Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wiggle Wonder

While I don't watch Mad Men you'd have to be a blind sewing blogger not to realize it's influence and I too was bit by the wiggle dress bug last December.

Everyone needs a hot pink corduroy wiggle dress to brighten a winter's day, right?
You can see more pictures of my dress and my construction notes in this blog post.

I used Butterick 7434 and it was a fun experience. You only had to use one pattern piece to make this jumper. All the shaping was done with the darts. I enjoyed this novel experience and learned a new method of construction using this pattern.
Vintage styles like these are great because it is easier to adapt it to our modern ungirdled, uncorseted bodies. Add a tad extra seam allowance to center front and back and take smaller darts and we still have a sleek dress without a bunch of redrafting. It also gives you more wiggle room with the size you buy ;) They are also a super quick make!
So I took a cruise around our Etsy shops to see if I could find anything similar for you all!

1960s Wiggle Dress & Scarf Vintage Sewing Pattern - Simplicity 4634 Size 12 Bust 32
Dress with POCKETS!!
Oh this one does have raglan sleeves but it makes up for it with these pockets and a cute bow belt. I still wonder if I need a belt with mine...

Vogue Dress Pattern No 8561 Vintage 1950s Size 16 Bust 34" Non Printed Sleeveless Wiggle Dress Slim Skirt Wide Collar Reversible Bolero
This Vogue has a fabulous little cropped jacket with it! Anyone daring enough to wear that hat with it?
60s Fitted Sheath Wiggle Dress Sewing Pattern Large Round Collar 34 Bust Size 14 Butterick 2137
Basic or with options.
If you aren't into V necks, this has a lovely round neck with collar options. You can also add sleeves with this pattern.
There are lots of other ways to get that hip hugging wiggle silhouette and you can find them by searching keywords like sheath dress, wiggle dress, pencil skirt or slim skirt. 
Confess now, have you made yourself a wiggle dress? Which pattern did you use?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Let's Promenade Part Three

by Sew Betty and Dot

Are you ready to dance the night away? Let’s go!

Part One and Part Two took us from the beginning of prom to the 1960s. Today we'll start with the 70s and end up with today's styles.

Enter the 1970s: peasant-style dresses (Young Edwardian, anybody?), ruffled necklines and hems, and prints were popular. Many girls wore their hair long and loose.
And then: Disco! Slinky gowns, halter tops or one-shouldered dresses, and feathered hair were the rage for most…

The 1980s were all about BIG: poufy sleeves, poufy skirts, poufy bows, and poufy hair (teased bangs!). The extravagant wedding dress worn by Princess Diana (designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel) in 1981 influenced formal wear: large sleeves, layers of ruffles, and bows. Satin was a favorite fabric choice, often in bright colors, and shorter dresses with dropped waists and bubble skirts. In my Lexington, Kentucky, high school, Gunne Sax was a popular choice. 
And we’ll stop here on this frock-filled trip down memory lane. Since the 1990s, girls have followed trends but also expressed themselves in tuxedos, vintage dresses, even duct tape dresses. This year, it looks like strapless or one-shouldered column dresses are on trend, and I’m seeing a lot of sweetheart necklines.

Finally, here I am (yikes!) in various dresses for various dances (my high school had a Christmas formal as well as prom). My mom made all of them except for the peach dress—which  was a Gunne Sax, actually, and was repurposed by removing the straps and altering the ruffles for another dance a year or two later. 

Do you have a favorite prom era?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Let's Promenade Part Two of Three

by Sew Betty and Dot

Are you ready to dance the night away? Let’s go!

Part One of the “Let’s Promenade” ended with the 1940s, when proms began to be more elaborate and more of a “dress-up” affair than they had in previous decades. In the 1950s, the prom developed into the event with which most of us are familiar (whether we went to the dance or have watched any number of movies—think about Grease).  

The postwar economy in America was booming, and with it the concept of “the teenager” became more prevalent. Teens now had more leisure time, and this stage in life was considered unique: no longer a child, not yet an adult. “Teen” magazines proliferated (Seventeen began publishing in 1944, and 16 Magazine in 1958—it was the perfect place to get all the news about the cutest singers and actors, and it spawned a host of similar publications.) And the prom came to take on a new importance as a not-to-be-missed teenage milestone.

While many proms were still held in crepe-paper decorated school gymnasiums, they also began to be held in hotels and country clubs. Boys often wore white dinner jackets and black bow ties. And the girls? Tulle, tulle, and more tulle! Dresses were often strapless, sometimes floor length but frequently princess length and quite often had very full skirts (but not always!). 

Vintage McCall's 4357 Sewing Pattern, 1950s Dress Pattern, Formal Dress Pattern, Bust 36 Inches, 1950s Prom Dress, Evening Dress
McCall’s 4357: SewBettyAndDot
Advance 7704 Vintage 1950s Evening Gown and Day Dress Sewing Pattern Sz 13
Advance 7704 DejaVu Patterns
Vintage 1951 Wedding or Evening Gown Lace Shoulders Peplum and Cape McCalls 8719 Bust 30
McCall’s 8719: sydcam123
1950s Formal Evening Dress Pattern Vogue 7512 Bust 34 Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern Sleeveless with Standaway Collar
Vogue 7512

Wraps (again, often made of tulle) and gloves completed the look (topped by a corsage, of course).

In the early 1960s, styles of the fifties carried over—although the hair got a LOT higher!--but Jacquelyn Kennedy’s elegant style had a huge influence on fashion as the decade progressed. Empire-waist dresses with long straight(er) skirts came into vogue. 

As the decade progressed, just as cultural mores began to relax, the range of styles available to girls seeking to look their best on that special night grew wider. Hair done up in beehives, bubbles, and flips; dresses with sheer sleeves, metallic fabrics (so itchy!), baby doll dresses—but tulle was still a popular choice for prom. 

Simplicity 5679 Womens Evening Dress 1960s Pattern
Simplicity 5679: Denisecraft
Next week we'll see what changes the 1970s to Prom.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Princess Seams Refresher

by Anne from AnnesVintagePatterns

Ava loves everything Princess. My great-niece has seen all the Princess movies, loves books with Princess stories, and she has a wardrobe of Princess attire to rival Kate’s.  Oh, and did I mention she is 5 years old?  When she is older and begins learning to sew (plan afoot to encourage and help with this activity),  I’ll bet she won’t have a clue what it means when she sees a pattern describing princess seams.

1940s Dress Pattern Marion Martin Mail Order 9063 Vintage WWII Swing Era One Piece Day Dress with Princess Seams
Princess seams are long, shaped seams sewn into clothing to add contouring or to tailor the fit to closely follow a woman's figure.  The princess seam style of dress needs no waistline, since it does its shaping without darts, by joining edges of different curvature.  The resulting princess seams typically goes from the shoulder (or under the arm) and curves gently over the bust point and down to the lower hem.  When princess seams are used on the front of a garment, they run over the line of the bust to create an even, smooth look.  This creates a slimming look, often seen in dresses with an A-line silhouette.  Many form fitting garments, such as formal gowns, are made with this type of seaming.  On slender women, princess seams can be used to highlight the figure and provide the illusion of curves. Princess seams emphasize a thin waist for women with hourglass figures.  Princess seams can be adjusted for fluffier women like me to fit an ample bosom and hips.

Here are some PatternPatter team members’ patterns featuring princess seams.
Simplicity 9162 UNCUT  Style Wedding Dress and Bridemaid Dress Sewing Pattern SIZE 8-18
1950s Sundress Pattern Simplicity 3522 Misses Summer Day or Evening Dress Fitted Blouse and Jumper Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern Bust 32
60s Misses Blouse Sewing Pattern Back Button Princess Seam  Square Jewel Neck  Top 38 Bust Size 18 Butterick 3476
Do you enjoy sewing with princess seams?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Infinite Possibility: The Multi Wrap Fashion Trend

By Robin of Pretty Pattern Shop

While fast and fabulous fashion flirted with the wrap dress in the 1950s and 1960s, the 1970s took wrap and go fashion to a whole new level! McCall’s released the Infinite Dress sewing pattern in 1976.
1970s Infinite Convertible Halter Dress- McCalls 5360 Vintage Sewing Pattern - Hip Size 32 - 38 - Sleek & Sexy Evening, Bridal, Formal Prom
 It consists of only one pattern piece, used to make a dress that can be tied on in an infinite number of ways. This dress spawned the multi-wrap craze that resulted in a variety of fashions designed to be creatively wrapped around the body to achieve different results. Butterick introduced the 7 Way Wonder Dress, and Simplicity the Multi Wrap Dress.
Vintage Simplicity 8086 CUT Misses Multi Wrap Empire Gown Sewing Pattern Size 10 - 12
Vintage Seven Way Wonder Dress Butterick 5230 Sewing Pattern--Amazing 1970s Multi Wrap Dress UNCUT
Simplicity and Butterick both also released multi wrap jumpsuits. Simplicity’s Wonder Wrap:
Vintage 1977 Knit Wrap Jumpsuit...Wraps Six Ways...Simplicity 7957 Bust 32.5 UNCUT
Disco 70s Butterick 5363 Multi Wrap Jumpsuit Vintage Sewing Pattern Change About Waist 26.5
Butterick Change About Jumpsuit
Disco 70s Butterick 5362 Multi Wrap Dress or Skirt Vintage Sewing Pattern Change About Halter Sundress Waist 28
Change About Sundress
And just for fun, Vogue’s multi wrap beachy summer ensemble:
Disco 70s Fabulous Very Easy Vogue 2881 Shortcuts Wrap and Tie On Bikini, Halters, Skirts Vintage Sewing Pattern--Bust 31.5
The Simplicity and Butterick dresses had slightly more construction to them and couldn’t quite claim infinite possibility. But the Simplicity wrap dress style endured and resurfaced in 2000 with the similarly constructed Debra Moises Wrap Dress:
Debra Moises Wrap Dress Sewing Pattern New Infinite Dress McCalls 2781 Bust 29 30 31  34 36 38 40

The multi wrap nowadays is part of the convertible clothing trend and remains as popular as when it was first introduced, with fashions like the convertible wedding and bridesmaid dresses taking center stage. 
VINTAGE ORIGIN Infinity Wedding Dress in "Pearl" White
Listing for Dress
Easy, stylish and full of possibility, that’s the way we like it!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Vintage Sewing Patterns Before and After

   One of my favorite things about selling vintage sewing patterns on Etsy is when a customer sends me a picture of the finished product. I marvel at the talented seamstresses on Etsy and how they can update a vintage style with creative thinking and fun fabrics. Take a look at these stellar creations. Pattern on the left and finished piece on the right.

Pattern and Dress

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

1950s Fridor Stitchmaster Merino

I fell in love with this machine, as soon as I saw it on ebay. The clean lines, the “atomic style” shape, unlike any other machine I’d seen before.

 I bid, I bought, and for under $100 (including interstate postage), she was mine.

The machine comes in its own little suitcase, decked out with leather straps inside to hold the pedal, the extension table and a cute little bakelite box of attachments. I spent a day cleaning her (the suitcase was full of rat droppings), and enlisted my husband’s help with the mechanical and lubrication side of things. With the machine up and running, I’ve now had time to “play”, and have even made my first project on her – a gored linen skirt.

If, like me, “Fridor” is a name you haven’t yet encountered in the world of sewing machines, you’re not alone. There aren’t many to be had in Australia, and I think I was lucky to get this one. It was designed in Switzerland, and manufactured in Holland.

Like driving a European car, there are many features that I found to be the opposite of what I’m used to in Australia. To switch the light on, it must be flicked up (not down), the stitch length lever goes up for forward, and down for reverse, and the needle threads left to right (not front to back). I’m prepared to live with these little idiosyncrasies, however, because the machine has so many design features that I love. 

Removing the motor cover reveals that there are TWO belts driving the machine; probably the reason that the machine never seems to “stall”. The extension table is HUGE compared to other machines, giving a nice flat work area. The bobbin winder is on the side of the machine, and is simple to use. 

The motor is quiet, and runs smoothly. It’s a seriously good - looking machine – even the foot pedal is attractive!
Dropping the feed-dogs is as simple as flicking a lever.

For a simple, straight-stitching machine, it has quite an array of extra feet. So far, I’ve tested the narrow hemming foot (lovely results), 

but I have to say that the spring-loaded darning foot is my absolute favourite. It’s going to make free-motion quilting a real delight!

My machine has quite a few bumps and scratches, and the wooden base definitely needs repainting. The dilemma is this: do I leave her as is, and keep her “pure”, or do I strip her down, and re-paint with a glossy new coat of enamel in a fabulous colour…..peach? pink?……what about turquoise?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.