What a gorgeous day it was in London today. I couldn’t believe that I actually didn’t need a coat for the first time this year. I can even feel a little after-sun tingle on my skin.
And what perfect timing I might add, to showcase my first summer dress of 2013!
My Mister and I, along with our trusty assistant, LMO, decided to take a walk over Hammersmith Bridge to take the photos. And to stop for some lovely lunch at The Bridge in Barnes. (highly recommended, I might add!)
Hammersmith Bridge is my favourite bridge of all. A Shame we didn’t get any of it in its entirety but if you Google it, there are a gazillion great pictures of it out there.
What I didn’t know about it was that there are some ‘viewing benches’ on the bridge itself. Scarily placed right up to the roadside but with such a lovely view of the river. And obvs a great place to take a picture!
Amazing how much prettier the Thames looks when there’s a bit of sunshine!
From Hammersmith Bridge Mr Ooobop insisted we take some shots in the Launderette. Not the most glamourous of locations but I’m so happy that it helped to project the vintage feel of the dress.
The dress itself is half derived from Simplicity 2442. I used this pattern for the bodice section:
I was the lucky recipient of this, plus a whole bunch of other goodies from Sew Magazine when I won Star Letter, back in October 2011. You can see the generous prize haul here.
I did have my doubts concerning gaping necklines and dodgy pleat placements but all it took to get over the fear was one toile, which also helped to reassure that it wasn’t going to take too long to whip up either. I can’t say exactly how long it took because I have been sewing in such little bursts over the last few weeks, in between shed loads of work.
I love the crossover straps at the back but I must find me a decent strapless bra. I’ve just tucked in the straps of my regular bra so they don’t show. But there was a going concern that it would end up round my waist at one point!
This pic is Mr O’s fave. Personally I think I look a little psychotic!
After much deliberation, mostly on Twitter, I decided to add a dirndl skirt to the bodice. I didn’t like how the suggested skirt was neither full nor straight. I felt it wasn’t extreme enough for the fabric I’d chosen or the vintage vibe that I wanted. I considered a circle skirt and nearly went for that, fearing too much bulk around my waist but I needed more than 3m to achieve that.
A dirndl still gives a great shape. I think you just have to make sure that the bodice is not too long otherwise the fullness sits over the belly and that’s not a good look on anyone!
I lined the whole dress in red. I wasn’t going to line the skirt section at first but I remembered how, as full as skirts are, if they are made of cotton they cling like Billy-o to your tights! I also added a bit of ease in the depth of the midriff lining to prevent the outer fabric of the midriff from puckering.
I also took great care in under-stitching the lining on the bodice top edge so it didn’t peek out.
I’m so happy with how this dress turned out. The bodice fits and feels great. Can’t wait to try with a circle skirt and perhaps even a long evening dress in some silk velvet? As if my list isn’t long enough!!
I can’t possibly round off this post without a shout out to the amazing Dolly Clacket. She without doubt has been a massive inspiration whilst I’ve been dreaming up this dress. If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing her wonderful 50s style tea dresses, hop over and have an oggle. They are gorgeous!
I have just added the following two lovely patterns to my Vintage Pattern Collection page and while at it, couldn’t resist a shout out to the fantabulous Pretty Grievances. I would imagine she hasn’t slipped under your radar but just on the off chance, there you will find some of the most entertaining posts out there! Wednesday Wearables is my most favourite. I’m so glad to have been Twittering at the right time and place when the lovely Anne announced she was having a clear out. I actually was hopping up and down on my seat and mentally pointing at the sky shouting ‘me, me!’, when this little beauty popped up:
I don’t think I’d change a thing about this dress. Rather inclined to keep it in blue, too!
As if that wasn’t treat time enough, this Brucey bonus was inside too. I’m assuming 1960s, Just going by the hairstyles. I do love a shirt dress.
And gingham is certainly the way forward with this one. Let’s hope I win Didyoumakethat‘s pink silk taffeta at her Great British Sewing Bee giveaway!! 😉 But get in there quick. You need to enter before 19th April!
So, thank you Anne. I am truly grateful and planning on stealing some sewing real soon xxx
I made my first pair of pin-up pants last September 2012 and I knew I would have to make more. For one, that stretch silk doesn’t come cheap and I WILL use every last piece! But moreover they are divine to wear!
Even though they look as massive as the last pair, they are in fact a bit shorter. So they come just under the belly button now! I found some fabulous red lingerie lace at my local haberdashery stall and remembered that Mr. O had bought me a packet of little red bows some time ago. Perfect for some cheeky vintage-style knicks!
Not much more to say about these other than they are well worth a go. I love working with smaller projects especially as I don’t have a dedicated sewing room. It means I can have everything contained and to hand… and don’t have to clear the decks in order to lay everything out!
As you might have noticed, this is the 2nd little project I’ve posted today, after starting a toile for Mr. O’s waistcoat this morning. One might think I was seriously procrastinating and avoiding doing the welt pockets on some very expensive silk satin. One might be quite right!!
Gosh! Is that the time? Sorry must dash! Got a date with Mr Selfridge! 😉
Well Bridget Jones, eat your heart out. Mine are big and all silk!
There has been a lot of knicker making activity going on in blogworld recently. For example these pretty French knickers by Kat at The Couture Academic, these ‘little pants‘ made by Rachel at the House of Pinheiro and just check out Gertie’s prolific pant production line! Plenty ’nuff inspiration to ease me gently into the beginnings of lingerie-making.
As with most things I do for the first time, I headed to my Burda Style magazine collection, remembering a Lovely Lingerie section in issue 01/2012, which of course included the perfect pattern.
The only thing that flummoxed me was that these ones had a side zipper! I can’t get my head around having to zip up your pants in the morning, call me old-fashioned! I guess the rationale was that the over layer of tulle wasn’t too stretchy and I for one would never be able to get non-stretchy nicks over my hips!
So first mission was to find some stretchy lingerie fabric so I could omit the zip. I went in search of stretch cotton satin but on presentation of skirt-weight cotton sateen each time, I gave in to the more luscious lure of 100% stretch silk. At £15 metre, these are definitely the most expensive but certainly the most luxurious pants I own. My faithful haberdashers in Shepherds bush market stocks the elastic lace at 50p a metre which softens the blow!
These were such an easy and delightful make. Though I don’t want to give you a ‘bum steer’ (!) They are more time-consuming than you would think, to stretch-and-stitch the elastic lace, top-stitching it twice on each opening . . . especially on to slippery silk.
Oh, and by the way, I make no apology for the lack of modelled garment. How could I possibly compete with the way that Scruffy Badger so confidently models her frilly knickers?!
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 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?