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White Christmas Dresses for The Fantasy of Lights

There was a little blood (on the white fur, of course! but easy to fix), a lot of sweat (heavy upholstery fabric is hard to wrangle!), but thankfully, no tears for this build!

I ended up having to sort through 415 photos for this post! Needless to say, I have reduced that number down a little bit. (Click photos to enlarge.)

1-White-Christmas-Santa-Dresses

Back at the end of September, I was hired to build dresses for two identical mannequins for a revamped outdoor Christmas display in Wichita Falls. The request was for something that resembled the red satin dresses with white fur trim seen at the end of the 1954 movie White Christmas.

2-DVD-and-Printed-Screenshots

Luckily, it’s a movie I love and own so I was able to re-watch the end a bunch of times and grab some good screenshots to work from.

One of the mannequins was brought to my house.

I called her Keira. She was about the same dress size as I am – but 6 feet tall! A GIANT Barbie.

Keira-the-Mannequin

Her old outfit was sad and her wig was scraggly. So I threw away her clothes and let her borrow some of mine after a bit of a spa day.

3-Spa-Day

I ordered a swatch of the Sunbrella brand red outdoor upholstery velvet. It ended up being the perfect color and had a decent drape, so I ordered 16 yards (but it seems to be sold out at the moment – not sure if they will restock it, but I hope they do!).

I bought some rip-stop nylon for lining and some white acrylic fur with an olefin backing at my local Hancock Fabrics. I also purchased outdoor upholstery thread, acrylic rhinestones (JoAnn Fabrics), and fabric glitter glue (Hobby Lobby).

I ordered hoop skirt petticoats from Petticoat Junction and the client ordered ice skates for shoes. I bought some red “parade gloves” at a Halloween store (perfect timing of a project!).

My really good friend Marlene, who is a professional film & television makeup artist, was tasked with finding and styling some appropriate wigs that could stand up to the elements.

4-Sitting-Fail

I thought Keira might like to sit down for once in her life. Not sure it worked out so well for her.

Wensley did not like Keira and hated it when I touched her or moved her around. I think she bothered him because she wouldn’t look at him, hehe. (My dress forms don’t have faces so he just ignores them.)

There was growling and barking for many days after she arrived. Just when he had gotten a little used to Keira visiting, the big roll of velvet fabric arrived and he greeted that with the same suspicious “intruder alert!” and I caught it on video:

A package was delivered while Wensley was outside. BIG fabric roll #intruderalert! #jrt #jackrussell #dog

A post shared by Brooke Wilkerson (@sewbrooke) on

My husband and our brother-in-law helped me rig a stand for her, and then I was able to start working on a mockup.

5-Mannequin-Stand

My starting point for both bodices was Vogue 2979 that looks like a reproduction of Grace Kelly’s wedding dress (pictured in this old post). But the sleeve caps as drafted were too short and caused all kinds of fit issues until I popped the seam open at the shoulder. (I tried the bodice on myself and had similar problems with the fit, so beware if you are trying to use this pattern straight from the envelope.) I also lowered the underarm curve a slightly like I usually need to do for myself.

6-Sleeve-Cap-Too-Short

Therefore, I drafted my own sleeve from scratch and made it a two-piece sleeve while I was at it. This allowed me to include better elbow ease for Keira’s perpetually bent arms. It also made it so much easier to dress her.

7-New-Sleeve-Draft

8-Old-and-New-Sleeve-Comparison

Original sleeve (left) and new self-drafted 2-piece sleeve (right).

My friend used glossy red model paint to repaint Keira’s outdated ‘80s lips (check out that unbelievably sharp line!) and Keira got her lovely new hair. So much better!

9-New-Lips-and-Hair

The skirts were just basic full circles (but huge! because she’s so tall!) and I draped & drew the cape pattern on Keira. I was really surprised that the upholstery velvet cooperated and did what I wanted it to do for the most part.

I didn’t have enough fur (I bought all there was at the store) to double fold it like I wanted to on the capelet and skirts, so I lined it with some white polyester utility fabric and did a lot of picking to pull the fur out of the seams.

10-Pinned-Darts

Assembly-line dart sewing in my usual way of marking & stitching darts.

11-Circle-Skirt-Cut

12-Quality-Control-Dog

Quality Control Dog inspects my work.

13-This-One-Is-Empty

14-Helping

15-Evened-Hem

16-Samples-and-Machine-Blind-Hem

After making stitch samples, I determined that hand-stitching looked no better than a machine stitched blind-hem. Machine sewing FTW! Much more convenient than sewing miles of circle by hand!

17-Husband-in-Wig

My husband found Keira’s old hairdo.

18-Picking-Fur-From-Seam

19-Attaching-Fur-Trim-To-Skirt

Attaching the fur trim to the skirt. And then starting again for skirt number 2.

20-Trilby-Hat

So I’m hemming the 2nd skirt while listening to Glee Madonna album and I come out to find this. It’s 1983 all over again! I took Keira’s wig off to remove her skirt & my husband put his hat on her head.

21-Springy-Santa-Hat

Husband stikes again but with a silly hat.

22-Draping-the-Capelette

23-Bored

24-Scattered-Notions

25-Bars-Attached-to-Bodice-for-Skirt-Hooks

The skirts ended up being so heavy I had to add bars to the bodices and corresponding hooks on the skirts to hold them in place.

26-Gluing-Rhinestones

27-Rosemary-Mannequin-Comparison

28-Dress-Back-Comparison

29-Fur-Ring-Headpiece

30-Muff

31-White-Christmas-Dresses-Front-and-Back

If you have questions or would like to know about specific details, ask me in the comments. =)

Overall, I probably spent about 3 weeks total on this project but the work was spread out over about 6 weeks. It was a huge build to complete on my own and I was so glad when it was finished! So was Wensley.

32-Emtpy-Mannequin-Stand

“Good, that weird lady who wouldn’t look at me is gone!”

 

Merry Christmas to all, and my all your Christmases be white!

Happy Towel Day!

And Happy Geek Pride Day!

Today I’m spending the afternoon working at the little local fabric store and wearing my newly made Star Trek comic print skirt.

Star-Trek-TOS-Print-Skirt

I didn’t use a pattern for my skirt. It’s just a basic petticoat-style skirt with an elastic waistband, which I made with rectangles of fabric. (More details in a minute.)

Star-Trek-TOS-Print-Skirt-Back

I still have plans to remake a better fitting knit Dandelion top a la TOS style, but I haven’t gotten to that point in my sewing queue.

So I’m just wearing an old store-bought polo I’ve had in my closet for years with my new skirt. The polo’s a bit too long for the skirt, but it’ll do for now.

Elastic-Waist-Gathered-Skirt

I’ve had this fabric for months knowing I wanted a geeky skirt out of it. I was even able to print-match across the seams without losing too many inches!

Print-Matching

What seam? =)

Here’s a simplified how-to diagram to explain making the elastic-waistband skirt (detailed instructions following):

Sketch-How-to-Make-Simple-Skirt

Mine finished about 19½-inches long (knee-length worn a couple inches below waist) using the following measurements & steps:

  • Cut one 6½-inch tall strip for yoke and three 17-inch tall strips all the width of fabric (mine was 44 inches wide).
  • Sew shorter yoke strip together for center back seam, creating a loop with the fabric.
  • Sew three longer strips together end-to-end (match print if desired and able), creating a loop about 3-times the diameter of the yoke.
  • Hem longer loop with a double-fold – ⅜-inch fold then another ⅜-inch.
  • Fold top of yoke down ¼-inch then another 1¾-inch for 1½ -inch elastic casing. Stitch down leaving opening at center back for elastic.
  • Mark the four quarter points of each loop of fabric on unfinished edges (top of larger and bottom of smaller yoke loop).
  • Gather larger loop and attach to yoke bottom edge with ½-inch seam allowance, matching 4 previously marked points.
  • Insert elastic cut at comfortable length to fit just below waist. Overlap and stitch ends of elastic and stitch casing closed. Evenly distribute fullness around waistband.
  • Stitch in the ditch through elastic at center back and through the elastic in 2 or 3 other places on the waistband to hold it in place.

Here are a couple of sewing tricks I like to use:

Hem-Pressing

Machine stitch a guideline for pressing up an even hem.

Elastic-Waistband-Casing

Edge-stitch right at the outer fold of elastic casing to help keep elastic from rolling in casing.

This skirt works really well with a petticoat underneath so I pulled out my ‘50s style petticoat (it’s an XL kid’s size so it’s shorter than the period appropriate length).

TOS-Skirt-with-Petticoat

My husband hates the petticoat look but I love it!

Without&With-Petticoat

Without petticoat (L) and with petticoat (R).

Fluffy…

girly…

fun!

It required spinning.

Spinning

We will see how many fabric store customers notice my geekiness at work today or even know what today is. By the way, I always keep a towel in my car – but my dog gets more use out of it than I do.

Speaking of the dog, you might be wondering “where’s Wensley?” because he usually likes to photo bomb. Believe me, he tried but there was a door in his way this time:

Wheres-Wensley

And I leave you with this silly picture, because I still like the skirt best with the petticoat underneath:

Silly

One to beam out. So long, and thanks for all the fish!

My Cassini Style Easter Dress

For Easter in 1963, Jackie Kennedy wore an Oleg Cassini dress made in pale pink linen. Fifty years later, the simple style of her dress is still beautiful, and I’ve wanted to copy it for myself for years.

This Easter I finally did.

Side by side in black & white
My dress and Jackie Kennedy’s as pictured in the Palm Beach Daily News.

I first fell in love with her dress when I purchased the book Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years, which I was lucky to find at my local Half Price Books for only $10. It is full of wonderful photos specifically of her fabulous clothes.

Book cover and the Cassini Easter dress pages.

While I love everything about her dress, I knew I would not look good wearing such a pale pink. I look better in warm colors, and let’s face it, I am the opposite of tanned. (I’m bordering on vampire pale.)

I already had a large stash of 100% linen in an ivory color left over from a wedding dress I once made for a client. So I decided to dye some in a color I can wear.

It took me at least 6 attempts to get the final color. I almost stopped at this shade of orange, which was just a little too yellow:

I love this color orange, but it isn’t the best for me to wear. It’s a little too “naked” of a color.

Thankfully, one of my coworkers at the time is a dye expert, and she was able to tell me what color to over-dye my linen to make it a better shade of orange. (Thanks, Susan!) I also dyed my white cotton/poly underlining fabric a similar color to prevent seams from showing through. (I checked the linen with the undyed white, and there definitely would have been some color difference around the seams had I left it white.)

My fabrics: final peach color of linen & underlining fabric with beige lining fabric.

After studying the photographs of the Cassini dress closely, I chose McCall’s 7158 from 1963 because the style lines were the most similar. (I didn’t even realize the pattern date was the same as the Cassini dress until just now when I checked!)

Dress Pattern McCall’s 7158 and a close up of the Cassini dress.

The pattern needed a lot of tweaking. You can see how I fit the mockup in this post.

Once I had made the appropriate pattern alterations, I cut and assembled the lining first so I could double check the fit. Then I cut my linen and underlining fabric and basted them together.

Linen basted to the underlining.

I also made matching linen bias for the “quatrefoil motif” and to finish the arm and neck edges. (I generally dislike facings and try to eliminate them whenever possible.)

Linen bias tape.

My favorite part of this build was creating the single decorative detail near the neckline of the dress.

Careful ironing to shape the bias tape and then lots of pins & hand-stitching.

My least favorite part of this build was making the bust darts cooperate – I almost gave up and threw the dress in the trash because of them. When stitched in the linen, they wanted to be extra pointy and I really wanted to avoid an Anne Hathaway dart dilemma.

Had I not wanted a new Easter dress so badly, and if so many people (online and in real life) had not known about me making it, I doubt I would have been so determined to finish it. (And yes, I did have to remind myself of the advice in this old post.)

I fought those stupid, hateful darts for at least 2 nights after work. I ended up shaping them slightly and stitching them by hand because it was easier to do the minor changes by hand.

Ultimately, I found the biggest improvement to the pointiness was stitching the dart fold down to the underlining to control them. (In hindsight, I probably should have reduced the length of the darts on the pattern before I cut the linen.)

Bust darts, my nemesis of the build.

They still aren’t perfect, and they really bug me because that’s all I see when I look at the dress. I’m hoping that by the time next spring comes around, I will have had enough distance from the dress for the darts not to bother me as much.

Somehow, I can make nearly perfect things for others, but when I try to make something couture for myself, it’s never quite right. I know part of the problem is that fitting and seeing the design elements on your own body is nearly as hard as cutting your own hair – it’s hard to back up and see the full picture.

So during two short breaks and part of my lunch break every day for a couple weeks, I did as much as I could to build my dress during my time at the opera. Then I continued working on it at night when I came home. But I managed to complete it in time for Easter Sunday.

Here’s the abbreviated summary of the build, through photos (as usual, click to enlarge):

Seam allowance of the dress was cross-stitched to the underlining without catching outer layer of linen. I did not bother to stitch the seam allowance all the way down the skirt.

I stitched all the seams except the center back where the zipper went. The center back seam was pinned with a tapered seam allowance during the final fitting for a custom fit, and then the zipper was inserted along that tapered line. (I’m still amazed I was able to find a matching zipper!)

Finished handpicked zipper.

Hem was also cross-stitched to underlining without catching outer layer of linen, which makes it a completely invisible hem. (Later, the lining was slip-stitched to the linen hem about half an inch up from the bottom edge.)

Lining & dress were built separately. Then the lining was dropped into dress and basted together at neck and arms.

Neck & arm edges were finished with bias strips, seam allowance trimmed, and bias was folded to the inside of the dress and hand stitched only to the lining for an invisible facing.

The finished dress inside out.

Easter morning was quite chilly where I live, but since my dress was three layers, I was rather warm even without sleeves.

Since we got out of church before the rest of my family, I ended up taking most of the photos by myself using the camera’s self-timer while I warmed up the food for lunch at my parents’ house (my husband went back at our house to attend to other things).

It was so stinking bright outside, I could hardly keep my eyes open and I was almost crying. I captured lots of photos of myself with my eyes closed or really weird expressions. I did manage to take a few decent shots though.

Outdoors in my parents’ backyard. (I almost feel like I should add vampire sparkles to this shot.)

Indoors, I’m a little less washed out.

I had hoped to take some better pictures with my husband’s help later, but nothing turned out any better. He did take a photo of the back (something I had forgotten to do):

Back of the dress. (It’s really wrinkled from sitting.)

And I shall end with a close up of my favorite part – the simple decoration:

Bias and a single covered button give a minimal design a touch of elegance.

Costume-mode: Resistance is Futile.

Hooray, it’s my first real rant post!

Roll sound, speed, mark and… Action!

As a costumer, I’ve been trained to have a critical eye when it comes to costumes & clothing on stage & camera. The more time you spend in a costume shop or on a film crew, the more details you start to notice (in all aspects of a production) and taking note becomes second-nature.

It’s a habit that can be annoying and hard to turn off – just ask my poor husband.

Me: *groan*

Husband: What?

Me: Nothing.

Husband (pushing pause): What.

Me: The actor’s tie-knot keeps changing position from shot to shot – it’s distracting.

Husband: Have you even heard the characters’ conversation?

Me: Umm… sort of… no, not really. Could you… rewind it a little?

Husband: *groan*

Yeah, it’s not always easy to just let entertainment be exactly that – entertainment. Work-mode is always running just below the surface. (Eep, I’ve become a costume drone!)

I really dislike black fabrics or anything dark without texture. On camera, the shadows disappear and you just see a dark blob. Because they look so striking on camera, deep blacks are usually reserved for well-lit funeral scenes. And if black clothing is used, it’s in limited amounts and is usually a soft black.

Meanwhile, gleaming white is usually too bright (or hot) on camera, and it seems to glow and pull the focus to the white object. This is why I am usually compelled to dim the white a little with a slight brown or grey over-dye – like the tea-dyed lace for my 1912 Princess Slip. (In the business, this is known as “tech”-ing it.)

Large high-contrast prints (especially black & white ones) can look like home décor and usually overwhelm the wearer.

Small high-contrast prints (like bright pinstripes) can look like they are vibrating, especially in HD. Would somebody please advise the evening news anchors about this?

I cringe when I see groups of matchy-matchy outfits (think family Christmas photos of everyone in the same silly sweater & jeans). Coordinating is good, but it’s best to keep everyone different enough to share focus (or make one person stand out to force focus, if that is the point of a scene).

I could go on for days with the little do’s and don’ts for dressing someone for camera, but I’ll just say that there are times that my costuming skills can also help when planning for photos. Since photography is just non-motion film, a lot of the same conventions still apply. (I like to think that my aversion to white-white also helped Camille’s wedding dress photograph so well for her nighttime wedding.)

This brings me to another side effect of being a film costumer (theatre costuming is similar but there are subtle differences): my professional training bleeds over into my view of everyday fashion as well. My closet is full of outfits that reflect my costuming preferences, and I dress for “the part” depending on circumstances & events.

I’m currently working on a personal sewing project with the goal of redoing my blog banner and possibly my avatar. I’ve had the general concept in mind for over a year, but I’m still working out all the details.

I had an orange fabric with white polka dots picked out for a retro dress, but I decided to do a screen test with it and another orange fabric with smaller dots. (My costuming instincts were raising red flags about my first choice, so I had to make sure.)

My two fabric options – both orange with white polka dots.
Original choice on the Right.

I took a few photos of both fabrics draped over a chair in the setting I plan to use for my photo shoot, and then I could compare them on the computer screen more objectively.

Screen tests of the fabrics in my chosen (sneak peek!) photo shoot location.

After seeing the fabrics on screen, I changed my mind about my fabric – I liked the smaller polka dot better in the setting. The orange disappears on my original choice and doesn’t stand out from my bright blue fridge and chartreuse walls, especially as a smaller photo. I want my dress – not my fridge – to be the focus of my banner (even though the icebox is really cool and eye-catching).

Conclusion from my screen test: the fabric I ended up liking better was one I thought was a little too bright in person but it looks amazing on camera and from a distance.

Now if I could just decide if I need to fuss with toning down the overall brightness of the fabric just a little, I could cut out my 50’s style dress and start building… There’s that dang costumer-mode trying to take over again!

My Vintage Pattern Collection: 1960s & 1970s

More vintage pattern show-and-tell… (vintage patterns from the 1940s here and 1950s here)

While I am partial to the cheerful girliness of 1950s styles, I find myself gravitating to the styles from the 1960s as well. To me, Sixties fashion was when Fifties fashion “grew up” and sort of branched into two groups: simple sophistication – think Audrey Hepburn & Jackie Kennedy (both women seemed to bloom into fashion icons during this decade), and artistic “Mod” – think modern new things like Star Trek, The Beatles & Marimekko prints.

We will start out with two of my favorite patterns, which are both from the year 1960:

McCall’s 5688 Dress and Simplicity 3463 Wrap-Around Dress
I’m working on mockups of both of these.

Then there is one more from 1960, but it’s a bit “costumey”:

Advance 9399 Dress
It makes me think “Little Bo Peep”

The seams are so interesting on this dress from 1961:

Butterick 2502 V-Darted Dress
The long-sleeved version has zippers at the wrist.

Then I have a girls’ dress that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else on the internet. The year is unknown, but it has to be from the Sixties:

Simplicity 4414 Girls’ Dress

My reasons for thinking that it belongs in the 1960s are:  the price (45 cents) is similar to the prices of other early Sixties patterns; the hairstyles on the girls look ’60s; the colors match the previous pattern’s; the floral print looks correct for that decade; and the skirt of the dress also has an inverted box pleat like the previous pattern. I’d say it’s pretty safe to assume it belongs at this point in the timeline – do you agree?

Here’s another girls’ dress and a wrap skirt from 1962:

McCall’s 6384 Girls’ Dress with Attached Petticoat

McCall’s 6665 Wrap-Around Skirt
I think it’s interesting that so many types of clothes wrapped in the back in the 60’s.

This next one from 1964 epitomizes the sophistication of Sixties fashion:

McCall’s 7349 Dress
Very Audrey Hepburn!

A more formal dress from 1965:

Simplicity 6219 Coat & Dress
The long version makes me think Jackie Kennedy.

Then the Mod Styles really start showing with these next few. 1960s (specific year unknown):

Butterick 3580 Dress and Butterick 3325 Dress & Jumper
I’m thinking Mary Tyler Moore, especially with the plaid jumper.

A mini-dress with shorts for beachwear from 1967:

Simplicity 7136 Dress or Beach-dress & Shorts

My one vintage pattern from 1968 has incredibly interesting style lines, and it’s Karen’s fault that I had to have it because she talked about it on her blog:

Vogue 2040 Molyneux Dress
I think I want the short-sleeved version – now I just need to find the perfect solid color fabric to show off those lines!

This pattern is from 1969:

Simplicity 8436 Mini-Dress & Pants

The date on this next one is unknown, and different sources put it in different decades. I can’t decide if it’s late 60s or early 70s:

Butterick 5800 Dress & Pantdress

The overall shape is Sixties, but the big collar and one-piece “jumpsuit” version seems rather Seventies. Even the hairstyles are in that transition stage.

The 1970s get a bad rap because of awful plaids and horrible-feeling synthetic fabrics, but I’ve always loved the style-lines (especially on women’s suits) and how slim & leggy they make people look. (I’m glad I can say I was born in this decade and not the Eighties, which I think was the ugliest fashion decade ever!)

I have a short list of vintage patterns from the Seventies starting with 1973:

Simplicity 6039 Jacket & Pants
I really need to make this suit for myself!
I’m thinking brown corduroy.

And another suit pattern, also from 1973. I actually just have a self-traced brown-paper copy (with Xeroxed envelope & instructions) of this one because I found in my size in a theatre costume shop’s filing cabinet:

Simplicity 5918 Jacket, Pants & Skirt
Years ago, I made a mockup but never finished fitting it.
I still really like it and need to make it for real.

This next jumpsuit pattern from 1977 was so hilariously 70s that I had to keep it.  Cue The Carpenters!

McCall’s 5421 Jumpsuit & Hat
If I ever need coveralls for work, I will be making one of these because the style-lines are really flattering.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of my vintage patterns. I’ll be sharing some of my current projects using a few of them in the weeks to come. =)

My Vintage Pattern Collection: 1950s

Continuing the chronological show-and-tell of my vintage pattern collection… (here’s the 1940s post in case you missed it.)

Ahhh, the Fifties. It’s probably my most favorite fashion decade because of the bright happy colors and the girly dresses.

First up are two Advance brand patterns that I can only date as “early 1950s”:

Advance 5884 Apron pattern
(in my collection of aprons, version 1 is my favorite)
and
Advance 5552 Dress & Slip pattern
(this is definitely on my list of things to make!)

1952 gives us this dance & skating outfits pattern:

Simplicity 4035
Tap Dance Trunks, Blouse & Skating Outfit pattern
(I actually have TWO copies of this pattern!)

A dress with an interesting scalloped inset gored skirt from 1953:

Advance 6509 Dress and Dickey pattern

Two from 1954:

Simplicity 4768 Women’s Vests pattern
(labeled as “Weskits” the informal word for “waistcoats”)

Simplicity 4928
Girls’ Jumper Blouse and Dress pattern

Three dress patterns from 1955:

Butterick 7409
Girls’ Blouse, Bolero and Jumper pattern

McCall’s 3547 Dress pattern

Butterick 7251 Dress pattern

Moving on to 1957:

McCall’s 4136 Girls’ Blouse, Skirt and Shorts pattern
I love the sailor style!

Butterick 8038 Dress pattern
This is another one I need to make!

My one pattern from 1958 is a wonderful pencil skirt:

McCall’s 4606 Skirt
I think version B is my favorite style
but I love the sketched fabric for all three.

A casual dress from 1959:

McCall’s 5219 Dress
I’m currently working on a mock-up of this one.

I have another girls’ dress without a specific year – I could only find that it was from the ’50s when I researched it:

Simplicity 3726 Girls’ Dress and Pinafore

Then there’s this one I can’t definitively date but I believe it is from sometime in the 1950s:

Butterick 6871 Button-Front Dress

I love the little blurb about it on the envelope:

“Coat-dress with many lives: scarf it – jewel it! Soft gathers blouse from the curved yoke; bodice is taut, leads into a beautiful flow of skirt. Fashion focus: splurge on glitter buttons or make your own self-covered ones.”

I think I might need to find some glitter buttons!

My Sixties patterns coming soon

My Vintage Pattern Collection: 1940s

I have been going through & photographing my vintage patterns over the last few days in an attempt to date & organize them. I had not realized how many I actually have, and I had completely forgotten about some really great ones!

I think I’ve only actually purchased 5 or 6 of the vintage ones I own. Many were gifted to me by my mother-in-law, and quite a number of them are ones I rescued from a “graveyard” box when I was working as a costumer along side Ken Weber (one of the owners of Vintage Martini) a few years ago.

They were in the box because their envelopes weren’t in the best shape for selling, and he didn’t want to spend time examining them to see if all the pieces were included. I’m not terribly picky about condition (I can usually draft the missing pieces as long as I have enough of the information included with the pattern), so I happily scooped up the most interesting ones.

Here’s a look at the vintage sewing patterns that I own from the 1940s in order of date (I had no idea I actually had so many originals from that decade!):

Simplicity 1222 Blouse from 1945

I’m not sure I really have the blouse pattern because the envelope is empty except for the instruction sheet. The pattern pieces may be hiding next to another pattern in a disintegrating envelope, but I haven’t done a thorough search yet. Even if I don’t have it, the envelope & instructions should be enough information for me to recreate it.

Next are patterns from 1946 – two skirts and one apron:

McCall 6595 and 6667 Skirt patterns – I love the drape on the one on the Right!

Simplicity 2560 Apron pattern

From 1948, there is another apron, a house dress, and a woman’s suit:

Simplicity 2644 Apron pattern

Simplicity 2275 House Dress pattern

Simplicity 2574 Women’s Two-piece Suit pattern
It’s very “Salvation Army uniform” in red.

Moving on to 1949, there’s another apron pattern and a lovely dress:

McCall 1319 His & Her Aprons patterns
I even have the original transfers included!

Simplicity 2848 Dress
Of all the vintage patterns from this decade, this one is my favorite. I definitely need to make one, even if it’s for someone else!

Then I have a few mail order vintage patterns (mostly aprons) with unknown dates, including this suit:

Mail Order pattern 2953 Women’s suit – ca. 1940s?
I wish the sketch showed a person wearing it so I could see a hairstyle to help date it!

Vintage Patterns Wiki was very helpful in my search for pattern dates. Even if the date wasn’t listed on the site’s page for a pattern, there was often a useful link that took me to the information I needed.

Unsurprisingly, I also have quite a few vintage patterns from both the 1950s & 1960s (it’s safe to say those are my favorite decades in fashion), and a couple from the 1970s.

But I’ll save those show-and-tells for another day. =)

Related posts:

My Vintage Pattern Collection: 1950s

My Vintage Pattern Collection: 1960s & 1970s

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