Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Vest to Save the Day

Remember the "Secretary Dress" I made?

I mentioned previously I didn't like the dress as is and seriously thought of hacking it up and maybe just leaving it as a skirt. I went on the hunt for a 1930's vest pattern.... not an easy task. There was one from Eva Dress but that was too fancy and anything else was a knitting pattern, so time to bend the rules. I then went looking for a 1940's vest pattern. I found a few but none that really jumped out. I did find Simplicity 3638, a jerkin pattern from the 1940's.

So I did some more research and found Simplicity 2286, a jerkin from the 1930's.

However the 1940's pattern won because of price. I figured I could do some alterations to make it look more 30's ish. On this etsy shopping trip I also found New York Gold Seal 322 and Advance 2023.

I've been waiting for Advance 2023 for a while and I really liked the blouse and vest from the Gold Seal pattern. While my grandmother and I were a Joanns picking out the fabric she said that the jerkin pattern wouldn't work because of the gathers in the skirt. Well, I was bummed because I really wanted to try that pattern out but oh well I'll figure something out with it. Instead I went with the vest and even though it looks like a late 40's vest I'll suck it up if it makes my plaid dress less like a plaid monster. The vest went together very easily and even sizing up the pattern was a breeze. This is a great instant gratification project and if you have the proper size bias tape and do the finishing on the machine it'll go even faster. I chose to hand finish all of the seams and the facings so it took me a bit longer. After one minor snafu with the buttonhole function on my grandmother's machine I had a finished vest! And it looked great until I noticed the spacing on my buttonholes...... equally spaced in between them but not at the top and bottom. Too late to fix that error, but a little snap at the top fixed the problem. I had a hard time figuring the buttons out because the pattern didn't give any indication about where to put the buttons either on the pattern or in the instructions. 

I'm still not 100% sold on the outfit but I'm more willing to wear it and see what I think. I also have enough material left for a tie so stay tuned to see when it happens.

The Scoop

Fabric:  Blackberry 
Sew Classic Bottomweight Wrinklease Fabric

Pattern: New York Gold Seal 322

Year: 1940's

Notions: 4 LaMode buttons (style 26302), a snap, and a pack of bias tape

First worn: just for pictures

Total cost: The pattern was $7 but it includes three pieces so lets say $2.33 for the vest, the bias tape was from the stash, $2.50 for the buttons and all the fabric cost $6.65 but I only used about half so the total comes to around $8.16

Monday, January 12, 2015

Haslam System of Dresscutting: Part One Plus HSM #1

Pintrest is a wonderful invention but it can also be a pain. I found a great 1940's tap pants pattern but did know  where it came from or how it went together.
I found another copy of the picture at and through Ginny I found the Haslam System of Dresscutting. I was still stumped though because I couldn't figure out the gusset. I hoped over to the Historical Sew Fortnightly Facebook page and asked for help. In no time I got my answer; cut the gusset on the fold..... duh. So then I started to draft the pattern. I was lucky as this pattern doesn't require the special ruler that is part of the system. However the ruler can be found here. You have to add seam allowances so I added a 1/2 seam on the gusset and side of the pattern (though not the side on the fold) and then  went to work on putting it together. 

I then went looking for a bra pattern to match. Instead I stumbled upon the whole book (Book #9) on Etsy. At first I found robe pattern that my grandmother really liked instead of a bra pattern, but it's a lingerie book it had to have a bra in there somewhere; so we went Dutch and split the cost of the book. Once my download arrived I found 2 bra patterns. Now I just have pick which one I want and sew it up! This book also contains the page above as well as some other pages I've seen floating around the web.

 I made the tap pants with two 100% cotton fabrics, one red & cream dot and the other navy. I drafted a seperate pointed yoke from some instructions to make a pair of pleated shorts for the period so I could use the red and cream dot! The final product was wonderfully hillarious.
All of the seams are machine sewn but finished by hand; one problem through.... they're a tiny bit too big. I recently got my wisdom teeth taken out and lost some weight so I don't know if it's just the weight loss or I messed up somewhere in drafting. I used a hook and eye to secure the top and once my weight stabilizes again I'll put the buttons in, but I might have to take out the placket and tweak some other things. I don't plan on making these again, the gusset was just too fussy without any instructions. I think part of the problem was that the tap pants are supposed to be cut on the bias and I didn't have enough fabric to do so, so maybe the gusset wouldn't be so fussy then.

Such a simple bit of drafting that makes these fabulous!

Hand finished hem =]

This project also counts for the Historical Sew Monthly as Challenge #1: Foundations. Yay for completing the first project with time to spare! (I mean it could also count as Challenge #2: Blue as well but I'm not going to count it as such unless I am unsuccessful in finishing my other project)

The Scoop

The Challenge: # 1 Foundations

Fabric: 100% Cotton in Navy and 100% Cotton Red & Cream Dot

Pattern: Haslam System of Dresscutting book 9 figure 22

Year: 1940's

Notions: One Hook and Eye (soon to be replaced with buttons)

First worn: Not yet, I plan on trying the out with my  1940's overalls!

Total cost: The pattern was free from pintrest, I spent around $6 on fabric between both types, and the hook and eye was from the stash so fabric was all I had to buy and I got both on sale so not too shabby!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2014 Round Up

So for the first time I was actually able to complete some challenges for the 2014 Historical Sew Fortnightly. I completed 7 out of the 24 challenges (but 8 items), which is pretty great for me considering I'm away at school and can't bring my sewing machine with me.

For Challenge 1 (Make Do and Mend) I made a 1934 caplet from scrap fabric I had left over from my 1937 ballerina skirt. I've worn both a couple times now and love them; plus I've gotten a few compliments on the caplet and that's always nice.

For Challenge 3 (Pink) I cheated and made my 1947 headscarf. I haven't warn it since but I'm hoping I can use it eventually.

For Challenge 13 (Under $10) I made a hat and named him Murphy. Murphy was made from all scrap material so the only thing I had to pay for was the crinoline, and the pattern which together cost $6.74. But Murphy was not an easy project as his name implies. He matches my 1938 suit that I made but I haven't had a chance to blog about that because I don't have any good pictures.

Challenge 14 (Plaid and Paisley) was 10 days late but who's counting? I made a purple plaid 1939 dress from the same pattern as my Operation Surprise dress. I haven't worn the dress yet, first I needed tights, which I've since found but then I tried it on and didn't like it......... at all. It's too much plaid for me even with the solid belt. So I set the dress aside and waited for inspiration that didn't involve hacking the dress into a skirt instead. I found the answer in a vest pattern. I'm waiting for the pattern to arrive but when it does I'm going to make a solid vest to break up the plaid and see how it goes. Fingers crossed!

For Challenge 15 (The Great Outdoors) I made two things. The first was a skirt based on the pattern from the Make Do and Mend booklet. The skirt is constructed from 5 bandannas and closes with a button and snaps in the back, I think I'm going to replace the snaps with a zipper but we'll see. The second item I made (and the one that I'm most proud of for the year) is my red wool Ike inspired jacket. I added a lining to the jacket, made self covered buttons, and used crinoline for the shoulder pads. I love love love this jacket and have gotten a few chances to wear it. When anyone finds out that I made it they look impressed and I have to say I get a huge smile on my face when someone compliments me on it.

For Challenge 18 (Poetry) I made a completely hand stitched 18th Century Pocket. I used linen scraps from test swatches and plain linen for the back. I don't have to attached to a waist strap yet because I haven't finished (read started) my 1760's stays yet so I'm not sure what my waist measurement will be in those yet.

And my final Challenge of the year was 22 (Gentleman) was a pair of 1940's overalls. The pattern is from Wearing History and they were very easy to sew. I wore them on Halloween and went as a Women's Land Army worker from the Crop Corps, I  even made my own armband!

Outside of the challenges I also made a playsuit skit, 1940's slacks, a silver blouse from Simplicity 3688, and my Ballerina Skirt. I started Simplicity 0260 in a polka dot fabric, my 1770's shift (handsewn) and I also started another jacket from Simplicity 4366 but this time with the peplum and in dark olive corduroy!

So looking forward to Historical Sew Monthly I have plans for at least 4 of the 12 Challenges but who knows how it'll all go in the end, I just know I'm going to give it my best shot!