Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tutorial 3: Adding a 1940's tuck to your Smooth Sailing sleeve

Sorry for the blog silence.
I've been busy at work and feeling so drained that I haven't had the energy to sew or knit - let alone blog.

Now I'm back on my feet it's time for another Tutorial... this time, making the Smooth Sailing blouse feel a bit more Forties by adding a sleeve tuck (like below).

And here's a close up of my version with the modified tuck sleeve.

smooth sailing blouse wearing history novelty print 1930s 1940s
Fabric is 'April Showers', by Moda

This is a really simple way to adjust the sleeve, and it saves about 20cm on the overall yardage requirement for the pattern.

Step 1. Trace your sleeve pattern and all markings. The SS sleeve is puffed at the top, so we only need to add volume to the middle, and a tuck at the bottom.

 Draw a line from centre top to bottom.

Step 2: Add depth to the bottom (optional). I wanted an extra inch in sleeve length.

Step 3: Draw a line horizontally across the sleeve, from the armscye to armscye (widest points).
Cut up the vertical line to the top of the sleeve, stopping just before the edge.

Cut from the middle of the sleeve, along the lines to the base of the armscyes, stopping just before the edges.

Lay the pattern down, and separate the vertical split by the amount you want. I wanted 1.5 inches for a moderate tuck, but 2-3 inches would look great too.

Pin the top half of the pattern down. The cut should be making a V shape.

Step 4: Swing the bottom half of the pattern up, until the cut sides are equally opposite each other - this is the tuck.

Measure how far 'up' you moved the bottom half, and mark the distance to the centre bottom of the sleeve.

Step 5: With a curve, gently redraw the bottom of the sleeve to align with the marks you just made.

Draw around the pattern piece, and mark how high you want your pleat to be (mine was 3.5 inches, not including seam allowance).

Step 6: Done!

Just sew your pleat/tuck before adding any cuffs/hemming, press, and set it in the blouse as you would the normal sleeve.
1940s smooth sailing blouse novelty fabric shirt wearing history moda fabric april showers
Would you believe this is the 15th time I've sewn up this pattern?

I hope this Tutorial proves helpful to some adventurous sewers, and I'll see you again soon!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Noontide jumper-cardigan, from Style Volume 3 circa 1930s

I'm ever so slowly increasing my collection of Paton's Style booklets (only missing a couple now), and when I saw this pattern in my new Volume 3, I knew I had to share it with you!

free vintage knitting patterns 1930s cardigan 30s 32

Puffed sleeves, a decorative yoke, cute collar and even mock darts!

It has so many great details, except, it's a 32 inch bust size - ouch! Well, maybe some of you petite and talented knitters will make it up - it should be a quick knit in Totem 12-ply

To fit: 32 inch bust. Knitted on 5.5mm needles, on Bulky (12ply) weight yarn.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Free Pattern: Fiesta Jumper, Patons Style Vol. 10, circa 1944

I love a simple cardigan with an interesting stitch - and as a plus, this cardigan is knitted in 5-ply/sport yarn for a quicker knit!

free vintage knitting pattern 1940s 40s 36 bust wwii ww2 australia patons cardigan

This lovely knitting pattern is from Patons and Balwins Style, Volume 10.
Have you come across Trove, the digitised collection from the National Library of Australia? It's very easy to get lost in there, reading old newspapers and finding old knitting patterns - but an overlooked resource are the advertisements.

After a bit of a search, I found a reference to an advertisement for Style Volume 10 in 'The Mercury', dated 30 May 1944. Definitely another great resource for dating your own collection!

Fiesta is knitted with a diamond pattern formed from knit and purl stitches, with a finished size of 36 inches. Pattern requires 5 ply/sport yarn, plus 3.25mm and 4mm needles.

Monday, September 15, 2014

FO: Mad about Plaid - Vogue 8811, circa 1940

Hands up who likes plaid!

I was so excited when I stumbled across this plaid at my local Spotlight - the combination of olive, green, beige and orange are perfection!

1940s plaid tartan dress vintage vogue 8811 plus size red head xl curvy bakelite miss l fire rosita

Unfortunately, there was only a meter left on the roll so I had to chase down some yardage at another store further away. Definitely worth the effort.

The pattern is Vintage Vogue 8811, a very easy dress from 1940. I made View B.

And boy, is this dress easy.
I made a muslin to check the fit of the bodice, and cut a straight 18 (bust and waist). A quick short waist adjustment, and away I went.

I feel like the colourway is striking enough that you can wear red with it, without appearing too christmassy.
A very quick sew, plus the pattern doesn't take up a lot of yardage (2.6m of 150cm wide). How adorable is the chest pocket cut on the bias?

The Good:
- Everything? I love the drape of the skirt, the fit of the bodice, the fabric. Also, one of my best side zipper insertions.

The Bad:
- nothing

The Meh:
- I think I need to make a further short waist tuck, as it's probably still a fraction long in the torso. I can live with it though.

- Not using shoulder pads
- Made sure the plaid didn't make a '+' shape at my bust apex (boobs) as that would look awkward.... Hello girls!

Poly tartan/plaid, from Spotlight.

And that's it.
I would definitely recommend this pattern if you're 'Mad about Plaid', it's very straightforward to make and a great way to make use of the tartan pattern.

Outfit Details:
Dress - Vogue 8811, myself
Shoes - Miss L Fire Rosita
Belt and Vintage Bag - Opshop
Bakelite Bangles - Etsy
Brooch - Etsy
Lipstick - Rouge Dior Trafalgar

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A pattern splurge!

If you're following me on Facebook, you might remember me saying that I'd gone a little crazy in the pattern-buying department last week... Oh, buyer's remorse!

Well my parcel arrived today, and I'm remorseful no longer. A bunch of lovely Australian-made patterns in 36-38-40 inch bust sizes, and even some 'Pauline' patterns which I adore

I'd love to share some of my favourite ones with you!

Pauline 5299 - Lady's Slenderising Dress size 40

I love the split neckline and waist detail on this one. Can't wait to make it up, perhaps with a contrast.

Fashion Cut Pattern 6699 - Bust 36


Yowza - what isn't there to love about this one?! There's so much going on here.

Pauline 5128 - 40 Bust

Another fabulous Pauline pattern, I really love the way they used stripes on the left.

Fashion Cut Pattern - 36 Bust

Buttons! Buttons on pockets!

Pauline 2042 - 40 Bust

Another pattern I've been chasing in my size for years, I love the square neckline and basque.

And finally, Pauline 5424 - 40 bust

This pattern has been on my wishlist for seven years! I'm not sure why I'm so entranced by it, but I think the shaped yoke and V-pockets are darling. Definitely making this up.


I normally have a really firm budget for patterns, but I also know that I won't see these for sale again. What to do?
After thinking about it long and hard, I've decided that it's OK to break the rules for Pauline patterns.

What about you, is there something you'll break your budget rules for?

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Free Pattern: A Triangle Neck Scarf, c. 1936

Do YOU need to lend a gay touch to your frock? This little pattern for a fringed scarf would be a great way to use up leftovers, or introduce a newbie to sewing.

Really easy to sew - and cute to boot!

Produced by The Spool Company in 1936, I hope you like it!

free sewing pattern 1930s the spool company scarf novelty print


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

FO: The Emergency Bolero (Pauline Pattern 2217, c. 1940s)

How many times have you opened your wardrobe, and realised that you don't have X,Y or Z to complete your outfit?

1940s 1950s wardobe style idea miss l fire shoes
What a mess! And I think I have a 'Miss L Fire shoes' problem...

That was me, the day before the Fifties Fair - even after ransacking my wardrobe twice.
I was looking for the perfect jacket, bolero or cardigan to match my 1940's rayon dress, and everything was either the wrong colour or the wrong cut.

I had Pauline 2217 sitting on my sewing table to make up shortly, and thought it might solve my bolero-emergency.

I love all the details on this bolero - the winged collar, the strong shoulders, the faux pockets. The pattern is from the later part of WW2, with the focus on the military-inspired shoulders. It's economy standard, i.e. no seam allowance, no facing pieces provided, instructions printed on the back of the packet.

Pauline sewing patterns are by far my favourite brand - I wish I could find more out about the company though.

The pattern only took 1.3 yards (1.2m) for the bolero, and I had some spare navy gabardine laying around - perfect!

Ouch, this pattern was hard to put together.
The instructions consist of two sentences, basically: sew the pocket flaps on, sew the side seams together, attach the collar, set in the sleeves, face the edges.
Not a pattern for the faint-hearted!

My first step was to make a muslin, and put it together how I thought it should go.
It fit perfectly straight from the start, so there was no need to do any adjustment mods (that's rare for me).

I used purchased shoulder pads instead of making them as I was running out of time, made self-covered buttons and lined the bolero to give it some body.

If you do decide to add a lining to an unlined jacket don't forget to add your ease pleats to the centre back, or you may have trouble lifting your arms. You can see in the photo below at the lower centre, I've stitched down an ease pleat.

1940s repro sewing pattern free lining navy gaberdine jacket bolero

I also hand-stitched the pocket flaps to the body to make them sit nicely (otherwise they stuck out strangely).

And that's it!
The bolero complemented my outfit perfectly!

Will you see this bolero pattern again? Yes indeed!

I'm about half way through sewing a 1940's Wearable Wardrobe - complimentary 1940's pieces (jacket, dress, skirt, bolero and blouse) that work well together - so you'll be sure to see it again in a different incarnation.

Hope you have a fabulous week!