Friday, February 26, 2010

The 'How not to make a jacket this way'-Way to make a Jacket

Okay, I cut a lot of corners in making this jacket, but it did turn out rather well, so I guess, no, I know I got lucky.

I thought I needed a cover up to go with my depression era dress, but I didnt have anything in my wardrobe that I liked. My mind kept going back to the HBO tv show, Carnivale' (can you believe each episode cost near $4 million to make!?) when I was thinking of what to make, and I loved the flowing sleeves of some of the dresses in that show.

I decided to use a pattern I have from the late 20s, but there is one catch, its a dress. I didnt feel like doing a mock up, I had already sized the dress to me, so I got creative and added about an inch to the front for fold over.

I used some really cool drippy fabric I had to make the sleeves really drape. I have no idea what the fabric is, probably a polly blend, but it drapes real well.

The cover up isnt suppose to fold over or even close, that way I could make it easier on myself. I did, however, during the making, decide to get creative with the collar treatment and took some cotton doilies I had.

I cut them proper, and using the facing I had created for this dress in jacket form, backed the see through doilies with that.

It turned out rather well.

The arm holes, despite me cutting them down, are high like a shirt instead of a jacket, but thats no huge deal.

I did a rolled hem on the sleeves and the bottom of the jacket (which still needs to be done). Im pleased with it and it does look great with the dress. Mismatched enough to eel depression era, but matched enough to feel presentable.

I also made my only purchase for this outfit. Some modern oxfords by Steve Madden. I have a tremendous shoe deficit in my wardrobe, and I was in a pinch, so I went to my local shoe warehouse. They were having a HUGE sale and I got these $70 shoes 50% off. I got them mainly because they are street soles, which are very hard to find lately. It was these or Keds, which would have worked, but I wanted something a bit more dressy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Outsize Stocking Boxes

As promised, some pictures of the outsize boxes I have.

I tell ya, those Fruit of the Looms have worn so well. If I find more of those, look out!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Outsize Stockings, the down and dirty.

When Im all dressed to the nines, I love to wear my vintage nylons. I often get gals asking me where I got them. I am not the size you would normally see wearing vintage nylons. My legs are not that small. So they are shocked when I tell them, "These are vintage. More likely 1950s."

"Where did you get them!? Every time I look for plus size stockings I get a slew of crap."

After years of investigating this topic, allow me to explain a few things.
Terminology in vintage stockings is crucial. Outsize is completely different from Queen, a term that means a longer stocking more so than a wider stocking.

Here is a picture of one of my regular stockings next to one of my outsized stockings.

For most larger women, its not the foot size (which are measured by inches of the foot NOT the shoe size) that keeps you from wearing stockings, its the width of the stocking. Mainly the welt for me. Im fortunate, my legs are fairly evenly proportioned, so I can, depending on the maker, get away in straight sized vintage nylons. Its often hit and miss because I'm 5'7", and often the stockings hit at my knee, which is a no no.

Outsize is just that, stockings made for a wider leg. This description is often missed by sellers online, even though it is often labeled on the box (**Ill dig out some of my outsize boxes in a bit**). Most department stores had them, Sears, Wards, but the champion of large (or stout which I will use from now on) was Lane Bryant.

This fantabulous mail order company sold regular sized, out size and double outsize stockings. It was incredible what you could get at the time. The variety for women who, no matter the size, were deserving of the same quality fit as their smaller customers. It was really great, and makes you wonder what happened to that.

So with this, Ill give a few tips when looking for larger sized stockings online.

-Ask for a measurement of the welt. Generally when you see listings, the seller will tell the length of the stocking and the foot, but its the welt that is as important for us stout women. Generally, you are going to want a welt that is 7 1/2" wide, flat. Anything beneath that will more than likely not fit. Stockings are all about proper fit, and its crucial that you know what a good fit feels like. It helps the stocking last longer, and is much more comfortable to wear.

-If its in-between, dont risk it. Ive nabbed many stockings that were about 7" and they did not fit, at all. It was crap. Just dont bother, nylon does not stretch much, so you are fighting loosing battle.

-Ask the seller, if the welt is wider, if the stocking is marked 'outsize'. No vintage stocking is going to be marked 'plus'. Outsize, oversize, extra size, even stout were the terms used. Dont be so PC when looking for stockings.

-Wash your stocking BEFORE putting it on for a test fit. Yes, I know you cant wait to try on that lovely new pair of vintage stockings, but you also dont want them to run right out of the box. There are many lingerie washes out there. I use hosiery mate, and its great. Soak them for a few hours and let them dry. Then with your shaved and lotion leg, try them on. More details about that I have on NVL, here.

Truth be told, I severely lucked out finding the stockings I did. I also bought them at a time when they were not in such high demand. Im sure outsize stockings are still out there, and I secretly hope someone will find that abandoned warehouse filled with unused vintage Lane Bryant stock. But until then, its being a sleuth that will get you the farthest.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mixed Bag Post

Its all Alabama 3 tonight.
Got a lot of stuff, tiny things to gab about in this post.

4) I get a lot of questions as to what 'size' something in my store is. This question is such a hard one to explain, because the person could be inquiring about a 50s pattern or a 20s pattern. I rarely list sizes in my descriptions. I go by bust measurement. Why? Because that never changes.

Around the mid 50s, depending on who you are buying your pattern from, sizing numbers began to change. Vanity sizing just went through the roof. It started with ready made clothes, and patterns soon followed. For 30+ years, a size 20 was a 38" bust, then in the 50s some makes made a size 20 a 40" bust. What? From then on it all went downhill. And dont even get me started on all the crazy modern sizing charts that are around today.

So for people need a sound description of sizing that is fairly standard, I present this chart. Enjoy.


3) I was sorting through some of the patterns I recently acquired, and I was just wowed by this one. I love patterns that have entire outfits in them. This early 40s (Id say 1940-43) is just delightful. 23 pieces, WITH lining for the jacket.

Oh! is that skirt not the most delightful! The pants are 'regulation', and that tabbed collar is just the bees knees. Alas, this adorable pattern is not my size. Its a 34 bust, and Ive listed it in my etsy store.


2) Alas, I missed this event which was earlier in the day. The Great Air Raid. I have head that this is one of the best vintage events of the year. I just couldnt make it. I MUST go next year, though. It looks so fun. Here is a buddy of mine in full vintage gear, with his classic camera.

Above photo by John


1) Went to Church again today. Here is the homage to Mr. Sinatra. It was a fun day. I had a gifted bartender make me one of the best Old Fashions Id ever had. I realized its not the quantity of the spirits, but the quality. After a few sips of that cocktail, I was soooo happy!

This last photo by Jen.

After a few hours of cocktails on an empty stomach, someone said, "Lets go to the Tiki-Ti!" So, about 12 of us hopped in cars and drove for cocktails again! I had a zombie!


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Saturday, February 20, 2010

New Pattern Day Yay!

Today, other than finishing up a few projects, I would like to announce the newest pattern in my repro line.

I love NRA branded items. They are datable to 1933-35 and can be found on a slew of things during that time. I have few patterns in the pipeline that I will brand my NRA edition. This is the first.



How cute are those sleeve!? There are also hip ruffles, which I would add pockets to, but thats me. Im very pro pocket.

I will also be adding a slew of patterns to my etsy store in the next few weeks.
Thanks all!

Friday, February 19, 2010

NRA inspired bag pt 2

Welp I finished it. It didn't take very long either. I was basically sewing straight lines.

I put together the outside then the inside but I didn't sew the bottom of the lining because, as I've said before, I don't like top stitching, so I made sure that all the edges were nice and clean.

I did make one last minute change, and I padded the bottom of the bag with buckram. that wasn't in the original one, but I put a seat on this bag, so it needed a stiffener.

Because I left the bottom of the lining open, I couldnt secure the buckram to it, so I did one stitch to the outside along the bottom stitch. Yay hiding stitches!

Once I sewed it all, and topstitched the inside shut (its inside the bottom of the bag, it doesn't count, hehehe), I had to figure out how I was going to stitch the bag around the handles. I was going to just sew it across, but if you have to ask why I didn't by now, then you were not paying attention. Instead, I had stitched the fabric to the handles. There is still a line, but is less noticeable than if I machine stitched it. Took all of fifteen minutes.

I did tack the corners of the outside fabric to the lining to keep everything in place, but thats about it.

Im quite pleased with it. Finished pictures can be found on NVL.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NRA inspired bag


I decided to whip up a pattern for the wood bag handles I had. Inspired by the NRA bag I found, its a simple bag with a squared bottom, lined in whatever fabric I could find. This time, a green check thing. The outside is made of the same heavy linen I made the cloche from.



Today I cut out the pieces (making the lining a bit larger for ease) and overlocked them. Ill construct the bag tomorrow. Noting fancy, at least that is my hope.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Depression Dress Progress pt 2

I gotta say, Im really happy with the slash and spread technique. It worked rather well.
I took good measurements, and it was not too large or too small.

The dress is a slip over, and feels very late 20s. I made a tie belt too.

The gusset was a real good call. It created enough movement so my arms are not restricted. The collar and details are the best part. I have a real obsession with facing. I love the way it finishes a look, keep edges clean, and hides straggle edges.

The collar was a bit of a challenge. I made it up but I didnt like the way it laid on my shoulders so I added one extra scallop in the back. I did have to cut down the front yoke some, but that is a small give.

On the back of the neck, I didnt use any facing, and its bothering me. I dont know if Im going to add it, but the cleanness of facing something is so appealing to me.

You can see that I notched the back as well as the curve of the yoke. I also face it (yay facing) and hand tacked it down from the inside. It lays real well.

I dont like visible stitches either, ick. I try to avoid them as much as I can, but I needed to do some top stitching beneath the collar to hold everything in place. You cant see it so Im glad.

The pockets are probably my favorite part. They have a real nice clean look to them and it reminds me of some of the early dresses I have seen in my life.

For some reason the fold of the yoke is set to one side, so I kept to that. I placed 20s glass buttons on the pockets and the yoke for that extra touch.

I do have to hem it, which Ill do in a bit, then it will be complete. It does look good with the cloche, but Im going to change the button on the cloche to match the dress a bit better.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Depression Dress Progress

I cut out my 20s dress today.

Im normally a spread and shift kind of gal when it comes to grading, but because I already had a tracing of this pattern in a 42 bust, I Decided to give the old slash and spread technique a try. This dress is fairly simple, and I knew the upper bust would fit fairly well, so my main concern was the full bust and the hips.

The dress is suppose to fit loose, gunny sack like, I suppose, so I didnt have too much worry when I was doing it. I laid out the pattern, put on the bra that I was going to wear with the dress, and measured myself.

First off, as I always do on every pattern I ever make up, I lower the angle of the shoulders.

I apparently have rather flat shoulders, and no neck, so I always have to cut the back of the blouse/dress as well. Those are default alterations for me.

I knew I didn't want to bother with the yoke because I knew it was fine the size it was. All I really had to do was extend the bust about an inch and a quarter, and lengthen the dart. By the by, tomato paste cans make excellent fabric weights.

After the cutting and alterations of the pattern, I checked the matching sides (because this pattern has no notches) and was pleased with the outcome. I am going to add a gusset to this dress because of the kimono (or as the pattern says 'kimona') sleeves for more flexibility.

With the back of the dress, I had to really taper the waist, as I um...have, um...shelf butt. We all have imperfections, lets move on.

Now onto the detailing fabric. I did use my 40s vintage fabric, and as with everything that Ive made from it, I made sure I cut the tightest pieces I could to save as much fabric as I could.

Actually, Ive become rather good at doing that, vintage fabric or no. I did use linen for the backing of the accent pieces. I didint want to cut two if the vintage fabric. Why waste I say?

So I have the dress cut out, and while searching online, I saw this super cute NRA bag. I have to make something like it. I have wood handles like this, so all I need to do is choose a nice fabric and Im all set!

Im excited by the dress. Im going to tailor tack a few marks (mainly the bust darts) this evening and overlock all the pieces tomorrow. I will probably be finished with midday tomorrow, if I get my act together.
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