Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Eva Dress 1945 Lounging Jacket C40-4244

Since I wrote a book on local ghost stories, I wanted something appropriate to wear when I do author talks and other public appearances for it.  It's kind of hard to find clothing that conveys a sense of spookiness without going overboard into a stereotypically witchy or black t-shirt tough guy paranormal investigator look, or getting just plain Halloween cheesy.  So, when I found this Edgar Allan Poe themed fabric by Michael Miller on, I knew I had to use it.

The scale of the design is fairly large, so I wanted to find something that would show it off well.  Luckily, Eva Dress hd just the thing in their 1945 lounge jacket pattern.  They also offer the pattern with the lounging pants as NL40-4244.

I really like this pattern.  For as much style as it has, it goes together very easily.  I had screwed up and cut part of the back one size to small.  Even with that goof, I was able to put it together without a lot of wailing an gnashing of teeth.  Now that I have the middle aged spread to contend with, I am also wary of patterns that are fitted in the waistline.  Getting that fitted right is usually a lot of extra work.  I might not win any awards from professional tailors for it, but it only took a couple of minor adjustments to get it to fit well and look nice.

The end result turned out well.  I was pleased to discover that some of the motifs, like the crow on the lapel, ended up being placed so perfectly you would think I had planned it.  

Here's the final product. 

copyright Nellie Kampmann, 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Butterick 1920s Day Dress

I had brought an authentic mid-1920s dress pattern that I had modified for a velvet evening gown last year. Since I was so happy with that, I decided to use the pattern for its original purpose and make a day dress.

As  you can see, the original pattern is kind of girlish.  Since I am so thin, it is actually in a size range produced for girls and teenagers.  The overall look isn't too far off from what women were wearing at that time, though.  I found almost the same design being offered through the Sears catalog (Spring, 1925 if I remember correctly).  BTW, if you have a subscription to, they have the entire run of the Sears catalog available online - a godsend for vintage clothing lovers! 

I an not a big fan of the Peter Pan collar, so I modified the neckline.  The collar I used is just a long rectangle cut to fit.  Again, I found examples of the open collar look in the Sears catalog.  I also wanted more pockets.  I added a second one, cut crosswise to play with the plaid of the fabric, and dispensed with the trim up the side.  I could probably still wear it with a hip level belt, but the older I get, the more I appreciate loose clothing.

The end result turned out pretty well (although a little rumpled in the photo).  I'll admit, the looser One Hour dress is more comfortable.  This looks professional enough that I can wear it at the office.  One thing I've noticed about the 1920s cotton dresses is that they are actually cooler to wear in the summer than the modern tank and shorts combination.  I survived a 90 degree day with no air conditioning in my windowless office relatively comfortably in this.   I will probably be making more of the One Hour dresses to wear around the house and more variations of my Butterick dress for work.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

1920s Gown

I kept looking at my 1924 one hour dress and thinking that it looked a little large on me.  Since my next project was going to be made of out silk velvet and I was running late on making it (no time for a mock up), I decided that I had better go with a printed pattern this time.  I lucked out on finding a very Art Deco design at, so I wanted to keep the dress design as basic as possible to show off the fabric better.

What I came up with was a vintage pattern for a basic day dress with short sleeves, a Peter Pan collar, and some applique detailing.  I expect I will be getting some mileage out of that, since the pattern lends itself well to modification.  For this gown, I left off the sleeves, and finished them with bias tape made from the material I had bought to make the slip from. I modified the neckline slightly so that it was large enough to pull over my head without an extra opening, and bound that with the bias tape as well.  I added a detachable belt with discrete belt loops, and voila!

In the short amount of time I had, I wasn't having any luck finding either a vintage slip pattern or information that gave me a clear idea on the construction.  So, I just winged it.  It ended up being basically a tube of habotai silk with no fitting, held on by 1/2 inch straps.  With my boyish figure, that worked fine.

The end result looked great.  My only issue was the belt buckle.  I wanted something sparkly, large, and square or rectangular to fit with the design of the fabric.  I found a rhinestone buckle that looked great in theory.  However, when I wore it, it was so heavy that it dragged the whole belt down.  Still, overall, I am very happy with the dress.

1930s Hooverette Dress

I fell in love with this pattern (Vintage Pattern Lending Library T1889) the first time I laid eyes on it. It looked easy to make and I liked that there were both ultra feminine and businesslike versions.  It looked easy to make and I liked that there were both ultra feminine and businesslike versions.  I tried really hard to find a cotton print that felt 1930s for it.

I got delayed on actually sewing it up until several months after I had bought the fabric. Big mistake. It turned out that the yardage listed on the pattern back for view 2 was way short of what was actually needed.  I could easily have used another 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 yards (4 to 4 1/2 yards total).  Of course by then, the fabric I was using was no longer available, so I couldn't buy more.  I was able to work around that by leaving off the bottom ruffle and making the ties narrower and a little shorter.  The end result turned out cute, but what a waste to have spent so much time looking for a period print when the end result wasn't the period length.

It worked up quickly and the rest of the directions were correct. Please note that you will need bias tape for it. I like that most of the seams are French seams.

One thing I noticed with the shorter length is that this looks very much like a dress my mother had in the 1960s.  The only real difference is that hers did not have the shoulder ruffles.

I will probably make this again, hopefully in the proper length.