This weekend just gone I had a very rare treat of not having anything planned, apart from getting my hair cut. Therefore, I actually got some time to sit down in front of the sewing machine, something that doesn’t seem to be happening very often these days. I’d already cut out the dress that I was planning to work on, so was all ready to get going with it.
The pattern I was using (above) was a copied version of an original 1930s dress and jacket that I bought from My Vintage Wish on Etsy. The dress comes in two options of long or short sleeves, but I chose to go without sleeves entirely. This meant making the armholes a little smaller, which was easy enough to do. However, as I was dying to get on with this I’d chosen not to make a mock up, something I will generally always do. I won’t say this was a mistake but if I was doing it again I’d probably do a mock-up first.
Having now made it up to it’s basic shape I can see that this is actually an early 1930s style, probably around 1931 or 32. The reason I know this is because it’s hardly got any shaping to it and this is only created by adding a belt. However, there’s two issues with that. One, this sort of shape doesn’t suit me and I end up looking like I’m drowning in fabric. And two, the fabric I used is quilting cotton, which is quite stiff and therefore doesn’t look good when the bulk of it is pulled in together. Rats!!
So, my solution is to make it much more fitted, more like a later 1930s dress. This means I’m going to have to take it in on the sides by about 2″ each side and add darts. I hate adding darts after I’ve made something! Oh, and there’s no way in hell that I’m unpicking that yoke because it was a real pain in the backside to top-stitch it in place and get the ric-rac to stay where I’d tacked it.
The shoulders are also a big problem as they need raising. This is more my body frame than an issue with the pattern as I’ve had to do this a lot with other garments in the past. However, this dress does need a lot taking out of it, which will be a pain to get right when I’m pinning it on myself. I’m going to have to carefully shape the neckline again, as well as opening the armholes out again, back to what they were originally. Okay, maybe I should’ve made a mock-up!
But I won’t be beaten, I will sort this all out if it kills me! Besides I loooooovvvveeeee this fabric and I refuse to let it end up being something I never wear. I’m hoping to get back to it this coming weekend, if I can fit it in. I’m still planning to make the belt because belts are my thing and I just can’t go without them. I’m probably going to make it in the patterned fabric rather than the plain, although I’m not 100% decided yet. But I do have a gorgeous original 1930s green buckle that goes perfectly with it that will be used either way.
The other project I was desperate to get on with is my emerald green 1930s crochet jumper. This seems to be taking me forever and I really want to get it done so I can wear it. I’ve had a few issues with it, mainly to do with fit and rather odd sleeve instructions.
My first big problem happened once the front and back were completed. I pinned them together to try it on and see how it looked and it was too short! In a huff I stuffed it into a bag completely unsure of how I was going to rectify it. And there it sat for a good few weeks whilst I got on and crocheted my first ever glove, which was far easier than I expected. I haven’t actually tackled the second one yet but I will get back to it soon.
This gave me some breathing space from the jumper and I was able to come up with a cunning plan of how to sort it out. I won’t go into it here, I’ll leave that for the outfit post, but thankfully it worked out and now it fits perfectly.
After I’d sorted that out I got on with the collar, which I absolutely adore! It’s fantastic as it’s completely separate from the jumper and can be worn with the buttons at the front or with them at the back. It’s very close to being completed, all I need to do now is add button loops and, after I’ve blocked it, sew on the buttons.
I can see me getting a lot of wear out of it too as I can put it on top of other jumpers as well as blouses and dresses. It will definitely need to be made up again in other colours too. It would be stunning in the pattern’s suggestion of red and white, but I can also see it with white as the main colour and navy as the stripe. Oooo yes!
And talking of buttons, these took me so long to do! Each one is a cheap silver coloured metal button that I covered in white fabric, so the silver didn’t show through. I then crocheted a small round pocket for each one and slipped it over the top of the fabric. It was definitely worth doing though as they look so much like the original buttons on the pattern.
Then it was on to the sleeves. The instructions literally made no sense. It said to start with a chain of 84 stitches, then rows 2 to 21 were to decrease by 1 each end. This would leave 44 stitches across at row 21. Then rows 22 to 43 were to decrease by 3 each end. So, that would mean by row 29 I’d have no stitches left! What?!! I’ve read it and re-read it over and over again but this is what it says.
So, I scrapped that entirely and created my own sleeve pattern. I did this using a sleeve sewing pattern I’d drafted for my burgundy blouse as a template and just decreased where necessary to create the shape. I’m yet to sew the finished one in but it seems to fit fine when I hold it in place.
I’m so close to finishing it now, I can taste it! I’m really looking forward to wearing it when it is done, I just know it’s going to become another firm favourite. But before I show it to you, I do really need to photograph the 1940s jumper I crocheted before this one. It’s been finished for ages, but I’m not overly happy with it and rarely wear it. I promise will get it up on to the blog as soon as I can though as it is one of my entires for this year’s Vintage Pledge, as are the two above.