Monday, December 28, 2009

1958 dirndl skirt

I was having one of those "I have nothing cute to wear" days today, so I decided to make a new skirt to go with a sweater that I got for Christmas.  I dug out this 1958 Simplicity playsuit pattern and some vintage plaid that I bought at an estate sale, and a few hours later... ta-da!  I have cute skirtage!  Woohoo!

This was by far one of the easiest garments that I have ever made.  There isn't even a zipper or hooks - just one button and the opening is cleverly hidden in the pleats.  I usually don't wear skirts that are this full, but this thing was so fast and stress-free to make that I'm a complete dirndl convert now!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

vintage finds

I stumbled across 3 great vintage dresses in my size while wandering through an antique shop yesterday.  At only $25 apiece, I thought they were quite an amazing find!  I need to get a few minor spots out, but other than that they are in great shape.  Wanna see what I got?

I need to make a proper slip for this one since it is so sheer! It's hard to see in the picture, but the fabric has dainty brown scribbles all over it - very suitable for an artist, I thought!  I probably won't wear this dress with my oxfords unless I'm doing a reenactment event, but I just wanted to see how it would look with "sensible" 40's shoes.  I think it would be cuter with ballet flats though.

I almost didn't get this one since crazy zebra stripes aren't really my thing, but now I'm so glad I did!  I think it looks much cuter on me that it did in the hanger.  I think this dress will get the most wear of any of them since the style is so timeless.

This one has the most amazing detailing with pintucks covering the top and sleeves and a few down the skirt.  It makes me wanna go swing dancing!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

1790's gown recap

I posted a new page on my website about my 1790's zone gown this week. Now I just need to get the rest of the photos uploaded to flickr...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Estate Sale finds

I stopped by an estate sale after work today, and while I didn't come home with the amazing haul that I found last month, it was still pretty decent. I got about 10 yards of heavy linen and silk/linen blend for under a buck a yard. I have no idea what I'll use it for, but you can never have too much linen! Plus I founds some vintage blue and tan small-scale plaid that is begging to be a retro shirt for the boy. I picked up few more sewing patterns from the late 50's-70's as well. I usually turn up my nose at anything post-1960, but all the fabulous projects on sewretro have me looking at this era in a completely different light lately. They might not be that useful for costuming stuff, but those simple shapes make some really cool modern garments when done up in fun fabrics, and I'm feeling the urge to do more stuff like that lately. Plus, I LUV me some A-line skirts!

I also picked up a $16 black mink fur collar (probably to recycle somehow) and a few little boy items. The children's garments are in pretty bad condition, but I'm going to see if I can make patterns from them and do repros for E. My favorite is this peacoat. Isn't it adorable?!? For those of you who know anything about vintage children's clothing, when do you think it would date from? The construction and buttons and fabrics look exactly like the Edwardian items in my collection, but those little military style boy's outfits were popular forever, so I just don't know. What do you think?  

Friday, November 27, 2009

party like it's 1949!

I never really thought much about 20th c. vintage fashions in the past. They just seemed too "normal" to me, and I preferred to research and recreate more exotic historical costumes from the Edwardian period or earlier. But then last year I was invited to a 1940's themed costume party, and as I started poking around on ebay for something to wear, something strange happened. I fell completely, hopelessly, madly in love! Now I'm quite obsessed with vintage clothing, and I've spent the last year on a treasure hunt for old patterns, fabric, dresses, notions, and accessories. My long-term goal is to start making pieces that I can incorporate into my everyday wardrobe. As an art teacher, I tend to dress very casually most days because it is so easy to ruin things while working with messy art supplies. But I have this incredible urge to be girly right now, so I'm trying to find more excuses to wear cute dresses and get my retro groove on. I want my outside appearance in the day-to-day world to finally match how I feel on the inside - quirky and creative and fabulous! ;)

One of my favorite things about retro sewing is that you can still find yardages of amazing old fabrics to work with, and most aren't even that expensive. I have a mad love for vintage novelty prints, so I snatched up this kooky mid-century modern gladiator print (how did they come up with this stuff?!?) last winter when I saw it on etsy. It was listed as rayon, but it is super shiny and feels more like acetate, so I almost abandoned this project after cutting out the pieces because I was worried that it looked too dressy for me to wear to work. It probably would have languished in the abandoned projects pile indefinitely if it wasn't for Sewretro's party dress contest this month. I decided that it would make a great party dress if nothing else, so I dug out all the pieces and got it assembled in just two days while I was home for the Thanksgiving holidays.

The dress pattern is Vogue 6788 from 1949, but I switched out the sleeves with another pattern from that year because I liked the 3/4 length better. It all went together like a dream, and this project gave me an excuse to use some of my vintage notions as well. The hems are done with some old turquoise iron-on hem tape, and the belt is made with a fabric-covered belt kit - both found at estate sales. I also got to play with a nifty little contraption that marks both sides of pattern pieces at the same time, which worked great with this pattern since it had the punched holes for the markings instead of being printed. The buttons are vintage as well, and I'm pretty sure thy are bakelite.

And now, on to the pictures!

Since this was my first try at sewing with vintage patterns/fabric for myself, here are some of the things that I discovered:
- I really need to learn some proper techniques for putting in a zipper. The pattern didn't include any instructions for that, and I thought I could just wing it, but it looks pretty crappy on close inspection.
- I also need to figure out what techniques they used for interfacing collars and such during this period. Again, the pattern didn't mention anything about interfacing. I ended up flatlining the collar with some stiff cotton fabric, but I really don't like the way it feels. It's too heavy now.
- vintage acetate (if that's really what this stuff is) is NOT fun to work with. There are old storage fold lines running across the entire dress that absolutely refuse to press out, and it shows every little crease and pucker where my tailoring is a bit lacking.
- I can't sew a straight line to save my life! I did a bad, BAD job of attaching the fabric to the belt backing, but I'm scared to take it off and try again, because the belt backing is a bit like cardboard and I'm afraid it will fall apart with more stitching holes. That was waaaaayyy harder than I thought it would be!

But all in all, I think this dress was a success.  I wore it out today and had several ladies squee over me, so I think that's a pretty good sign.  :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Hello, world!

Most of you who are reading this blog probably know me from my costuming website, festive attyre. You'll also probably know that I have been horrible about updating my site since my son was born two years ago.  I finally seem to be finding more time for sewing and creative pursuits lately, but I still have a hard time making myself get it all uploaded to my website.  Dealing with dreamweaver is just such a chore!  But hopefully blogger will make that part much easier, and eventually, I plan on embedding this page into my homepage and using the layout for a much-needed site redesign.  Anyhoo, I have some fun new stuff ready to post tomorrow.  I can't wait to show y'all what I've been working on!

Happy Thanksgiving!