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
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.


  1. There are really not words enough to adequately convey how massively in love I am with this incredibly beautiful skirt suit. From the colour to the cut to how you've styled it here, I adore it to bits and have to say, this is one of my favourite outfits of yours ever (I'm crazy about all of them!).


    Big hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

  2. I really love this suit! Such a simple, but great style. It really accessorizes well.

  3. Love your outfit!! I was at WWII Weekend as well and dressed up in a dress I made. Mine just had a 40s look to it. Unfortunately it wasn't from a vintage pattern. (My collection is very lacking in those!) I was so disappointed to see many girls dressed up in dresses that were blatantly 1950s style, oh well. it was such a fun event and I'm defintely looking forward to next year!

  4. Oh my heavens...your dress and the jacket are stunning! I LOVE the mustard yellow paired with the red. Gorgeous! Your "V" pin and the flowers just add to the very authentic look! Yay for you!!!

  5. I love the daring color combination you put together of the mustard and red. It turned out so lovely! I love the idea of a dickey attached to a jacket. So clever!

    the Middle Sister and Singer

  6. I was at WWII Weekend this year and snapped a picture of you leaving one of the skirmishes, then I stumbled upon your blog today. Loved your outfit! I dressed up in an outfit that I bought, but I'd love to sew my own dress for next year (when my skills improve).

  7. Goodness, you wear mustard so well! I adore that little felt flower accessory, and I do think you are so clever for making a suit! I have a few darling 1940's suit patterns that I haven't been brave enough to tackle yet, but I do want to give them a try. Yours turned out smashingly! :) ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  8. This is an amazing outfit, I really like the brighter colour against the grass and planes. Great collection of 1940's patterns!

  9. I'm sorry I missed posting on this wonderful post. I loved your outfit in person. It was such a great pleasure to meet you!


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