Would anyone be interested in a sew-along?

Discussion in 'The Front Parlor' started by St. Louis, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Just for fun, I thought I'd challenge myself to a ten- or twelve-project sewing marathon in 2015. I want to make one garment from each year (give or take) beginning with the early thirties and moving into the mid-forties.

    I have a sizable collection of vintage patterns dating from the 1930s and 40s, as well as an embarrassingly large stash of fabrics acquired at sales over the years. Using the cemetarian's research and my own sources, I've been able to narrow down the dates of most of my patterns. I think this project will help me to understand the subtle changes year by year, both in the fashions and in the way these patterns were drafted & constructed.

    I'm not holding myself to any specific goals or standards, because my job can become unexpectedly crazy, but I think even if I only get halfway through I'll still end up with some nice additions to my wardrobe.

    I have another pal here in St. Louis who is working on the same challenge, though her goal is wider than mine -- she's doing 1920s through 1970s. I'm only interested in the golden era, which I define as roughly 1932 (give or take) to 1945.

    I'll include all kinds of patterns -- dresses, blouses, skirts, hats, slippers, coats, maybe even knitwear and house accessories.

    Would anyone else be interested in joining in? I'm thinking there should be no specific rules or stress -- just for fun and relaxation.
     
  2. TheSwingingBee

    TheSwingingBee One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    Cottonwood Falls, KS
    I love the idea of a sew-a-long, but I don't know that I'd want to do a piece from each year. I'm trying to build up a more retro wardrobe, more capsule like.
     
  3. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Of course! That makes total sense.

    I hadn't meant to imply that other people should follow the same crazy plan. What years are you interested in?
     
  4. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    I'd be interested in this if it was a general "sew along." I'm not going to be making any vintage items for myself this year for various reasons, but I'd be interested in making clothes for my daughter and some craft projects, some vintage inspired, but most not. I'm in if this can be a general "craft/ sewing project of the month" sort of thing. ;)

    I once had a "year of doilies" book that had a doily for each month. I have to admit that kept me very motivated and that's the only reason we have any doilies around the house that I have made.
     
  5. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Well, why don't we figure out what we each want to do, set some personal goals, and then post our wonderful finished projects? We could also use this thread to discuss progress / problems, or ask questions.

    I vote for a no-rule, no-stress, no-blame sew-along in which we each strive to create some body of work throughout 2015.

    My personal goal is to make at least ten crafted objects--knitted, sewn, or otherwise--each based on a specific year from about 1932 to 1945, give or take. I'll try to be as authentic as possible in the choice of materials and design. But I don't think I'll try to complete my projects in date order. It'll depend mostly on what I have in my fabric / wool stash and whatever whim strikes me at any given moment.

    I have some projects already cut out, marked, and ready to go, but I assume if I haven't done any actual sewing they'll still count, right? Over the Christmas holiday I did a major cutting marathon, so technically I started those things in 2014, but since this is a no-guilt sew-along, no one will be upset, I hope?
     
  6. sheeplady

    sheeplady I'll Lock Up Bartender

    Just a bartender note:
    I moved this thread because I received an email from a gentleman who was interested in possibly posting his own and his wife's creations for the sew-along.

    I don't forsee this thread being moved becoming an issue, but if it does, it will be moved back to the PR.

    General blanket reminders that gentlemen are welcome to post in the Front Parlor, but are the ladies' guests in this forum.
     
  7. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Thanks for doing this, sheeplady! The more, the merrier, I say. I can't wait to see everyone's projects.
     
  8. TheSwingingBee

    TheSwingingBee One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    198
    Location:
    Cottonwood Falls, KS
    Great! I'm glad there will be so many people doing this as well! I want to make things that are inspired by the 1940's and 1950's to create a sort of capsule wardrobe. I have some items I need to finish up, then I can wear them and this will be a great motivation!
     
  9. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,721
    Location:
    New Forest
    My wife trades with a retail company in Canada, a company that specialises in vintage paper patterns. Recently she bought this 1930's ballgown pattern, only problem was, the bolero was missing. Not having time to design her own, she improvised with a faux fur stole. Here's the pattern:
    Sorry about my phone not having a flash to brighten the image:

    [​IMG]

    And, with a few inventive ideas, here's how it turned out:

    [​IMG]

    This is how it looked with the stole. By the way, the fancy footwork was not some inventive dance, it was my idea of flashing her 'bling' accessories shoes. Along with the belt, clutch purse, necklace and other accessories.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
  10. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Wow, what a glamorous, elegant lady! The dress is just beautiful. It fits perfectly. I like this with a stole--that's much more dressy than a bolero, in my opinion!

    Any chance of seeing a back view? Is that a silk taffeta?

    Also, do you know where she found the pattern?
     
  11. Alice Blue

    Alice Blue One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    142
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    I hope I'll have something to show in the spring. I don't quite have the skills to tackle a vintage dress pattern yet, but I am working towards that with a modern simple dress project and then a modern shirtdress. After that, 1940s here I come.
     
  12. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,721
    Location:
    New Forest
    You can see the back view, but you will have to be patient, I'll ask her to pose next time she wears it.
    It's obvious that you have a talent for dress making, it is indeed silk taffeta.
    The pattern was sourced from So Vintage Patterns. Many of their patterns are unique originals, it reflects in the price. Don't be put off, here's a tip. Trace out the original pattern then re-trace it onto modern pattern paper. Now you can cut out all your pattern pieces with the garment materials, yet keep the original pattern 'pristine,' alowing you to sell it on, either here, or at a vintage fair, or even to a trader like So Vintage.

    Many of our oufits either match, or, contrast. Here's a photo of our Godson's wedding last November. My grey herringbone, double breasted suit is contrasted by a burgundy and white, pinstripe detachable collared shirt, burgundy tie & pocket square. My wife made her burgundy suit to blend and match the contrast of my suit. She chose grey to contrast her accessories. This shot, although candid, doesn't really do justice to her efforts. When she wears it again, or if I can find a better shot, I will post it.

    Lucy & Stuart 002.jpg

    If you go to the Orient Express thread, you will see a shot of her in a fabulous 1930's dress. She made this, not to contrast my zoot suit, but to match it. You can see the suit somewhere on that thread.

    View attachment 1323

    Here's a close up of the same outfit on a diferent occasion.

    dress 007.jpg

    Like you, she has so much surplus material and patterns that might someday be used. I will keep you updated.
     
  13. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    How are folks progressing? I've already made a few garments for my personal sewing challenge, but I can't post photos until the weather warms up. My tiny bungalow is so dark it's impossible to take good photos indoors, and right now St. Louis is still laboring under a deep freeze, so I can't take them outside.

    Meanwhile, I've come up with a basic set of goals, beyond my larger challenge. These goals will teach me a great deal about 1930s and 1940s dressmaking & tailoring techniques. Here are the first four goals:

    1. I want to make an early 1930s bias-cut dress -- something with geometric pieced seams, ideally in a semi-sheer fabric. I have some great patterns lined up for this already. This will be a pretty steep learning curve because I've never attempted to set two bias seams together.

    2. This second goal was inspired by Lady Day's project from some years back. I want to make a dust bowl early to mid 30s cotton "wash" dress. Not a perky Hooverette -- more an everyday housework dress. I'll look for a faded repro print and maybe put it through the laundry a few times to soften it up.

    3. Third, I want to try my hand at coat tailoring. I've made coats before, but never anything with a serious lapel and shoulder shaping. I have something already cut out & tacked together. I bought some very cheap (not very nice) brown wool that was on clearance at Fashion Fabrics. I thought if I used super cheap fabric I wouldn't regret it if I messed it up beyond repair. Now I'm not sure that was a good idea, since the coat is coming together fairly well, and the fabric looks pretty shoddy. I laundered it to fluff & tighten the wool, which helped a little.

    4. The fourth challenge is to make a good quality tailored silk blouse from a mid-1940s pattern. I've often worked with silk before, but I tend to use softer, more gathered styles. Tailoring a precision cut garment from silk will be a lot harder.

    As for the finished projects, I've made a thick corduroy bathrobe from about 1932, a mid-1930s two-piece wool dress, a postwar (circa 1946) two-piece pinstripe ensemble, and a basic brown wool everyday dress, circa 1942. I'll take photos as soon as I can stand to get out onto the porch.


    Hope you're all enjoying your crafting and sewing. Can't wait to see what everyone's been doing.
     
  14. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Believe it or not, I've almost met my personal goal, but I've been very slow in taking photographs. It's just really difficult to set up these clothes on my dress form, get the right lighting, figure out how to use the camera and so on. Then I get it all together and the batteries run out. Utter unladylike words, get new batteries, and all the pictures come out bright pink.

    So please excuse the terrible quality of these photos: they really are the best I could do. If I waited until I had time to clean my back room and press all these clothes properly I'd never be able to post any photos at all.

    This first dress is not technically part of my sewing challenge, since I made it a year or two ago, but it happened to be handy. It looks like a 20s dress because the dress form is too small for me. This is a modern reproduction cotton, maybe a little too thick and heavy, but it works for the style. I believe this is from about 1932. I made the collar from cotton batiste. This is a Simplicity pattern, and it fit quite well, but you can see that I moved the buttons closer together. I just couldn't feature the way those widely spaced buttons looked on me.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  15. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    This dress, a cotton house dress from the early 1940s, was also made from a reproduction cotton, sort of a feed-sack pattern. Again, it's too heavy and thick for a real feed sack, but I suppose on the plus side, it'll wear and wash better.

    I made the collar from some old pique I had lying around, and the lace trim was similar old stash from who knows where. The pockets are shirred and also trimmed with the same lace, and there's a metal zipper up the front. The dress has shirred stiffening (not shoulder pads) at the top of the sleeves.

    It does wash like a dream, and it's very comfortable for house work and grocery shopping.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Just one more for today. This dress is a little outside my original sew-along challenge, which was technically supposed to end with 1945. So sue me. This pattern is dated 1946, and it's about as close as possible to a sleeveless summer dress (I yammered about this in another thread today.) I made this from a heavy ticking fabric and used bakelite buttons and a bakelite belt buckle. I wish I'd used a slightly lighter weight ticking, but it launders beautifully. I've washed this many times already because I wear it constantly. I've worn this in slightly cooler weather with a blouse underneath, which I'll photograph and post some other time.

    I wasted a lot of fabric cutting this dress, because I kept cutting those silly side panels on the wrong grain. I finally got it right on the third try. The side panels and pockets were cut on the cross-grain to make the most of the stripes. For a basic house dress, this is wonderfully comfortable and not too frumpy.

    The only slightly impractical element in this dress is the pocket-buttons. I like the style, and the red buttons add a nice touch, but the pockets aren't very useful.

    I know I owe you photos of the patterns, but I'm afraid they're back in storage. I'll dig them out very soon.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  17. Rodney

    Rodney Familiar Face

    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    Centralia, WA
    St. Louis great job on your dresses. I'm surprised no one else has commented. I love the vintage waffle irons and canned food too.
    I'm surprised there hasn't been more activity here.
    Rodney
     
  18. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Thank you so much, Rodney! I've pretty much finished the challenge, but when no one responded, I thought the thread was dead in the water so I didn't bother posting the rest of the clothes. It's a time consuming task, putting the clothes on the dress form, making sure they're ironed, then photographing them & uploading the images, so I felt it was probably not worth the effort. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your kind words. You've really made my day!

    :eusa_clap
     
  19. Bamaboots

    Bamaboots I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    9,397
    Location:
    Alabama
    St. Louis, this is the first time I've visited this thread and I'm glad I did. Great job on the dresses, I think they're beautiful. The one that really caught my eye was the "ticking fabric" dress, really nice, especially with the contrasting red buttons and buckles. Though more importantly, I remembered sleeping on my grandmother's cotton stuffed mattresses covered in the same type material. A reminder that she could and would make dresses out of about any fabric, including flour sacks. Thanks for the memory.
     
  20. St. Louis

    St. Louis Practically Family

    Messages:
    613
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Thanks, Bamaboots. Those flour sack fabrics are very collectible now -- your grandma would be surprised at the prices they're fetching! I've made a lot of things from ticking, including a purse and a pair of slippers. Tomorrow I'll take a little time & post some more photos. With all these kind posts I've become reenergized & will now start posting photos of the rest of the projects. Thanks again!
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.