Tag Archives: vintage

Look what I found!

girl's dress

This isn’t what I found, actually, I’ve had it for ages, since I was 10 or 12 and actually had a chance of fitting into a 30″ bust. I even got a royal blue sprigged quilting cotton with this dress in mind, but never got around to even looking inside the pattern envelope. Until today, when I reached inside for the instructions, hoping to find the date (I was organizing my patterns chronologically, for no reason) and this fell out:

front page

A Hollywood Patterns catalog from 1942!

front page

rick-rack dress

chic crocheted hatss

Chic crocheted hats.

suit dress

suit dress

suit dress

What would 40s fashion be without suit dresses?

dress

The back page is torn, unfortunately, but I really like this dress.

children's fashion

children's fashions

There are some children’s patterns (like mine).

back page

The back page. Shirtdresses, and a tip to read Glamour Magazine to find out how to meet and marry men.

Amazing. I can’t believe this has been sitting in either mine or mother’s stash for so long and neither of us ever realized it.

The pattern that I have is 847, and the catalog starts numbering in the 60s, so it’s probably from late 1941 or early 1942. A pattern piece also fell out with the catalog, and it’s probably a good thing I didn’t try to make this 8 years ago because my 12-year-old sewing skills would definitely not have been up to the challenge of an unprinted pattern.

unprinted pattern

I wish now that it was a grown-up pattern, because it’s a really sweet little dress.

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drafting a dress

I want to make this 50s halter dress from BurdaStyle.

I have a green and black gingham seersucker, and black broderie anglaise for the straps. Or something. I’m still a bit hazy on the details. Maybe I’ll make my own piping, if I’m feeling really ambitious. The fabric, being seersucker, has really subtle stripes, and I have some idea of chevrons in the skirt, if I have enough fabric. Can you make chevrons in a circle skirt?

But, I don’t really want to buy it, print it out, tape it together, trace it onto pattern paper, do an FBA, and then realize that it doesn’t fit me right anyway (I’m facing the terrible fate of having to grade all of my patterns, ever). So, I decided, why not draft it myself? It has two darts, how hard can it be? (Ha ha.) I would never knock off a pattern from an indie pattern company, but this is Burda and vintage and, well, I don’t feel bad.

I am using a piece of muslin, a tape measure, the Burda line drawing, and a giant roll of paper towel to draw my pattern pieces on (I couldn’t find a newspaper). The pieces themselves are coming along all right, but I feel that the construction may prove difficult. Burda seems to have made the X across the bodice out of one piece, but surely that is not an economical use of fabric…

Waiting for nice weather…

I now have two dresses to blog about, one handmade and one altered, but it has been too cold and rainy for nice outdoors pictures these last few days, so I haven’t been able to blog them yet. I was optimistic this morning, but by the time I was done with lunch, it was raining again. I also have a growing list of things-to-sew, but most of them require fitting, and it’s tricky to do by yourself in a mirror. I really wish I had a dress form, but they’re so expensive! It is incredibly useful to have a sewing room, though, where this is room for fabric chaos and two sewing machines set up at all times. I’m afraid my empty room next door is going to get taken away from me in the upcoming health-and-safety inspections.

To make up for not having pictures of new things, here are some pictures of a pre-existing dress, taken on Halloween in a mass costume-photoshoot with my friends (it’s not a costume, but I wear it every Halloween anyway). I’m pretty sure it’s from the 19-teens or maybe the early 20s, judging by the general shape and length, but it seems odd that it would have survived so well. I wear it once or twice a year and though it has always had some tiny pin-holes, it hasn’t ripped or begun to fall apart yet.

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Standing pointlessly by an obelisk-thing. It felt right at the time.

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Being very careful not to fall in the reflecting pool in my vintage silk. Don’t mind the black and white, we were being artsy.

I really love this dress. The sleeves are actually attached to an under-bodice, which closes in the center front with snaps, and then the rest of the dress snaps up the side. It has a lace collar that snaps, too, but whenever I wear it, it comes unsnapped and looks silly. It can’t have been very practical in its day. The fabric actually used to have geometric shapes on it in dark blue, I think, and sometimes in the right light I can just see the ghost of the pattern. It doesn’t photograph at all, and half the time I can’t even see it.

Yesterday was cold and rainy and quite unpleasant, and I was in such a bored, unsatisfied mood that I decided I was good for nothing but television and mundane hand-sewing, and consequently I managed to bind an entire side of this quilt. So pretty soon there will be pictures of that, too! If the weather ever gets dry again…

a sunny day and a colorful dress

Although I was initially overjoyed to be reunited with my extensive wardrobe after winter break, I have quickly fallen back into the habit of wearing a few key items over and over again, and letting the others stagnate. This is partly due to laziness, partly due to weather, partly due to “saving” dresses for the right occasion (which is completely imaginary and does not exist in my life). In short, there are many reasons, and none of them are very good. But Saturday dawned sunny and warm and positively springy, and I had no obligations more taxing than a stroll around campus and some physics homework, the perfect opportunity for a new dress.

floral dress

It’s not actually new, but it has languished in my closet for what–six months? a year? and this is the first time I have worn it. It was given to me by my friend Jessica, the source of most of my vintage clothes. I think it’s from the 70s, but what do I know? It’s polyester, simultaneously both slightly fuzzy and slightly shiny, and quite warm, which is a plus since it’s not really spring yet however balmy it feels.

My roommate Sierra (who took these pictures) lent me a big pale-green flower pendant. It’s mother-of-pearl-y and amazing and goes very well with the dress’s crazy oversized pattern.

I wore it with white tights and my poor beat-up black mary-janes. I love these shoes to death but I’ve had them for nearly three years and they have been sorely abused in that time. The Lewis & Clark cobblestones do no favors for shoes, and nor does the rain…

floral dress

These photos are taken partly just to capture the beautiful Imbolc light quality before it completely disappears behind three more months of rain. Also, I live on the loveliest campus I ever have seen, which is the closest I come to having school pride or whatever.