Not so very long ago I signed up to So Zo’s Me Made May ’13. Whereby I pledged to wear something handmade, every day throughout the month of May 2013. I did leave it till the very last minute, knowing what a flake I can be. And to be honest I could do without creating extra work for myself. I really do have plenty ’nuff on my plate right now! But… what fun! And what revelations…
So here is what I pledged:
‘I, ooobop!, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade garment each day for the duration of May 2013’.
There was still a big pause before I pressed the ‘publish’ button. I don’t have an issue with wearing something handmade every day. In fact that it an ultimate goal. I would love to own an entirely handmade wardrobe. It’s having enough to last a month that’s the issue right now! So I think you might be seeing a few repeats unless I can rustle up some emergency quick-makes!
Here are the first 7 days along with my discoveries:
DAY 1: Gingham Burda Blouse
Have since learned that this shirt is too long and hence too tight on the hips.
An easy fix… if I get round to it! Would love to try one in a block colour
to make use of those fabulous shoulder darts. Should also wear it with a belt.
It’s not the shapeliest of blouses!
DAY 2: Norman Hartnell blouse
Very fond of this blouse. Very easy to wear. Perfect for work or going out.
And given that it was a relatively simple make, I need to make more!
DAY 3: 1940s Shirt-waist dress
I still love this dress. Any dress with a midriff gets my seal of approval.
Have since learned to be more precise when sewing buttons in position.
DAY 4: 1970s Dress
I have neglected this dress. I didn’t line it and so I can’t successfully wear it with tights
which is kind of a necessary requirement in the UK!
Would happily make this one again. The shape is very cute and I do love
the statement collar!
DAY 5: Daisy dress with red bias trim
New Look 6750. One of the first dresses I made, hence not blogged.
Note to self: As lovely as cotton voile is, it’s not very good at
hiding all those lumps and bumps, expecially if one has made the dress a tight fit!
Also must remember to allow a bit of ease when binding sleeve hems.
Near cut off the circulation in my arms!
Only dress so far I am not entirely comfortable wearing.
DAY 6: Elisalex dress Dress completed and worn to a picnic on this day. By far my most
favourite dress. incredibly comfortable. Very stylish and very satisfying to make.
It’s a keeper!
DAY 7:Gingham peasant top One of the easiest tops I’ve ever made. Love wearing it with a pencil skirt.
Need to make some capri pants to pull off that Doris Day look.
Keep meaning to add a tiny black bow to the front neckline!
One of the great things about this challenge for me, is having some proper attention focussed on each garment. I usually throw things on without a thought, especially when I’m off to work, in a ‘that’ll do’ kinda way. I’ve been wearing far too many rubbish Primani T-shirts when I don’t really need to. If I just make a few more tops, I can ditch them altogether, especially if I include a quality t-shirt or two on my project list. Wearing me-mades on a daily basis really does have a feel good factor.
I’m sure the next few weeks will get more and more challenging and probably with some new revealations but so far so good and lessons learned already. Cheers Zo!
I thought you might like a look in more detail at that Ebay haul I won in July.
Their arrival was a little ungainly to say the least. Not damaged in any way but clearly hurriedly bundled and tied up in… a Morrison’s bag. Not that there’s anything wrong with Morrison’s. But I did have a moment of OMG have I just bought a sack full of rubbish?! Surely these antique patterns deserved a carriage with a little more style!
I gingerly untied the knotted handles. Actually that’s a lie. I completely tore the bag apart because I couldn’t wait a minute more. Was a bit whiffy to say the least! But I can totally forgive the smell, the packaging and the wait.
I think I am still gobsmacked.
For starters, almost all of them are my bust size which means the only alterations will be to the waist and hip. So much less faffing. Even the few that are too small will be worth the adjustments. And I tell no lies when I say that each and every one was a doozy. Most of them unused and uncut.
The first little beauty that caught my eye was this cut out cover of Home Notes. A delight in itself but what was the chance of the patterns for these beauties being inside?
Every little lovely chance. I had guessed 1940s by the styling but in fact this unused and perfectly preserved pattern is nicely dated October 7th 1939:
Love the bit about: “Other sizes… obtainable FREE on application”. Can you imagine that happening nowadays?
I can’t find dates on most of the patterns but all are truly vintage and very beautiful. This is the first I’ve heard of Economy Design patterns. And I feel pretty damned lucky to have landed these lovelies:
Next up is a more familiar name, Simplicity. These stylish little numbers have all their pieces in tact, despite the damage to the envelopes. In fact the one on the right had some very interesting accompanying material!
Whoever Mrs Poole was – the name on most of the mail order pattern envelopes – she was a lady of very fine taste with impeccable organisational skills. In the envelope with Simplicity 8488 (above right) there was this cutting:
Great to see these vintage patterns in ‘real life’ photos. And it makes me love the ensemble even more! Also inside the envelope (from Readers Digest) was each copied piece of the pattern, traced and labelled with precision onto a 1960s edition of the Daily Express. This is one of the reasons that all these patterns are in such great condition and seemingly unused. Mrs Poole has dutifully copied them and kept the originals factory folded. This has given me a fine source of entertainment too, reading all the snippets of the papers. This one quite topical: “Billie Holmes, 24 year old Hull engineer, won the first Olympic cycling road race trial yesterday – by ONE inch. And this victory, over 96 miles near Chesham, Buckinghamshire, strengthens his claim for Rome spot……”
Thank you Mrs P.
Leach Way Patterns is a new one on me too. Any one heard of these? The dress pattern was still in it’s original mail order envelope which is date stamped 1949, so I might be inclined to date the coat and the suit around that time too. Needless to say, all three in perfect condition.
Weldons is a name I recognise. I have a couple in my collection already and I love how they are always so incredibly stylish and yet a little bit quirky.
Now I am assuming ‘Womans Day’ was a womans magazine and this was a supplement… correct me if I’m wrong:
But even better still, than this cheeky little gift book, the blouses featured on the cover and in centre spread are an exclusive Norman Hartnell pattern and all the appropriate pieces are present and correct in this gorgeous little pattern envelope:
I love this 40s (?) McCalls suit. It is so reminiscent of the suits my grandma used to wear:
And who could resist running up a few slips and bloomers for under their vintage dresses?
Woman’s Realm was defo one of my mum’s reads. So these conjure up a bit of nostalgia. I love the first dress. It’s numbered WR.1. I wonder if that is the first ever dress pattern issued by Woman’s Realm? The middle one is far too small for me in any case but the wedding dress with a few adjustments, I’m sure would be really flattering. I do like an empire waistline.
Here’s a classy Dior number from Woman’s Journal:
There’s a couple of other great coat patterns too. One from Odhams and the other from Woman’s Own magazine. I am thinking of making a coat. Just thinking, for now!!
I think Mrs P was too as there were various cuttings of coat images too:
It’s amazing that all the pieces seem to be present for these Du Barry patterns. Whatever their pattern envelopes were made of they certainly disintegrate in a big brittlesome way. But look how Mrs P (I presume) has lovingly recreated the image herself. Don’t you just love the sharpness of these suits and frocks?
I do like a shirtwaist dress and was delighted to find this one from Woman’s Weekly in the bundle. Woman’s Weekly was another of my mum’s reads. I distinctly remember the pink header and the elongated type on the cover:
Here’s a smart little dress suit from The People. One day, one day!:
There was one little girls pattern included in the bundle. I would love my youngest daughter to wear little vintage dresses but I think there is some chance and no chance of that ever happening 🙁
Most of the other patterns were from Woman magazine. Another of the larger format mags if I rightly remember. And what a fine selection we have here:
And imagine how excited I got when this one jumped out at me:
With all supporting cuttings once again:
I love the collar and the buttoned hip pockets. Not to mention the self covered buttons all the ways down, ooo… and the self covered belt. How amazing would that be?!
I am soooo making that Hardy Amies number!
And this wrap dress from Woman looks so much more inspirational in the mag too:
And, if ever I am going to make a pair of ‘Trews’, it is going to be this pair! I love that they are called ‘trews’. I thought that was a term only used and made up by my mum!
Apart from the masses of cuttings that I still have to sift through – believe me, there are stacks of pattern pieces cut out from really old newspapers – the above are without edits, the most amazing collection of patterns ever. Not one duff one among them. Well…. there was this strange one…
…which has to win the prize of most random pattern ever!!
Mostly I am not very good at bidding on Ebay. Which is a good thing because I could very easily spend a fortune on vintage patterns and fabric. Don’t get me wrong. I do win bids, but at a price. The original quest for a vintage pattern at a bargain becomes a fight with an undisclosed bidder whom I won’t let get the better of me. And thus the whole bargain thing goes right out the window.
Well it depends how you look at it I guess. I am currently ‘watching’ Vintage 1940s, 1950s job lot of sewing patterns & ephemera 30+ patterns.
My original bid was for £30. That’s what I was willing to pay and if I lost then that should have been the end of it. But no. Somebody had the cheek to outbid me. So I upped it to £42.02. That should trick ’em, I thought! Then, when they up their bid to £40 they will think I’ve bid a lot higher, and give up, and let me have all those lovely patterns. But no. They’ve gone to £52.69 and there is 13 minutes remaining. I am actually biting my nails. What do I do? Hang on in there? Bid at the last minute? But at what price? That’s £22.69 more than I wanted to spend. But they’ve got to be worth at least £5 each, surely. That makes £150. I’m so not paying that. Going to go for £70 top whack.12 minutes, 30 seconds to go. My heart thinks I’ve just run around the block at least 5 times. £75.27 in the maximum bid box. That should do the trick…..just in case they’ve got plans on £70. 10 minutes 36, shall I ‘place bid’ now? No. Hold tight. They might be thinking the same. Its been a while since I’ve bid. They will think I’ve lost interest. 7 minutes 8 seconds. Do I really want these. Haven’t I got enough already? Maybe. But I wont be beat. Especially by someone who refuses to reveal their identity! 6 m 9s. Not yet. Hold back. Don’t give them time to respond…
I left it ’til 20 seconds to go. And I confirmed my max bid at £75.27… knowing I shouldn’t really. £53.69 accepted. Phew! glad it wasn’t the full max bid…and I pipped that bidder to the post… oh yeah… oh yeah!
Here is a section of my prize haul which I won, just now, fair and square (… oh yeah!):
When they arrive for real I will give them the proper photoshoot they deserve. Not sure I can cope with that amount of stress again in a hurry. And really, I do now have enough patterns… I do now have enough patterns… I do now have enough patterns… don’t I?
I always wondered why, with all the patterns in the world, would I ever make one twice? In the case of my peasant tops, here and here, I can only say it was because they were dead easy and required little brainpower, perfect for a late night sew. But in the case of this dress, the rationale was purely because I’ve never had a dress I feel so at home in! I had in my head, that I was a simple shift dress girl but actually I think I’m more of a shirt-dress girl!
Without the association of the pattern, I wonder if anyone would guess it dated back to the 1940s? Do you think it’s obvious? Or have I been looking at vintage patterns for so long now, I think they are the norm?! Perhaps if I were to style it with appropriate accessories: hat, bag and gloves, it might give the game away, but – dressed traditionally sporting wellies and a brolly – I think it also crosses over as a modern shirt dress too.
I’d like to tell you what this fabric is but I have no idea! It’s red and it’s 100% cotton for sure. Kind of like a cheesecloth seersucker but not, and vaguely reminiscent of my candlewick beadspread I had as a child… without the little soft threads that pulled out oh-so satisfyingly easily! I thought it might be ribbed cotton. I’ve heard that mentioned before but I really haven’t a clue. It was kindly donated to me by a friend who desperately needed to get rid of a big bag of fabric… I could never be like that! And I knew what ‘the red’ was destined for immediately.
It came together sweetly as before with the addition of a few minor changes. I added a third button just because I love the little ‘targets’ and two didn’t showcase them enough. They cost £2.45 for six, bought at the London Vintage Fashion, Textiles and Accessories Fair, September 2011 and I think they are vey happy on this dress!
I made it an extra inch longer, but really could have gone for 2 inches… oooh, I am getting brave in my old age!
I also added an extra inch around the midriff, knowing the struggle I have to get the dress on, over my head and judging by the photos of the last dress, it does look a bit snug. But it was highly unnecessary on this version. The mystery fabric, unlike the shoe fabric, has a lot more give and resulted in little poofy bits at the sides. I put it on the mannequin and looked at it for a few days, wondering if I could get away with it. I probably could have done, but it would have annoyed the hell out of me!
And so… I sensibly turned the dress inside out and chalked and basted where I wanted the new line of stitching to be. Namely half an inch in from the original seam, starting from just above the waist, in a straight line up to the armscye. I tried it on again and was much happier with the silhouette.
Dutifully, I removed the basting and unpicked the topstitching where the midriff meets the bodice. I sewed the new side seams on the bodice over the chalkines. Sewed the new side seam on the right side of the midriff section and trimmed the left side opening to match (where the zipper goes).
I must be getting better at this. I would never have had the patience to do that a few years ago! But it was of course, worth it and now I am a happier bunny!
Here is a picture of the zip in the side seam. Once I’d sewn one size of the zipper in place, I made sure to make chalk marks where the midriff needed to line up. I pinned the second side of the zip to those marks first and then pinned the rest. Worked like a treat!
I opted for longer sleeves this time. Not full length, just three quarters. Mr Ooobop! thinks they will annoy me being so fitted and I have a little tendency to agree but I wanted to see how it affected the overall look.
I’m intrigied by the construction of the sleeve with darts to shape the lower arm. I guess this is a vintage thing because, to date, I have not come across these in a modern pattern.
Allowing for adjustments, this dress did seem to take longer than the first. About 5 evenings after work, spread over a couple of weeks. I have been really keen to see it finished but not so keen that I wanted to rush it and ruin it! And in any case I had to wait for Mr Ooobop! to be around to do his usual photo magic . . . and for the sun to come out! Well, we gave up waiting for the sunshine!
I’m sure that this little revisitation wont be the last but I do have an incredibly long list of other ‘wannamakes’ to tend to first, so its back into the envelope and into the box ’til next time!
Do you like to revisit a favourite pattern or do you prefer to try something new every time?
I’m in the process of making a second version of the 1940s shirt dress I made in May, and I’ve been prompted into wondering (ie arguing with Mr Ooobop!) whether it is usual to make horizontal or vertical buttonholes on a garment. I couldn’t bear the quandary any longer!
So I did a little research and came up with the following…
Horizontal ones allow for a little more expansion. The button can slide along the opening without distorting the buttonhole as much as a vertical one.
It’s easier to sew buttons in position, following a column of vertical buttonholes as there is a little more room for manoeuvre, but you have to sew them on more accurately to meet the positions of the end points of horizontal buttonholes.
Horizontal buttonholes generally can’t be placed on a shirt placket band as there is not enough room for them to sit comfortably and so vertical ones are used.
Exceptions include the collar and cuffs where there is more stress, then you will find a horizontal one. And in the case of more expensive shirts, the bottommost button too!
Horizontal buttonholes take a bit longer to create as the foot needs to be repositioned and position measured each time, whereas its easier to shift the position down each time for vertical ones. I’m thinking this is a reason for mass produced garments having vertical ones.
Horizontal buttonholes stay buttoned more securely. Any stress across the garment opening, pulls the button into the the end of the buttonhole, where the button stops.
It is a little less-fiddly to button up with vertical buttonholes.
Most vintage patterns are marked for the buttonholes to be created horizontally.
So there you have it… fascinating, hey?! It doesn’t prove much except that you can seemingly create them however you like… so long as it works for you and your choice of garment!
I’m going with horizontal ones and now feel much happier about doing so. Apart from the fact that it makes me feel a bit rebellious, (and that I won the argument) I like that it’s a little bit of authenticity for this little 40s number.
Which way round do you sew your buttonholes? Any reason different from the above?
I’m hoping to have said dress all finished and blogged by the weekend so bring on the sunshine so Mr Ooobop! can take some sunny shots!
I know, I know, I know… I have enough patterns to sink a battleship. Well that’s what I’m contantly being told. But it’s not strictly true, is it? I would need quite a few more, actually, to really make that happen! Plus, I haven’t bought any in aaaages!
Truth is, I really (honestly) didn’t have many cool blouse and top patterns. But now I have!!
I’m hoping these vintage top patterns will transform into a lovely collection of go-to tops for those panic mornings when I’ve come flying out the shower to find an outfit in 5 minutes for work! They all call for polka dots, stripes and gingham and I will find it hard to go outside of those boxes but will have fun trying!
Oh and this little 40s dress was just waiting to be ‘saved’ by me. Would have been plain rude not to!
1940s dress styles are fast becoming my favourite and my best! I love how fitting they are without being too saucy! I have only made this one to date but it happens to be the most comfortable and flattering dress and always gets lovely compliments. I am currently working on another version in a solid colour and I am also reminded how simple the pattern is too, thank goodness!
What is your favourite era for patterns? Or do you prefer modern ones?
I do believe I have just made my most fitting and appropriate dress for this lovely hot summer we have just entered into. And it’s covered in shoes! And it fits in with this weeks Sew Weekly challenge, ‘Inspired by the 1940s’. And I just realised it matches my Ooobop header too! I am just a little bit happy!
Last July, I posted about the ‘shoe fabric’, quite sure it was destined to be a 1950s shirt buttoned dress. The pattern had to be just right. I wasn’t going to waste that fabric, even if it did only cost a fiver! That was until I found this amazing pattern for a 1940s shirt buttoned dress which was spot on.
I was sold on the midriff! I knew it would be flattering, it was just a question of how the shirt top would fit. Well it all went together like a dream. I took 5 inches off the length, worried as usual about the granny factor but actually I might be inclined to leave it a bit longer next time. And yes, there will so totally be a next time! The other alterations I made included adding 2 inches to the waist, being careful to add it to the shirt top and the midriff and the top of the skirt.
I was a bit worried about the gathering ‘poofing’ out the skirt section so I replaced the gathers with soft pleats. I know it kind of takes away a bit of the authenticity but I think its a lot more flattering. I also included a little turn up on the sleeves, as I did with my wing collar shirt. Just a little detail but I think it finishes a short sleeve much better and gives a little more interest.
I so enjoy a good old rummage in the button tin. I quite often had my whole head in my mum’s button tin when I was little and so the whole searching for the right button thing generates such a nostalgic feeling which escalates to pure joy when you find the perfect ones! These two little red beauties were 2 of a little set so kindly gifted to me by Rachel at House of Pinheiro as a thank you for doing a little guest spot over at her place! Gotta love this whole blogging thing!
The back of the dress is finished off nicely with side-ties that tie in a little bow at the back which also serve as a great device to hide the near invisible side zip.
Of course, there are no prizes for guessing who took the lovely photos! Mr Ooobop! is so clever and so willing and so lovely. My blog would be truly rubbish without his wonderful photos.
We had such fun taking these today, en route to lunch in a local pub garden…. and then onto dinner at our local Italian restaurant, Casa Mia. Totally indulgent day today but it wasn’t our fault. It was all sunny and everything and we were seriously confused into thinking we were on holiday!
Sewing, Sunshine, park life, Prosecco and pizza….and more sunshine! I am so easily pleased!