1930s Bow Blouse – Made by Me
1930s Pleated Skirt – Made by Me
White Vintage Handbag – Lewes Flea Market
White 1940s Style Shoes – Miss L Fire
Turquoise Drop Earrings – Made by Me
1930s Style Sunglasses – eBay
After completing my burgundy collection, which was very autumnal inspired, I wanted to put together a much brighter, summery collection for the warmer months. I was unsure of the colours to choose but when I spotted a beautiful coral linen mix fabric on ClothSpot I knew coral had to be one of them. The next task was find something that went with it.
As coral is a colour I’ve never worn before (remember my pledge to explore more colours!) I was totally open to anything. I went on the hunt for any patterned fabric that even had the tiniest hint of coral in it and very quickly came across a stunning cotton lawn with stylised leaves and flowers on it from Guthrie & Ghani. I immediately fell in love with the combination of turquoise, coral, mustard and fawn on a white background and it was nothing like anything I’ve ever bought before. My head went straight into design mode!
I knew the patterned fabric would make a gorgeous 1930s big sleeve blouse and thankfully I already had an original 1930s pattern that would fit the bill, which you can see here. I’d already used the skirt part for my brown wool crepe skirt, so I knew it was a good fit for me and would be simple enough to alter.
I didn’t want to create the same neckline as on the pattern, mainly because I have a lot of tops with high necklines and I thought a slightly lower one would be cooler for the summer. After a quick look on Pinterest I found this blouse (on the left) which had exactly the same sleeves but a lower neckline and I knew I’d found the look I wanted.
It was actually fairly easy to make up, however, what isn’t obvious in the photos is the gorgeous double darts at the bust. I really wish I’d remembered to photograph them. The bow was done using guess work. I had a strip of fabric in my stash which was off the bottom of a skirt I shortened, so I used this to figure out how long and how wide the finish bow should be, before cutting it in the proper fabric.
The sleeves were pretty simple too, although I’d never made sleeves like them. The pattern piece is really, really wide and all you do is sew the two ends together, set the sleeve head into the armhole and then finish off the edge by encasing elastic. This needs to be tight enough to push up towards the armpit and stay there, so the bulk of the sleeve then hangs over it to create what I can only describe as puff-ball sleeves. They remind me so much of the puff-ball skirts of 80s! Who remembers them?
Next up was the task of figuring out what skirt pattern to use. I wanted something different from anything else I had, but also wanted to keep to the streamline shape of the 1930s. Then I remembered the Mrs Depew skirt pattern that went with the pattern for my 1930s Resort Wear Top. Like the resort wear top it was a draft at home pattern, which slightly put me off as I’d had problems the last time, but I decided to give it a go.
After purchasing it, and having a good look at the miniature image that you base it from, I began to worry. It made absolutely no sense to me. You can take a look at it here, on the left is the design and on the right is the front pattern piece. Do tell me if it makes sense to you!
Anyway, after several frustrating attempts I walked away from it, resigning to myself that I was never going to understand it. It almost became the never was skirt. Then suddenly, during a lunch break at work, I had an epiphany. I grabbed a piece of paper and cut it into what I thought the pattern pieces should look like. Within minutes I’d put it together to create a little paper skirt. Hallelujah!
As you can see in the photo above it has a double pleat each side of the centre panel, however, the outside one just seems to sit by itself, there’s no seam to sew it into. This was the trickiest part with sewing it together as it needed to be placed in a very specific way and the stitch lines had to be in a very specific place. Just one mistake would mean it going wrong and I had to do two of them mirrored image of each other!
However, that wasn’t the only issue. This fabric was an absolute pain to work with. I have no idea if it was me or if it was just the nature of the fabric, but it constantly stretched and moved every single time I touched it. Despite the mock up fitting me absolutely perfectly, this one seemed to get bigger and bigger at the waist every time I tried it on, despite adding a stabilising stitch to it. As soon as I realised what was happening I added stay tape all the way around it from stretching any further.
You can see in the photo above that the hip seam stretched out of shape as I was sewing it on! The zip was a nightmare to get in place and I actually ended up doing it by hand, which I really hate doing. I actually find them really simple to do on a machine but it takes me forever by hand. This one took 3 hours! Anyway, it’s there now, and it’s totally invisible. Yay!
The waist is still a tiny bit big but I guess it allows me to eat a good hearty meal whenever I want without worrying. Always a bonus! The beautiful buttons were made by the wonderful London Button Company using a scrap of ivory fabric I had lying around. Despite the cost, I decided to go for their couture wire back option, which makes them extra special. Honestly, when they turned up I was so excited at how gorgeous they were. I cannot recommend these guys enough if you like covered buttons or buckles.
Now both pieces are all done I’m really happy with how they turned out, despite the issues. I’ve already made a turquoise skirt that goes perfectly with the top and after a long hunt I’ve purchased some gorgeous mustard yellow linen for a third skirt. It also looks lovely with my white one and my fawny coloured one from The House of Foxy. Seriously, this is such a versatile blouse. I love it!
This collection will definitely continue to grow, so watch this space for more pieces to come!