Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pellon as a Petticoat Substitute

My muslin made it clear that a bit of oomph was needed to make this dress resemble the pattern envelope.


And while I adore petticoats (and, to be honest, I will probably wear one with this dress, just because . . .) I thought I would try something different.




Using a shortened version of my skirt pieces, a layer of interfacing is layered on the upper portion of the skirt pieces, basted in place, and treated as a single layer.


This helps to give more body to the hip area that is later pleated, gathered, or tucked into the waist measurement.


As a bit of an experiment, I used a sew-in Pellon.  After all, this silhouette is supposed to look exaggerated!


I had the pleasure of examining the insides of this Ceil Chapman dress in person.   The entire skirt is underlined in Pellon, and was my original inspiration.


For a nicer finish, I layered cotton over the Pellon, and finished the lower edge with seam binding.


This particular skirt is pleated and gathered, so I basted the pleat lines to keep the interfaced Pellon yoke in place during construction.  Actually, the basting is still in the dress at the moment.  Until I am completely finished and do not have to keep turning the dress inside and out, I thought it was best to keep those layered pleats in place.


This is the skirt volume on a dress form (prior to gathering).  All in all, I would have to call this experiment a success.  And  yet another way to achieve an extreme vintage silhouette without the added layers of a petticoat - great for warmer climates, I think!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

It is a truth universally acknowledged . . .

. . . that a seamstress in possession of a pretty vintage pattern must be in want of a muslin.


When Marie emailed me about writing a guest post for her Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge, I immediately knew I wanted to make this Vogue pattern.  My favorite vintage decades are definitely the 40s and 50s, and with the decidedly 1960s vibe of this pattern, it was just far enough outside my comfort zone that I needed something like the #vintagepledge to get started on this particular design.


Vogue 4203 is a Special Design from 1960 or 1961 (the instructions are dated 1960, but the pattern envelope is stamped 1961).  It is often impossible to find any mention of a copyright date, and here I have two for one!


This is yet another example of lovely vintage drafting . . . different armholes depending on whether or not a sleeve is added.


For fabric, I chose this floral quilting cotton.  If I could find a print like this in a silk/cotton brocade, I would be in heaven, but for now, the cotton will have to do!  And really, this particular cotton feels lovely and the weight is nicely suited to a silhouette like Vogue 4203.


First up, a muslin.  And, quite frankly, it does not look anywhere near as cute as the illustration.  Instead, it looks just like any other basic bodice and full skirt.  Since the cut-up sheet I used is a similar weight to the quilting cotton, clearly something had to be done.


The vintage silhouette is certainly helped by the addition of a petticoat, but I thought I would try something a bit different for this dress (more on that later!).


There is also something wonky with the pleat lines.  They should match back to the bodice darts, but this is impossible as drafted on the back bodice/skirt, so I did a bit of tweaking.  Yet another reason for a practice run!


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hanging out with Marie of A Stitching Odyssey

Have you heard about the #vintagepledge organized by Marie of A Stitching Odyssey?  Have you pulled out your favorite vintage gems to join the party?  I do not need much of an excuse to play with my vintage patterns, but having community support is always a great motivator, right?!


So when Marie contacted me about writing a guest post, I was thrilled.  It was the perfect opportunity to stitch up a new dress with, you guessed it, a vintage sewing pattern.  Which includes a petticoat (more on that to come)!  For for a sneak peek of the dress, be sure to stop by A Stitching Odyssey!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Easy Options


Certain garments get lost in the back of the closet for a couple of years, even though I really love them.  This is one of the main reasons I do not subscribe to the notion of tossing clothing that has not been worn in a year or two.  Well, that, and the majority of my closet looks like it is over fifty years out of date – if you are never “in style” there is really not much reason to unload things that you love, even if they are neglected for a while.


This particular dress was made in 2007 (note to self: I should really start marking dates directly on my pattern envelopes again).  Not only is it easy and comfortable to wear, it is fun to see how far my sewing has come in the past seven years.


And another thing . . . I am easily distracted by the pretty vintage reproductions and designer Vogue offerings, but the Vogue Easy Options line has some hidden gems.


I may just have to make myself another wrap dress . . . yikes, that mental project list is getting out of hand!



Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 8233
Shoes:  Nine West
Necklace:  Dabby Reid


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Group Love for Vintage Patterns on Pinterest

Now that I have a better idea of how Pinterest group boards work, I thought I should clarify how to join our vintage pattern group!

All I will need from anyone who wants to add patterns to the vintage pattern collection is a link to your personal Pinterest page, and make sure to follow this board (in order to add anyone to a group board, both parties have to follow at least one board from the other’s Pinterest account).  You can leave a comment on this post, or email me directly - contact info is at the top of the page.


There is no two pattern limit for adding pretty pics to the group board.  Any vintage Butterick, McCall, or Vogue pattern that you love and desperately want to add to your personal pattern stash belongs on the board!  The only exception are designer patterns (they usually have the signature of the designer printed on the envelope), so please do not add those.  The group board is just a place for us to share gorgeous designs and give The McCall Pattern Company an idea of what their customers are looking for in vintage reproduction patterns.  I certainly do not want to exclude anyone that is without a Pinterest account, so please feel free to email me images of your favorite vintage pattern designs if that is the case.

When you decide on your absolute favorites, make sure to email facebook [at] mccallpattern [dot] com (there is a limit here of one or two designs).  They are obviously looking for styles they think will sell to a wide audience, so keep that in mind while you are narrowing down your choices!

If, on the other hand, you have original Vogue patterns in your possession that you are willing to share (pieces and instructions must be complete) you can send pictures to editor [at] voguepattern [dot] com.  You will received credit on the pattern envelope and five patterns of your choosing if your pattern is selected – I would be all over this, except for the fact that the few Vogue patterns I own are incomplete, darn it!

Thank you to everyone for adding your voices to this discussion, and I look forward to seeing what designs will be produced in future collections!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Message Received!


Ladies and gentleman, I have some news regarding the vintage reproduction patterns produced by The McCall Pattern Company!



Leslie, director of Merchandising and Design, sent me an email after I posted my most recent vintage reproduction dress which included some of my thoughts and disappointments with the repetition and simplistic nature of some of the recently reissued patterns.  In response, I sent a rather involved email back to Leslie with more of my feelings on the subject.  And today, Meg responded to my post with the following:

To Laura Mae's readers: We read this post and your comments. We hear you and we would love to have your suggestions on which vintage patterns you think we should reissue. Please take a look at our Pinterest board (http://bit.ly/vintagecatalogs) or your own vintage pattern images and send us an email with your top 1-2 suggestions for pattern reissues to Facebook@mccallpattern.com. Please, no more than 1 to 2 low-res images per person and please do not send any designer patterns, as licensing agreements unfortunately prohibit us from reissuing those. 
. . . 
We look forward to hearing from you and your fans. —Meg Carter for the McCall Pattern Company

So . . . it seems like the comments of Prior Patterns and Overflowing Stash were taken to heart!  Thank you, ladies, for speaking up!


My main suggestion is that we not take advantage of this offer and flood them with a massive number of requests.  If you send an email, make sure it includes a pattern design that you would actually be interested in purchasing – I am really hoping that this customer involvement will not only be great for those of us who love vintage patterns, but also financially successful for McCall so they continue to want our input!


My understanding is that McCall needs the actual intact pattern tissue to reproduce a Vintage Vogue pattern.  If you come across something amazing, maybe the community would be able to come together and find a complete copy of the design - not sure about the logistics on that.  The Butterick Retro line (I am assuming the new Archive Collection from the McCall’s line works the same way) uses the line drawings in their catalog collection to draft the reproduction, so no existing pattern is necessary.  And to reiterate Meg’s point, designer patterns are out, so no matter how much you wish that Lanvin or Schiaparelli gorgeousness could be reproduced, it ain’t gonna happen at this point, so don't waste your vote on one of those!



I am very excited to see how this pans out.  From Leslie, it sounds as though Spring 2015 is already in the works, so these changes may not happen immediately, but there does seem to be some positive movement in the right direction!  



As I was writing this post, it occurred to me that I should set up a group board on Pinterest to collect our favorite vintage designs in one place.  If you would like to add images to the group board, I will need your Pinterest name and/or the email address associated with the account.  My contact info is lauramae.p.s [at] gmail [dot] com.  If anyone knows a way to open up the board to bypass this step, please let me know.

[EDITED TO ADD:  If you would like to be added to the group board, all I need is the direct link to your individual Pinterest page!]


If you are not on Pinterest, please feel free to email me links or design images to be added to the group board.  Perhaps at some point, a vote could be arranged for the community to help persuade a VIP at McCall to get a specific design reproduced.  What do you think?  Any suggestions?


Now I just need to choose two of my absolute favorites . . . which may take some time!!  


[Click on image for source]


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Shades of Blue


I have a love/hate relationship with vintage reproduction patterns produced by The McCall Company and Simplicity.  On the one hand, it is fantastic that they are being reproduced.  I am not, however, thrilled when they make fit, design, or instructional changes to the originals.


But I cannot manage to resist them, even when they keep printing the same basic dress with a few variations.


Don’t get me wrong, I love a full-skirted 50s frock (my closet is proof of this), but there just does not seem to be a whole lot of variety to the designs that are reproduced.  I have a Pinterest board filled with amazing vintage designs I adore, and from the amount of re-pinning going on, I am not the only one who loves these looks.  Even setting aside the designer patterns with copyright issues, there are thousands of stunning dresses and suits and blouses that are being passed over for something like this dress.  It is certainly fun to wear, but is really just a basic mid-century silhouette.


I have the same issue with many of their contemporary patterns as well.  I wish there were more advanced designs showing up in the catalogs.


I absolutely love the fact that so many people are discovering the joys of apparel sewing, but companies seem to be catering to a beginners market to the exclusion of intermediate and advanced designs.


Surely a lot of people have moved beyond a beginner level, and I am perplexed as to why the pattern market has not starting taking that into account.  I have had numerous conversations with many people about this issue, so I am quite certain I am not the only one who would like to see a change.


Until the Big 4 figure that out, I will just have to be content with my personal collection of patterns.  And I will probably continue to purchase the new vintage reproductions since I do appreciate working with factory folded pattern tissue that I know will come in my size.  But I keep wondering who gets to choose these designs, and how do they always manage to ignore the most amazing of the bunch?!


Here is to challenging and fulfilling sewing projects!  With the understanding, of course, that there will always be room for full skirts, crinolines, and polka dots!



Dress & Belt:  Made by me, Butterick 6055
Petticoat:  Made by me
Shoes:  Halogen