I seized one sunny day between two snowy ones to sneak in some fall photos with one of my more recent projects, my new 1930s blouse.
Though I have many 1930s patterns to make on my sewing queue, somehow I have only managed to actually make two 1930s blouses from that list, of which this is one.
It was a sort of trial version for a future project, for which I wanted a blouse that could be worn tucked or untucked. This one I thought might fit the bill.
And it does work both tucked and untucked, so that was a winner! In fact, since the peplum is fitted, it seems to stay tucked in better than loose blouses with a shirt-tail hem.
I used the Thistleberry fabric leftover from my gold dress. It's such a good color for autumn wear!
I adapted the pattern a little by putting the zipper upside down and opening from under the arm all the way down to the hem. It makes a wonderful difference with the ease in getting it over my head and shoulders! I'm going to incorporate that idea in other sewing projects, where applicable.
I also changed up the pattern a little by lining the peplum instead of using a bias facing. I don't like bias facings that much, and thought for a peplum where the underside might show, a double layer of fabric might be better. And as a bonus, it encased the zipper for me. Much more comfortable.
It was a simple pattern overall and quick to make, with a few of those little details that make vintage fashion so special.
I found when I was putting the outfit together that I have a terrible lack of solid color skirts, and 1930s style skirts. That's something I'm going to fix! This one doesn't coordinate very well; next time I'll do better.
But the blouse did go well with one of my few 1930s hats.
The style of the blouse has more ease across the shoulders than some I've made from other eras, so it's actually quite comfortable to wear for everyday and is a useful piece in my fall wardrobe. Time to make more 1930s garments - after my Thanksgiving dress is finished, anyway.
I intend on taking pictures this week of the blue 1950s housedress I made a few weeks ago, but I noticed that so many of my last posts have been blue-themed so before I do another one, I'm going to prove that I don't exclusively wear blue by posting pictures of a non-blue outfit. (Ok, so there are fine blue-gray threads in the skirt. Does that count?)
Incidentally, it's an example of the rare times I wear something only vintage inspired instead of true vintage or more-or-less reproduction.
(I'm also experimenting with new backgrounds, you'll notice. There are lots of spots at our new house I want to try for photography!)
I have a feeling this picket fence will be a prominent feature of future photos.
For this fall church outfit, everything is modern, for once, except the coat and gloves worn as outerwear. The fabrics and cuts of the skirt and blouse (both thrift store finds) are distinctly 21st century, yet I can see elements of a 1950's wing-collar shirtwaist in the blouse.
Pearls add a classic element, but with antique bronze findings and a modern design.
I've also seen 1950s patterns with what they called a "trumpet" skirt, which was flared in a similar manner to this skirt, so even with the modern components it still looks kind of 1950s-secretary-ish, in my opinion.
Or maybe it's just the way it's styled overall. Most modern outfits end up looking somewhat vintage on me; probably it's my hair. A vintage hairstyle will make almost anything look at least vintage-inspired. Following along with the "Only Vintage Inspired" theme, this time my hair is a quasi-1940s style. Not living in a particular era gives me more freedom to mix and match elements from several eras, though I have become over the past year or two a stickler for authenticity when it comes to dressing up in real costumes.
The clutch is one I do not use for my more vintage outfits. The shiny faux patent leather and big metallic trim and buckle doesn't fit in any other era. The gloves are vintage, but look a bit edgier since they are leather. I took them off when I took of my coat at church, but outdoor photos were cold enough that I left them on!
These heels are also in the category of Cute But Modern, a rare buy for me since I so much prefer vintage styling or true vintage when it comes to shoes. The color is so pretty and matched my blouse exactly.
Idaho November mornings are perfect candidates for trotting out my one and only Lilli Ann!
It's a fun break once in a blue moon from wearing my own handmade vintage clothes. But for dress up occasions, this is as modern as it gets!
Get ready for the holidays - make your own gingerbread man! For gifts or decor he's cute. The crochet pattern pdf download is Item of the Week in my Etsy shop, half price for one week only - slashed from $3.
Need a hairstyling secret? Hairnets are it. The right kind of hairnets. They can save a bad hair day in a perfectly authentic manner!
There are several kinds of hairnets, but I'm going to share with you the type I've found to work the best – these neat vintage-style envelopes, with two fine-gauge hairnets inside. (The type of hairnet is what I recommend, not necessarily this brand.)
They come in several different sizes – I use the Bob Size.
I will use the heavier gauge ones as well, but those I wear at night to keep my curls in curl-shape. They are lighter than a snood but much too heavy to be invisible. These really are practically invisible. They are super fine and very light weight, as you can see below. Yet they will corral all those stray ends or frizzes poking out from rolling your hair after it's washed (or at least, that's when I have trouble with mine).
Wearing a hairnet over a vintage 'do is also a good idea on a windy day, or when you want to keep your curls fresh for an evening event. They are invaluable for a rainy day when your curls might get damp and start drooping!
I also like them for summertime wear since my hair still looks “down” but it's kept off the back of my neck which helps a lot when it's hot outside.
These hairnets, however, since they are so fine, are most suitable for what they were designed for – wearing over an already arranged hairdo to keep it tidy, rather than holding up the weight of long or uncurled hair. If your hair is too long or not cut right for an authentic 1940s styling, one of the best ways to “cheat” is to wear a snood (heavier than a hairnet, can be crocheted or knitted) filled with your back hair, and do victory rolls with your front hair.
The only obvious part of the hairnet is the fine line of elastic that goes around your head. This can be disguised easily enough by wearing a narrow scarf or ribbon around your head on top of the elastic, like the lady in the ad below.
Or, like in this case, I saved out a front section of my hair on each side, and did the rolls over top of the elastic. This hid the elastic and secured it at the same time since the bobby pins went through the net to hold the rolls.
The little stretch of elastic still visible across the top was easily hidden by a few vintage millinery flowers which I find a handy hair accessory.
And all the better – wearing flowers this way is a great typical vintage look found in many magazines and photos from the '40s.
Yes, this type of nets are fragile, but unless you tear it by getting it caught in your necklace clasp or in a barrette, each one will last through quite a few wearings. And they are inexpensive enough that, with 2 nets per package, you can afford to replace them when needed.
So if you haven't tried them yet, I highly recommend it!
Find a good selection in all colors and sizes here (different picture on envelope).
I can't bring you a proper tutorial this month, since we are right in the middle of another move. (Boxes of fabric? And how!) So instead, I'm going to do a Show and Tell with one of my new sewing tools – a hemming ruler or skirt marker from the late 1940s.
Picked up at a local antique store, I was intrigued by the idea and of course the graphics on the box which was mostly intact.
Anything to make hemming easier and more professional, I'm willing to try! Plus getting to use a real vintage sewing tool on my (almost) real vintage dresses makes it feel more authentic than ever. :-)
So I put it to use when it came time to hem a 1950s housedress I was making (photos coming later of the finished product, which turned out beautifully!)
The ruler has this little metal clamp that slides up and down on the ruler, so you can choose a measurement from the floor for your skirt, depending on what fashion decrees (or your preference). The clamp has several grooves in it – one marked “Skirt Length” which shows where the finished skirt will end up, and the others different depths of hem.
You just close the clamp over the skirt and start pinning. The pins go easily through the fabric in the grooves provided for just that purpose. Neat!
For this dress, I chose a 2 in. hem, so I put one pin at the skirt length and one at the 2 in. hem slot.
I did that the whole way around, re-clamping every few inches. The top line of pins is where the finished hem will be – the bottom line is where the pre-hemmed edge will be. This makes the skirt edge straight for an even hem without any of those dips or an up-and-down stitch line.
Instead of cutting it off at the bottom line of pins, and turning it up, I cheated and serged around the skirt, following the bottom line of pins. This cut and finished it simultaneously. Now I (hopefully) have a perfectly straight line ready to be hemmed.
From then on, it's super easy! I just folded up the edge on the top pin line and pressed it. This gave me an even depth of 2 in. the whole way around, without the more tedious measuring-and-pinning-every-few-inches.
The only thing left to do is to stitch the pinned hem in place and you're done! A serious time saver, in my opinion, and I'm really glad I was able to add such a handy tool to my sewing supplies.
My one concern was that since I put the dress on a mannequin before using the ruler, the hem might not turn out straight on me since I have different dimensions than the mannequin. The ideal way of course would be to wear the dress and have someone else use the ruler. But you'll have to judge its accuracy for yourself when I put up the pictures of the finished dress!
Look for my new tutorials posted sometime during the first full week of every month. Hairstyles, crafts, repurposing, project journals, do-it-yourself vintage or alterations, etc.