Monday, April 30, 2012

Before and After - In Search of Style Results in 1940s Spectator Dress

The Seamstress: LadyKatza
The Pattern: Vintage 1940s Anne Adams 4549 Misses' Dress

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for summer. And this is a great story about summer fashion and a great customer who was inspired by a Ralph Lauren dress. She found a match in a 1940s dress pattern in my shop, so this is both a "Before and After" post AND an "In Search of Style" post. :) Here is the dress that inspired Lady Katza with its wonderful style:

Then she found the pattern Anne Adams 4549 from the 1940s in my shop, and she wrote "I have to tell you I went SQUEE! when I saw this because it is almost an EXACT match for a Ralph Lauren dress I have been wanting to copy. It's from his spring 2010 collection."

And here is Lady Katza in the inspired and adorable result, a simply wonderful summer dress done up in a charming fabric. Sweet style in red, white, and blue!

A fab ensemble! Let's look closer at the details...

Lovely piping in contrast red trims seams and edges, the sleeves have scalloped edges, and those cute vintage red buttons are perfect.

And note those super cute shoes, which are perfect with this ensemble. Lady Katza got those from the wonderful You can read more about Lady Katza's sewing adventures on her blog, 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Scraps from the Past - 1960s Girl's Formal Dress

Looking at this pattern, would you have picked orange polyester knit?

 Imagine my surprise to find a collar piece, with pattern piece still pinned to it, in the envelope!

In a way it is not surprising, as orange was a very popular color in 1969 (along with pink, yellow, and green).  And polyester knit fabric was also becoming common. I can only wonder - was the collar a contrast fabric or was the entire dress made from orange polyester knit? It would be fun to imagine this charming dress pattern in different fabrics. What would be your favorite?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In Search of Style - 70s Bridal Beauty

In a Simplicity 9608 pattern were tucked two clippings, both of which have elements found in this pattern's wonderful bridal gown styles.

One clipping was from a Wards catalog, and this "Belle of the Ball" gown is a clear match for view 1, with ruffles on the scoop neckline and on the skirt hemline, and full sleeves with ruffles at the wrists.

The other clipping (from the newspaper Grand Rapids Press from May 30, 1970), the lovely bride on the right is circled. The upper bodice detail (a little hard to see) is very similar to the upper bodice of view 3.

The mystery is which did wedding gown did she pick? Neither? The pattern is uncut. Did she go with something else altogether? Or did the wedding plans get canceled? We will never know. But we do know that this seamstress found the best pattern that matched her ideal wedding gown.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mother-Daughter Fashions - How Sweet They Are!

While certainly not limited to the 40s, 50s, and 60s, matching mother-daughter fashion was enormously popular in those decades. What could be more appealing to mothers sewing for their families than sewing up matching outfits for their daughters and themselves? Whether featured as specific patterns, or just to illustrate advertisements for products, mother and daughter in matching outfits appear in the fashion and popular magazines of the day.

 In honor of Mother's Day next month, I will begin posting mother-daughter patterns in my shop in the coming weeks. Here is a preview to entice you, so be watching! :D


While most mother-daughter fashions consist of a separate pattern for mother and a separate pattern for daughter, some patterns include patterns for both mother and daughter in the same envelope.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Before and After - A 40s Party Dress for a Girl with Timeless Fashion Sense

The Seamstress: LadyKatza
The Pattern: Vintage 1940s Mail Order 2319 Girl's Dress

This sweet dress was purchased by LadyKatza from my shop back in January 2010. As she was pouring over the patterns for herself in my shop, her daughter said she wanted a dress too. LadyKatza, being the wonderful mother she is, let her daughter pick any dress she wanted. LadyKatza said when she bought it, "She has a pretty strong notion of what she likes at the age of six."

The Result: An adorable dress with charm to spare!  I love the colors and the fabric choices. The iridesence of the sleeves and bodice insets adds delicious sparkle, and the flower buttons are the icing on the cake. :D Felicity was a couple sizes smaller than the dress size, but Mom chose to sew the pattern size as-is, since she knew Felicity would grow into it quickly. Here are the first photos she sent me of Felicity in her beautiful new dress, looking super fashionable, complete with stylish boots, purse, and hair ribbons.

 And now, two years later, a recent photo now shows the dress fitting perfectly and Felicity still looking superb. Should she choose, Felicity could easily have a modeling career ahead of her! She has adorable looks and such excellent taste in fashion. :D

You can follow the sewing adventures of LadyKatza on her  blog: .
And you'll be seeing more of Felicity and her mother too in future posts. Stay tuned!

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Drop Waist Flapper - Never Out of Style!

Just today, I posted this fab dress pattern, Butterick 5594 from 1969, and it seemed very familiar...

So I checked my shop and sure enough, just the day before I had posted this delightful Vogue 9527 pattern from 1957. Aside from the mini-length of the Butterick pattern, the two delightful flapper-style dresses have almost identical details: sleeveless, scoop neckline, drop waistline, and the choice of inverted pleats or circular flounce.

Where they differ primarily is that the Vogue pattern has contoured princess seams, where the Butterick pattern uses curved French darts in front and vertical contour darts in back.

It's fun to compare these two patterns with flapper frocks from the 1920s, which offer both inverted pleats and circular flounces, but with that characteristically 1920s "middy" straight silhouette to the drop waist:

Fabulous fashion is just so timeless. :)

P.S. And let's not forget, little girls look equally cute in this style. Here is McCall's 4904 from the 1950s. ;)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Search of Style - 50s Vogue Contest Winner!

Tucked in the envelope of the pattern Vogue 9527 (from 1957) was a magazine clipping from a national sewing contest for "clubwomen".

Here is the original pattern (such a cute dress!), which belonged to Betty Roberts. :)

And here is the 4th Prize winning result that inspired Betty Roberts. Sewn by Mrs. Curt G. Muller of Walnut Creek, California, the prize of $2,500 must have made Mrs. Miller very happy, a very large sum for 1957! The clipping states the dress was sewn in white peau de pĂȘche, net, and lace overlay.

On the reverse side of the clipping, there is more about the contest, although I can only piece out bits as all sentences are chopped off on both sides). There is much reference to "clubwomen", with winners from all "48 states" who advanced to regional and then the national level. Items were judged for versatility, becomingness, and workmanship. Jackets and coats were the most popular entry (24 state finalists). Also popular were blouse combinations, and coats and jackets with dress or blouse beneath. Women also made hats, bags, and other accessories. There is the sense that the contest was sponsored by Vogue Patterns. Prizes were awarded at the Convention in Detroit. :D