (Thank you Cori!) Because the sweater is on the short side I paired it with my 1970s U.S. Navy surplus denim pants that have a high waist. Actually the pants sit at the natural waist. I need more pants like these. (I realize now, looking back at my pictures and Jessica's that we styled the sweater pretty much the same way. My apologies for being a copy cat! :) )

Oh, and this is pretty much what my hair looks like on a normal, non vintage day. It's straight and boring.

You can see more of Regiane's work on her blog Vintage & Cool Knitting and on her Facebook page. Fancy a cute vintage sweater of your own? You can contact Regiane through either site to have her make one just for you!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Breakfast at Tiffany's Dress for Senior Prom

Hello everyone! Thank you all so very much for your wonderful comments here on my blog, on Facebook, and on Flickr about my Sew For Victory dress. I was floored by how well it was received. Thank you! There are little things here and there I would like to change (most obviously a longer slip is needed!) but over all I'm very please with it. Cori and I are going to a big WWII event in Pennsylvania next month and I'm planning to bring this dress along. :)

I posted briefly on my Facebook page a few weeks back about a new sewing project. Now that my Sew For Victory dress is finished I have started to work on a prom dress for my friend Abbey. Some of you may remember the blue and silver lace prom dress I made for my young friend Jen. You can read all about the construction and see the final pictures in my posts here.

Abbey wanted something different and really special for her senior prom. So when she asked me about helping her create this particular dress I was super excited. I will be creating a version of the famous black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 movie, Breakfast at Tiffany's. As part of my research on the dress I'll have to watch the movie, again. Oh darn. ;)

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's - source
Source- Christies
 The original dress sold at Chrisie's a few years back. Here are a couple photos I found of the dress on display at the FIDM Museum and Galleries. Audrey's wardrobe for Breakfast at Tiffany’s was designed by couturier Hubert de Givenchy. In 2011, the FIDM Museum and Galleries held a special exhibition to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the movie. On display were recreations of Givenchy’s little black dresses worn by Audrey in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Little black dresses designed by Hubert de Givenchy for the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s - Source
Little black dresses designed by Hubert de Givenchy for the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s - Source
I first looked through my patterns to see if I had anything that would work as a base pattern. When that failed I searched online. Right away I knew that what ever pattern we picked would need to be altered to create that classic back. Below is the pattern I'm working from, Butterick 2460. It has the same gathered waist and an almost identical bodice. The skirt, obviously, will need to be lengthen but that should be easy. Another change will be to move the zipper from the center back to the left side.

Butterick 2460
Butterick 2460
Here is the progress so far....

The first step was to cut out and baste a mock up of the bodice straight from the pattern with no changes. I wasn't sure about the size so I wanted to get a good idea of those alterations first. There are two sets of darts to the front, and as was common with late 1950s and early 60s patterns the bust area is rather pointy, for lack of a better term. We going to see if we can smooth it out a little bit. After fiddling with the darts for a bit I begin drawing the new back.

The original back neckline will more or less become the bottom of the 'U' shape that connects to the shoulder straps. Next I used a marker - for some reason orange was all I could find - to draw the cut away sections, making sure to leave a portion of the center back attached to the center of the 'U'. Here's what it looked like.

I cut the front neckline a touch lower and had to adjust the arm holes as well. Here is the "new" back mock up. I need to remember to give myself a little extra material at the center back where the point meets the U. The plan is to keep the back all one piece. I'll be lining the bodice as well as using some interfacing to help the back keep it's shape.

Need to add a bit more fabric to this center section of the back.
Here's what the final mock up of the back looks like. The black marks indicate the back darts and adjustments needed for the side seams.

That's it so far. I'll work on adjusting the skirt to work with Abbey's measurements and gather my supplies for the actual dress.

This project is perfect timing as I just learned that the blog Rhinestones and Telephones has launched the Hepburn Hepburn Project. :)
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