Reconstructing History Sewing Pattern Review 1304

Today’s post features a dress I made using the Reconstructing History 1304 sewing pattern. Reconstructing History are an American based sewing pattern company, specialising in reproducing historical patterns.

The sheer range of sewing patterns available on the Reconstructing History website is quite astonishing. Reconstructing History offer a broad range of styles, periods and genres, from the fourteenth century right through to the late 1940s. As part of my writing work for Vintage Dancer, I was asked if I would like to review a Reconstructing History pattern of my choosing. Although I was tempted by this Regency Riding outfit, and this 1910s Walking Suit, the pattern that won my heart was the 1304 Day Dress and Jacket from 1933.

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The pattern itself was fairly difficult to work with, due to both the design details of this particular style, and the pattern itself.

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This was my first experience of using a Reconstructing History pattern, so the review contains my experiences and thoughts of using this one pattern only. During some parts of the construction process I did find myself thinking I would have preferred to work with the original, vintage pattern, rather than the Reconstructing History incarnation. This was mostly due to the sizing lines all being identical – making it very difficult to follow and apply pattern notches.

The fabric requirements were also a problem area. According to the back sheet of the pattern, the dress required 5yrds 40 inch wide, or 3.5yrds 54 inch wide. But, within the instruction booklet it stated the dress needed 4yrds 40 inch wide, or 2.5yrds 54 inch wide. So which was it? This was only clarified by me physically laying-out all the pattern pieces onto fabric, to then measure both the length and width of the material in order to determine the desired yardage.

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Hiccups and glitches aside, I am pleased with how the completed dress turned out. I used some beautiful reproduction late 1920s/early 1930s fabric from Maltings Fabric – the Hampden. I wrote about a visit I made to Maltings Fabrics in my previous post here. The fabric is a viscose crepe, and has a lovely handle and drape to it. Somehow, the print reminded me almost of a rainbow Dalmatian dog (I know that sounds completely bizarre!)

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In order to accent the design details, I used a plain black viscose crepe for the belt, cuffs and neck frills. My favourite feature of the pattern is the sleeves. The sleeves are full, then where the cuffs are applied there is a series of three tuck pleats. The cuffs also feature an interesting V detail, perfectly art deco!

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As the fabric features beautifully muted pastel shades, I managed to find an original 1930s belt buckle on eBay that was a perfect match! I accessorised the dress with an original 1930s bag I purchased just after Christmas, which still contains its original mirror. I chose white over-the-knee socks which I wore as stockings, a cloche hat I have had for a few years, and Bridgette heels by Hotter which I purchased in the sale a few weeks ago.

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Overall, I am really pleased with the dress, and I am in love with the fabric! As I will be imminently making my wedding dress (which is 1930s), this dress presented a few design details that will definitely put me in good practise for the task ahead!

My conclusion and final thoughts on the pattern

The pattern contained some nice historical information, which added context to the design. The instructions were detailed, and included both text and illustrations, making them easy to follow. The paper the pattern was printed on was of high quality, and I liked that the pattern was printed onto one side of the paper only.

However, with the identical sizing lines, lack of grainlines, even a few typos on the pattern pieces, there were moments when I found the pattern could be more user-friendly. The biggest point for me was however, the fabric requirements confusion. When I am sewing a garment, the last thing I want to do is waste time calculating and figuring out how much fabric I need, when it should be stated clearly on the pattern.

As aforementioned, I was given the opportunity to chose a pattern to review from Reconstructing History, in order to write a full review for publication on Vintage Dancer. Whenever I am given something to review, I always aim to be constructive, and to stay true to my integrity, which I hope I have done so here.

Has anyone else worked with Reconstructing History patterns? What did you think? How did you find them? Let me know in the comments.

Links & Outfit Details

Until next time dears!

 

1940s CC41 Suit & My Birthday Weekend

In which I debut my original 1940s CC41 suit, and accessorize with an authentically styled bag from Original Crochet by Q on Etsy.

Another year has passed by, and I am indeed another year older. Generally, I never feel negative about ageing. Apart from the increasing number of white hairs making an appearance on my head (which I have had from the age of twenty, so I am pretty much used to their residency by now anyway), getting older has never really bothered me. I generally take the view that I am impressed and in awe of my body for getting me thus far, and indeed I hope to enjoy many more years on this earthly plane.

Ironically, as if my body wished to remind me of the turning of another year, I woke up on my ‘Birthday Eve’ with a frozen shoulder. At least, I’m not entirely sure that is what I have, but I woke up with terrible neck/head/shoulder pain, as if I had trapped a nerve. As I type this, I still have the problem, but it has at least started to lessen.

Shoulder pain or no, I knew I wanted to dress up and feel special on my Birthday weekend, so I did just that! As the weather is currently freezing, I had to dress for warmth, whilst still retaining an element of style. Whilst I did want to reach for a gorgeous rayon 1940s dress I have not yet worn, I knew I would need something slightly more substantial to keep the chilly temperatures at bay. I decided to wear this beautiful original 1940s CC41 suit. I have worn both the skirt and jacket on separate occasions, but up until now not worn them together.

I found this suit on the top floor of an incredible vintage/antique/odds & ends shop in Devizes just before Christmas. The shop was amazing, with creaky stairs, low ceilings and atmospheric lightning. It was almost a treasure trove, full of undiscovered gems waiting for their perfect owner. At first I found the skirt on a table, then, looking around I found the matching jacket placed on a chair amongst some other garments.  From looking at the skirt I knew straight away that it was 1940s, and the style of the jacket confirmed this. It was not until I got the suit home and gave it good long soak that I discovered the CC41 label. Imagine my joy!

The suit is made from linen, and is completely unlined. The skirt fastens with a side placket, a single popper and a double hook & eye on the internal petersham waistband. The jacket has hidden handsewn loops with two hooks to keep the waist section closed. At first the ‘flaps’ on the front of the jacket perplexed me somewhat – they are not functional pockets, merely decorative details. But on a CC41 suit, why add extra fabric when it does not serve a purpose? My conclusion is that the suit possibly originated in the later 1940s, when cloth shortages had subsided slightly.

I teamed the suit with a Rocket Originals jumper, a turban I had found a few days earlier, and a wonderful bag from Original Crochet by Q on Etsy. I first discovered Original Crochet by Q through fellow blogger Nora, when she posted a picture with her bag on Instagram last summer. I have been hankering after a bag of my own for some months, and after Christmas decided to treat myself (knowing it would hopefully arrive just in time for my Birthday, which luckily it did!)

I contacted Q Lat, the stores owner, and asked her about the possibility of selecting a custom colour. She was extremely helpful, providing me with colour charts with multiple shades and yarns to select from. Once I had selected my colour, I then chose the lining, handles, and added a magnetic snap. The bag really adds an authentic touch to a 1940s outfit, I am so happy I took the plunge and purchased it!

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Outfit Details

Overall, I had a lovely Birthday weekend, even with the horrid shoulder pain!

Until next time dears!