Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Polo Ponies and a Vintage Adventure

We had big plans for last weekend. We were to attend a 1920s themed beach party Sunday morning and the 2nd annual Roaring 20s Lawn Party at Castle Hill in Ipswich, Mass. Cori and I went last year and had a great time. So this year we planned to bring our friends Jenn and Julia. However, the weather had other plans and everything has been postponed until this coming weekend. Hopefully we will still be able to go.

We decided to make the best of things and planned our own outing. The weather was bright and sunny on Saturday so we took advantage of it and hopped in the car to head to one of our favorite places to watch a polo match. It's been years since the last time I watched a live match so this was lots of fun for me. I think Cori and the girls had a great time as well. The home team, in green, won the match!

I helped Jenn and Julia create some simple 1920s dresses for the lawn party. I let them pick fabrics from the stash and helped them cut out pattern pieces. They did most of the sewing themselves and I think the dresses turned out rather well. I'm very proud of them. Julia's dress was made using this pattern while Jenn's was made using a combination of patterns and inspiration from fashion plates. 

I wore a 1930s dress that I've been dying to wear for the longest time. It's all cotton and perfect for a hot summer day.

Cori wore a new to him vintage suite and his 1920s straw boater. Doesn't he look dapper? :) The people at the polo match got a kick out of us all dresses up.

After the polo match we headed to the Quechee Antique Mall to have a look around. Much fun and silliness was had.

What we like to think of as "our" phone booth was still there. It's be come a silly tradition now to take pictures in it. Example here. :)

As it was late in the day then train and carousal were closed. Next time we will have to get there earlier. I love carousal and firmly believe you are never to old to ride one.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Great Hair Fridays - July 1943

Today's Great Hair Fridays post features articles from a July issue of the Modern Beauty Shop. These articles are from 1943. Pin curl sets and tips for problem hair.

Modern Beauty Shop - July 1943

Thursday, July 3, 2014

WWII Cotton Blouse & Linen Slacks

Back at the beginning of June, Cori and I traveled to Reading, Pa to the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum for a WWII event. I talked a little about it in my last post where I shared with you my Red Birds Dress. That was my outfit for day one. Here is what I wore on day two! We had so much fun and met so many great people.

Another staff car photo! I was trying to recreate this photo from last fall.
First up the fabric and the patterns. The blouse is made from Hollywood 1530 using 100% cotton with a cute retro style print. I'm not sure if it qualifies as a true 30s/40s print but I think it's pretty close. Plus I liked it best out the options I had in the stash. Actually, this came from my mom's fabric stash, as did the fabric for this year's birthday dress and red bird dress. There should be an extra 2 inches of fabric on either side of the blouse fronts but I didn't have enough fabric. As you can see looking at the pattern pieces laid out it was a tight squeeze! Surprisingly this didn't have a huge impact on the fit of the blouse, I feared it might turn out too small but it was just fine. The only other change I made was to add a second pocket, but really that was because I accidentally cut two pocket pieces and didn't want to waste the fabric!

Sadly, the short sleeve piece is missing from this pattern. I replaced to using the short sleeve pattern piece from McCall 3306. (There is a copy of this pattern for sale here.) Both patterns are late 1930s so I felt this was a good substitute and I really like the little pouf that McCall 3306 creates at the top of the shoulder. It's one of those little details that I love about the 1930s and early 1940s. :) The green fabric you see is the same as my 2014 Sew For Victory dress. There was juuuust enough to make a blouse with the remainder of that fabric as well.

Getting ready to cut! Always the scary part. :)
Here you can see the part of the blouse center front that I had to eliminate.
Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: Blue cotton from the stash
Pattern: Hollywood 1530
Year: late 1930s or early 1940s
Notions: Thread and buttons from the stash
How historically accurate is it? Very! The fabric is pretty close to period prints. The buttons are modern but look just like vintage ones. I'd give the blouse a 9 1/2 out of 10.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? Button holes.... enough said
Did you change anything? Not much. The short sleeve piece was missing so I used one from a different pattern I added a second pocket because I cut an extra one and didn't want to waste the fabric. I didn't have the exact amount of fabric so the finished blouse is a touch shorter and narrower but still fits great.
Time to complete: Around 8 hours I think
First worn: June 2014
Total cost: Everything but the pattern came from the stash, so less then $5!
Notes: Love this blouse. I need more separates!

The slacks were made using Simplicity 1306 and linen left from an 18th century project. There is a discount fabric store near by that occasionally gets 100% linens and wools. I stop in every once in a while to see what they have. It's one of those places, like a thrift store, that if you see something you like you'd better buy it because there's a good chance it will be gone soon. I tend to "stock up" when I find good linens and wools there.
40s -Simplicity Pattern No. 1306- Womens skirt, slacks and vest. The skirt and slacks are fashioned with trouser pleats at front waistline, darts at back waistline and vertical pockets at either side. A center front inverted pleat trims the skirt front and the skirt back is seamed down the center. The slacks have a fly opening secured with a slide fastener. Welt pockets trim the dart fitted vest which features extended shoulders and a four button front closing.
Simplicity 1306
I find the fit of Simplicity 1306 is much better than Simplicity 3322 (reproduced by Eva Dress and the Vintage Fashion Library). I used Simplicity 3322 to make a pair of slacks last year for Sew For Victory but was never very happy with them. Although both patterns are very similar in cut and style the main difference, other than a zipper front and side opening, is the treatment of the slacks front. Simplicity 3322 has front darts where Simplicity 1306 has small pleats. Both patterns have darts in back. Slacks from the 40s are meant to be baggy but sometimes this style can be really unflattering. I found that by extending the length of the front pleats a little more helped create a smoother fit Next time I use this pattern I will need to make some minor adjustments to very top of the slacks and waistband. I ended up making two small tucks in the waistband so the slacks would stay where they needed to at my natural waist.

I completed my look at day with a red scarf, victory rolls, and my Army/Navy E-award pin and another WWII era victory pin. You can see close ups of the pins here.

I really wish I good recommend the vendor who sold me the sunglasses I'm wearing, but sadly I cannot. It's a long story and not one that I want to go into detail here. Let's just say the costumer service started great but ended poorly. The glasses don't fit as well as I would like them to and I can really only wear them for short periods of time.

Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: Brown linen left from another project
Simplicity 1306
Year: 1940s
Notions: Thread, zipper, and buttons from the stash
How historically accurate is it? Very! I'd give the pants a 9 1/2 out of 10.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? Button holes and zipper placket.... enough said
Did you change anything? Not much. The pattern needed to be shorten, no surprise there. I also needed to take them in at the waist.
Time to complete: Around 10 hours I think
First worn: June 2014
Total cost: Everything but the pattern came from the stash, so less then $15!
Notes: Love these pants. I need more separates! I need to make them a touch shorter next time but I will be using this pattern again. :)

By the way, I'm having another sale on Etsy. Use the coupon code FLASHSALE to save 15% until July 5th. I'll be adding some more items after the holiday weekend.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Dress - Red Birds, Red Buckle, Red Buttons

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Cori and I attended a huge WWII event in Reading, PA the first weekend in June. Each year the Mid Atlantic Air Museum's holds an enormous air show and WWII reenactment. We have several friends who go just about every year and have been telling us it the event to go to on the East Coast for WWII living history. Just how big is this event? Well, we spoke with one staff person about the number of military vehicles that were there. He said out of the registered vehicles there were about 100 jeeps! There were of course more then that. Also all kinds of trucks, motorcycles, etc. And of course the planes! Seeing these war birds up close and personal, it doesn't get any better then that! (You can see an overhead view of the event site here.)

My 1940s "Red Birds Dress" using McCall 5724.
Photo in front of the war bird B-25J Mitchell WWII bomber "Briefing Time"
While I have a fairly decent selection of actual 40s clothing I can wear, recreating pieces from my vintage patterns just seemed the way to go for this event. I knew that I would be outside walking around all day and most likely would not have to opportunity to run back to the hotel and change in the case of bad weather. I did bring several vintage pieces with me just in case. If you are following me on Facebook you will have seen my 40s novelty "fan print" dress. Don't worry, there will be a post about it. :)

This spring, between Sew For Victory and planning outfits for this event, I spent some time going through my fabrics to organize and see what I had. Some fabrics lend themselves to a variety of sewing projects for different time periods and some are best suited for only one. For example, many of my fabrics are great for vintage or modern sewing but are NOT good for anything 18th/19th century. Fiber content and print being the biggest reasons. I try to organize my fabrics by what I plan to do with them. Historical sewing (18th/19th century appropriate fabrics) vs. vintage/modern sewing. Obviously there is a lot more freedom is choosing a fabric for my vintage/modern sewing projects. :) But sometimes there are fabrics that can be used for just about anything. In my next post you'll see the 1940s slacks I made using linen that was left from an 18th century project. 

What I'm calling my "Red Birds Dress" was another "limited fabric so cut carefully" projects. Like my recent birthday dress, this fabric came from my mom's sewing stash. Although it's cotton she decided it wasn't suitable for quilting. This fabric had been waiting quietly in the vintage/modern stash for just the right pattern to come along. Because it was just shy of 3 yards and only 32 inches wide, I knew I would be somewhat limited as to what I could do with it.

McCall 5724 was purchased with a small group of patterns. I was a little unsure about it at first but it's one of those patterns that I find myself drawn to every time I go through my pattern box. Maybe it's the beautiful cover illustration or maybe it's the cute details of the bodice. I can't put my figure on it but I just knew that this was a pattern that deserved to be used! I hesitated at first to use this fabric for a 1940s dress. But then I found this same print in a green colorway somewhere online and it was listed as 1940s fabric! I'm kicking myself because I didn't save the picture. And of course I can't find it now. (If someone finds it please let me know!) The more I thought about the fabric the easier it became to picture it made from McCall 5724.

McCall 5724. It has pockets!
I chose View B, without the ruffles. I spent a good amount of time placing the pattern pieces on the fabric. The bodice was a bit tricky for a couple reasons. First the sleeves are cut in one with the bodice. Second the front is made of two pieces which include material for the front facings. A little odd to explain but if you look closely at the pattern cover you can see that the dress buttons down the front. The extra material is folded back to act as a facing for the buttons and button holes.  

Getting started...
Bodice back
The back of the bodice is fitted with small darts. The front is fitted with small darts and shearing at the shoulders. Four rows of gathering stitches were made then each drawn up to fit between the corresponding marks on the pattern. The edges of the bodice front pieces are lapped and the top stitched in place.You can see those details in one of the photos below.

The almost finished dress.
A little white back I was asked to share where I find my buckles. I wish I could tell you that I have some amazing secret source for these buckles, but I don't. I'm sure you've spotted a few of them on my blog before. (Here for example.) A few years back I made a lucky find at a local antique/junk shop where I was able to purchase about a dozen vintage buckles for a round $1.00 each. They were tied together in a neat little bundle. Some are 70s/80s vintage but most are much earlier. There were a few plastic ones, possibly Bakelite or Lucite but I'm not sure, like the red one above and a few shell ones too.

The buckle and buttons used for this project are actually the same ones in this photo that obviously I didn't end up using with that particular dress. Can I just say how incredibly hard it was for me to remove these buttons from their original card? Not physically of course, they popped right off. But because they were NOS (new old stock). I'm happy I used them because I really think this was the perfect project for them!

Vintage "Glamour Girl" buttons pinned in place. Also a good look at the lapped seam and shoulder shearing.
Vintage Buckle!
So here we go, the finished dress! I wore this for the first day of the airshow. My accessories are all 40s vintage except for my shoes which are Aris Allen 40s style repros from the Dance Store. I wore them for two days straight and found them to be very comfortable.

B-25J Mitchell WWII bomber "Briefing Time"

This is the only photo I have of the back of my hat.

B-25J Mitchell WWII bomber "Briefing Time"

All reenactors had to wear id bracelets so that's what that funny blue thing is around my wrist. BUT you can also see my Marine Corps sweetheart bracelet. :) Thank you to Voon Chew for taking and allowing me to share these last two photos!

Photo by Voon Chew
Photo by Voon Chew
Pattern - McCall 5724
Fabric - Mom's fabric stash
Buckle and Buttons - My stash
Shoes - Close out from Dance Store .com
Hat - Etsy
Gloves and Purse - Thrifted
Sweetheart Bracelet - Brimfield Antique Show
Lipstick color - Red Velvet by Bésame 

Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: Vintage cotton print
Pattern: McCall 5724
Year: 1940s
Notions: Buttons, buckle, thread, fusible interfacing, zipper.
How historically accurate is it? Not to brag, but I'd say 10 out of 10! Everything but the thread and interfacing for the belt is 40s vintage. :)
Any tricky parts to the pattern? The button holes. I dislike them but I'm getting better the more I do. The bodice was a bit tricky but after studying the directions I figured it out and it went together pretty well. 
Did you change anything? Surprisingly, no
Time to complete: About a week
First worn: June 2014
Total cost: All the materials were from the stash! Yeah! I think I paid around $10 or $12 for the pattern.
Notes: Looking at these pictures, I think I should shorten the skirt just a little bit. 
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