Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pre-war Skirt Leads the Way to Wartime Fashion

Are the holidays over yet? Nope, and I can only hope you all are having the most wonderful season. It's been busy, busy, busy for me, with hardly a moment to blog. But I miss chatting with you all in cyberspace, so I am squeezing in some time today with a short post about an interesting pattern in my shop.

It's 1939 and war is looming on the horizon, but is not yet declared in the US. This now-classic skirt from Vogue and 1939 features the shorter length required for those in the war zone (Paris!). It is super easy to make with only two pattern pieces. It has lovely flared swing style that led the way in wartime fashion. And it was so popular in 1939 that Vogue re-issued the pattern in 1940. What's not to love?!

The skirt has bias flare, dart-fitting at waistline sides (over the hips), a fitted waistband, and back (surprise!) zipper or snap closing.

It's timeless style and a cleverly simple construction. Follow the pattern number link above to the pattern in my shop.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Black Friday Blitz! And Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday!

For all you holiday shoppers, take 20% off any purchase in my shop starting NOW and running through Thanksgiving, Black Friday (11/29), Small Business Saturday (11/30), Sunday too, all the way to the end of Cyber Monday (12/2). Just enter the coupon code BFBLITZ when checking out your items from my Etsy shop, Midvale Cottage.

Many other pattern sellers from the Pattern Patter team on Etsy are also participating, so if you don't find what you want in my shop, be sure to visit another Etsy vintage pattern seller. There are so many now, you will have a wonderful selection!

Pattern Patter Team - Black Friday Sales

Happy shopping!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

November Fashions from 1967 - Glitter and Glow!

Skim through this November fashion digest from McCall's and see what was high fashion for the party season in 1967. Be inspired!

This quick dress (8990) is perfect in crepe for day, printed metallic for evening. Chic!

From left to right:
-A slim skim with fringe benefits - a glitter-trimmed scarf (8994)
-A look-of-the-moment shirt in a golden shimmer of sheer metallic (9012)
-A dress shaped with soft cowl neckline and inverted front pleat, and a matching no-button jacket (9014)
-A silver-threaded shirt tent drawing special attention to the side - don't forget the glittered buttons (9002).

From left to right:
-Stripe up a shiny new pantdress and light the look with a path of rhinestone buttons (9008)
-Black jets in with a confectionery blend of sheer over crepe - a bared-out beauty, breathless and beautifully borne for motion (8996)
-Elegant tent defined in a layer of silver threaded rosebuds over a shaft of silk-and-worsted (8992)
-A wisp of a slip dress in a rainbow fabric colored with a splattering of sequins (9004).

Shimmers of stardust fleck the smocked cage that flows free atop a slim slip of a gown (8998).
Enter moonbeam - a slim silver of shape in milk-white brocade (9010).

From left to right:
- A bright mini-skim with or without shorts that are lit up to peak through (8943).
- Sews up in a flash, looks like a smash! Squared in front, strapped in back, and shaped to be seen in neon green (9006).

Glow in this little dress, shaped to skim the body, with the important away-collar and flattering raglan sleeves (9018).

A contrast of a white satin yoke against the plush deep cotton velvet (9000).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Before and After Hit Parade: Groovy 1970s Caftan Goes Tropical!

Seamstress: Jem
Pattern: Simplicity 5900

This fab caftan from 1973 features an empire waist and beautiful, flowing style. It's a "Jiffy" to sew pattern that doesn't sacrifice great style. It's the sort of pattern that shows off fabric to great effect.

The Result: And here is Jem's great result, hand-sewn in a gorgeous tropical print, full of colorful parrots. Looks fabulous, doesn't it? And yes, that is not a typo, Jem did not use a sewing machine, she actually hand-sewed each seam. Amazing!

You can view Jem's blog post about this sewing effort here: Seven Minutes in Heaven. Be sure to also visit the Etsy shop that she runs with Nicki,  Seven Minutes in Heaven, where they sell groovy clothing items from the Mod era of the late 1960s and the 1970s. Girls after my own heart. :)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Night Lights" - McCall's Evening Fashions from November 1966

Holiday party season is coming fast upon us! I figured it would a great time to look at the evening fashions depicted in a McCall's November 1966 Fashion Digest, which are a picture of perfection in pastels. Fabrics that were "in" that year were silver and gold metallics (such as glimmery lames and glittery brocades), sumptuous matelasses, and diaphanous sheers.

8529: a tent dress dolled up for evening in rhinestone-rimmed silk and worsted.
8530: a tent coat, a floating shape in silver-crusted brocade.

8497: a swirl of softest chiffon, a-whirl over sparkling white crepe... the alluring cage, sprinkled with rhinestones, barely covering a lively little slip dress.
8517: a swing of silk organza, bordered with bands of shiny green satin and set afloat over a halter sheath.

8466: the sparkle smock, in a swinging silvery brocade... sparked at the shoulders with rhinestone buttons.
8464: the shimmer skimmer, in pale pink knit, lightly dusted with silver and shaped to swing softly to a row of ruffles.

8503: a slim shaft of pink and gold brocade, shaped like a shirt and brightened with jewel buttons.
8505: a magnificent fall fo palest lime crepe, caught into gentle gathers below the yoke.

8509: the rajah skimmer, a dazzling dress in silk and worsted, bedecked with pearl banding.
8499: Luscious white crepe, cut with flowing raglan sleeves, razzled with rhinestones at collar and cuffs.

8500: a super scoop, with tank-y top and long lanky skirt and the exciting look of golden crepe.
8527: the evening empire, with boidce softly molded under silver fishnet, with slender skirt gathered high, pretty neckline scooped low.
8446: brilliant brocade bareback, sparked with silver...flared to float smoothly to the floor.
8495: aglow with glitter... luscious cherry velveteen, accented with shimmering rhinestones.

8525: the halter sheath... a quick flow of glitter brocade... worn long as a gala gown or as a short theater suit, coupled with a smart elongated jacket.

8523:after-dark drama... a beautiful brocade of pink gilded with gold, shaped in the pure elegance of a short or long evening ensemble... the dress is a bare back empire, the jacket is a rajah style.

8508: little elegant looks... three fairy-princess hi-lines to wear out to special parties or at home.

8448: made for dazzling... the brocade skim, a feminine dance dress, destined for exciting holiday happenings.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Veteran's Day - Remembering Wartime Fashion from 1939

With Veteran's Day a week away, it seems appropriate to look at wartime fashion. The 1939 October edition of Life magazine featured the effects of the war in Europe on women's fashion in the US, even though the US had yet to join in the war. With war rationing in France, the design houses of Paris had already shortened skirts. But military-inspired details were also becoming smart fashion here.

Obvious war influence is reflected in this hat of felt with black braid, black dress with military collar and cuffs, and gilt buttons. Note braid trimming on gloves.

Dress parade hat has military crown & brim. Gilt swag imitates braid on dress uniforms.

Epaulets of wool fringe and braid or of all metal are pinned on..

 American eagle of silver is used as a belt  buckle. The hat has a similar ornament.

 Cockade on hat and double row of buttons on dress give a military touch to this outfit.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

It's Time to Celebrate All Things Scottish!

St Andrew's Day is coming up at the end of this month (November 30th to be precise), so I've decided to use the whole month of November to honor this patron saint of Scotland by celebrating all things Scottish in my shop! 

Be watching for postings of patterns that either feature designs for, or simply illustrate patterns with, plaids, kilts, and hats such as tam o'shanters and glengarries.

Here is a peek of some bonnie things to come for the lasses and the wee lasses!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Skating Costumes through the Decades - An Enduring Style!

Winter is coming! And for those who face freezing winters, ice skating comes to mind. Skating outfits over the decades barely changed. Just look at these great examples.


This skating ensemble consists of skirt, jacket, and trunks. Skirts are full circle and lined. In the 1940s they loved to trim an outfit with hand embroidered motifs - hearts and flowers in this example - adorable! And don't forget to notice - trunks match the skirt lining. Perfect for both ice and roller skating. :)


Here the skating ensemble (ice and roller skating) includes the full circle skirt, a snug vest, matching trunks, and blouse too. Tap dancing was huge in the 1950s - note the tap shoes on the dancer on the right.


In the 1960s there were more options for girls! Twirlers and majorettes use a variation of the same ensemble as the skaters in this pattern. The skirt and bodice are joined into a one-piece costume, but otherwise the skirt is still a full circle, lined, and matching trunks (briefs) are included.


 In this 1970s pattern, a cheerleader joins the twirler/majorette and the ice skater and roller skater. And in this pattern the full circle skirt is replaced with princess seams and bias flared gores that are one-in-piece with the bodice - a very 1970s style! Note the option for inserting godets for extra flare. Matching briefs included, of course.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Edith Head's 116th Birthday Anniversary

Happy Birthday, Edith Head! In honor of the 116th anniversary of her birth, here is a double bonus - the amazing designer Edith Head being interviewed about the design process for Audrey Hepburn's costumes for Roman Holiday!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

18th Century Costumes - Then and Now

Continuing on the theme of costumes, here is how an 18th century costume is interpreted through the decades. Note how most of the costumes have draped fabric (panniers) at the sides, and the Puritan costume is frequently included.





Monday, October 21, 2013

Little Red Riding Hood - Then and Now

Halloween is getting very close, so I thought it would be fun to look at how costumes change (or don't!) over the decades. There are perennial favorites, and ones from fairy tales are always winning choices.

Here is a rare and lovely costume from the 1930s that features Little Red Riding Hood and an angel:

From 1996, this pattern features Little Red Riding Hood, too, as well as Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz (or simply a darling country dress with pinafore).

If you are sew quickly (and most costumes are designed to be sewn quickly), there is still time to put together a fine costume!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Timeless Tied Fringe Edging

This timeless tip from the 1920s describes knotted fringe - a style that returned in the 1970s and was ever so hip! Simple to make and fun to wear, Ruth Wyeth Spears provides easy-to-understand steps for creating this easy, feathery edging using silk or fiber floss.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Before and After Hit Parade - 1950s Girl's Dress Hits the Stage!

Seamstress: Rachel Danay - Lincoln Community Playhouse
Pattern: Butterick 7009

This adorable girl's dress from 1954 was purchased by Rachel to sew as a costume for a community theatre production of The Bad Seed. Isn't that exciting?! She's been working hard to have as much ready as possible by Oct 20.

And here is the dress, which is terrific and looks great on this young actress! This fabulous photo is the work of Bronson Gierhan of Lincoln Community Playhouse, and following it is the show's awesome poster. So if you are in Lincoln, Nebraska later this month, be sure to enjoy the performance (it's a drama mystery/thriller), and enjoy the vintage costumes, sewn by Rachel!. :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Costume Time - Tudor and Victorian Belle

As Halloween draws near, an intense focus on costumes occurs here in the United States. However, sometimes I think the UK provides more opportunities for dressing up in period costumes than we here in the US. Here are two excellent examples, as shared by my customer Jan in the UK. She originally shared her story of sewing a historical costume for her daughter in my post "Before and After Hit Parade: Girl's 1940s Wartime Frock - Reliving History!".

After I blogged about that wonderful experience, Jan shared pictures of two more costumes that she had sewn for her daughter, Georgia, for school events. Georgia makes such a beautiful model - and the detail of the costumes is fabulous.

Here is Georgia in a Tudor costume, complete with fabulous gable head-dress decorated with pearls and daisy medallions. The gown is sewn in a rich fabric, complete with a square neckline edged with tulle, and a standing collar or ruff.

The next picture shows Georgia in a Victorian dress that Jan sewed for Victorian day at school. Jan said that Georgia had a bad cold that day, and so she thinks the photo isn't as good as it could be. She also made a matching cape which isn't in the picture (and regrets not getting a picture of). But look at the fine details: fitted bodice with center trim and long sleeves, full skirt with front draped apron, high demure neckline, and matching bonnet.

Lucky Georgia, to have a mother who sews so well! And lucky Jan, to have a daughter who looks so beautiful, no matter the fashion era. I look forward to seeing more of Jan's creations. And happy sewing to all of you who are sewing costumes for Halloween and other fun occasions!