Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Walk Away Dress and Its Descendents

By PrettyPatternShop

America after World War II was the land of Peace and Prosperity. It was a time of optimism and celebration. The drudgery of rationing, the misery of the Great Depression, these things were all fading memories and we lived in a land of atomic energy where anything was possible. We no longer wanted to be stuck slaving at our tasks just to provide the basic necessities. And women didn’t want to spend hours over their sewing, not when there were so many other things to do!

And so began the new era of easy to make, easy to wear, easy on the eye fashion. One of the most memorable and notable styles to emerge from that time was the Walk Away Dress, released by Butterick in 1952. “Cut it out at 9:00, wear it out at noon,” was the slogan. In other words, a project you could walk away from three hours later with a seriously cute finished dress.
It was enormously popular and saw a second printing:
60s Vintage Walk Away Dress pattern Butterick 7500 Sze 16 Bust 36 UNCUT FF
And let’s not forget its cousins:
The clever wraparound style would endure for decades, changing very little in basic construction,

Butterick 5368 The Easy Whirl Away Dress
60s Version source
Vintage 70's Jiffy Whirl Away Style Wrap Dress Sewing Pattern Simplicity 7707--Bust 32.5
70s Wrap Around Style
Gertie's Post on the Modern Version

And then the Walk Away was rereleased in 2006 as part of Butterick’s Retro line:
1950s Wrap Dress Pattern Butterick 4790 (Womens sizes 16-18-20-22)

This dress endures in popularity, inspiring sew-alongs, tutorials and reviews.

Make it quick, make it easy, make it cute!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pattern Alert!

As midnight struck around the globe patternistas settled in front of their keyboards and started listing their patterns. April 25th is the last Pattern Patter Blitz until the fall! We have all be working so hard getting the goods online where they can be found by you! Want to take a look? You can find all of today's listings on this thread.
We have 34 pages and counting. Some shops are having sales today only so stop in and get the good deals while you can!
70s Vintage Sewing Pattern Style 2030 Misses Bias Slip Size 8  Bust 31 1/2 inches UNCUT FF
SALE Children's and Girl's Dress or Top Size 3 Vintage 1970s Sewing Pattern-McCall's 5879
Sale Listing

Bear Tote Bag Plastic Canvas Pattern with Free Shipping
1950s Dress and Gown Pattern Vintage Simplicity 2231 Cinderella Prom Gown with Voluminous Overskirt Unused Pattern
From the most fabulous to everyday styles, whether you're knitting, embroidering, quilting or sewing we've got patterns for you all!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My First Experience with Lutterloh

Dip your toe into the vintage pattern world and a name that comes up in whispered awe is Lutterloh. (At least that's how it felt to me) Imagine my surprise when I realized I actually had a kit in my possession! In a recent pattern dilemma I decided to break it out and see if this system was all it's cracked up to be. I noticed a few things right off the bat.

1. No directions. You better know how to put a garment together cause all your getting is pictures of the finished piece.

2. No fabric recommendations other than the picture.

3. No yardage suggestions. Since you are drafting to your size and we're all uniquely proportioned people this makes sense but you better have some idea of how much fabric your design is going to take.

4. No seam allowances. If you use Burda you're probably already used to this. If not, remember to add them so you get the correct fit.

5. My Lutterloh is in metric. I'm an American. The rest of the world is good to go but for those of us in the US make sure you can convert your measurements into metric. Don't freak out if you triple in size. :)

So let's take a look. First you pull out a tape measure that looks nothing like any tape measure you've ever seen before.

 Then you stick a pin in the tiny hole next to either your Bust/Chest or Hip measurement depending on which article of clothing you are drafting. I think this is especially nice for those of us with differing tops and bottoms. You can draft the bodice section one size and the skirt section another, helping you achieve a better fit.

But wait! I'm getting ahead of myself! First you want to choose your design!! Feast your eyes on these beauties.

From the personal collection of All The Precious Things

Vintage 1950s Lutterloh Supplement No. 69 Women's Patterns Swimwear, Bridal and More
1950s Supplement

The neat thing about this being a drafting system is that any design can be made for any person. Really like those kid's shorts? No problem! Using this magic tape measure everything will come out your size!

So, once you find your design you flip the little paper over and tada! You have your pattern pieces!

Front, shown on left side, shows the design. Back, shown on right,
gives you the pattern pieces to enlarge.

Here's a shot of the sleeve I drafted. I found it easiest to draw this on my cork board. First trace the tiny pattern piece then, pivot the tape, mark the dots, then play connect the dots and TaDa! You have a pattern piece. I'm warning you it gets a bit addicting!
Tracing of the tiny drawing in the middle of the actual size sleeve!

Have I piqued your interest yet? Now as amazing as the Lutterloh system is, it can be pricy to buy into, especially if you're not sure about it, which is why I'd like to introduce you to Embonpoint Vintage.....
Mens Smoking Jacket
Plus Size (or any size) Vintage 1934 Dress Sewing Pattern - PDF - Pattern No 1533 Opal
1934 Dress

Vintage Sewing Pattern 1956 Dress PDF Plus Size (or any size)  - Pattern No 24 Diann
1956 Dress I love her pudding!
She has carefully cleaned and adjusted vintage patterns she has scavenged from old books that work on a similar drafting system. Better yet she offers them in Plus Size ranges so all of us can join in the fun! Her patterns come as a PDF file so there's no need to trace all those tiny diagrams, you can just reprint them! I'm in love with several items in her shop...
Plus Size (or any size) Vintage 1950s Womens Cocktail Dress Pattern - PDF - Pattern No 15: Kathleen
Lovely 1950s Dress
Plus Size (or any size) Vintage 1950s Boy's Shorts Pattern - PDF - Pattern No 170b Mark Shorts
I really like these shorts! Remember you can draft to your size!

So how did my first garment turn out? Wonderfully! You can read all about it on my personal blog since there's not much vintage about it except the pattern...
This isn't a cure all though. If you usually have to do pattern alterations to get a good fit you will still have to do that. The nice thing is you are already drafting the pattern so you have plenty of paper to draw you changes on too. I still had to rotate the bust darts to get the correct fit on my top but it was much easier than working with a commercial pattern.

What do you think? Does it sound interesting? Have you ever tried Lutterloh or a similar drafting system?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Plastron Anyone?

By Anne from AnnesVintagePatterns

I guess you really can teach an old dog a new trick. I have been sewing for over 45 years, and never once did I run across the word “plastron”.  How I avoided it all these years I’ll never know.

Here are some definitions in case you are not familiar with plastrons either.

1. A metal breastplate worn under a coat of mail.
2. A quilted pad worn by fencers to protect the torso and side.
3. A trimming on the front of a bodice.
4. The front of a man's dress shirt.
5. The front panel of the tunic of a uniform, usually of a different color than the rest.
6. Zoology The ventral part of the shell of a turtle or tortoise.

I guess I always called a plastron on a pattern by other words…..bib, smock, apron…you get the picture. Here are some of my PatternPatter team members’ patterns with a plastron. Try saying THAT quickly 3 times in a row!
1960s Sewing Pattern Simplicity 3594: Juniors Belted Dress Pattern, Mid Century Fashion, Size 15 Bust 35, 1960 Uncut, Factory Folded, P-1132
Green Plastron from TheBeetlesNeedles
White Plastron from PatternShop
Simplicity 4616 Juniors' & Misses' One Piece Dress with Plastron (Front Panel) Kimono Sleeves Sz 12 UNCUT Pattern- 2
Oooh a Leopard Plastron from RosesPatternTreasury
1960s Vintage Vogue Paris Original 1722 Pattern by Pierre Cardin Dramatic Evening Dress and Double Breasted Cape Includes LABEL Bust 32
 Classy White Plastron GreyDogVintage

50s Vintage Toddler Girls sewing pattern Party Dress Butterick 6597 Size 2 Breast 21 Inches
Sweet Tulip Plastron from allthepreciousthings

Vintage 1960s Dress Pattern Butterick 8770 Size 12 Bust 32 Collar Variations
Plaid Plastron from Revvie1

Friday, April 5, 2013

Let's Promenade: A Brief Look at Prom Part 1

Let’s Promenade: A Brief Look at Prom and Prom Fashions in the United States (Part 1)

By Sherri from Sew Betty and Dot

As springtime blooms and buds turn into blossoms, so too do high schoolers’ thoughts turn to that age-old tradition: Prom (note that, strictly speaking, it’s “Prom,” not “the Prom.”). It’s time for girls to start shopping—or hopefully, SEWING—a beautiful and elaborate formal dress (so many gorgeous patterns from which to choose). 

But is a formal dance with tuxedo-clad boys and princess-gowned girls really a time-honored tradition here in the U.S.? How far back does the modern notion of Prom go? 
It is believed that the modern notion of a formal dance for unmarried young people has its roots in the debutante ball (from the French d├ębutante, "female beginner"). In Great Britain, the presentation of d├ębutantes to the King and Queen marked the start of the British social season of balls, tea parties, polo matches, and theatrical outings. Of course, all of these social gatherings had the added “bonus” of allowing the free—but  chaperoned—mixing of young men and women, with an eye towards suitable marriage prospects. Young women usually wore a white, ivory, or pink evening dress, usually with a train draped over the arm. Similar “coming-out” activities were adopted in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (in the South, cotillions served a similar function). The word “promenade” is tied to these social events: the young ladies and their escorts formally entered the room in a promenade.
Debutante summer evening gown by Jenny
Source: Courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, George Grantham Bain Collection

But debutante balls and cotillions were for wealthier young adults, not middle-class teenagers (the notion of which as a specific, definable group did not really take hold until the 1940s; until then, children were considered to be simply mini adults). The first proms were likely held at universities and were far more low-key occasions, and the first high school proms were as well—until the 1930s, a prom was more of a tea dance where the dress code was “Sunday best.”

Butterick 3918, 1920s era day dress
Vintage Sewing Pattern, Ladies Home Journal 5157, 1920s Dress Pattern, Flapper Dress, Bust 32 Inches
Ladies Home Journal 5157, 1920s dress pattern

Amazing 1930s dress sewing pattern beautiful sleeves and jabot Butterick 5521 Size 14
Butterick 5521, elegant 1930s frock

 Proms seem to first be mentioned in high school yearbooks in the 1930s, and by the late 1930s and 1940s they had evolved into a more formal occasion, an evening event where dancing was often preceded by a banquet. While the dress code was more formal than Sunday go-to-meeting clothes—floor length dresses were the norm—young teen-age girls would not have worn the slinky and glamorous gowns we often associate with that era (as seen on Hollywood starlets). And their escorts were never in tuxedos; they wore suits and ties.

Vogue 7999 Vintage 1930s Dropped Waist Dress Sewing Pattern
Vogue 7999, 1930s long or short dress
1940s Prom Dress, Evening Gown, Ball Gown, Vintage Sewing Pattern, Simplicity 3040 bust 29" Uncut
Simplicity 3040, A pretty 1940s dress that might have graced the dance floor
1940s Evening Dress Pattern Simplicity 4065 Full Skirt Evening Gown Square Neck Shaped Waistband Vintage Sewing Pattern Bust 30
Simplicity 4065, sweetly elegant dress for a prom, perhaps

As the U.S. entered World War II, it’s easy to imagine that a senior class dance might be especially poignant as a portion of the young men on the dance floor would have joined the armed forces or been drafted. 

1940s Evening Dress Pattern Simplicity 2964 Junior Wedding Bridal Full Skirt Formal Gown Bust 29 Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern
Simplicity 2964, a formal dress from 1949 that looks toward the prom fashions of the 1950s
Prom Time 1940 Photography, Collectible, Snapshot Picture, Black and White Photo Lets Dance
Snapshot of a group of teenagers ca. 1940s in their prom finery

Finally, a charming vintage instructional film from the 1940s about proper prom etiquette. Watch as poor Frank tries to figure out how to 

In Part 2, we’ll take a look at how prom dresses changed in the second half of the twentieth century. 
Prom history and information from Wikipedia