Monday, March 31, 2014

Home Sewing Tips of the 1920s - Accent Your Frock with Bias Bands

"Smart lines" and "a clever touch of decoration" are two ways to ensure a distinctive new frock, according to Ruth Wyeth Spears. In this 1920s tip for the home sewer, Ruth describes how to cut and add self-fabric bias bands to trim a frock with, adding her most excellent illustrations (as always).

A chic little frock, I daresay! :)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Scraps from the Past - Elegant, Modern "Pinafore" in Black

The Pattern: Advance 8055
This lovely pattern from 1956 features a modern "pinafore", consisting of a full or slim skirt with detachable bib and shoulder straps, and a handsome blouse with a wing collar and the ever-flattering 3/4-length sleeves. It simply looks like spring and summer fashion to me, and definitely for the afternoon or evening. :D

The Scrap: This scrap was tucked in the pattern. Although they don't show up very well, rows of shiny dots fleck this black rayon scrap. The only pattern pieces cut were the bib, shoulder straps, and waistband. Most likely the original seamstress used a favorite skirt pattern in combination with the bib to create a very special afternoon or evening ensemble. Can you imagine it? :)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Blouses with Tucks - Then and Now

Spotted in the shop window of OSKA in downtown Seattle, this pleated and tucked blouse is superb. I have blouse-envy. :)

Tucks in blouses were particularly popular throughout the 1940s and into the 1950s. Here is a wonderful advertisement from March 1952 for blouses that have such beautiful details, with tucks the dominant feature. I love these blouses - such variety, and very different from modern blouses. So pretty! Note that many of these blouses are sheer, and rely on the perfect undergarments. ;)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Make Another Chic Ribbon Cloche!

If you didn't make the first ribbon cloche that Ruth Wyeth Spears described in one of my previous posts, here's another one to tempt you. Or maybe you did and you want to make another! :) Ribbon hats were evidently popular at some point in the 1920s, and with Ruth's home sewing tips from that era, you too can learn how to make your own.  This rather Art Deco style hat uses stiff ribbon and a buckram crown foundation. Happy sewing!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spotted in a Shop Window - Formal Gowns at Luly Wang

I love this strapless gown, with its diagonal pleating on the bodice and flirty asymmetrical peplum. Simple stunning!

And this gown has an elegant pouf of a half bow adding drama to the strapless neckline. Eye-popping dreamy! Note the additional elegance of a sweep train.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

1950s March Fashion - Neutral Tones Carry the Day

The pearly look of pale tones are featured in this collection of spring styles from March 1952!

 Pale beige flannel suit - a collarless neckline, pleated skirt, "domino" closing.

 A beautiful double-breasted coat of white fleece, lined with black silk, worn over a black silk suit.

 A double-breasted white fleece topper over a slim navy dress - perfect to wear spring or summer.

A neat round-collared suit in oatmeal tweed flecked with red and green, and accented with a big wool tassel.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spotted in a Shop Window: Deliciously Draped Dresses from Luly Yang

Look at these gorgeously draped dresses, seen in the shop window of Luly Yang in downtown Seattle. Such beautiful cascading drapes, artful gathers, and elegant design details!

I wish I could afford to shop in this store. Sigh.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Sew a Two-Toned Felt Hat

You can never have enough hats, and this tall-crowned cloche is a "smart little hat" that is easy to sew. Ruth Wyeth Spears provides all the details you need to create this two-toned felt hat, straight from the 1920s. Which colors will you choose?

Send me a link if you sew this one up!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

In Search of Style: A Dreamy Formal Gown

Prom dresses are in the fashion news right now, so I think this is a great time to post this clipping I found in a pattern that I listed in my shop this week.

Here is what our later 1940s seamstress was looking for, a tremendously dreamy, gorgeous gown. Note the details:
  • Full skirt topped with a froth of net
  • Snug strapless top with contoured princess seams and front button closing
  • A mere shrug over the shoulders with deep cuffs

Here is the pattern that it was tucked into, Butterick 4872 from 1949. It comes amazingly close, don't you think? Check the details and compare:
  • Very full skirt is separate from the top. 
  • Top is dart-fitted and strapless, with front button closing
  • Very cropped bolero that borders on being a shrug, with deep wing cuffs

Also tucked in the pattern was a special bonus - two receipts! One for 5 yards of net (she definitely wanted that luscious, gauzy froth), and the other for two spools of thread.

On the reverse side of the dress clipping is this rather stunning weskit-styled top, with fabulous lacy-crocheted wing collar, matching lacy-crocheted points at the waistline, and 3/4 length sleeves with beautiful wing cuffs. Totally spell-binding style.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Old Things are New - 1920s Negligee and1970s Caftan

When I was listing an elegant caftan pattern in my Etsy shop the other night (Simplicity 7211), I noticed that its construction is actually very similar to a negligee from the 1920s that I posted about a few days ago. Both are a length of fabric, folded, then a neckline cut along the fold. Then side seams are sewn along "body lines" (if I may put it that way ;), leaving the edges to drape gracefully.

Note how the side seams are sewn for this 1920s negligee (which, I mean really, it's a frock, is it not?). The body silhouette was pretty straight in the 1920s, and the result is flapper fabulous. :)

Now look at this lovely caftan from the 1970s and Simplicity, and look at the pattern back:

Look familiar? As in the 1920s pattern, the fabric is folded, the neckline cut on the fold, and seams sewn to follow the body silhouette. But since it is the 1970s, the body silhouette has curves, specifically curves that form a lovely contoured A-line. :) Gorgeous.

Hmmm. And I just noticed - both models are posing with a hand to the side of the head, and jewelry, including a bracelet.... :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

1950s Refashion - Trimming a Circle Skirt Down to a Slim Skirt

Before: A tea-length full circle skirt in black bengaline from the late 1940s. Evidently it was "too wide" and "too long"!

The Changes: The original waistband was removed, the skirt turned so that the side seams became center front and back seams. Front yokes, back yokes and kick pleat insert were cut from the rest of the fabric. The illustration shows how easy it was. A cuff was sewn into the seams where the yokes join the skirt pieces. A back zipper closing was inserted at the center back seam of the skirt yoke, and the waist was finished with belting. Easy-peasy! ;)

After: Rather elegant, I must say!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Adding an Inverted Pleat to a Skirt

In this wonderful tip, Ruth Wyeth Spears explains how to add an inverted pleat (the latest fashion trend - in the 1920s, that is!) to your skirts. Her method uses an underlay - a classic and timeless technique still used today. This is a great technique that you can use often. So bookmark this tip. :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Girl's 1950s Pinafores - Sweet Variety and Simple to Sew

Here are six cute pinafores from the early 1950s for a young girl. No longer a quaint cover-up apron for a fresh dress, in the 1950s the pinafore is a fashionable part of any girl's wardrobe. They are worn with all kinds of dresses for all kinds of occasions - at school, at play, at parties. And the basic design can be trimmed up in endless variation. Sweet!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Home Sewing Tip from the 1920s - Some "Seam-ly" Advice

"Seam-ly" advice? Groan. Such a poor pun. Nonetheless, in this tip Ruth Wyeth Spears offers important advice on sewing and finishing the seams of your frocks. A proper finish for seams is a factor in the appearance and wear of the garment.

Don't you love the model's hat, not to mention that fabulous critter around her shoulders? Poor thing- it was the fashion back then!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Accenting with Embroidered Arrowheads

Did you ever think to take a little extra time to add embroidered arrowheads to the ends of top-stitched pleats? Such smart details lend an air of tailored distinction to a frock. Ruth Wyeth Spears walks you through the steps, showing you just how easy it is!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

1950s Refashion - Remodeling a Front Draped Skirt into a Slim Skirt

This is such an interesting refashion from 1951!

Before: A dress with a front-draped ("harem-drape") skirt that had stretched out of shape.

After: Fabric was folded and seamed 4 inches below the waist to create a peg-pocket line that slants down toward the side seams. To make peg pockets, the fabric inside the fold at each side was cut and a pocket lining of taffeta was inserted.

A slim, crisp silhouette, with intriguing, sharp style!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Create a Summer Linen Hat with Raffia Flowers

Are you ready for summer? Are you ready to make your own summer hat? Find a cloche-style buckram frame on the internet and decorate it as Ruth Wyeth Spears describes here!

You simply cover the frame with a coarse pastel linen and edge the brim with raffia. Using Ruth's template for the flowers, you then create raffia flowers with centers of French knots, and add them to the crown. Can you picture Ruth's colors of blue, burnt orange and yellow? :) Have fun!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Early 1950s "Costume Suits" - So Elegant and Chic

Crisp points add flair to these costume suits from 1951. What makes a women's suit a "costume" suit? Primarily, the costume suit is high style - more feminine and dressy than the traditional man-tailored two-piece suit. It can be worn wherever a dress can be worn, yet is suit-worthy for occasions that call for a more business-like appearance.

In both costume suits illustrated below, wing points at collars and cuffs are eye-catching and provide sharp style over a slim sheath. The tunic-length topper & dress ensemble is a fabulous fitted look, while the cropped jacket  with a slim skirt is closer to a traditional suit but has bolder, more dramatic flair.

These costume suits provide simply superb 1950s style. And note the hat choices for each suit - they're perfect. :)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Sew a Graceful Flapper Negligee

Simplicity was a hallmark of the Flapper era, and yet simplicity did not imply lack of graceful style. In this wonderful tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears, sewing expert and writer for the seamstresses of the 1920s, she describes how to sew a negligee that both saves fabric and time!

Note that the construction calls for seams from under the arm to the hemline, with small openings at drop-waist for a ribbon tie belt. What could be simpler? Select a soft material, in a harmonizing color - oh, happy thought! :) Love those little slippers with fur trim. But why is she wearing a necklace, earrings, and bracelets? If you sew this negligee, let me know!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Gathers and Draped Necklines Inspire 1970s Elegance!

This Vogue 2810 dress features a draped turtleneck, saddle yoke that extends into incredibly dramatic full sleeves with deep cuffs, gathered bodice, inset belt, and gathered skirt. Delicious!

With Vogue 2817, you can charm all around you in Irene Galitzine's turtleneck top over incredible palazzo pants.This designer pattern includes a gown version as well. Supremely luxurious style!

While I encourage you to visit my shop Etsy shop, Midvale Cottage for lots of 1970s dresses (designer and otherwise), you can view images of Vogue 2817 on the Vintage Patterns Wikia, and you can purchase Vogue 2810 at the following shops on Etsy:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

1951 Re-Fashion - Reviving an Evening Gown!

This re-fashion from 1951 focuses on re-draping and re-cutting a problem dress into a fresh, new silhouette.

An evening gown (from the late 1940s, I'm guessing) with weary-looking panniers is converted into this fresh, new dinner dress with a slimmer, shorter skirt. The extra fabric in the old skirt enabled the addition of a center inverted pleat. The neckline was cut a bit lower and wider, both front and back. Scraps from the skirt faced the neckline and provided enough fabric for a wide matching belt. Delightful results!

Monday, March 10, 2014

1951 Shoes Put a Spring in Your Step!

These lovely sling-back shoes for dressy occasions demonstrate great style from March 1951, including peek-a-boo toes and platform shoes. Graceful walking indeed!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Sewing a Chic Turban

If you have a lovely remnant of metallic brocade and a bit of silk, and can get your hands on some buckram, then this elegant turban should be a snap to sew for your next formal soiree. Ruth Wyeth Spears, sewing maven for the home seamstresses of the 1920s, will show you how!

Click on the image to view it larger for easier reading.

Please note! In this tip, Ruth says to cut a circle from 14-inch square of fabric by folding it four times and then cutting. This is such a clever tip, but could be a little more specific. Here is what she means:

You can also simply make all folds diagonal and obtain the same result, as I demonstrate here:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Home Sewing Tips from the 1920s - Transparent Flowers to Trim Frocks and Hats

In this easy-peasy tip from Ruth Wyeth Spears, she describes how to make sheer floral accents for hats and frocks. All it takes is fine wire, ribbon, and tulle or maline fabric in your choice of color (all of which can be purchased online or at your local fabric store, such as Hancock's or Joanne's). Perfect for your summer or formal frocks of sheer fabric, and of course for any fine summer hat.

Be sure to click on the image to enlarge it for easier reading. And I simply have to make some of these. This is a low effort-project that will produce such satisfactory and lovely results.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

1973 Vogue Fashion - Evening Ease & Style

1973 evening wear is easy and elegant with these two patterns from Vogue. Vogue 2807 is a full length shirtwaist that adds casual sass and spark to an evening. The stunning dress 2804 is designed by Jean Muir and captures the eye with its flat panels, gathered panels, dolman sleeves, and shirttail hemline. Gorgeous!

While I encourage you to visit my shop Etsy shop, Midvale Cottage for lots of 1970s dresses (designer and otherwise), you can find the patterns for the two items illustrated above in the following Etsy shops:

For Vogue 2807:
We Are Vintage Sewing

For Vogue 2804:
Vintage Green Clothing

And while you are browsing Etsy, pick one or two accessories to wear with the dress, like a 1970s hat with net and a 1970s beaded choker!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Easter Hats from March 1949

A new Easter hat is the perfect accent for your new Easter dress or suit. Which one of these lovely hats from March 1949 would you pick?

 A woven powder-pink straw - perfect for a dark spring suit and and small, piquant face.

A cherry-red straw hat with iridescent ribbon pouf, side-dipped brim to frame the face.

A youthful helmet cloche of fine straw braid and winged with two tiny brilliant feather birds.

 The perennial sailor in a soft rich coffee straw - perfect with a tailored suit.

 A cartwheel hat the color of toast, with a gently rolled brim, head-fitting crown, and soft leaf-green trim - it's a delicately flattering hat when you are dressing up.

This enchanting off-the-face bonnet combines purple and pink.