Tag Archives: 1940s

Completed: Some Fabulous Silk Birds

17 Jul

I am just going to preface this post with a warning: This is my VERY favorite thing I’ve ever made. Forget everything else up to this point. This here, this is the winner.

Also, I tried REALLY hard to cull down the number of pictures, but there are still a lot. Sorry, not sorry.

Marc Jacobs Birds

I initially saw this fabric on the Mood Fabrics Instagram (which, if you’re not lurking that – WHY NOT, THEY POST THE BEST FABRICS!!). Isn’t it fabulous? I immediately called the store and had them set aside 4 yards for me. When I finally had it shipped all the way to Nashville, I was amazed at just how wonderful it was in person. The designer is Marc Jacobs, and it’s a soft silk Georgette with a gorgeous drape and some incredibly saturated color.

Of course, I had no idea what I was going to do with 4 yards of bird silk Georgette. I hoarded it for about 2 months, while plotting and planning.

Marc Jacobs Birds

I had a Sewing Epiphany while on the way to work one morning (does anyone else have those? Aren’t they so awesome?) and realized that the print would work perfectly with a 40s style dress – and the drapiness of the silk would be a 100% match for McCall’s 6113. Yes, the same pattern I used for last month’s Mood dress. What can I say – I love this pattern, and I want to make a million of it’s babies.

Marc Jacobs Birds

Since this was my first time sewing with silk Georgette, I spent a few weeks devising a game plan and learning all I could about this fabric before slicing into my yardage. Georgette – or, at least, this Georgette – is on the sheer side, so it was going to need some sort of underlayer to keep things opaque. I didn’t want to underline the dress and compromise the flow of the fabric, so I decided to make a slip to wear underneath. Bonus: this is quite handy on a windy day! Already tested that theory :P

Marc Jacobs Birds

I used french seams to construct the entire dress, except at a few sections where it was impossible to sew them – such as the curved yokes. For those parts, I pinked the seams to keep them from fraying. I also stabilized the fabric underneath the yokes with a piece of black silk organza. Since the Georgette is so lightweight and that area gets so much stress, I wanted to give it as much support as possible. I also found the use of my walking foot quite helpful while assembling the dress – it kept the layers from shifting (and me from crying tears of frustration).

Marc Jacobs Birds

Despite having made this dress twice already (my red wool crepe version, plus a boring ol’ muslin), I still encountered some construction challenges unrelated to the fabric. For one, the sleeves gave me HELL when I was trying to set them in. I don’t even understand how it happened – they eased in perfectly with the crepe, but for some reason, it just didn’t work with the Georgette without including a lot of unwanted puckers. I was stumped and let the dress simmer for a few days on my dressform. I even considered leaving it sleeveless, no lie.

Marc Jacobs Birds

Fortunately, I remembered that Casey posted a tutorial on excess sleeve ease on her blog a couple years ago, so I followed the instructions for redrawing the sleeve cap and crossed my fingers.

Marc Jacobs Birds

I am happy to say that it worked! I’m so glad I was able to figure it out – the sleeves really make the dress!!

Marc Jacobs Birds

Marc Jacobs Birds

Marc Jacobs Birds

I just think this pattern is SO PERFECT for such a bright print! Isn’t it beautiful?

Marc Jacobs Birds

I even got super fancy and put a (non-functional) fancy button where the front of the dress fastens.

Marc Jacobs Birds

Marc Jacobs Birds

Marc Jacobs Birds

Marc Jacobs Birds

Now, let’s talk about my slip! I am going to post pictures which I realize is essentially me in my underwear, so bear with me here.

Silk Slip

I’m not going to lie – like 99.9% of the reason why I decided to go with the matching slip was so I’d have a chance to get my hands on some 4-ply Silk Crepe. I’ve heard some amazing stories about the stuff, but never had a chance to try it for myself. It tends to run on the expensive side (truth, this silk crepe cost more than the silk Georgette!), but a slip doesn’t require a whoooole lot of yardage, so I sucked it up and put in my order. I didn’t know what to expect when the package arrived at my door.

Silk Slip

People. This stuff is INCREDIBLE. Throw out any mean thoughts you had about silk and focus on the 4-ply. It’s not at all slippery – even when I was cutting bias pieces, the fabric stayed put. It’s nice and robust and opaque, and it feels amazing against the skin. It presses beautifully and sews like a dream. I was extremely skeptical before I properly introduced myself, but I really think it deserves the hype.

Silk Slip

To make the slip, I used the free Ruby Slip pattern. I spent a lot of time redrafting shit to get it to fit right, and it was kind of a nightmare and I kind of almost gave up (no hate on the pattern itself – I’m just VERY particular about how my slips fit!). I started with the size 8, made a lot a lot a lot of changes, and I’m just going to list them here:
– The original bodice was very small, so I added a 1/2″ FBA using the sew-along tutorial. Truth, I tried to get away with not doing this (I wear a DD cup, but let’s be real here – the only thing “big” about my boobs is the proportion, not the actual size, kwim? I could totally fit into like a C cup if the band was small enough), but my first muslin informed me otherwise.
– I then redrafted the bodice to include a center front seam and underbust gathers, following this tutorial.
– My second muslin showed that now the bodice was too big at the center front, and the gathers were sitting in such a weird place… I looked like I had puffy nipples. So awesome, except not. I wish I could tell y’all I did some mathematical pattern drafting magic and fixed it, but honestly I pinned that fucker to my dress form and manipulated it until I had a decent fit. I pinned out a chunk of the center front seam, redistributed the gathers, and chopped about 1″ width off the back midriff. I readjusted the side seams of the skirt (that shit fit almost perfect with no adjustments, thank god) and crossed my fingers.
– Since the new back midriff was slightly (I’m talking 1/2″ or less) smaller than the skirt, I cut that piece on the bias and carefully eased the two pieces together. I think the result is pretty good – it fits my small back, and the bias makes it easy to pull on and off!
– I also cut about 5 1/2″ off the hem of the skirt. It was long, and I need this slip to be shorter than my skirts!

Silk Slip

Silk Slip

Finally, I added some beautiful lace around the top and the hem, and a little self-made bow in the middle of the bodice. The straps are just satin ribbon outfitted with strap adjusters and rings – very easy to put together.

Marc Jacobs Birds

Now, here’s the real question: I still have like a yard (maybe more) of this bird fabric left. WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH IT?

About these ads

Completed: 40s Wool Crepe Wrap Dress

12 Jun

I know, this dress looks strikingly similar to the 40s wrap dress that Peter made for his identical cousin Cathy earlier this month, not to mention I’ve already dabbled in wool crepe for summer wear, as well as a full 40s wool crepe dress. Yeesh. Ya think it’s possible for me to branch out a little here? Nuh uh, no way. Not me.

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

I actually bought this fabric ‘way back when I was visiting Mood Fabrics in NY. I’m sure y’all are sick of hearing about it at this point, but heyyyy I’ll be working through that stash for at least the next couple of months. Just so we’re clear.

Anyway, fabric. As I mentioned before, I wasn’t planning on buying any wool crepe – but again, Carolyn talked me into it. She’s SUCH a good enabler! This wool crepe is actually a bit thinner and drapier than most wool crepes I’ve come across, making it a good weight for a smart summer dress (oh god, did I really just describe a dress as “smart”? I am totally stuck on this 40s thing…). With Carolyn’s advice, I underlined the entire dress in a lightweight cotton batiste, to combat the slight sheerness and make the dress more comfortable to wear in the heat.

McCall 6113

I used McCall’s 6113 to make this dress up. Isn’t the pattern gorgeous!? A friend found it (along with an entire paper grocery bag full of patterns – ranging from the 40s to the 80s, all in my size. I MEAN COME ON, WHAT ARE THE ODDS) in her attic, and gifted the whole stash to meee! Yes!! The pieces are intact, but unfortunately… the instructions are not. Wah wah. Thankfully, I’ve made a few wrap dresses in my day, not to mention I feel fairly confident in my assemblage skills, so I decided to give it a go.

McCall 6113 - pattern piece

… this is what I found when I pulled the pieces out. Not only is everything labeled (thank you, printed patterns!), but there are construction notes printed ON the pattern sheet, AND the notches are numbered in the order that things go together. PRAISE THE LORD. Although, in all honesty… I probably could have put this together without the help. But MAN, it was nice to eliminate most of the guesswork!

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

Despite the pattern being in my size, I did have to make a few adjustments to get everything to fit nicely (I generally like to go down a size or two – sometimes more – since I find most patterns tend to have more ease than I prefer to wear. Yep, even vintage patterns. What gives; am I just in denial of my size or something??), mainly in the form of taking in the side seams and shortening the shoulders, as well as hacking about 5″ off the length. I made a muslin for fit, but it ended up also giving me a great idea of how the pattern was put together so I had less guesswork with my wool crepe. Which is good, since wool crepe can be a sneaky little bitch when it comes to ripping out stitches.

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

In hindsight, wool crepe is definitely a little on the bulky side for the gathers in this dress. I’m afraid I look a bit boxy at the waistline here :( Oh well!

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress
Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

I do love the little tucks in the back :)

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

And the curved hem at the overlap.

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

I don’t know what’s going on with this picture, I just thought it was funny. ~Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline~

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress
Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

Oh, did you notice my pretty embroidery? This all happened entirely on a whim – I finished the dress, put it on and looked in the mirror, and it just looked… red. Overwhelmingly red, and plain! I decided to add a small punch of (neutral)color by embroidering the shoulder detail. The embroidery is from the Hoop Love Vintage Transfers Flickr Group, and it’s all just a basic back stitch with french knots in the middle of the flowers. Ha, that sound so easy but it seriously took me about 6 hours to do. Embroidery is definitely a time-suck!

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

Here you can see the underlined inside, as well as the series of snaps and hooks that hold the dress together.

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

And there it is closed!

Red Wool Crepe 40s Dress

How many of you will groan if I finish this post with something like, “WELL I GUESS THAT WRAPS IT UP!!”

Sorry.
Not sorry.

Completed: A Very Purple Simplicity 3178

16 Jan

Y’all. Can we talk about wool crepe for a minute? I just love this shit to tiny threadbare pieces and I wish everything I made had a wool crepe option. I love the spongy texture, the glorious drape, the magical body-temperature-regularity (yay, wool!), and the COLORS. Truly, everyone should have at least one experience rolling around in a uncut length of wool crepe. Especially if it is a jewel-toned wool crepe. Ooh la la.

For my first Mood Sewing Network project, I wanted that experience to include wool crepe. I have a beautiful 1940s Simplicity pattern that I knew would look amazing done up in such a fabric. And since we’re talking about ~my first time~, I decided to go all out with my bad self and splurge on silk crepe de chine lining and satin bias tape as well. The end result is very… purple.

Simplicity 3178
The pattern I used is Simplicity 3178, which is undated but looks to be from the late 30s/early 40s. I love vintage patterns because they always have sweet little details, like the darts on the elbows that provide gentle shaping for the sleeves and the shoulder yokes that are actually pockets (!!).

Simplicity 3178
The skirt is bias cut, so I finished the hem with 1″ horsehair braid to give it a nice flare.

Simplicity 3178
The pattern gives a couple of options for finishing the neckline – I went with the double collar (self fabric on top and ivory wool crepe at the bottom) and a giant bow!

Simplicity 3178
I didn’t have to make too many changes to the pattern to get a good fit. I took in the side seams by 1/2″, tapering up to the underarm. I also removed a whopping 9″ of length from the skirt – the original pattern pieces came all the way down to my ankles! Yeech!

Simplicity 3178
I reckon the pockets are totally unnecessary, but ughhh I love those little fuckers!

Simplicity 3178

Simplicity 3178
This baby is also lined! Wool crepe really begs for a nice lining to give it some additional structure, and although the pattern doesn’t include pieces or instructions for adding a lining, it wasn’t too difficult to figure out. Unfortunately, I didn’t correctly calculate my yardages, so I didn’t have enough lining for the entire dress – which means the sleeves are not lined. I’ve noticed a distinct lack of lining in lots of dress sleeves, so this doesn’t bug me too much. Bonus plus: now you can see the pretty bias tape at the sleeve hems!
Also: lol at this hideously unflattering photo of me. IT WAS WINDY WHEN I TOOK THESE PICTURES, OK.

Simplicity 3178
The instructions do call for the sleeve slit and hems to be finished with bias tape, and then closed with a series of snaps. After trying the dress on during one of many fittings, I decided to flip the hems back to show the bias tape since the dress really needed a bit of color breakup. I pressed the cuff (wool crepe really does press so beautifully) and tacked down each side with a couple of hand stitches to keep everything in place. The neck bow is the same bias tape, just pressed completely open.

Simplicity 3178
I think the shoulders are my favorite part of the dress! Instead of using shoulder pads, I made a small stiff rectangle with horsehair interfacing and tacked that to the armholes like a sleeve head. It keeps the pleats from dropping too much and gives the dress those badass strong shoulders that were so fashionable in the 40s.

Simplicity 3178
Here you can better see the yoke pockets. I just think they are the coolest little detail! I wish they were big enough to hold my phone, but they’re just baarely too small. Hm, what do you think I could use them for? My seam ripper seems to fit :)

Simplicity 3178
Simplicity 3178
I worked hard to make the inside of this dress just as pretty as the outside. The yoke pockets and neck facings are lightly interfaced with silk organza, the facings are finished with satin bias tape, and I even rolled the hem lining and used tiny hand stitches to secure it. The collar is detachable – it’s current state of attachment involves basting stitches.

Simplicity 3178
Overall, I’m very happy with my dress – I love it’s snuggly wool warmth and did I mention purple? Because purple.

IN OTHER NEWS:
– Brittany of Viva Bang Bang, one of the MANY local Nashville bloggers who I’m just obsessed with (check out my sidebar; there are tons of us! WE ARE EVERYWHERE, YO), came to my house over the weekend and took a bunch of pictures of my sewing room. If you thought it looked cool before, definitely go check it out now because she made it look fucking amazing. Yay! Thank you so much, Brittany!!
– I’m sure some of y’all are into Project Runway, yes? Even if you’re not (that would be me, haha. Guilty!), you should totally watch this season because my homegirl Amanda Valentine is one of the designers and she is super rad and you should support her. I mean, they called her a bitch in the season preview. How sweet is that?! Haha!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,008 other followers