1950s Turquoise Slim Dress

This dress was originally planed to be one of two options for my friends wedding mid July, but as you might expect – it wasn’t finished by then (so I wore a different dress instead).
(who knew you would get so little time for sewing whit a newborn in your lap…)

IMG_0150The pattern is an original I won at an online auction about a year ago.

The fabric is 1,5 m of soft Viscose in a lovely turquoise, I had in my stash, from which I barely managed to irk all the pattern pieces from.IMG_0152

Unfortunately I didn’t take any in progress photos, but the construction was really simple – basically a darted slim skirt sewn to a slightly larger/ lose T-shirt bodice. No zipper or clouser, just interfacing to the neckline and bust darts. A quick hemming and it was done (probably took me less then 4 hours, all and all).

Simple as it was, I did however made two pretty classic mistakes.
1. When enlarging the pattern for the bodice I added a bit to much center front/back which made the neckline to wide. It doesn’t show but it feels when worn.
2. I didn’t took the time to go into town to get more interfacing, but used what I had, which of course was way to stiff for the soft fabric, thous making the neckline facings to hard and adding to the weird look/feel of the neckline.

IMG_9971It does not look like much on the hanger…

  The finished dressIMG_0153

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The PhotoshootIMG_0745

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IMG_0842Photo by: Maria Petersson

The facts:

What: A 1950s summer dress

Pattern: Simplicity 2963

Fabric & Notions: 1,5 m turquoise viscose, Thread and pieces of interfacing for the neck-facings.

Time & cost: about 100 Sek (16 Usd) and less then 4 hours (although I worked on it in 10 minute portions for 3 weeks, so it’s hard to tell exactly).

Final Thoughts: I do love the idea of this dress, but sadly I’m not a fan o it in real life. The lose bodice make my upper body look huge and the slim skirt only enhances that feeling. On a slimmer person, or at least someone with hm.. les bobbage (Did I mention I’m currently breastfeeding…) it would probably look great. But I don’t think I will ever wear it again.

A Treasured Heirlome

Last months theme on “Historical Sew Monthly” was “Heirloom” (yes, I’m a month behind, but plan to soon be back on track).

Since all my older relatives have past away I struggled a bit with this one, but finally came up with something that would work.
But while I finish things up an get proper photographs of my entry, I thought I’d share one of my favorite Heirlooms from my grandmother.

Her binder from the pattern drafting mail class she took in 1964. IMG_7900“Nordisk brevskola” (Nordic mail courses”

When I was a kid me and my siblings used to visit my grandparents every weekend.
My grandmother was such a fun person who loved children and was never to occupied to play with us or show us how to pluck starwberries from their gardens.

She suffered from a stroke when I was about 13 years old, and even though she survived she could no longer play with us, or even make us understand her strange sounds, no longer able to produce any words.
I remember how chocked I was about her sudden change, and my uncomfortable feeling of insecurity and  when she tried to talk to me.
I’m ashamed to admit I couldn’t handle it and thous almost stopped coming along to wist her.
A few years later she had yet another stroke, lethal this time, and I remember the emptiness and sorrow I felt, regretting not being there more at the end.

After her death I was given her old sewing patterns, some threads and this particular binder – which I hold dear to my heart.
The thought of her taking the pattern drafting course  slowly learning by finishing one homework/test at the time, is just wonderful.
Since I also know she loved to sew little dresses for me and my sisters – which unfortunately all have now gone to charity.

Anyhow, to late in date for the HSM but a nice piece of Swedish dressmaking history all the same.IMG_7901“Modern pattern drafting”

You’l learn how to properly measure someone.IMG_7902

Drafting the basic pattern templates – Her the dress/bodice/skirt pattern.IMG_7903

Fabric layout’s equally important – in Sweden we call this a “Läggbild”IMG_7905

You also need to know how to alter the pattern pieces, and how to move the darts to your desired location.IMG_7906Interesting to see the way they used to put the darts between the breasts – something almost never used anymore.

Drafting a circular skirt (half circle) for that characteristic 50s look.IMG_7904

And some more challenging stuff like this fabulous jacketIMG_7907

I also love this kimono sleeve draftingIMG_7909

And who can resist the glamorous 1960s full skirted evening gowns IMG_7908Oh la la

IMG_7910My grandmothers “homework” drafting’s.

And at the end of the binder/course she received a diploma – notice the date…IMG_7911

I’m yet to make up one of these patterns, but I definitely will someday – if only to remember my granny.

The Start of a war – Downton Marys style – Photoshoot

Last Sunday I took the chance to both see my sister, and to do a little photoshoot of my new striped Lady Mary/”Downton Abby” Dress (read about it here (Part 1) and here (Part 2)) The weather was warm but a bit cloudy, so unfortunately we didn’t get any sunny pictures. I wore my dress with my long line 1910s corset, Autumn garden hat, American Duchess Gibson shoes, stockings, a thin petticoat, and a few bits and pieces like crocheted gloves, antique velvet bag and long pearl necklace. IMG_4754 IMG_4761 IMG_4775 IMG_4773 IMG_4782 IMG_4779 IMG_4780IMG_4791 IMG_4792 IMG_4799 IMG_4803 IMG_4819 IMG_4828 IMG_4850 IMG_4854 IMG_4855 IMG_4861

IMG_4869Photo: Elin Evaldsdottra

The Start of a war – Downton Mary’s Autumn Flowery Hat

 Before I could call it a day and be finished with the Striped Lady Mary dress (part 1 & part 2) I needed to make the most vital (and biggest) of her accessorizes – The hat.

0x600The Hat Lady Mary wears in the series are huge and awesome – of course I needed one just like it.

I started with a cheap straw hat as a base.
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The most important things I needed from the hat was a straw base, lightly colored and strong enough to carry all the decoration.

I stitched the netting irregularly and random to the brim of the hat.  20150502_120408

For the flowers I visited E-bay before Easter and ordered tree silk flower bouquets in muted brown, beige and violet colors, and the arrived in perfect time a week ago.

I needed to cut the flowers from the stems on each of the bouquets, but that went really easy and fast using a nippers, and then they were ready to be attached.20150421_203957

I placed a few flowers on the hat just to get a feeling for how many I would need, and how to best arrange them to get the flowing organic look of the original.

20150502_122222Looks pretty good I think.

I tried to stitch the flowers down but It didn’t work, so after some hesitation I decided to use the most loved (and hated) tool of them all – hot glue.

Then I got to work arranging and attaching the flowers as I went.
It was so easy, and went so fast, it almost felt like cheating.IMG_6512All you need for your hat project: Hat, Netting, Flowers, Inspiration pic and hot glue…

Finished Hat:IMG_6548

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And a few pics from the photoshoot:IMG_4788

 

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The facts:

What: a 1914s summer hat (with autumn colored flowers)

Notions/Materials: A big brimmed straw hat, synthetic flowers in different muted colors, white hat netting, thread and hot glue (ops…)

Time: 1 hour

Cost: 250Sek (40Usd)

Final Thought: The hat is a bit to wide in the brim and a bit to small in the head to be perfect. Put considering the shape (and look) of most modern straw hats I won’t complain.
I think it turned out beautifully, and think it fits my “Lady Mary” dress just perfect.

The Start of a war – Downton Mary’s Striped Dress (part 2)

I’ve been working on my entry for the HSM15 nr 4 – War & peace for the past week (Part 1), and here are the rest of my viral dress diary:
0x600Lady Mary in one of her signature dresses from the Tv-series “Downton Abby”.

Once the bodice was finished and lined I attached it to the skirt, set the sleeves I once more tried it on to determent the exact placement of the hook and bars for the skirt closure.
I also pinned on the collar to get a better visual of the completed look.
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The fit looks good even though it’s more figure hugging and shaped then the one on Lady Mary.
(I’m pretty sure the actress have a completely different body then mine…)

Then I needed to pause the sewing for a few days over the May 1st celebration, so I put it on the dress form to keep me inspired (and to show of to our long distance friends coming over – don’t tell me you never done that…).
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Once back at sewing, I pinned some narrow lace ribbons to the buttonhole stand and top front piece.20150501_225246Then I spent a few hours (at my in-laws) hand stitching the narrow lace, the collar, the lining, the black velvet ribbon and the hooks and bars to the bodice.20150501_225316

The Finished Dress:IMG_6516

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Just the Facts:

Challenge: HSM15 nr 4 – War and Peace

What: A 1914s striped summer dress

How it fit the challenge: WWI started in summer 2014.
My dress is also a re-creation of the dress Lady Mary Crawley wears in the TV-series “Downton Abby”, in the episodes (and at the garden party) it’s  announced that England will join the war.

Pattern: None, I drafted my own with influences from a small sketch in Janet Arnolds “Pattern of Fashion 2”

Fabric: 2,5 m of striped cotton, and 0,5 m white cotton for lining – both leftovers from previous projects.

Notions: Thread, buttonhole tread, 6 buttons, 2 pairs of hooks and eyes, 6 snaps, 0,5 m of narrow lace, 1 m black velvet ribbon, one extra long lace/crocheted collar.

How historical accurate: Not sure. I used modern techniques with lots of hand finishing. The fabric wold have existed in the period, but I think the slim silhouette are a bit to modern. Perhaps 5/10.

Time: About 15-20 hours. Lots of fiddling with both the fit and matching the stripes made this project a bit more time consuming then I expected.

Cost: About 250 Sek (40Usd) all fabric from stash – Bought on sale a few years ago.

First Worn: May 3 for photos.

Final Thoughts: I really like this dress. It came out exactly like I envisioned and I felt really pretty (and posh) in it.
I’m really happy with the decision to make the dress slim and figure hugging (contrary to the original which have a more straight shape) even though it diverts a bit from the fashion of the day.
But there are as always a few thing I would like to fix before wearing it again: The back bodice are still to long (what’s that about?) and the button holes need to be stitched shut about 2 mm each (those buttons needs to remain closed next time around).

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IMG_6547Accessorized and ready for a photoshoot.

The Start of a war – Downton Mary’s Striped Dress (Part 1)

When going over the many ways on which I could go for the HSM15 nr 4 – War & Peace, I  remembered a project I’ve been dying to make for quite some time.
The striped dress The character Lady Mary wears in “Downton Abby”.  0x600The time period (1914s) was perfect for this challenge, and when I remember the striped cotton in my stash the decision was made.IMG_6454Thin, structured, white and green cotton fabric – leftovers from my 18th century “Artsy Robe a la Anglaise/Turque“.

I started by doing a dress studie – sketching down the basic look, special details for the pattern and all the materials. 20150502_111150

looking through my costuming book for a way to tackle the pattern drafting I found a sketch of a 1910s, high waisted slim skirt that would be perfect for this dress.20150502_111452Sketch from Janet Arnolds “Pattern of Fashion nr 2”.

I used the basic principle from Arnolds book and drafted the pattern to fit my measurements.IMG_6438

Then I made a mock-up and tried it on over my long line corset.
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And it was huge.
I’m still amazed of how much ease it must be in my modern pattern temples since I almost always end up with mock-ups about 10 cm to big.

I took it in everywhere about that much.
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Much better.
But still in need for some extra alterations, like smoothing out the darts and taking out a few cm from the length at the bodice back.IMG_6455Here you can see the way I took out the width at the seams and darts.

Once the pattern was adjusted it was time to cut the fabric.IMG_6459

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The back bodice being cut on bias and with the stripes carefully matched to he shoulders, sleeves and center back.

Before I started sewing I needed to be sure the collar was long enough to fit the neckline.IMG_6467Perfect match.

I sewed most of the dress on my sewing machine. 20150430_080119Sewing the bodice, skirt, sleeves and lining together but away from each other at this pont.

IMG_6503Making the placket for the skirts closure.

Once all the separate pieces was ready, I basted the front bodice to the sides, the bodice to the skirt and one sleeve to the sleeve-cap. And then I tried it on.
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Pretty good fit. The back is still to long (just to take some more out), and the bodice front was a bit to big.
I decided to take the width out at the bust seam.
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Pins to show where to make the new seam line.

When the fit was once more good, I un-picked the basting and marked the button holes. IMG_6500

Then I hand stitched the buttonholes,20150501_195031 and sewed the front pieces to the rest of the bodice (using the new seam-lines).

Once I had the bodice ready, I attached the lining to the neckline,20150430_075631cut he seam allowance, flipped it over and carefully pressed the edge.

Then I made the cuffs for the sleeves, and attached them to the bodice.IMG_6505

20150430_080953Now it is starting to look like something

To be continued…
(Because otherwise this would be an extremely long post)

The start of a War – Downton Mary’s Striped dress – studie

About the same time the challenges for the HSM15 was announced, I was sitting at home in my soffa, stitching and re-watching (for the third or forth time) “Downton Abby”.

I’ve always loved the striped gown Lady Mary wears in the very last scene of the first season.
Realizing how perfect it would be for the April challenge “War & Peace”, and that the perfect fabric already lay waiting in my stash.

So last a few weeks ago I started collecting images of the lady and her fabulous dress (and accessorize).downton460_1755730c

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images (1)What’s pretty obvious straight away are the change in hat and necklace, between the two times she wears the dress in the show. I love the “over the top” wide brimmed, flower-covered straw hat in this photo.

 My searches also led me to some fashion plates from the time, which I’m pretty sure would have been the inspiration for the dress from the costume designer.images (2)

images (3)Sorry for he small size.

I also found lots of people recreating this dress (It seem pretty popular – wounder why…)37e33d1bdc006046b9238d4844fd79cdLady Mary as a doll

1-DSC_0135And a modern interpretation. Love this so much!

Of course there’s also lots of costumers who re-created this dress, but if I post them I will feel the pressure of there beautiful creations so much more…

But this is the picture I decided to try to copie.0x600I’ve bought both the crocheted glows and the super long necklace.
The hat looks a bit intimidating, but I’ve collected the hat base, the flowers and the netting, and don’t think it will be that hard to get the right look.

The dress on displayd10283050e04121086e4765e2635ba73Here you can see the slim width of the skirt and the fact it’s gored all the way down.

downton_abbey_mary_dress_season_oneOn closer look we can see the proper way to close the dress – wit a placket hidden under the contrasting ribbon and front side dart/seam. This means the dress will be closed both with buttons (at enter front bodice) and with hooks and bars at the center side skirt (in a kind of lightning shape).

You can also clearly see that the dress is actually pale lilac & white in the stripes, and a darker lilac on the belt.

I was indecisive of what to do with the bodice back – would it be a center back seam? Darts? Something else?
Until I found this picture…17a9fa6259cc877505541e81efa36bc0Not from the back, but you can clearly see the stripes running on the bias. Of course! The back will be designed with the stripes meeting in a V at center back, running up to the shoulder and continue into the sleeves. So pretty and so simple.

I hopes Lady Grantham approves. images

Lady-Mary-Crawley-Downton-Abbey-GIFChears!

Vintage Shopping in the Capital

This weekend me and a friend went to Stockholm for the movie premiere of the movie “Huldra”.

But before we needed to get ourselfs ready for the night, we headed down town for some vintage store browsing and a tiny bit of shopping.

First we visited the much talked about vintage store “Old Touch

20150320_151124_resizedJust the window display are to die for.
I totally understand why everybody recommend this store for anything vintage.

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20150320_151822_resizedThe gentlemen section

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20150320_152025_resizeda dress from the 1950s.

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Bags in plenty hanging on the walls, on the shelves and every other place where they would fit.20150320_152125_resizedTake a good look at that golden one, because it’s no longer hanging on that wall…

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Then, on our way home, we stumbled on the shop “Epok“, which caries everything you could possibly need from late 19th century to 1950s.

20150320_155509_resizedThis store was even more cramped, and every square inch was packed with stuff.

20150320_155512_resizedLace veils, collars and shawls hanging from the ceiling.

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20150320_155624_resizedHats on the walls.

20150320_160224_resizedA fabulous hat from 1910s.

Kristin found a dress from the early 1920s, and tried the skirt on20150320_155746_resizedThe skirt is in two layers, with lots and lots of decorative embroidery and sparkly pallets.

I bought myself a pair of crocheted gloves (for my next big HSM project), and a beautiful beaded party bag. It’s from the 60s, and if it wasn’t in such impeccable shape it could easterly be mistaken for something a lot older.20150321_194521_resizedI highly recommend a visit in to both of these stores.
But be aware, they’r both totally rabbit holes, where you can get lost for hours and emerge with a lot less money then when you entered.