1940s Clothing Patterns/Approach to Sewing

Discussion in 'The Front Parlor' started by Sebastien Basset, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. Sebastien Basset

    Sebastien Basset New in Town

    Los Angeles, CA
    Hello ladies (and any gentlemen that may be reading) I can sew fairly well and would love to start making myself some 1940s clothes but don't really know where to start, I know that vintage patterns exist online (both for download and purchase), but I was wondering where a novice like myself might start when it comes to making clothing, and what good strategies/resources there are for fabrics/patterns/sewing. I had originally planned on starting my custom wardrobe with some ties. Thank you for humoring my lack of knowledge on the subject.
  2. EstherWeis

    EstherWeis Vendor

    Hello Sebastien!
    How cool that you want to try it out yourself!
    What you have to keep in mind with ties is that they have to be cut on a " full bias" otherwise they don't knot that well.

    The easiest thing to do is to fold your fabric in a 45 degree angle, take one point of your fabric and fold it across, and then you get a triangle.
    Pin the middle your pattern against the fold and cut them that way.
    Keep in mind that you have to cut it twice because you have to double it. It is also best to cut the " lining" a teeny bit smaller, so the seam doesn't show on the side.
    You can also line the tie with lining fabric if you like.
    It takes a lot of fabric that way, but you get the best result.
    It also explains why good ties are expensive :)

    As for other tips, i advise you to start out with simpler things like shirts etc.
    i know burda has some good easy patterns that you can order or download at home.
    The base is the same, you can make your outfits more vintage by changing the collars or cuffs.

    I hope that was helpfull :)

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  3. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    St. Louis, MO
    That's great advice, EstherWeis. What I tell most people who want to begin vintage sewing (assuming they have experience with modern commercial patterns) is to find a fairly straightforward vintage pattern, trace it, and work up a muslin. That will give you an idea of the fit & any changes that need to be made. I agree that a shirt is an excellent first project, and there are certainly lots of men's shirt patterns out there.

    For those who haven't made clothes from modern patterns, though, I would definitely advise making a modern reproduction first. Aren't there modern patterns for 1940s men's shirts out there? I don't know, but I assume there must be.

    Once you've learned how to work with vintage patterns (i.e., working with patterns that have no printed markings) I think the rest is fairly straightforward. These old patterns are extremely well-made, and generally work very well. You do have to have some sense of how clothes go together, though, because the instructions assume a great deal of basic knowledge.
  4. ColeV48

    ColeV48 Familiar Face

    For more modern resources I'd recommend David Coffin's books on shirt-making and trousers which break down construction step by step. He does go into great detail on older styles of button flies, for example. The Art of the Tailor by Robert Doyle is great if you want to do pattern drafting, but a little daunting. And peruse the free books on the internet, Google Books and Archive.org have a decent number of books about tailoring and sewing written in the early 20th century.

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