View Full Version : Appropriate Fabric for 40's, 50's
08-23-2005, 08:32 PM
Clothing during these time periods was made in a variety of fabrics, including silk and rayon crepes, gabardines, chiffons, organzas and jerseys. Cotton/cotton blends were also popular for day wear, and wool/wool blends for suits. Evening wear was often made out of taffeta, faille and more 'exotic' fabrics, including quilted material. Remember that during the war however, silk was rationed and so not used as frequently. Dresses made during this period were often created from more unusual fabrics as well (fabrics that were not necessarily 'dress' material.)
Polished cotton and sharkskin rayon were popular during the 1950s.
What makes a repro dress look authentic is the attention to color and pattern; these eras used very distinct color combinations as well as patterns. Check out the museum on this site for more ideas--it is very helpful and treat to look at besides: www.return2style.de
08-24-2005, 07:52 AM
Thanks! Links to sites like that are perfect for research.
08-24-2005, 09:17 AM
Yay! Vanessa's here! She is an amazing costumer (and a vintage pattern fiend like many of us here). I'm looking forward to seeing some of what she comes up with!
Once you're done with the research...
Estate sales are the cheapest to buy fabric, and sometimes you find you're raiding an vintage sewing room and leave with lots of bias tape, hooks and eyes, buttons, sewing books, and sometimes even patterns. And if you have a vintage clothing or antique textile show by you, that's a good place to buy yardage. At the vintage expo in Santa Monica I buy cottons for about $5 a yard and rayons for about $7 a yard (pretty good considering you pay 9.99 a yard at Joann for a polyester "fashion" print!) There's also an antique textiles category for fabrics (http://antiques.listings.ebay.com/Textiles-Linens_Fabric_W0QQfromZR4QQsacatZ38000QQsocmdZList ingItemList) on Ebay that turns up yardage every now and again, though it seems to be primarily focused on interior decorators and quilters.
08-24-2005, 11:51 AM
What's a good yardage amount to keep in mind? I know there are fluctuations, but for an average 40's gown or suit or the same for 50's. . .
For instance, with my victorian outfits, I usually give myself a general "I'm going to need about 15 yards for a dress."
08-24-2005, 01:21 PM
I'd say 3-6, depending on the dress. But for longer sleeves or more fullness or longer skirt, there could be more. It also depends on the width, as fabric was narrower back then. You can play around with the pieces a bit to save fabric.
08-25-2005, 12:08 PM
Just found this online that might help you out!
08-25-2005, 01:22 PM
Again, ever so helpful.
08-25-2005, 08:22 PM
Modern crepes are wonderful for making repro pieces. The fabric moves so nicely and has a similar look to old crepe, but the best thing is - you can just throw it in the wash and no have to worry about shrinkage!!
I have also used linens for a pair of vintage overalls that I made from an orignal pattern. It's nice and cool to dance in for me.
08-26-2005, 09:05 AM
Good to know, good to know. Besides lots of vintage fabric - what does everyone like to make repros out of? Do you have a certain site with accurate prints & such?
08-27-2005, 07:43 PM
Oh, I actually have this book my fianceé got that is just a catalogue of vintage fabrics from the forties. I will say, however, if you just look at a piece of cloth and use your imagination, a lot of modern designs are actually surprisingly period-correct. I buy my fabric online at http://equilter.com :) and at http://www.fashionfabricsonline.com. The second has a better selection, and more suiting material. Equilter actually has reproduction fabric that is copied from a 1930s collection, it's lovely, and in washable cotton! Fashionfabrics is wonderful because they have a lot of wool fabrics that have that authentic look, you've got to sort through hundreds of samples, but you can find exactly what you're looking for! I got a nice light brown plaid that worked perfectly for a skirt, and some lovely linen floral prints that I would swear were exactly vintage prints, they're simple, and all the colours compliment eachother nicely, just as you would expect from a vintage print, I swear by this site!! Linens are a good choice, as was mentioned before, but they can wrinkle up on you, too. This fabric store also has a lot of lovely silks! And, as mentioned before, watch your war-time use of them, and i'd say if you're making a war-time dress, you should stay away from directional prints (nap), because those, too, waste a lot of fabric. Post war, though, they seemed quite popular. But as far as fabric recommendations for any one time period, it's hard to simplify, but if you're using an old pattern, try to stick to what they recommend, stray only where you know from photographs or actual vintage pieces that the dress cut may permit such variation. Drawings on the patterns really help, sometimes just browsing stores where they sell patterns, pattern libraries and the like can really help you calibrate your time-period-senses.
Modern crepe was recommended, and I'd like to second that, it gives a very, VERY vintage look and feel, and is washable. Also, washable wool (fashionfabrics) has a very vintage feel, but if you want to wear it everyday, as I try to do, it is a delight being able to just throw it in the wash! I don't know about you guys, but dry cleaning never really feels as clean as good ol' soap & water!
Anyway, I hope this was of some help. What a fun thread!
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