Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

Does Anyone Speak German? I'm working on a lovely vintage pattern from a 1930's German pattern magazine and the instructions are always such a hurdle. 
I'm using  Google translate but my biggest stumbling block is the beautiful old script that German used to be written in. I have a hard time figuring out exactly what to type into Google translate so I only have bits and pieces of the instructions figured out.
You can click on the photo to enlarge the text.

If you can help, 
I'll be eternally grateful! I'd even love to have short little tips like which characters to type up in place of the older German ones.

This is a fun, new kind of challenge for me. It's like a puzzle, and I get pretty, pretty lingerie out of it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Flight Cap

Recently I was lucky enough to add a really great World War II-era flight cap sewing pattern to my collection. I had so much fun sewing it up for myself that I decided to turn it into a PDF and offer it in my pattern shop.

I got such great feedback from everyone who has bought the Beach Bra Pattern that I thought, why not a hat, too?

I love the great advertising pictures of G.I.s endorsing products during the war. The debonaire way that their flight caps are always cocked to the side makes me think of the jaunty, "we can win this" attitude that we used to have as a nation.

 I didn't have any 'olive drab' colored fabric in my stash so I went instead with a thick, black cotton and a yard of vintage gray double-fold bias tape.

The hat was a breeze. It came together perfectly within an hour, and had really great finishing instructions for the seams.

First, you sew the 5/8" seam. Then you seam another 1/4" from the original seam on the allowance, and then trim, and finish off the raw edge with an overcasting stitch. (You may need a special foot for your machine to do that).

This made the inside look super professional and removed any need for lining.

I think I'm pretty happy with the final product. Next, I think I'll be printing this out again at about 60% to make a fascinator sized version.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pattern Find

I have been lucky enough to stumble across an etsy seller who, from time to time, lists the most amazing patterns for the most reasonable prices. I check her shop daily in hopes that she has listed something new, and that someone else hasn't snapped it up first. I've gotten some amazing patterns from her but this one takes the cake.

It's a lovely Anne Adams 4536 from the 1940s and I'm just swooning. I opened the envelope only to find the pieces in their original factory fold, no less. It doesn't get much better than that.
Except it does. The playsuit looks like the perfect vintage swimsuit pattern I've been dying to make but couldn't find a pattern for in my price range. And I think I've almost decided to make up the overalls and jacket, to be Rosie the Riveter for Halloween.

I love the concept of a 1940's overall pattern. During WWII women took over many men's jobs while the boys were at war. Someone had to work the farms, make bullets, assemble bombs, and build car engines and that fell to women. This created a new bread of women like "Rosie the Riveter." They wore their husbands' or boys' clothes for these jobs, and soon, the pattern companies caught on and released a hand full of patterns to accommodate the new, more gritty roles that women were adopting.

I have seen a few overall patterns from this era but this is the first that I've seen with clearly feminine lines. The pattern seems to say,  "Look lovely whilst working with pistons, and then pop into the playsuit and forget the cares of war for a few hours."

There's a great article about it at Unsung Sewing Patterns featuring an Advance overalls pattern. If you haven't checked out that blog yet, I highly recommend it. It's a veritable cache of amazing sewing history combined with patterns that make me weak in the knees.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mail Call

Since I've tried to reign myself in a bit on the obsessive and somewhat compulsive pattern buying, mail calls will be fewer and less epic than the last few, but here is today's loot anyways.
This find is what I like to think of as the only gambling I may ever do. The ebay listing was for an old shoebox full of patterns. The seller was not a seamstress and simply wanted to move them on to someone else. The listing had just one picture, of the front of the shoebox with a cute little 1950's children's underwear pattern peaking out the top.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pattern of the Day

Recently added to my collection, I give you W.T. Grant 202 from what I believe to be the 1930's.
 The pattern is for a jumper, dress, and blouse. I haven't inventoried it yet, I'm hoping it's complete!

 Wouldn't this be just the perfect outfit for a young woman's first day at college? So academic chic.

There is very little out there about the W.T. Grant department store or their pattern line. If you know anything, please feel free to comment.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Couture Technique Skirt

Long, Long ago in a galaxy far, far away I pre- ordered a book on Amazon. And then I forgot about it. Months later, much to my confusion (when the hell did I buy this?!) The Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Technique arrived in the mail. After flipping through the beautifully photographed pages, I immediately started riffling through my stash to sew my first lined skirt. Lined skirt, yawn, I know, but this doesn't make me yawn at all. Not the way the author, Lynda Maynard showed her readers how to do it.
From The Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Technique By Lynda Maynard

I chose some lovely wine colored stretch cotton sateen (purchased on fabric.com in bulk just to have lots on hand) and some light gray lining fabric acquired at my local thrift shop.
And here is what the inside looked like when I was done with it.
The wrapped seam edges and the color contrast look amazing. There's not a raw edge in this entire skirt.

An it doesn't look too bad, either! For the pattern, I used Simplicity 1690 from the 1950's.

This was an easy to sew skirt, I recommend the pattern to anyone who wants an easy sew.

Simplicity 1690

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How to add a pattern to the Vintage Pattern Wiki

Hello my dear readers. Today I have an updated tutorial for you on how to add a sewing pattern to the Vintage Pattern Wiki.
When I first started collecting vintage sewing patterns I found the Wiki page a useful resource for researching, buying and selling sewing patterns. While it has its limitations (it's not the most user-friendly template) once you get the hang of it, it can be rather handy.
Not to mention, when you add a pattern that wasn't there before, it feels a bit like a public service to other future pattern collectors.

So let's get started. Once you've created an account and logged in, you're ready to add your patterns!
First, search for the pattern you want to add and make sure it's not already there. This can happen sometimes. The search might not pull up your pattern, you might have typed the name/ number wrong, etc. With McCall's patterns, it's important that you pay close attention to whether your pattern says McCall or McCall's on the envelope, as this will make a difference.
For example, McCall 3581 is the 1940's Women's windbreaker pattern I'll be adding in our tutorial, and McCall's 3581 is a 1970's menswear pattern.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Beach Bra Sewing Pattern

Ooooh boy do I have something cool to show you! I paid a fortune to get my hands on this little pattern and it was totally worth it. Readers, may I introduce you to the other love of my life, the beach bra pattern:
This little lovely bit of 1950's heaven came from a supplement, instead of an actual pattern. It was a breeze to make up and only took me about 4 hours.

I have all sorts of plans for this little baby including adding a skirt to make a dress out of it, sewing it with a contrast collar, and hopefully finding another vintage pattern to make matching bathing suit bottoms as well. The options are endless.
And I just couldn't keep it to myself. So I made it into a PDF (8 hours of hell on earth working with photoshop: not in my repertoire of talents) and it's for sale in my etsy shop. All proceeds will go towards the purchase of an excellent wig to replace all the hair I pulled out whilst trying to make a multi-page pdf.
All that aside, I'm really happy with how this little gem turned out:
The pattern has 3 very well placed darts that actually didn't pucker when placed over my meager bosom (darts always pucker on me).
This makes me want to go swimming, and also makes me sad that I live in a country where summer is all of five minutes long.

Here's a little peak at the layout. Instead of pinning everything twice, I just traced copies of my pattern pieces so I could pin and cut them all at once.

For the long pattern piece that you draft per the pattern instructions, I just made two and taped them together, as opposed to more complicated cutting instructions.
The collar looks more complicated than it is, and the pattern came with great illustrations drawn right on the pattern pieces to help you puzzle out placement.
Naturally, it doesn't fit my dress form as well as it fits me, because Slut Jane II has bigger boobs than me.
I will be making this again, and again, and again.............

Monday, March 14, 2011

Have you heard about Pattern Rescue?

For today's post I would love to share with all of you a great resource for home sewers, vintage pattern collectors, aficionados, and sellers.
It's an organization called Pattern Rescue run by a small network of volunteers who have dedicated their time to restoring and preserving vintage sewing patterns. They do it for no profit and really just want great sewing patterns to be preserved for the enjoyment and education of future generations.
Their web site features many options for the collector, and for the volunteer.
Photo from patternrescue.com

Restore: Once you've registered with the site, you can take advantage of their help in restoring your vintage pattern. Is your favorite pattern incomplete? Are you missing pieces or instructions? You can fill out a request form and the word goes out to all of the members. Hopefully, a volunteer has that pattern and can send you a copy of what you're missing, or there are random extra pieces just like the one you need filed away in the Pattern Rescue archives that will be sent to you.
Photo from patternrescue.com
Preserve: On this page there are pictures of patterns that need to be restored, that are missing pieces or instructions etc. This is where volunteers can send a copy or an original of what's missing to complete the restoration process. By doing this you can earn points that can be used towards free patterns! For example, I just saw that the pattern below needs some missing pieces, and I just happen to have this one in my collection. So I'll be sending an email in to let them know that I'm willing to copy whatever the pattern needs and send it in. They'll get back to me with what the pattern needs and voila! There's one less incomplete, sad little pattern out there in the world. It gives me warm fuzzies thinking about it.
Photo from patternrescue.com
You can also trade points for patterns on the Trade page, post information about a pattern that you're desperately trying to get your hands on, or donate just about anything pattern related to Pattern Rescue for restoration and completion. I'm going to be sending a package to them with patterns that I have no need for, don't wish to sell, some need to be completed, some are just extra pattern pieces with no envelope and no home.

I hope that you'll join and volunteer or take advantage of some of the wonderful help that they offer to us pattern people.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mail Call

Living at a faraway post here in Norway as military can make getting your mail a complicated task to say the least. The military does whatever they can to save us money and difficulty when we're overseas and APO boxes are one of those many boons I could not do without. Our mail goes to New York where the cost of shipping it overseas is picked up by the Air Force, then our mail jumps through a series of hoops before finally ending up at our base post office.
Photo from http://ozebook.com/wordpress/?p=69
So naturally Mike picks up the mail every day while he's at work and brings it home every evening. This is my favorite time of day. Not only does my handsome husband come home, he comes bringing packages of loot!
I get the greatest stuff in the mail. Between my endless hunt for the perfect pattern online, my many purchases of fabric from various sources, and the EPIC care packages my mom sends full of vintage buttons, trims, silks, dresses, and accessories, Mail Call, as I like to think of it, is fan-freaking-tastic at our house.
So today I'll share what I got in the mail.
Today's loot was great. From ebay I acquired "Art of Dressmaking" published by Butterick in 1927.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Without further ado...

I give you the lovely slip that I finally got pictures of. It's really hard to take quality blog photos when your current country of residence has some sort of sunshine deficiency. Hurrah for one day of sun!
Mike went out of town for the weekend  and while he as gone I took advantage of the fact that I can't sleep when he's gone and whipped this baby up over night. It took about 5 or 6 hours maybe.
I made this using the most divine satin I've ever had my hands on. It's 100% rayon crepe back and feels like heaven.
Wrinkles like the devil, though.
I had fun doing the gathers at the bust which I find rather advantageous with a figure that has a boob deficiency. For this little beauty I used Simplicity 1144. From the envelope: "Misses' and Women's Slip and Panties: A top-stitched inset joins the softly gathered upper front to the bias-cut lower front. The upper back, shaped in a V at the lower edge, is top-stitched to the bias-cut lower back."
Simplicity 1144.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vintage Find of the Week

Or something to that effect. Today we have the lovely wool plaid skirt that I scorned twice, returned to try on weeks later, and fell in love with.

With a t-shirt that has cupcakes on it, of course. It's a wee bit too tight and I already moved the hook and eye in the back over a bit, but still... I limit myself to only 6 hours of wearing it or my ribs hurt too much the next day. That tells you a bit about the extent to which I will suffer for fashion.
As  you admire this shot of my bum looking so full and fantastic, what is the best thrift shop find that you can remember finding?

Skirt: Fretex (Norwegian Salvation Army) 30 Nok, ($5).
T-Shirt: Fantastic gift from a  fantastic friend.
Cable Knit tights: H&M
Vintage Patent Black Belt: $1 thrift-ed in the States.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bathing Suit Roundup.

I recently got into a bidding war on ebay over the most gorgeous 1950's bathing suit pattern.
But can you blame me? This baby is gorgeous! The auction went up to $57 and I just couldn't justify it for one pattern. Why? Because I live in Norway where in the summer, we have 'bathing suit weather' for about 2 days but the water always remains ice cold.
So instead, I dream of moving to Florida and wearing gorgeous suits like these.
Simplicity 1607

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vintage Find of the Week

Well, not find of the week, really, since I seldom make it into town and the thrift shops are run by a bunch of vintage Nazis with a price gouging habit. More like vintage find of never.
But anyways, don't you just love that feeling of seeing a rack full of clothing, and your eye just seems to zoom directly to the perfect 1/4" of a divine vintage print peeking through the god-awful 1980's metallic turquoise and black velvet ranks.

That's what this print did for me, and my heart did a little flutter as I pulled it off the rack, just knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that it would fit perfectly. I love that smug feeling of pulling it on, not because you were worried it wouldn't fit, but just because you couldn't wait to see how good it would look on you, and knowing you were right.
Who cares if it's over priced Nazi vintage? It's meant for my smug vintage closet regardless.

What's up for next time? A vintage pattern make up in gorgeous rose colored rayon satin:
Stay tuned.