Monday, May 27, 2013

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Bias Bindings - the Smartest Edge Finish for a Frock

This tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears and the 1920s addresses edge finishing for a frock. At the point she is writing this, evidently plaitings (pleats) and ruchings have gone out of style, as well as tailored piping.

She provides excellent instructions for creating and applying the bias bindings to different types of fabrics. Can you imagine this little "crepe de chine" dress, with its rows of ruffles, and matching scarf, all trimmed with bias binding? And in the color orchid? :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Scraps from the Past: Teen Party Dress With Shimmering Blue Collar & Cuffs

This accessory dress from McCall's and 1957 is versatile and lovely - a dress you can dress up for parties or down for every day.

Here is the scrap that was tucked in the pattern envelope, a beautiful shimmering blue, (alas,  the shimmering aspect doesn't come across in this scan).

From the notes the seamstress wrote on the envelope, she planned to sew view D in a black silky plaid, with detachable blue taffeta collar and cuffs. Can you picture it? :)

1930s Frock with Asymmetrical, Curving Style is Summer Superb!

Just posted this in my shop (and sold it!) - and what is not to love? The front seam curves and twines, creating a front midriff that ties at side, and a long center front vent. And those are button closings on that curved bodice front. Note the cute little patch pockets set at a jaunty angle. Cap sleeves can be turned into long bishop sleeves. Sweet!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Flapper summer frock with belt & scarf

Can you visualize this flapper dress in a soft light and dark violet chiffon? Ruth can! If you are planning on sewing a frock from chiffon or other sheer fabric this summer (isn't everyone? ;), then Ruth recommends that you use whipped French seams for the seams. 
 Sheer fabrics (such as chiffon), are actually a very popular trend this summer (I think I read that in the fashion news of the New York Times). The use of sheer fabrics in summer clothing is a perennial favorite throughout the decades - you just can't go wrong. But the thin, delicate nature of this fabric requires very specific sewing techniques, such as Ruth describes.

Don't forget to try this design of two-toned girdle (belt) combined with a long two-toned scarf. Inspired!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Three Tie Belt - A Smart Innovation of the Season!

Do you love Downton Abbey, The Great Gatsby, or simply the fashions of the Flapper Era? Then this fashion tip for a three tie girdle (belt) is for you!

This tip comes from a compilation of 250 newspaper articles of sewing and fashion tips by sewing maven for the home seamstress, Ruth Wyeth Spears. The compilation was published by Illustrated Home Sewing Magazine, is described as "a  book of graphic instructions in dressmaking and millinery" and is dated 1927. Illustrations are drawn by Ruth herself.

This tip provides complete instructions for sewing a three-tie belt worn at the hips. Note that this belt is sewn with a lining of contrast color, and is one of the "smart innovations of the season". It looks easy to sew. In fact the majority of the tips fall in that category and would make a great "Downton Abbey" Sew-Along. But I think I need to post a few more tips so that a full ensemble could be sewn. Not to mention, I want to get the tips posted before Downton Abbey moves on to the 1930s. :)

Keep watching for future postings of Ruth's tips!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

The Boyer Family Singers nominated me for the fabulous Very Inspiring Blogger Award - what can I say? Heaps of thanks to Boyer sisters Brigid, Jessica, and Charlotte, for this wonderful honor! I received the award the day I left on vacation, and so my apologies for my tardiness in responding. It isn't for lack of appreciation. :D

This award has responsibilities, though, and I am overdue!

1- Display the award and link back to the person who nominated you
2- State 7 facts about yourself
3- Nominate 15 bloggers for the award
4- Notify the winners

Item 1 is complete. Here are the 7 facts about Midvale Cottage and me:
  • This is the first blog award I've received- yippee!
  • I love to shop at thrift stores and not only have I done so all my adult life, my two daughters grew up loving to shop at thrift stores too (and still do).
  • I sewed my wedding dress on my mother's Singer treadle machine.
  • I love to sew, knit, crochet, and embroider - taught by my mother.
  • While I love all vintage fashion eras, my heart belongs to the Mod years (late 60s to early 70s).
  • I have 10 siblings - 6 sisters and 4 brothers. I think all those hand-me-down clothes started me on my preference for thrifts stores! ;)
  • I started Midvale Cottage with 300+ patterns from a local estate sale (across the street!), where the mother had sewed all her family's clothes all her life.
And here are 15 bloggers that I find inspiring:
Couture Allure Vintage Fashion -  A blog for lovers of vintage clothing and fashion, where you can learn about vintage styles, designers, and design concepts through photos from the past.
Refashion Co-op -  A worldwide collaborative blog to showcase refashioned clothing projects and share techniques. Totally inspiring and fun.
We Sew Retro - A marvelous community of ladies and gents who adore vintage patterns, vintage fabric, and vintage style. Vintage and retro sewing projects are shared for inspiration and encouragement with vintage sewing fanatics worldwide.
Lilacs & Lace -  In her blog, Laura Mae chronicles her adventures in creativity. Shes adores sewing and knitting, mostly vintage or vintage-inspired patterns.
My Happy Sewing Place - Debi is an adorable and inspiring seamstress in bonnie Scotland who simply loves vintage patterns from all eras but especially the 30s, 40s and 50s. She looks wonderful in all her creations!
Peanut Butter Macrame - "Lady Katza" is an enthusiastic seamstress, who "sews to stay sane". :) She loves vintage and I love how she sews for her family as well as herself. She's amazing.
Sewaholic - Tasia went from sewing as hobby to sewing as career. She loves vintage patterns and blogs about her sewing projects, sewing tips and inspiration. Now she creates and sells her own line of sewing patterns!
Sewing Fairytales - A very active seamstress with a love of vintage who enjoys participating in sewing challenges in the sewing blogosphere. Salvia looks fabulous when she models her creations, complete with vintage accessories.
Wearing History -Lauren is an amazing seamstress of vintage patterns, and handles fashions from decade to decade with ease. Be sure to check out her own line of patterns!
Another Sewing Scientist - Vicki is very active in the sewing blogosphere, participating in sewing challenges and somehow managing a career in science and a love of sewing vintage.
A Dress a Day - What could be better than a vintage dress a day? Erin has been a fab presence in the vintage fashion blog world for an impressive time, with terrific humor and style.
Gertie's New Bog for Better Sewing - What's not to love about the phenomenal Gertie? I started following her blog before she became a star in the fashion (vintage and otherwise) world. She is awesome, and now has her own line of fashion patterns.
V is for Vintage - Beth has more fun with vintage fashion, including swing dancing and watching historical series on PBS. I with I had her energy. :D
Glamoursplash -A fun blog with a daily splash of vintage swimwear, vintage fashion, news, designer profiles and all things retro.
Casey's Elegant Musings - Casey sews, loves vintage, haunts thrift stores, knits, embroiders, and has such a wide range of tastes. She's my kind of gal!

That was an effort! But all worthy bloggers - and so delightful and inspiring! And now to notify the winners!

Thanks again, Boyer sisters, for nominating me - you are a total delight! :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Karla Deras and 1960s style

I spotted this image from Elle magazine of jewelry designer Karla Deras and felt that I had seen that dress before, in another decade....

What do you think? It's mini, A-line, and uses gold braid at the neckline to great effect. Not identical, but definitely a 1960s Mod influence there...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Before and After Hit Parade: 1970s Bride - It's Me!

Seamstress: Me!
Pattern: McCall's 2701 from 1970

In the early 1970s, there were strong folk and country influences in fashion and the wedding gown featured in McCall's 2701 from 1970 is a great example.

The Results: I liked it so well, I chose it for my wedding in June 1971! :D Don't I look young? I was 21, honest!

I chose view A, with the lace-trimmed stand collar and lace-trimmed cuffs on the long bishop sleeves. I sewed a self-fabric tie belt that I tied in front at empire waistline. I chose to trim the center bodice front with lace ruffles as well.

As you can see, I followed view A pretty closely. White dotted swiss was my choice for the fabric, and the veil was my "something borrowed" from a best friend. Can you guess how much I spent on fabric and notions for this wedding gown? $6.00!! Amazing.