Thursday, 30 October 2014

Stitchcraft March 1941 - The Cover Jumper

It has been a while since I've done a woolly post.  To be fair, it has been a while since I've done a post of any kind, but we'll just gloss over that, shall we?!

The jumper that I have just finished has to be one of my all time favourites!  It was knitted from this pattern, an early wartime Stitchcraft magazine, from March 1941 to be precise, this was the cover jumper, a fantastic part cable design with the neatest little button and buckle detail.

It was knitted in Adriafil Azzurra, a beautiful 4 ply which is 70% wool, 30% acrylic.  This wool knits up just like an original 1940's wool, and the colour range they offer is comprehensive.  I love this wool so much, that I may have already stockpilled some of their scrumptious autumnal shades!!!

I used the Avio blue, the Bordeaux is what I'll be working with next.
Although it is hard to tell from the photographs, the buckle and buttons are actually a really dark blue.  They were made in the 1930's or 1940's and even though they aren't a matching set, they look pretty darn good together, even if I do say so myself. 

I love how this one turned out.  Although it has a couple of rows of cable per pattern repeat, it knitted up really rather quickly, and took just a little over 2 weeks to complete.  

This was a commission piece, and I have one more jumper to knit to go with it before it heads overseas :o)

If you fancy giving this one a go yourself, then the pattern is now available as a PDF in my new Etsy shop, 1940's Patterns, which you can find here.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

1940's Anne Adams Dress

Life isn't allowing for much blogging time at the moment.  All is well here, but September brought with it the start of a new school term, and we're all a little bit busy! 

I have lots of makes I want to get up on the blog, but I haven't the time for many words (that might be a good thing!!), so please forgive me for the photo overload!! xx

This dress was made from an original 1940's Anne Adams sewing pattern from America.  It was made using original 1940's rayon silk, which falls and drapes beautifully, but is a slippery blighter to work with!!  It is a generous size, and will fit a 46" bust, 38" waist and 48" hip.


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Vogue 5364 – 1940’s French Blouse

Ok, so the blouse I’m posting about today isn’t actually from France.  The title refers to the design of the fabric which, you’ve guessed it, has a French theme, Paris, none the less!

Trying to get on top of my, um, fabric hoard, I’m trying to adopt a kind of one in one out philosophy.  I keep amassing beautiful pieces of fabric, but don’t use it as quickly as I’m buying it, because knitting and felt work seem to take priority.  With the extended summer break, which is now almost at an end, I've been keeping my sewing machine busy, and am ever so slightly making a dent in the stash!
Whenever we go to events, one of the things we always hear people say is that they wish it the clothing was bigger.  There is no denying that your average wartime woman was smaller than the average woman of today.  So, with this in mind, I went about picking out one of my larger blouse patterns, and ended up going for this Vogue pattern from 1948.

The blouse is quite a simple design, just three buttons, no fancy gathering or puff sleeves, quite a sleek, somewhat sophisticated, design, which I felt called for a similarly themed fabric.

Cue this little piece of loveliness.

The fabric is a vintage, probably from the 1950's, and the photographs don't do it justice, because it is actually a really pale pink shade. 

From a distance, it just looks like a plain old piece of fabric, but when you take a closer look, the fabric is actually covered in a French themed design of poodles, the Eiffel Tower, jive dancers, the moon, and some other buildings that I can’t identify!

Because the fabric design ran in an up down direction, the main pattern pieces all had to be cut in the same way, i.e. top to bottom, all pointing the same way.  It was a tight squeeze, and there were only fragments of fabric to spare.

Matching buttons to the fabric was more of a challenge than I thought it would be.  Because the fabric has a sheen to it, plastic buttons would be too dull in comparison, and therefore glass was the only way to go.  Clear glass looked totally wrong, so in the end, 3 rather scrumptious vintage pink champagne coloured flower buttons were the best option. 

Regrettably, 2 out of the 3 buttons have a tiny nibble on the back, as is often the case with 50+ year old buttons.  Personally, I don’t think it matters.  They are vintage buttons, and it does happen, but I’m hoping the new owner won’t mind either.
The blouse has been photographed on a dummy which is far too small for it, hence the overly baggy look, and the fact that one sleeve looks longer than the other!  It is pictured with the skirt from an original 1940's pin stripe suit.

The pattern was a dream to work from.  I didn’t have to make any changes to it at all.  All the pieces fitted easily together, and the entire thing took less than a day to construct, although it took me weeks to actually do the final finishing!! 

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Summer Roundup

The end of August already?  Hmm, it seems that our extended summer holiday has kept me away from Blogger!  At the beginning of the holiday, with the weeks stretching before me, I had grand plans for numerous posts, plenty of makes and hoped to catch up on lots of cataloguing of my patterns.  In reality, I’ve actually achieved very little of what I’d hoped to, but I have a good excuse; I’ve been out and about with the family having fun!!

So what have we filled our time with?  Well, looking back, we’ve actually done an awful lot. 

We did a vintage fair in Heydon, Norfolk, which was lovely, but I sent Mr Y off to Sheringham with the camera, so no pictures of the fair, but plenty of the trains!  The weather was glorious and there were oh so many beautiful things to buy, but I was good, and all I brought home with me were some more knitting patterns and two 1950's blouses for the girls.

We also touted our wares at the 1940’s event at Ramsey, but again I have no photographs because I didn’t venture far from the tent.  Well, that’s not entirely true, I did venture down to see just one lovely trader who had, yes, you guessed it, more patterns!   She also had some 1940’s black suede ankle boots with Astrakhan trim in a rare larger size, but my mum, being the vintage hunting pro that she is, snaffled them first!! :o)

I may have also acquired some more patterns.  More patterns than I probably should have done. 

I bought, and fell in love with, some incredible pieces of new stock.  Some amazing ox blood red suede CC41 shoes, an incredible lavender coloured crepe dress and coat set and a whole collection of lovelyness including a 1940's Harrod's evening dress, 1930's day dress, 1940's pink moygashel dress with pink piping and a silk vestee from the 1940's :o)

We’ve travelled the highways and byways of East Anglia and visited Colchester Zoo, Minsmere, Sutton Hoo, Dunwich Heath, Land Guard Fort, Holt, Sheringham and Parham, to name but a few.  We’ve been swimming and walking, and paddling and riding.  Wandered through the leafy forests and ambled along the pebbly Suffolk shore.  The girls have dug for treasure and built sandcastles, grubbed in the dirt and come home filthy.  We’ve picked flowers, picked blackberries and picked (and munched!) delicious strawberries.  Eaten picnics in the shade of a tree and eaten over indulgent meals out.  Had cuddly, snugly film nights in and child orientated trips to the flicks!  Phew, no wonder we have welcomed our beds at the end of the day!! 

Racey, C's much beloved, and once white polar bear.  He goes everywhere with her.

We had family staying with us for 2 ½ weeks, which curtailed the adventuring a little, but the increased time at home did mean I was able to finish off 2 jumpers, a blouse and a dress.


We did some decorating, well, I picked the colours and my Mr did the decorating!  I also put him to task on a bookcase, so my once dark oak bookcase is now shiny and blue, the perfect home for some of the girls’ book collection.

All in all, it has been a pretty jam packed 3 months.  Having my Mr home has been absolutely incredible. I think we squeezed in as much as we could and I will never forget this gift of time that we have had together.  It’s been a blast, but as a lady who likes routine and order, I am eagerly awaiting things to get back to normal here on Wednesday, when we will start the countdown to the autumn!!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Weldons So Easy 86 – 1940's Wartime Silk Blouse

Back in 2013, I bought a rather large suitcase of 1940’s fabric at auction.  I paid a pretty penny for it, in excess of £100, but the case had some beautiful dress lengths of novelty rayon silks and autumnal shades of crepe.  In amongst the fabrics was a small piece of 1940’s silk in a delicate shade of duck egg blue.  Over time, silk can rot.  I’ve had silk in the past that I’ve been able to tear as easily as I can tear a piece of paper.  Structurally, the piece of silk I had was strong, but it had a 1” tear, a couple of holes, and a few water stains, so it got put in the back of the cupboard until the right pattern came along. 

Always on the lookout for new patterns of the sewing and knitting variety, I recently picked up a wartime Weldons pattern, a Special Coupon Saving Design!

Designed to save the original purchaser valuable clothing coupons, the fabric usage was very economical indeed, requiring just 1 1/8yds of 36” fabric for the 34” bust.  I had about 2yds of the silk, but with the damage that I had to work around, it was still quite a squeeze to get all the pieces cut.  This was the sort of damage I was working around.

The blouse I went for was the green one, as I liked the idea of trying a neat little collar, and challenging myself to add a pocket, something I’d never done before.  The blouse required bias binding to keep the sleeves neat, and although I didn't have exactly the right shade for a perfect match, I was able to find some vintage binding in my stash that did the trick.

I think the “So-Easy” is very misleading.  Actually, it’s a total fib!  I’ve worked from plenty of vintage patterns in the past, but this one proved a real challenge.

Unlike today’s patterns, most vintage patterns are unprinted, meaning they have no written markings on them at all, they have punch holes instead, and that’s fine, but this one had absobloominglutely no chuffing punch holes at all.  Absolutely didly squit!  It had me turning to my sewing bible, The Pictorial Guide to Modern Home Dressmaking, and when that didn’t help; I had to turn to my sewing guru, my mum!  A quick over the phone sewing lesson, and I was sorted.

Plenty of head scratching, chalk marking, tape measuring later, it was done, and I’m really rather pleased with it.  Teamed with the skirt from one of the 1940's suits I have in stock, I think it really looks the part. 

I originally planned to add glass buttons, but the 1930’s buttons I had were slightly rounded on top and therefore a little too heavy for the silk so, for now, it has faceted plastic buttons on.  If I find more suitable buttons before I sell it, then they will be swapped.

I strayed very slightly from the pattern.  I top stitched the yoke to the blouse front, because, personally, I think it gives a cleaner finish.  I also top stitched around the collar and cuffs because, again, I prefer that kind of finish.

The pocket was far easier to add than a thought it would be, it just took patience, lots of measuring (note the no markings comments!!!) and plenty of tacking and pressing. 

The photographs don’t really do justice to this exquisite piece of fabric.  It’s genuinely far nicer “in the flesh”, and I hope it finds a happy new home soon, as it would be perfect to wear in the summer sunshine.