I was so happy to see my vest design in the upcoming spring issue of Crochet! Magazine. It was inspired by the 1940s suspender-style vest and jumpers so popular during the late '30s and WWII. Was it a surprise that the editor named it Vintage Kristen Vest? That's me!
I flatter myself that it would even work for a 1940s costume with the right hairstyle, skirt and blouse, and accessories. Any vintage-loving crocheters can get the pattern in the spring 2015 issue - read about where and when to get it on my other blog.
I've noticed in photos from the 1940s that berries and branches, or branches of flowers, were common hair accessories, often used as headbands across the top of the head - even to the overboard kind that looked all twiggy. So when I found a package of these flower stamens, I had an idea.
The berries, in their cherry red color, reminded me of Christmas. But you can use any color! And, while the stems should be longer, these stayed fairly well. I bent them in half...
...and found them perfect hair ornaments, either used in clusters or singly, nestled in pin curls or in groups, as many or few as you wish. They are so light that they don't weigh down your hair at all. A bobby pin helps to hold fractious ones in place. Perfect retro styling for the holidays!
My December tutorial I intended to be of larger scope, but because of the Black Friday shipping crunch, my supplies for it haven't arrived yet so I'm saving it for January. Instead I'll show you how I made my corsage to wear with my 1950s Christmas outfit - still in the works.
It's simple, but fun. And lots of options! I based my idea on my vintage 1940s holiday corsage, now in less-than-pristine shape.
Time to make a new one!
1 vintage millinery spray
1 medium bead cap
quilting thread and needle
I found these lovely vintage millinery strawberries on Etsy. They are textured and poseable and such lovely velvet!
They are strawberries I know - hardly Christmasy, but the right colors! Deep reds and very vibrant.
I hoped to make it more Christmasy and match my dress fabric by my choice of ribbon. It's paper ribbon, like for floral arrangements, so not the best choice for working with. Wired taffeta ribbon would have been better, but I had this and decided to try it.
To Make It
1. So, to begin, I arranged the strawberries. When shipped, poseable sprays often become flat, so it's best to fluff them up and make sure all the berries and leaves are evenly distributed. This same step would be applied to a spray of flowers, if you use those instead.
2. Make your bow. There are lots of options and different styles. I used this video to make mine, and it turned out great! The twist-tie on the back make it nicely attachable.
3. Now to make the decorative center, I took a hammer and flattened the bead cap.
With a double loop of quilting thread on a needle with a very small eye (so it will go through the beads), I started at the edge, sewing a pearl bead to each point.
When the edge is finished, I stitched more pearls to the center, crowding them a little.
To fill in the cracks, I stitched a few of small flat round beads. The idea is to make a stable bead cluster similar to vintage 1950s cluster earrings.
(This whole step could be skipped if you have a vintage earring or other decoration for the center.)
Sew it to the center of the bow, securely.
4. I bent the wire stem down so the bow covers it. The stem could be cut if desired, but I wanted to keep the spray intact. Twist the bow to the stem.
And it's done! Ready to be pinned on the shoulder of a dress, jacket, or coat. And since the bow is removable, I can still use the strawberries for other purposes if I wish, or change the bow to a blue one or something like that for summertime.
I do love how corsages were used in vintage fashion, and look forward to wearing this one on Christmas Day!
Look for my new tutorials posted sometime during the first full week of every month. Hairstyles, crafts, repurposing, etc.
When I bought this lovely 1930s blouse pattern off of Ebay, I knew I had to make it right away. Or as soon as I found the right fabric.
I loved the options included, and the way it can be worn in or out, with such feminine detailing and interesting sleeves!
Small prints always say "1930s" to me, so when I found this 2 1/4 yard remnant of quilting cotton at a local Amish general store, I snapped it up and very quickly decided to use it for this pattern.
The blouse came together well. I went for View A.
I admit I was not as particular as I should have been - and would be now - about the small details and finishing seams, etc. But I was pleased with it overall.
I loved the way the sleeves turned out with the top-stitched pleats, and the way the sleeves were set was so nice! The bottom edges were sewn in like regular sleeves, then the top was gathered into the yoke and top-stitched. Fun!
The buttons were new old stock, probably from the 1960s or so. Not quite accurate, but good enough for me.
I opted for thread loops instead of the fabric loops called for. I wish I would have gotten another card of the buttons so they could be closer together like the pattern drawing, but they are still close and numerous.
Yoke and peplum detail:
I was sizing this pattern up about 4 inches. When I size up patterns, my experience is that I still have difficulty with the finished garment being a little too tight. Imagine my surprise when this one turned out too big! And the biggest problem was that, again, I had underestimated how short my torso is and the waistline was too low - not good, since the peplum makes it obvious. Now that I know, next time I make this pattern it should fit me better! But now, how to fix it?
I got out my leftover fabric and used the only big piece left to make a sash.
I had seen sash options in other 1930s patterns, so I knew it would be period correct, and hopefully fix my problem by cinching in the waist and hiding the seam that is supposed to be at my waist and isn't.
It was simple - I cut a rectangle, hemmed it, and whipstitched one end around a vintage buckle. Easy!
See how well it heightens the waist line? It moves it up 1-2 inches, as needed.
I was much happier with the blouse once the sash was made. The only pick I have with this pattern is that it's so hard to iron!
Next up was the skirt. I needed a solid blue skirt in my wardrobe anyway, so I endeavored to find a fabric that matched the brightish blue tiny flowers in the blouse fabric.
I got lucky when I ordered some cotton online - always risky - described as "light cobalt blue", and it was a perfect match!
For my skirt pattern, I decided to go with this:
It's not a vintage or reproduction pattern, but it is cut on the bias and for non-1930s wear I liked the yoke detail. I went with view F. I had originally thought of making the yoke the same fabric as the blouse, but changed my mind when I decided the blouse looked better untucked and that would cover the yoke anyway.
It worked up quickly, my only trouble being matching the yoke and skirt side seams.
Ah, now it's coming together!
I made a cute little bow brooch out of the skirt fabric (and another for my hair).
Worn with my hair styled '30s and some red T-strap heels, I was pleased. Not Period enough for reenacting, perhaps, but definitely wearable 1930s-inspired style for every day.