1930s Sewing With How To Do Fashion

Whilst I genuinely love original vintage sewing patterns, I also enjoy working with new sewing patterns; both from the ‘main’ pattern companies, and smaller labels. Although the company or brand producing the patterns may differ, the individual patterns that I choose all have one thing in common – a strong vintage aesthetic. This is hardly surprising considering my love of vintage clothing, and luckily there are plenty of patterns out there to choose from!

A few weeks ago, Nanna from How to do Fashion contacted me to ask if I would like to make-up some of her sewing patterns. All of the patterns from How to do Fashion have a strong vintage look, but may also fit in with a modern aesthetic, depending on fabric choices and colours selected. Nanna began designing patterns a few years ago, and launched How to do Fashion in 2014. Recently, she launched a collaboration with Pia of Storms Magasin, producing two sewing patterns together.

The Arhus has some lovely vintage details - the centre front pleat and the flutter sleeves are so pretty!

The Arhus has some lovely vintage details – the centre front pleat and the flutter sleeves are so pretty!

I selected a few patterns, but today I am going to talk about pattern No 5 Arhus. This pattern comes with three different options – two dresses and one top. I made version 2 – the top version, as I loved the flutter sleeves and the cute peplum detail.

Here is the top worn tucked-in.

Here is the top worn tucked-in.

The patterns are beautifully presented – each comes housed in it’s own glossy folder, neatly tied with a coordinating thread. The finished garment measurements are handily listed, so based on this I decided to make a size UK6. To print out the actual pattern instructions, I headed to the website and selected the appropriate pattern and version.

Each pattern comes with lovely labels, so I couldn't resist sewing this one into my newly constructed top!

Each pattern comes with lovely labels, so I couldn’t resist sewing this one into my newly constructed top!

It was then time to cut out the pattern. The pattern paper itself is lovely and sturdy, with clear markings. But – some of the pieces are printed on both sides of the paper, so you may have to trace parts of the pattern as I did. I made a toile to check the fit (which is always a good habit to get into, especially if you are using a pattern previously unworked with). Saying that, I didn’t actually insert the sleeves into my toile version – so I didn’t realise that I would need to take in some excess fabric on the shoulder. Oops. So I created some little tucks on my finished top just to take in the excess fabric, and allow the sleeve head to sit in the correct position on me.

The peplum detail on the top.

The peplum detail on the top.

Handily, the instructions are supplemented with online videos to facilitate the explanation of some of the steps. For me, this was brilliant! The top called for an invisible side zip – something I had not previously worked with. The video tutorial was so so helpful, and I managed to insert the zip perfectly as a result of this.

Flutter sleeves in action!

Flutter sleeves in action!

This pattern went together so quickly, and was a joy to work through. The resulting top definitely has a fabulous 1930s vibe to it, which I enhanced with the use of an original dress clip at the neckline. I don’t usually wear low cut tops, but even though this V is low on me, as it is a narrow opening, I didn’t feel exposed at all.

I decided to attempt finger waves in my hair, using a lot of hair gel, hairspray and hope!

I decided to attempt finger waves in my hair, using a lot of hair gel, hairspray and hope!

To complete my 1930s look, I decided to make up this skirt which I had selected as part of the Big Vintage Sew-along. The pattern is McCalls 6993, version A. I must just say, I feel the photograph on the pattern envelope lets down this version somewhat. The fabric is so dark that the yoke details can barely be made-out, but hey-ho.

The pattern envelope. See what I mean about the detail being rather difficult to see on version A?

The pattern envelope. See what I mean about the detail being rather difficult to see on version A?

I chose this orangey/rust/gingery linen-mix fabric that I managed to pick up a few months ago at an absolute bargain price. Consulting the finished garment measurements, I selected the UK12 to ensure it would fit my hips and not be tight. This was an absolute perfect fit, with slight tapering at the waist needed to bring it down a few sizes. Both yokes took me few attempts before I was satisfied with the angles, but I just keep unpicking and persevering.

The yoke and top stitching details.

The yoke and top stitching details.

I got a bit over-excited at my newly found invisible zip insertion abilities, so I decided to use an invisible zipper at the centre back instead of the recommended centred zipper. I am SO PLEASED with this invisible zip! I kept showing it to Kieren saying ‘can you see a zip? Can you can you? Nope you can’t because it’s INVISIBLE AND IT’S MAGIC!’ Haa ha.

The back showing – or rather – not showing – my invisible zipper!

I carefully topstitched the yokes and pleats, then finished the skirt with arrowhead tacks.

Skirt pleats and arrowhead tack details.

Making the Arhus top was a joy, and it gave me the push to make this skirt (which I had planned to make since April, but just hadn’t had the motivation!) Now I have a lovely 1930s outfit, and I definitely have a feeling that both patterns will get used again very soon!

The weather was so changeable when we were taking these pictures, but luckily my umbrella co-ordinated nicely with my outfit, haa ha!

The weather was so changeable when we were taking these pictures, but luckily my umbrella co-ordinated nicely with my outfit, haa ha!

Stay tuned for more creations from How to do Fashion patterns..

Outfit Details:

Thank you so much to Nanna from How to do Fashion for some wonderful patterns!

Until next time dears x



23 thoughts on “1930s Sewing With How To Do Fashion

  1. Sewing for Cat People says:

    That top is incredible, I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. The shape of it, the sleeves and the neckline, it’s very vintage but doesn’t look dated.

    Really, thank you for making it, I never would have come across it before and I now really want it!

  2. Erin says:

    Lovely! You’re so talented. Both items are wonderful but the detail on the skirt…. oh my!

  3. Bonita Vear (@bjvear) says:

    The detailing of the cut of your skirt is gorgeous! I wouldn’t have guess it at all looking at the pattern illustrations! You’ve picked the perfect fabric to show it off too. And I really love how you made up the blouse! For me, you can’t go past a lovely flutter sleeve, and this top is so pretty. ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  4. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Erin, thank you so much! I must confess, the skirt took a lot longer that the blouse did to make-up. But that is mostly down to me unpicking and re-doing the yokes on the front skirt sections, as I wanted them to be perfect! The topstitching was not too bad to do, although I was paranoid that my bobbin thread would run out at an inopportune moment! 🙂

  5. Jenny Frances says:

    Thank you Mim! The fabric I choose for the top is really lovely to work with. I do really like the colour as it is, but in hindsight I’m not sure if the biscuit/cream background is a bit pale on my already paler-than-pale skin! Regardless, I love it anyway, and will definitely wear it lots 🙂

  6. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Bonita,
    I hadn’t made or worn a top with flutter sleeves before, but I think that is partly what attracted me to this pattern. The sleeves just look (and feel) so comfortable and pretty. With regards to the skirt pattern – I know right? Looking at the envelope photo you would hardly know the skirt contained all those lovely period details! It is only through looking at the line drawings on the back of the envelope that the details become apparent. I am absolutely wanting to make-up this skirt again though.. I just need to find some fabric (and the time of course!) 🙂 xx

  7. Jessica Cangiano says:

    Fabulous flutter sleeves – and finger waves. The two harmonize so nicely and naturally together.

    Absolutely beautiful warm weather 30s look, dear gal.

    xoxo ♥ Jessica

  8. Jenny Frances says:

    Thank you so much Jessica!
    The fingerwaves took so long to create, but I’m glad I decided to do them. It makes a change from my usual pincurl sets anyway! 🙂

  9. theartyologist says:

    Getting a vintage look is all in the styling, not in whether the patterns and pieces are truly vintage or not- and you have styled these perfectly for a 30’s look! The skirt details are really pretty- and I love the flutter sleeves- so fun!
    The Artyologist

  10. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Nicole,
    I agree about the styling, I really think accessories and hairdressing can really add those important finishing touches to an outfit. Thank you so much for your lovely words! Jenny xx

  11. Tanith says:

    Ooh this is good to know! I’ve been following How to Do Fashion on instagram and admiring her patterns. It’s great to read a review of one and I look forward to the other one. This 30s look is so charming on you and these colours are fabulous.

  12. The Homemade Pinup says:

    I was also offered some patterns from How To Do Fashion and I’m so glad that I chose different ones from you, as you would undoubtedly outshine me! 🙂 this look is just smashing. Your skirt especially is period perfection, that detailing is so perfectly vintage! And the blouse is a beautiful complement.

  13. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Lauren!
    Ooh, I’m curious as to which patterns you chose now! 🙂 And of course your makes would look amazing, as all your sewing does. My next pattern to make (unless I get distracted by fabric/other sewing patterns/basically anything pretty) is the No4 London jacket. I just need to find the right wool fabric for it, although at the moment I can’t make up my mind about what colour I want! I keep visualising it in a candy pastel shade, but I’m not sure if that would fit in with other items in my wardrobe. The pictures on Nanna’s website look so pretty though, I think that is where I am getting the pastel shade inspiration from! Hoping you are well my dear xxx

  14. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Tanith, Thank you so much! The pattern itself was really easy to assemble, and the instructions were well explained too. I definitely recommend them, especially as I am used to working with original vintage patterns in which there are hardly ever any instructions! It was a joy to work with a pattern that actually had cohesive and comprehensive instructions for once 🙂 I LOVE the hat you made for Jessica, the lace is astounding! I really enjoyed reading your blog post about the design and construction process of the lace too, it was really informative and interesting. I didn’t know you could actually get lace embroidered with a custom design. Great stuff! xx

  15. Jenny Frances says:

    Thank you Caroline! I am really tempted to make this skirt again, and most likely the top too in different fabrics. I just need to find the time to do so, haa ha! 🙂

  16. Christina says:

    Such an amazing look. Super elegant and feminine. Your finger waves have come out beautifully too! I have had my eye on a couple of nannas patterns and I’m impressed that there were video instructions. What a great support for new sewers!

  17. Jenny Frances says:

    Gosh, I’m not entirely sure! I made a mock-up of both the skirt and blouse, so that definitely adds time to the total sewing time. I would roughly estimate the blouse took maybe 1 1/2 – 2 days (with the mock-up), and the skirt probably about the same? But the angled yokes on the skirt took me a few attempts, and I had to unpick & redo them a few times until I was happy with them! 🙂

  18. Jenny Frances says:

    Hi Christina!
    The videos are great, really helpful. I sometimes look to YouTube for tutorials if I get confused by any sewing techniques – fly zips, pockets etc. I’m planning to make up the No 4 London pattern next, I just need to find a nice wool fabric.. in July! Haaa ha! 🙂

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