I drafted this post a good few days ago, and since then a very exciting event has occurred! Read on to find out more..
Usually when I am buying fabric, I have a little list in my mind of places to browse – be they online; or a bricks and mortar shop. Frequently the fabric that I buy is brand new, fresh off the roll. However, sometimes I stumble across vintage fabric that I simple cannot pass up or put down. Admittedly, this is a rare occurrence. I like to ensure that the fabric is in good condition, not only free from marks, stains or holes, but also that the weave of the fabric is still strong. One of the reasons I make my own clothing from vintage patterns is to obtain the style or silhouette of an era, but in strong durable modern fabrics that can withstand a modern day lifestyle.
A month or two ago, I found this amazing rayon in a local antique / general rummage store. At first, due to its almost impeccable condition, I doubted that it could be genuine vintage. I also immediately had a sense of déjà vu , as if my mind was adamant that I had seen this fabric before. Both these factors contributed to my doubts about whether it could be true vintage, but I purchased it anyway as I was intrigued by it, and I loved the colours.
I did a bit of research, and also asked a few fellow Instagrammers to see whether they thought it was indeed vintage or a clever reproduction. It turns out (although I am not 100% certain, but I’m about 99% certain), that this fabric IS indeed true vintage! In the store, it was labelled as 1950s, although I would definitely say it is 1940s. There were 2 metres of the material, at a narrow 39inch wide.
Immediately I thought it would be wonderful as a long sleeved blouse, and I already had a number of different patterns that I thought may work. In the end, I opted for my favourite blouse pattern. I purchased the pattern from Ebay about 3 or 4 years ago, it is a jumper (or pinafore as we Brits call them) dress with a blouse. I actually bought the pattern as I really wanted to make the pinafore – only some key pieces of the pinafore pattern were missing. I contacted the seller, but never heard a reply. Nowadays I only usually buy true vintage patterns from sellers I trust on Ebay or Etsy (I can personally recommend Vintage 4 Me 2 as an excellent store, with great customer service and fast shipping)
The blouse pattern has a short sleeved or long sleeved option, and whilst I have made about 4 short sleeved versions, I had never attempted the long sleeved version. I was nervous about whether I would have enough fabric – but handily the pieces all juuust about squeezed on. Indeed, the pattern included a layout diagram specifically for 39inch wide material (as many vintage patterns tend to do), so the pattern and material seemed perfect for each other!
There is not too much to say about the construction process. I pre-washed the fabric as usual, and actually, the fabric was a dream to sew! I expected it to be slippery and annoying, but it behaved really well. The front of the blouse has a long dart at each shoulder, and again at the hem to waist. The back has a tiny tuck either side of the neck. The sleeves feature a regimented set of three darts at the sleeve head (which I really like, I usually use patterns which utilise gathering, but the precision of the darts really appeals to me).
Other than ‘gather the sleeve hem’, the instructions for the long sleeved variation did not include any additional information. There was not even a pattern piece for the cuff, – not because it was missing, but because you are expected to draft your own to fit. I’ll admit, I am not entirely happy with how the cuffs turned out. I don’t quite know what was up with my brain, but I inserted them in a really bizarre way. But – I do like the pieces of fabric I used for the cuffs!
The top of the length of fabric was plain cream, with the pattern and colour being added a few inches below. I had a teeny bit of this cream part left, which I thought would look really cute on the cuffs.
The buttons are vintage, and as they are clear I feel they do not distract from the pattern too much.
I inserted the collar using Rochelle’s excellent tutorial which I highly recommend, especially if you are new to inserting notched collars. It also creates a much nicer, neater finish on the inside resulting in a more professional look.
So there we have it, a finished blouse made from 1940s fabric and a 1940s sewing pattern. As we are fast approaching the end of the year (yikes); I am also starting to think about any additional items I want to sew for the Vintage Pledge. I can barely believe we only have a few weeks of 2016 left!
And now – onto the exciting announcement.. eagle-eyed readers may have noticed I am wearing a ring on my left hand as.. Kieren and I got engaged at the weekend! I usually do not tend to write about anything too personal here on my blog, but I couldn’t resist the urge to shout this out to anyone/everyone! As I’m sure you can all imagine, we are SO EXCITED!
Until next time dears!