A Sewing Kind of Weekend

A Sewing Kind of Weekend

This weekend I had a very rare few days on my own to get on with some of the things I have been wanting to do for a while but just haven’t found the time to do. Most of these things involved sewing. By the end of last week my pile of vintage purchases that needed to be altered or mended had gotten so big that I was dreading making a start on it. But it had to be done and I decided to give myself a treat as a reward to inspire me to get going.

For a long time now I have wanted to go and try on a selection of Freddies of Pinewood jeans so I could a, figure out what size I was and b, decide which style actually suited me. About this time last year I ordered a pair of their Jeanies Pedal Pushers and was quite disappointed when I put them on as all they did was made me look dumpy and frumpy. Not a good look. However, I did realise that it was the bagginess combined with the three quarter length and my short legs that was the problem and their full length ones would probably suit me much better. So, I had a good look through their stockists and found a shop about an hour’s drive away.

Freddies of Pinewood Jeans

After battling through horrid roadworks my one hour journey had turned into nearly two, so I was really determined not to waste the trip. When I finally got to the rather odd shop, which was an upmarket charity shop in the front, a vintage repro shop at the back and a genuine vintage shop upstairs, I tried on every single different style of Freddies they had in my size! I must’ve been in the changing room for nearly an hour.

I found that the Norma jeans just didn’t suit me, the section between the crotch and the waistband just felt far too long for my short frame. The 1940s side buttons were lovely but far too wide on the leg for me and again made me look dumpy. The two that suited me the best were the Rivet jeans and the 1950s Button jeans and after trying them both on again, I decided on the 1950s ones as you can see above.

Being a 27″ waist I am in between Freddies’ sizes so tried both the 26″ and the 28″. I managed to get the 26″ on with a bit of struggling but there was no way they were going to do up over my hips. The 28″, which I finally bought, are very slightly too big on the waist, although this does allow for a little expansion when I’ve eaten one cake too many! I have to say, I’m really, really pleased with them and wore them all through the weekend.

1930s Dusting Cap

Once I got back, having battled through the roadworks again, I forced myself to get on with my sewing projects. The first thing I did was something I have wanted to do forever, a 1930s Dusting Cap. I found this fabulous and incredibly easy pattern on the Butterfly Balcony blog, run by the fantastically talented Wendy, last year and pinned it on my sewing Pinterest board for future reference.

This is so simple to make that it would be perfect for a beginner, particularly as it involves sewing long straight seams. Once it’s made it does takes a bit of practice to get the bow looking how you want it but I absolutely love it. It’s fantastic for keeping your hair out of the way and looks stylish too. I wore it a lot over the weekend, although I have to admit I didn’t do any dusting. Tsk, tsk!

Next up, it was alterations time. I added some new buttons to the cute 1950s shell top I bought at Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair in Oxford as the original ones broke when I first washed it. I also fixed a couple of buttonholes on the similar pink top I bought in Cardiff, as well as removing the hook and eyes from the cardigan I bought at the same time and replaced them with a simple ribbon tie. I also fixed the seams that had come apart on the beautiful hand knitted cardigan I bought at the Vintage Bazaar Giant Jumble Sale and lastly, I took in a pink and white gingham shirt that I bought at Marks and Spencer about three years ago that I’ve never worn. It now looks fab with my new Freddies, especially tied at the waist in a cowgirl style.

Pattern cutting

Once the annoying sewing jobs were out of the way it was on to the fun stuff. You may remember my 1930s Fashion Obsession post where I talked about my ongoing fixation with 1930s flutter skirts. Well, I’ve been designing one in my head for a little while now and I’ve decided to try and make it. So on Sunday I set out to make the pattern for it. Now this is something I probably haven’t done for about 12 years, drafting a pattern from scratch. So I dug out all my old pattern cutting books, my dot and cross paper and my trusty old pattern master (special ruler type thing!) and drew out a tailored skirt block.

If you know nothing about pattern cutting then I will explain the process. When creating a pattern from scratch you need to have a block. A block is a standardised basic pattern shape of a skirt, a sleeveless, collarless top, a trouser leg and a sleeve. From these you can then get creative and draft different patterns by changing the shapes, seams and darts.

So, once I’d created my skirt block I set out to trace it and make my adjustments. Honestly, it was like riding a bike. It all came back to me like I’d done it yesterday, it was rather strange but I really enjoyed it. I cut the pattern out in calico and sewed the pieces together. I’m actually rather pleased with it. It needs a couple of adjustments, the hips are too big and the seams on the front of the skirt need moving inwards as the front panel is too wide. These will be easy enough but I want to get it spot on so I can use the pattern time and time again.

Fabric samples

I also had a lovely lot of fabric samples arrive over the weekend. I seem to be obsessed with ordering them at the moment. This is only a small selection and I have more on the way! The two linens at the top are for the 1930s skirt. I can’t decide between the two though. I love the crispness of the white but the ivory goes lovely with the ivory leather gloves I bought at the Vintage Bazaar Jumble Sale.

The three large squares, as well as the middle one of the teeny tiny samples (seriously, I paid for those!), are ideas for the 1950s dress pattern I bought in Cardiff, but none of them are quite right. The other two tiny samples are possible fabrics for a 1930s dress which I will re-use the skirt pattern for. I particularly like the one with the square spots, it looks very vintage.

So, how was your weekend? Did you get up to anything good?

Cate

Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. Lover of all things old, lingerie obsessive, crafter and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.

4 Comments

  1. That square spot fabric is lovely, I bet your dress is going to look amazing. You have been so productive!

    Cropped trousers are a tricky thing to get right. I always imagine I’m going to look like a 1950s Riviera beauty, and end up looking like a Nanna on a cruise… (I refuse to wear coloured trousers because I know the result will be pure Nanna.) Hoorah for jeans that fit and look right!

    • Yes, cropped trousers always need to be super tight on me (and I need to be having a super confident day to be able to wear them!) so they don’t look all Nanna.

  2. You got through an absolute stack of sewing projects! It was interesting reading about making the skirt block, look forward to seeing how that progresses. I like the duster cap and the jeans very much!

    • I worked on the skirt pattern at the weekend and got it how I wanted to. Now I’ve just got to purchase the fabric and get on with making it!

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