1930s Navy Spot Silk Blouse – Made by Me
1930s Mustard Linen Skirt – Made by Me
Navy 1950s Kelly Handbag – Bath Flea & Vintage Market (no longer running)
Navy 1930s Shoes – Donna Flower Vintage
Navy Narrow Belt – Warehouse
Navy Drop Earrings – Shepton Mallet Flea Market
Sometimes when you start planning to make an outfit the design you originally came up with doesn’t always end up being what you produce. These 1930s separates are a classic example of this. Both the blouse and the skirt are nothing like I originally intended but what I’ve ended up with is something I really love.
Originally the blouse was going to be my Big Vintage Sew Along garment and I was going to use McCalls 7053 1930s blouse pattern with the tie front. However, once I’d bought the pattern and cut out all of the pieces (something I hate to do!) I realised I didn’t have enough fabric. Cue big rant with lots of naughty words!
You see the problem was that the beautiful white and navy spot silk fabric is vintage. I bought it at Shepton Mallet Flea Market (as I do with so many other things I feature on here!), so there was no going back for more. It was a good length piece, roughly about 2 metres but it was extremely narrow, so the huge tie section of the McCalls pattern took up most of the fabric. Time to abandon Plan A.
After a little bit of consideration, I decided to use the top half of this 1930s dress pattern that I bought from Etsy a couple of years ago. Although I’m yet to use it for a dress, I just knew the top half would make a beautiful blouse. I was also very inspired by the sleeves on Lily’s deepest coral 1930s dress and decided to add on long cuffs instead of finishing the sleeves just below the elbow.
These were actually incredibly easy to do. Whilst wearing the mock up of the blouse, which I did beforehand, I wrapped a piece of scrap muslin around the bare bit of my arm and tacked it in place. I then marked where it joined in the middle and to the rest of the sleeve and made a pattern from it. I then added four rouleau loops and tiny navy mushroom buttons to be able to get it on and off.
The pattern suggested using rayon tape to finish off all the edges but, as this fabric is quite see-through, it looked awful. So, instead I lined both the cuff and the yoke with white cotton lawn. This actually helped to give the yoke some structure, but it also made it incredibly fiddly to join the two front sections where they overlap. I cannot tell you how many times I redid this!
I’m still not happy with how it turned out because the whole thing was very rushed. I didn’t do button holes as mentioned in the instructions, but rather just sewed the original Art Deco buttons in place to keep the two sections together. The back actually looks much better placed than the front!
The fabric itself doesn’t have a great deal of strength in it and I’ve already noticed a small spot where it is weakening. It’s also totally impractical because it’s a real b*&@h to wash and iron! The lovely smooth finish disappeared the second it hit the water on its pre-hand wash, which was impossible to bring back with pressing. Therefore, I’ve decided to try and find a white and navy polka dot rayon, crepe or cotton lawn to make it in as a wearable replacement.
The skirt was much more successful, although again it’s not entirely what I’d planned to make. Originally my idea was to make a skirt like the one Florence wears in The Durrells. It’s a mustard linen skirt that has four knife pleats going down the centre front, with the top half of them stitched down so it kicks out from the knee. This was all going well when I made my mock up but then I laid the pattern out on my fabric and realised yet again that I didn’t have enough! Arghhhh!!
By the way, this never happens to me, I always end up buying too much. So, for it to happen on both garments was incredibly frustrating for me. Lesson learnt, never trust your judgement, always order an extra half metre to be on the safe side!
So, this idea transformed into a replica of a 1930s skirt I already own but still haven’t featured on the blog. The four knife pleats became a single kick pleat and I added two patch pockets to the front hip. The tabs that I adorned the pockets with are a slightly different shape to the ones on my original skirt but thought they’d work better with this skirt. You can see the seriously cute original pockets here.
I used my usual 1930s skirt pattern that I bought from Top Tottie Vintage last year. It’s probably the hardest working pattern I own as I’ve used it so many times! The length of the skirt is marginally longer than I would normally wear but I rather like it. I did think it would look a bit fuddy duddy but the amazing mustard colour stops that from happening. I finished the skirt in my usual way, with a side invisible zip (which isn’t totally invisible as I couldn’t get exactly the same colour) and a deep hem edged with rayon tape.
And last, but definitely by no means least, here is a close up of the amazingly beautiful original 1930s navy suede shoes that I bought from Donna Flower Vintage at The West Country Vintage Textile Market. Seriously, how gorgeous are they?!! Look at that stitching detail. As you can imagine, I was incredibly excited when I slipped these on and found that they actually fit me.
They do look a bit big for me here but that’s because the leather interior seems to have been polished to within an inch of its life and my feet keep slipping forward! I have the same problem with my Aris Allen shoes and have some anti slip insoles in them, so I need to buy another pair for these. I also need to get some new laces for them because, as Donna was very kindly doing them up for me when I was trying them on, the lace broke. They’re just about long enough to get away with but I’d rather be safe than sorry! 🙂