Me Made: A 1930s "Vintage Gal" Giveaway Skirt || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made: A 1930s “Vintage Gal” Giveaway Skirt

Not too long ago, I was fortunate enough to win the blogiversary giveaway from the lovely Vintage Gal! As if designed for the vintage-obsessed seamstress that I am, Cate was offering up a custom-drafted pattern for her 1930s Kick-Pleat Skirt. I was all too thrilled to work with Cate’s pattern and to be able to soon boast a fresh new summer skirt.

 

Me Made: A 1930s "Vintage Gal" Giveaway Skirt || The Homemade Pinup

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Me Made: A “Gertie Fabric” Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

My wardrobe has been feeling a bit lackluster recently – everything feels old and tired. I logically know that’s not the case, but you know how it is. If you don’t get something new and exciting every once in a while, NOTHING is right. So I planned a new dress!

This dress was a bit of a sudden decision but, now that it’s finished, I feel like it was meant to be. I rarely go to the fabric store without a plan, though a few of the newer fabrics from the Gertie Hirsch collection at Joann Fabric really caught my eye. These fabrics seem much higher quality than the usual Joann offerings, and include some nice rayons. A rare sight! While I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of the collection as a whole print/pattern-wise, a couple of the designs look quite authentically vintage – count me in!

I ADORE the combo of this fabric and the sewing pattern I used. The fabric is a cotton sateen with a floral sketch print. This design also comes in a rayon, but the background color for that one is a beautiful sunny yellow. The fabric washes and dries well, though it has a tendency to crease quite easily. The bodice is lined in a beautiful white cotton sateen from Renaissance Fabrics, which I also used to make my Regency stays and I plan on using as the lining of my 1860s corset (do not buy the solid sateen from Joann, it hardly looks like sateen at all). Highly recommend!

My pattern is Butterick B5209, a modern pattern that’s a 1947 reprint. So this counts for the Big Vintage Sew-Along, hosted by McCalls! I love the reprinted patterns, because they’re authentic but accessible. They’re an excellent place to start, although the downside can be that the fit and the instructions have been “modernized.”

The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

I cut out one full size smaller than my envelope size, and it fits wonderfully. Alterations: I shortened the strap slightly, adjusted the position of the bust, and fit it particularly to my waistline rather than following the pattern’s waist. I also ignored the complicated hemming instructions and used my customary machine-sewn blind hem.

The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

This pattern is listed as easy, but I would label it for the courageous and advanced beginner i.e. someone who is confident of their ability and has the basic skills very solidified. Certain elements were quite fiddly, confusing, and/or annoying. The end result, however, makes all this worth it. I am obsessed!

The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

The dress is very comfortable and light, and it can be dressed up or worn for more casual outings. I’ve already worn it three or four times, can you believe it? I worked really hard to match the patterns on the front midriff piece, as well as placing similar roses on either bust piece. Not everything was possible to match, as I found out for the back bodice, but I still tried to make it look cohesive. I’m very proud of the result!

The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)The Homemade Pinup: A "Gertie Fabric" Blue Floral Daydream (+ Butterick B5209 review)

All in all, I would say this pattern is worth trying. It gave a beautiful result after a bit of adjusting and fiddling, and I’m sure I’ll be using it again.

 

What’s your favorite sewing pattern(s) to use? Modern or vintage or otherwise?

Do you have summer wardrobe plans?

Have you worked with any of the Gertie fabrics?

 

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made: A Bedsheet House Dress

Fairly recently I discovered that house dresses in the vintage years were nothing like the house dresses of today. I think most of us associate these with something like a mumu or a shapeless robe for bumming around in. What does this have to do with simple vintage glamour?

Well, of course vintage gals – or, rather, designers at the time – knew exactly what they were doing. Women were encouraged to be put-together from the moment they woke up. From a feminist standpoint, this seems rather stifling, but I also like to look at the other side of the coin – the idea was that it made a woman and her family feel more upbeat and optimistic, which was even more important during wartime in the 1940s. I know personally that I have a healthier attitude in general when I feel good about how I look and dress.

A housewife spent much of her time, as you’d imagine, in her house. The vintage solution to looking prim and proper while cooking and cleaning? The house dress. House dresses were a bit looser but maintained the same lines as their daywear counterparts. I believe the house dress began in the 1920s and continued from there. Common elements include wrap fronts, less detail, large external pockets, and hardier, brightly colored materials. You can read more about the house dress in various forms on Gertie’s blog, on Festive Attyre, and on Vintage Dancer (1920s, 1930s).

I saw the below pattern cover from Simplicity and fell in love with the short-sleeved option. Of course I was too impatient to find the pattern, buy it, and wait for it to arrive, so I cobbled together my own pattern. I altered a vintage blouse pattern from my collection for the bodice and freehanded all the rest.

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The verdict? I ADORE it. I feel so much more put-together when I throw this on for a day of laundry and cooking and cleaning. I also work from home many days and refuse to spend my days in sweatpants or leggings, so this is perfect. I wear it out occasionally, but generally I keep it to my house just like the vintage gals of yesteryear. The wrap style is especially pleasant to wear!

Me Made: A Bedsheet House Dress

I decided to bake up some cookies in true vintage spirit. Gluten free chocolate chip! They were yummy and easy to whip up with very few ingredients. My recipe came from Imma Eat That – no affiliation, I just found the recipe online and thought I’d share in case some of y’all are gluten-free too! (Featuring a glimpse of my true vintage 1930s apron.)

Me Made: A Bedsheet House Dress

In the era’s make do and mend spirit, I made my dress out of some bed sheets that we no longer had a use for at my house. The skirt is even pieced behind the crossover, so I feel very true to the spirit of the 1940s!

Also, take a look at my new-to-me shoes. They’re 1940s Red Cross slingbacks and I’m absolutely in love with them.

Do you have a glamorous home outfit?

Do you think the concept of fashionable at-home wear is a feminist concern or a brilliant invention to help the homemake feel lovely?

What’s your favorite cookie recipe?!

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made Monday: #twinning 1950s matching separates

Today I finally get to blog about my most recent make, a 1960s set of separates! On the pattern cover, the top and skirt are made from the same fabric and, when worn together, mimic a dress. To me, that screams VARIETY, so I was all in!

Advance 8288

My sewing BFF Rachel bought c. 1957 “sub-teen” pattern Advance 8288 for a dress to wear to Disneyland and convinced me to sew one too. We love to match so she and I went all out and did EVERYTHING the same! We chose one of Gertie’s newer fabrics – a lovely, supple rayon print – and trim from Joann’s notions wall for ease (we don’t live in the same area). Projects like this remind me that the big companies really do have some nice things to offer if you dig!

Me Made Monday: #twinning 1950s matching separates

Me Made Monday: #twinning 1950s matching separates

I did not use the pattern myself, instead Frankenstein-ing two different vintage patterns from my stash for the blouse and creating a simple dirndl-style skirt. It worked fabulously all the same and really upholds the look of the pattern art, I think!

We debuted our matching ensembles at Disneyland, which was so fun! Rachel wore her blouse and borrowed my PUG Italy skirt, since her skirt wasn’t able to be completed before the Disneyland trip.

This weekend Mr. Homemade Pinup and I took a trip to Sherman Library and Gardens in Corona Del Mar, where I snapped some more photos. The fabric makes this set so wearable for the oncoming SoCal heat! I love me some rayon.

Me Made Monday: #twinning 1950s matching separates

Details: vintage metal zippers for both blouse and skirt, contrasting pink cotton pockets, deep machine-sewn blind hem on the skirt. My only complaint with this project is that the blouse is perhaps a smidge too big, and the waistband’s interfacing never really fused since I was afraid to use a hot iron on the rayon. Besides that, I really do enjoy the cheerful print and that I can accessorize with PINK! And I can really tell that I’ve mastered the blind hem technique, as my hem stitches are truly invisible – a very satisfying feeling.

Sherman Gardens was a great background for some snapshots and was such a nice retreat. I loved viewing all the different colors and textures of the plants, and since many were in bloom the gardens smelled amazing! I particularly liked the areas landscaped with all edible plants, like lettuce, strawberry, and herbs – Disneyland does the same thing in certain “lands” (especially Fantasyland) and it is so charming.

 

Are you feeling the spring weather yet?

Where do you go to escape the cityscape (if you live in a city like me)?

What’s your favorite vintage ensemble for warmer weather?

 

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made Monday: {Pique-nique} Skirt

Today my Me Made Monday offering is one of which I am particularly proud! I named this special skirt “Pique-Nique” after one of my favorite words I learned in French class, not only because I love it but because English seemed far too ordinary for such a fabulous and fun skirt as this. I’m sure y’all realize that it’s pronounced just as it looks, which happens to be exactly how it is in English but call me a sucker for flair, if nothing else!

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The {Pique-nique} Skirt is made from vintage fabric (I think meant for upholstery), a vintage metal zipper, and even some vintage thread – simply because I was too lazy to wind my own bobbin and found a red one in the supplies that came with my 1970 sewing machine 🙂 She is a full circle, which is delightfully swingy as always, but I feel that my use of several couture techniques rocketed up the quality of this one far above my previous two circle skirts.

Rather than my usual left-hand zipper and right-hand pocket, I decided to go for two pockets – because a lady can never have too much convenient storage. In an effort to use up some relatively unsavory synthetic fabric leftover from my high school prom dress (it’s been taking up space in my sewing storage since 2011!), I made the pockets from a bright red fabric rather than matching the print. It really does lend a fun bit of whimsy to this skirt to see the red peek out when I use the pockets. See below. Obviously, using the fun red pockets was wearing off on my mood 🙂

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I also used that red fabric to create a very wide facing to finish the hem, which by far is the most beautifully elegant way to finish a circle skirt. Though it’s quite time consuming – I turned and stitched the facing by hand so as not to see so many obvious thread pricks – the results are without compare. My boyfriend, who took these photos for me, noted that he feels this is my best skirt yet and looks of professional quality. That’s the goal, isn’t it? Who wants a homemade dress that looks obviously homemade? So I’m pleased as punch, and I’m sure you can tell. This skirt is such a joy to wear.

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The making, however, wasn’t without its mishaps. When cutting for the zipper, I didn’t take into account that a lapped zipper won’t lay flat in the fabric without a seam without some serious thought. I solved it by sewing a false seam down the center back, which worked wonderfully. Later, I sewed the buttonhole vertically rather than horizontally – TWICE – but the third time was a charm when I took a friend’s advice and butted the two edges up evenly with hooks and eyes. So all’s well that ends well. Ahh, I love a cleanly finished garment!

DSCF0542Unfortunately, the only glimpse of the red facing is in the above photo with my love, who was sick as a dog but still indulged me with a picnic and a photo. It really does look delightful when it peeks out! I think whenever I wear this skirt, I’ll be a bit happier simply because of the thought and detail that I included. It’s all in the little things, isn’t it?

I’m sure I’ll be “pique-nique-ing” plenty in this sensational skirt in the future. The use of such a thick fabric makes it drape in such a lovely way that I don’t even want to include a petticoat. Not only that, but I’ve been realizing since watching more and more vintage television (Leave it to Beaver!) that ladies didn’t necessarily wear the full, full skirts in daily life. At all! And my goal in dressing vintage is to look the authentic part, so my pettis will be kept aside for mainly formal and special events.

What is your intention or goal when you dress vintage? Be sure to tag your own garments on Instragram with #memademonday and @thehomemadepinup, and drop your blog link down below in the comments if you participate. I’d love to feature your Me Made Monday beauties each week as well!

Thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,
Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Me Made Monday: “Ray of Sunshine” Dress and Vintage Reception

Hello dolls! As promised, my Me Made Monday contribution is coming a day late, since I couldn’t resist the opportunity to include photos taken at Disneyland in my newest creation. This dress was originally supposed to be the one I graduated in, as yellow is one of my school’s colors, but my sewing machine chose to revolt and conk out when I was about halfway through. Oh, well. Sometimes the sewing fates decide things for you.

In an attempt to make do and reuse (so forties), helping the environment as well as my currently limited budget, I remade a dress of mine that I completed back in 2011 (!!!). It was certainly not my best work, as I was still learning then, and was showing its age as well as its lack of style. I always felt the dress lacked a certain panache or detail; additionally, it had too short a skirt for my current taste, so apart it came! Here’s how it used to look…

tumblr_lklattQlSQ1qzm4qr tumblr_lkfsviKwtk1qzm4qrIt was originally sleeveless, though even then I covered the bodice with a sweater since the neckline didn’t turn out how I intended. (Also, I couldn’t resist including the latter photo. I’m wearing a pair of gloves my grandmother gave me, that her father gave her in the forties! Aren’t they divine?)

My new dress is constructed from Simplicity 1459, a delightful reprint from a sixties original. I may do a review of this pattern in the future, if y’all would like that! I think I’ll be using it again; the three-quarter sleeve option looks incredibly similar to PUG’s Birdie dress!

IMG_0262 IMG_0273The white collar and skirt panel were done by necessity – I simply didn’t have enough fabric leftover from the last dress to do otherwise – but I think they added so much more charm to this number! Additionally, gingham skirts with a thick white border are quite authentic and I think the effect is darling.

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And CHECK OUT how identical the below dress is to my own dress! Such an exciting find to run across a period photo that closely matches your in-progress piece.fe645b16fbe87a2a453f7a411f56e9caMontgomery Ward, 1959

The reception of vintage is unlike anything else, I’ve noticed. People respond incredibly well to these classic fashions, from young children to mothers and fathers and grandparents alike. I think there is something incredibly relatable to vintage era dresses, as they can be demure, sweet, sexy, adorable, and more all within the same outfit – a very hard thing to achieve, particularly within the limits of modern fashion.

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My close friend Rachel (who dressed in her own handmade gingham dress, hers from a forties pattern) and I received a great amount of attention, all positive! Young girls stared or pointed, several adults noted how they thought we looked lovely, and a few people even mistook us for cast members, which was the second best compliment, I think. The first? The Evil Queen herself (from Snow White) repeatedly called me a “ray of sunshine” (in a begrudging voice 😉 ) in this dress, which delighted the inner child in me! I think I have a new favorite face character at Disneyland – she was too fabulous. She whispered to me with narrowed eyes how my hair reminded her of that of another “fair maiden” (her name for me) that she knew. Disney goals achieved. Though my smirk isn’t nearly as epic as hers.

IMG_0305 IMG_0303 IMG_0306 IMG_0307Vintage has an effect unlike any other, and while I don’t sew for the attention, it certainly validates my efforts when complete strangers stop me to mention how much they love my garments.

What is your favorite compliment you’ve received while wearing vintage?

Until next time,

Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

Sewing Projects: You Win Some, You Lose Some.

I’m a project girl. I love the motivation I get when I’ve finished a step, and I only have four, three, two, one left until my project is complete. There’s a certain sort of satisfaction that comes with every bit of progress, and that satisfaction still happens if you’re the type to take a long time on a project (cough, cough… why are you looking at me?). That satisfaction comes to a screeching halt, however, when you realize there’s something you literally have no idea how to do. Google is great for things like edge stitching – oh, it’s exactly what it sounds like! – but for others, it’s a whooole different ballgame, baby. And my weakness? Buttonholes.

I can do a zipper, even a lapped one, with no issue at all. The first lapped zipper I ever tried, I did without looking up instructions: I’d seen them on my vintage garments and thought I could do it by instinct. And boy, how cool did it feel when I was right! Unfortunately, though, that “instinct” didn’t extend to buttonholes. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: I’m afraid of them. Truly.

I feel like my nice Simplicity reprint pattern was laughing in my face, too. So blasé. 10. Make buttonholes in right front. …That’s it?! Are you kidding me?? How could this single line of instruction possibly comprise the vast amount of stress-inducing steps behind making a buttonhole? All the worrying, the crying, the staring at online tutorials and hyperventilating… Maybe I’m being dramatic. Though those online tutorials definitely gave me an excuse to draaaw this fear out and keep it away until I felt I was “ready” – whatever that means.

Come on, honey. We’re badass seamstresses making completely unique, handmade vintage garments here. A buttonhole is NO match for me! …Right?

Well, apparently, WRONG. When I finally mustered up the courage to try out the buttonholes on my dress itself, one try after the next failed where none of the previous trials had. After I got the thought to then inspect my machine, I realized that it wasn’t my sewing skills that fell short—it was my machine! In the exact moment that I went to sew the buttonholes in my dress, my sewing machine decided to konk out, leaving me feeling disappointed in both my sewing skills and my machine. An ultimate low.

The vintage world, however, was watching out for me. The day after I admitted to myself that the yellow graduation dress I had been planning months in advance of my ceremonies was no longer possible to finish, I found a navy dress—my other school color—at a vintage fair for a fantastic price. And it fit me like a glove. Praise to the vintage gods! In the end, however, I spent more money than I had intended and still have an unfinished dress with no buttonholes.

You win some, you lose some.

Though here is my win, my gorgeous ’50s dress! It’s incredibly hard to photograph, but this little number has a fabulous amount of detail. Self-covered buttons down the left side bodice, a bow on the left hip, a drop-waist seam… I love everything about this dress, and it was the perfect piece for my graduation: joyful, hopeful, and proud.

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These gorgeous grad photos were taken by my talented sorority sister, Sojourner. Check her work out!

I know one day I will defeat the evil buttonhole…but with special thanks to a faulty machine, it is not this day. What sewing step gives you the most grief? Is it buttonholes, zippers, gathering? How do you defeat your biggest issue? And perhaps the most important question (for me): how do you sew a damn buttonhole beautifully?!

P.S. Look out for my (first!) weekly post on the best eBay deals for a vintage wardrobe this Sunday (TOMORROW)!