My Entry into the “Fall Photo Contest” at “Emily’s Vintage Visions” Blog

100_4454a-compThis weekend, I submitted my entry to Emily’s “Fall Color Photo Contest”.  I was sorely tempted to submit a mid-1930’s outfit made from this pattern (see at left) out of a rust cranberry colored paisley with brown and gold tones.  I have yet to blog about this dress despite being very proud of it.

However, just like for Emily’s “Color Recipes for Spring” photo contest from earlier this year, where I submitted my 1942 Winter-Mint dress and Velvet Hat, I went for the 40’s again.  You can see my entries on her Facebook page.  Here is my outfit pictures with my summary:

“My outfit incorporates my sewn projects and authentic vintage, as well as several different recurring fashion ideas mentioned from the inspiration articles. Here I am channeling the mid-1940’s.

100_6327-comp“Brown Proves Popular” article was my main inspiration. Alligator ankle strap shoes were mentioned in the article, and so I’m wearing my dark brown, vintage, leather strappy platforms in what I believe is a circa-1946 style. To link in my shoes (like the article mentioned), I’m carrying a brown faux-alligator leather 40’s style purse, handmade by me from a free online pattern and blogged about here.  The straps fold over into one another to close the box top.

100_6341-comp“Brown Proves Popular” article’s mention of silver and grey hound’s tooth check, so I personalized the idea with what I had on hand and sewed a silvery grey Glen plaid center pleated skirt using an old Advance #3964 pattern from the year 1945. The skirt’s fabric is a thick rayon acrylic as warm as wool.

Green was mentioned throughout, so I am wearing a vintage heavy wool suit coat, with lapel pockets at the hips and turned back cuffs. This jacket was a gift to me from a close friend of mine who shares my vintage and sewing enthusiasm. Both jacket and shoes are “Famous-Barr” brand.

Kelly's Fall Color Challenge accessories combo pic - compThe buttons on my suit coat are golden, so I chose gold earrings, a gold watch necklace (from my husband), and a vintage golden dachshund dog pin as my accessories. Long, short dogs are a personal “thing” for me – for three generations now, my mom’s side of the family has always had one in the house as do I now, too. I love my sweet little canine companion and am wearing that sentiment on my jacket lapel!”

I have enough extra fabric to make a matching jacket for to match the skirt, and I’m hoping to get to that sooner than later and make a post on the whole outfit.  We’ll see!

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1940’s Arch Waist Blue Jeans

My new found enjoyment wearing (and success in making) my first pair of vintage pants gave me gusto to jump in to fill a gap in my wardrobe: comfy, casual vintage inspired jeans. Jeans are something I’ve learned to do without, mostly because it seems near impossible to find a pair that fulfills all of my requirements – room in the bottom area, vintage appeal, tailored details, and a waist that really sits at the waist, all the while being complimentary on myself. Whew! No…it’s way more fun and appropriate for me to make my own jeans.

100_4458I now have the ultimate vintage jeans, perfect in every way possible to my own discriminating taste. I also feel I’ve found the happy medium between loose comfort and tailored fit. Hopefully I can inspire others with this post to turn to their inner talents and provide for themselves, creating their own personal style to appeal to their own unique individual taste. Do not rest dissatisfied with wearing what doesn’t fit or suit you – be the one to make that change!

Now for THE FACTS:

FABRIC:  A 100% cotton mid-weight denim, in a medium blue wash. It was bought from a Jo Ann Fabrics store.Simplicity4044

NOTIONS:  All I needed to buy was a zipper for the side. The rest of what I needed – the interfacing, hook and eye, and thread – was already on hand.

PATTERN:  Simplicity 4044, a 1940’s outfit reprinted with a modern date of 2006

TIME TO COMPLETE:  These jeans were a breeze to make once I got past the fitting and adjusting of the pattern. I spent maybe 2 hours of time to customize the pattern, and then only 5 hours to cut, sew, and finish the jeans. They were done on February 6, 2015.

THE INSIDES:  …left raw. This denim has a tight weave so it really doesn’t fray much on the raw edges.

TOTAL COST:  I paid half price for the denim, and the jeans only took 2 yards to make, so my total (with the zipper) was only about $8.00. Pretty good, huh?!

The Simplicity #4044 pattern I used for these jeans was even easier than the other Simplicity pattern (#3688) used to make my first pants. Although it is unfortunately out of print, it seems readily available to purchase from many different sellers. I bought mine from Etsy.

I did a bit of research to be able to pin down exactly what part of the decade of the 1940’s might be the source for this pattern, Simplicity 4044 reprint. At first, I was focused mainly on the arch-waisted style, but looking into the design of the jacket happily co-ordinates with the years I found for dating the waist style. There is a McCall #6019 pattern for a skirt and bolero jacket, and it has an arch-waisted skirt front with arched/scalloped pocket detail on the jacket as well. Now the skMcCall 6019 two-piece bolero suit year 1945 - Advance 3964 suit set year 1945irt detailing is similar to the pants and skirt waist of the Simplicity reprint, as are the jacket sleeves, but the skirt box pleat is a change and bolero style is missing. Now let’s look at a pattern in my collection, Advance #3964. The jacket in this pattern is almost exactly the same as the design in the Simplicity reprint, with its paneled sleeves and long jacket front and single button waist closure. What I find interesting is that the pattern I gave as similar examples, McCall #6019 and Advance #3964, are both from 1945. This paneled, streamlined jacket style is very much a war-time design – it was in skinny and small pattern pieces meant for going towards re-fashioning an existing man’s suit. The skirt style of center front box pleats were a staple of the years 1942 to about 1945, with basic, full,Grace Kelly teen model pic 1947 - line drawing for Simplicity 4044 reprint A-line styles not as frequently used, so Simplicity 4044 throws my fashion reasoning off just a bit. Nevertheless, I have a strong “guess-timation” here that Simplicity 4044’s pieces are from late war-time, definitely 1945. Simplicity probably did not reprint a McCall or Advance pattern, so I’m assuming there is an original pattern I’m missing out on highlighting here. However there’s one more piece to my puzzle. The picture you see on the side here is from 1947 of the young, then teen model, Princess Grace Kelly wearing bottoms with an arched-front waist, setting the possibility of the fashion of Simplicity 4044’s set back even more to post-war fashion.

100_4482This time around for making trousers, I read up and informed myself on better fitting techniques, ways to understand the shape of your body, and how to do a full booty adjustment, which I needed. None of this is for the faint of heart, so if you’re squeamish about knowing the shape of your booty and the true measurements of your body, I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t like what I found out either, but…hey – the way I see it, I am how I am, and I’m healthy and happy so I shouldn’t put myself up to some artificial standards.

My primary step was so have a second pattern “victim” to cut and mark up at will. Only the top half of the pants pattern (both front and back) was copied on a machine so I could have a paper version. I also had to choose sizing first off, too. I was in between sizes for the waist so I stayed in between, but went up in size for the hips and carried that size all the way down the pants legs. As my jeans turned out just a tad too roomy in the waist, I think going down a size might be a good idea for anyone else in between sizing because this pants pattern is generous and, without a set waistband, these pants need to fit well to stay up. Of course, there are always “braces” or suspenders to fix droopy drawers!

100_5346a-compNext, I used two sites to guide me in my pants adjustments – “Sew Your Boat” blog – on a ‘BBA’ and Colette’s tutorial on “Pants fitting basics” (although Colette’s “Pants fitting cheat sheet” is good info, too). After reading through “Sew Your Boat” post, my first step was to find out the shape on my booty and see if the fullest part back there is low hanging so I can know where to add the necessary room. I did her “aluminum foil roll shaped around the crouch line” trick…and yes it is weird and funny, yet it works. You look at the shape of the foil and think, “This is me?” At least I knew exactly how to shape the booty of the pants because now I had a template. Next, I did the “slash and spread” method. I had the finished garment measurements of the unaltered garment and compared them to my measurements with added generous ease, and compared the two to see how much room to add in the “slash and spread”. I supposed I rather ran high on the measurement combo of my measurements + ease, so I chose the happy middle between that and the finished pants measurement – a total add in of about 1 ½ inches, slightly more or less. Finally, I used the booty form to do a finishing touch-up shaping of the “slashed and spread” back half pattern piece. The front piece was relatively left untouched except for the bottom point of the crouch (top of the inner leg seam). That part was re-drawn just an inch lower to make a wider dip of a curve so as not to have a drastically baggy bottom. All in all, my effort and figuring here completely paid off with exactly the fit and feel I had hoped to find…sewing bliss!

100_4474With this much done, the pants were cut out and constructed as instructed. I simply overlapped the paper top half over the tissue bottom half to come up with one whole pants leg pattern and cut it that way. As my fabric was 60 inch width, I was able to actually use less than the 2 yards asked for, and now I have a nice chunk of about ½ a yard of denim to use for another project. This pants pattern does have a side seam, and there are small tucks in the front, and small darts in the back, so there are a few no too complicated steps and details to accomplish when sewing the preliminary steps.100_5344a-comp

The trickiest part of the jeans were the arched front detail, but as you get into it, it is not as hard as one might expect. The arched front, together with the facing that finishes the inside, only requires taking one’s time to be precise with the stitching (and marking beforehand). I was impressed at how well the facing matched up and stabilized the waist of the pants pattern– sometimes small facing pieces can, if they are a tad wonky, throw everything off.

Words cannot describe how incredibly pleased I am with everything about my 1940’s jeans – from the fabric to the fit but especially the pattern. I do find the appearance of the pants on myself to be not exactly as complimentary as I had hoped. However, they have such a subtle unique vintage quality to them, one which does not scream vintage but still speaks of style. I cannot but love them. I also cannot wait to make the jacket pattern from the same Simplicity reprint as my pants – I even have a lovely Glen plaid fabric slated to make a suit skirt/jacket set, hopefully for this coming cold season. If you don’t have Simplicity 4044, and happen to come across it for sale, snag it and let me know what you make from it!

I couldn’t resist going with the whole Captain America/”red-white-and-blue” thing to pair with my jeans. A favorite past project, my 1943 cotton basic blouse, was worn with my jeans, layered over my favorite captain America tee shirt. I felt like some secret superhero opening my top to show off my Captain America shield tee underneath.

100_4466Do you have an article of clothing that you have conquered when it comes to fit and understanding? Be it pants, shirts or knit fabrics, the world of sewing and the fabric arts is always there to provide a challenging, interesting, and creative project for those willing to tackle it – never a dull moment necessary!

The Little 1943 Blouse “On the Prairie”

Here is a little different style of a 40’s top to add more variety into vintage sewing. Just when you think you’ve got a decade understood, wham…here comes a style to throw a wrench in your wheels and keep you from thinking you know it all (as in my case). History, and especially the history of fashion is a bottomless pit of info – I hope you enjoy the dive in as much as I!

100_4227compThis 1943 blouse definitely has a country-style look that easily reminds me more of the 1870’s. It was never supposed to end up like this – it just happened mostly because of the homey, almost too cute, tiny floral print on the cotton fabric. I really enjoy doing gathering and small details, so with the ruffled front and sleeves this blouse was definitely “up my alley”. I just have to be careful how I style my hair and pair it with bottoms or it becomes something from “Little House on the Prairie – does 1943”. I should call this project the multi-decade mash-up top! badge.80

This is another  “Agent Carter” 1940’s themed post.

THE FACTS:

FABRIC:  An ultra-soft 100% cotton in a tiny floral print (a mix of small portions of the colors steel grey, dusty blue, rust orange, dark brown against a background of creamy ivory). This cotton is thicker than most quilting cottons, so between the colors and the fabric weight, my blouse is perfect for chilly weather!

hollywood1117_yr1943NOTIONS:  Everything I needed was on hand already – a vintage grey zipper leftover from repairing a 1960’s era dress, thread, and bias tapes.

PATTERN:  Hollywood #1117, year 1943

TIME TO COMPLETE:  I was finished on November 9, 2014, after maybe 10 (or 12 at the most) hours. This was my Thanksgiving Day outfit – perfectly roomy and comfy, perfect for visiting with family and eating lots of food!

THE INSIDES:  The blouse’s side seams are French seams, but the rest of the seams are bias covered.

TOTAL COST:  My only cost here was for the fabric, which was about $10 in total.

I’ve already used Hollywood pattern 1117 before to make the skirt with the arched front waist (see the finished skirt here). I am incredibly pleased with the finished skirt, and found its sizing and fit to be right on for me, needing little or no adjustments beyond a slight grading up in size. This was a good sign. There are many vintage original patterns (between the 1920’s and 1940’s) that I find seem to run small in the sizing. Not all of them, mind you… but I’m getting to a point where I can surmise which pattern brands have predictable sizing (I’ll save this discussion for some other time unless you want to ask me for my opinion). However, when it comes to a pattern that has separates, once I sew up one piece from a pattern, such as a skirt, and find that I like the fit, then I feel quite safe to make the other pieces, such as a blouse and/or jacket. The situation just mentioned with vintage “separates” patterns is what led me to making my 1941 military wool suit set (post here) as well as this 1943 “Little Blouse on the Prairie”. I’m beginning to really like the old Hollywood patterns now that I’ve made a set from #1117.

100_4231compThis really a sweet twist on a basic 1940’s blouse design. It has simple sleeves with slightly gathered shoulder tops, and the conventional 40’s tucks that end at the waistline for a bloused effect. There is also the classic wrap-over the-shoulder seams which end at high chest at the collarbone. The tops of the front bodice are gathered, not pleated as some blouses, into the wrap-over shoulder seam. I added some extra length to the bottom, as is my norm, to make blouses easier to stay tucked into a skirt or trousers.

100_4230compIt’s amazing how such a little addition as strips of ruffles change the look completely. This was almost the most tiny gathering I’ve done in a while. I was tempted to get out and use my giant monster-looking ruffle attachment on one of my old sewing machines, but as I needed the strip to be a particular length, I thought better of it. There are two very long strips for the neck that get sewn together at the center back of the neck and taper at the ends, while the sleeve ruffles are two long strips that get sewn into a circle. As per instructions, the strips for the ruffles are single layer, and cut on straight grain, with the outer edge receiving a narrow ¼ inch hem. I wish I had done a double layered bias ruffle instead, just because I’m not sure if I like the wrong side of the fabric showing, although my blouse turned out just fine the way it is.

100_4257compAll I know is it sure was a challenge to get all that ruffle gathered onto the edges. I enjoyed it, though. My hubby was intimidated when he saw the neckline chock full of straight pins to keep the ruffle down for sewing – I’m talking about a whole box’s worth of about 200 pins. If I had put it on then… Ouch! Firstly, I sewed the ruffle down to the neckline and sleeve edges first to keep everything in place and take out all those pins. Then I sewed down the bias tape over the ruffle so the raw edges insides would be covered when the ruffle gets turned straight out. All this bulk and layers of fabric was a challenge for my Singer, and I should have used the Brother machine’s heavy duty setting. If you are doing this pattern, or something similar in the way of ruffled edges out of a heavier material, if might be a good idea to use a machine or setting that can tolerate substantial thickness…don’t break your most important tool for creating with fabric!

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Whoo Hoo! Don’t mean to make it look like I’m flashing you here.

I was totally lost and confused in regards to the instructions about the zipper insertion so I made up my own and installed it in the center front. It seemed I was supposed to add the slide fastener in the center front because the instructions said a brief mention of closure between the ruffles and there wasn’t any markings or mention of where to position the zipper on the side. I went all out vintage with an old original zipper in the front – I figure it should be stronger than the modern zippers (which was all that I had on hand at the time) with its metal teeth. I didn’t know how else to do it but the connected end of the zipper (covered with bias tape) is at the top of the neckline, where it comes together. This makes for a slightly awkward and snug fit to get the blouse over my head, and I have to remember to fix my hair after and not before putting it on. I would have rather put a modern separating zipper, but I didn’t have one on hand, and couldn’t think of the harsh modern look it would have lended, ruining the overall quaintly vintage theme of the blouse. Do you also try to stick with what you have on hand? It is a challenge but feels satisfying in the end.100_4255a-comp

After my blouse was completely finished, the hips had just a bit too snug of a fit for the blouse to lay right on myself. So I unwillingly unpicked (I hate unpicking) to make slits on both side seam bottoms – much better!

My “Little Blouse on the Prairie” is so very clearly the style that the character of the villainess Dottie Underwood wears in the Marvel television series “Agent Carter”. My blouse’s secondary nickname in my head is actually “Dottie’s style blouse”. Dottie “supposedly” came from Ohio (the mid-west of America), from farmland Dottie combo pictureterritory. She wore homey, sweet, toned down fashions to make her fashions play that part of an innocent country girl and help her seem the opposite of what she was to Peggy Carter – a dangerous threat. She wore cream colors, pastel yellows, olive greens, and small floral prints and cultural-themed sweaters – all of which is in my ruffle front blouse in this post, if only in very small doses.

Not that I am the type of person to want to play the par100_4659a-compt of the evil character, but, just for fun, I did my best at making an “evil Dottie” photo. Maybe I succeeded too well because hubby was like, “Oh, goodness, whoa…” as if he was at the receiving end of my tough attitude. Gee, I was only having fun! It is fun to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, especially when it comes to the decade of the 1940’s, although things were tough for a woman in that decade.

This ruffled blouse my not be my favorite 1940’s creation, but this project has won me over to wearing it again and again by its features. It fits so well in the arms and shoulders and bust plus the ruffles and thick cotton is nicely warm in the winter, all the while still keeping me a comfortable temperature inside buildings by having the short sleeves. I have a big box store brand micro suede skirt which I like to wear with my blouse (you see it in our pictures). It has all the feature of a forties skirt with its high waist and six-panels, shaping it into an A-line perfect for activity and, ahem, martial arts kicking like Agent Peggy Carter (I wish). Lucille in blue ruffled blouse with Bud from Best Foot Forward movie - cropped pic

The ruffles of my 1943 blouse are another interesting fashion feature of the decade of the 1940s. They are something you don’t see a whole lot of in the 40’s, and when you do they are often, like my blouse, used as an easy way to jazz up a garment (that is to mean something which doesn’t require much extra fabric to make). After all, a ruffle front blouse was good enough for the famous Lucille Ball to wear in a movie made the same year as my top, “Best Foot Forward” of 1943. Ruffles and ultra-feminine features like ruffles, bows, and quaint cAdvance 4214 pattern 1940s ruffle neck two-piece playsuitountry prints (such as the Advance #4214 play-suit pattern shown at left) had begun to be popular with the Bavarian/Tyrolean cultural fashions beginning at the late 30’s/early 40’s, lasting through the entire decade of the 40’s. However, I find peasant blouses to be the one remnant from that trend that is perennially appealing…after all, the 1970’s brought them back to be used in our modern times as well.

Do you have an outfit that you made which is different than what you normally like to wear, but you find yourself liking it after all? I feel that is one of the best perks to sewing your own clothes…to get to try all sorts of new, different, and unusual things and have fun experimenting with fashion, such as I did with my “Little Blouse on the Prairie”!

A “Daily Life” Dress from 1945

In my sewing, most of what I make is finished inside and out quite cleanly with time honored methods, such as French seams and bias binding or lapped edges. This is all good, but it also makes my garments seem very new, perfect, and not entirely ready to be possibly marred by food stains, play stains, or fabric boo-boos which happen when being a mom. “New and perfect”, too, is all good and is as it should be, but sometimes I feel I am missing out on that comfortable, daily life, style of dressing which you see in many of the old time black and white pictures of people from 50 or more years past. In reality, those everyday clothes are what was worn when memories were made, duties were done, families cared for, and (in all) life was lived.

100_3843a-compI started out this project unsuspecting what was ahead, making a dress from a 1945 pattern. I was excited because the pattern was a gift for my birthday and the fabric I chose for it was a perfectly wonderful feed sack rayon. Little did I know that here was the perfect opportunity to make lemonade from lemons and end up with a new, but already-broken-in, comfy handmade vintage piece meant for being that “daily life” style of garment our grandmothers and moms quietly built history wearing. Now I can live my modern daily life, build my own family, and make new memories in a re-make of their style.badge.80

This is another post part of my own “Agent Carter” 1940’s sew along.

THE FACTS:

FABRIC:  A 100% rayon challis, bought from a JoAnn’s Fabric store.  It is a feed sack style, cool toned, swirling leaf-and-vine print, in light turquoise blue, tan and a bit of navy against a field of slightly off-white.

NOTIONS:  No notions were bought – I had all the interfacing, thread, and hooks-and-eyes needed.

100_3836-compPATTERN:  McCall 5946, year 1945, actually a ‘Maternity’ dress.  It was thoughtfully bought for me as a birthday gift from a good friend.

TIME TO COMPLETE:  Not long at all, maybe 7 or 8 hours over 3 nights, were spent on my dress.  This project went quickly and was finished on September 26, 2014.

THE INSIDES:  The innards of my dress are left raw to do their own crazy thing and fray at will.  This sort of “finishing” usually drives me insane, but there is a very big reason for my doing this, which you’ll read later on below.

TOTAL COST:  I remember knowing I paid way more than what the fabric was worth, but still reasonable enough to really buy.  In total, I think my dress cost about $14.00 or less for 2 ½ yards.

I used this pattern as an opportunity to experiment and attempt some of the most dramatic pattern downsizing which I had done so far. I usually try to only get patterns very close to my bust size. Grading patterns up is no problem for me, and I have done downsizing in small increments. I’m tired of being confined to what designs are my size, so I did my homework and learned a new skill. Doing the math, and dividing up to take out a whopping 5 inches, the pattern was folded in vertically. The new size is not permanent, merely pinned in place. I can’t wait to do more of this method of pattern grading – it was fun and challenging for me.

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Even though my dress’ pattern is labeled as a “maternity” dress, I really don’t see it as such. Now don’t take a hidden meaning to my making this dress…I’m not expecting anything at this time and I’m not sewing this ‘to prepare for something’ – I liked the pattern, it’s in a year I haven’t done yet, and it looked like a very entertaining design to assemble. Personally, I think this dress, and other 40’s and 50’s maternity fashions I have seen, are basically normal fashions, for non-expecting ladies, engineered very ingeniously to adapt to the possibility a growing belly. I find these maternity labeled fashions to demonstrate an even higher creativity than what I already see in vintage fashions. Women back then apparently did not make a garment that they would only wear while expecting…they made clothes that would last long term and adapt for their life, to get true use out of what they wear. We in modern times tend to forget that clothes back in the 40’s were a real expense, not always easy to come by, and a lot of unnecessary “luxury” clothes did not exist for the bulk of the working class. Fast, cheap fashion of nowadays has spoiled us a bit.

McCall 5330 yr 1943 dicky insert dress&McCall 5701 yr 1944 -comboMany other non-maternity clothes in the mid-1940’s have a similar wide ruched front belly band, so this feature on my dress is a classic, but not always common, feature to have for 1945. The ruching doesn’t stretch, unless it would have been sewn with elastic instead of regular thread, so this doesn’t necessarily aid in the possibility of maternity wear – a style feature only. There are actually 5 rows at the belly section, and 3 or 4 more at the top of each shoulder center to provide bust fullness. It is the ingenious closure system which sets this dress apart and also gives it the possibility of being worn by an expecting mother, as well as making it an easy-wear, easy-sew house dress. This 1945 is a pullover, with no side zipper, because hidden under at the ends of the ruched belly band are two hook and eyes, which create tucks to bring in the dress when it closes. Smart! For normal wear, the closure system makes for a fun, new, uncomplicated way of dressing, and for an expectant mom, it becomes totally adaptable by not closing the hook and eyes.  Check out the pattern instruction drawing sheet.

100_3867-compThe front bodice section is also designed to be extremely long and the entire bodice itself is instructed to be lapped onto the skirt portion for even more adaptability. This way, one could take out the front bodice seam and make it longer to fit over a pregnant belly, if need be, but in my case I merely sewed to the skirt at the natural waistline. I have no expectation of both taking out the waistline seam and using the front closure system to make this dress adapt to maternity wear, so I merely trimmed off the excess front bodice length and stitched the waistline as a regular seam. I just find this dress’ styling very ingenious and worthy of understanding. (P.S. I also think pattern’s cover drawing very beautiful!)

Ah, the poor pitiful fabric of my dress is really wonderful against the skin and deceptively nice looking. You see, I didn’t notice the slew of threadbare holes which riddled the rayon UNTIL I was halfway through sewing the dress together. Yes – terrible holes that look like a cross between a feast for a silk moth and a brushing with a cheese grater. I was so focused on the interesting design and how quick the dress was coming together. I was sewing on the front facings for the mock wrap of the bodice and gave an audible, “What in the freaking world…?!” Needless to say, I hold a grudge against JoAnn Fabric Store for selling products this “quality”, but I should have been more hawk-eyed myself. The holes are about 1/8 to ¼ inch big and randomly all over, although primarily on the left side of the dress’ bodice section. My hubby helped me see the “good” side of the situation, and I really did cheer me up to a point that the fabric’s flaws do not bother me. Now I am rather glad to have a dress which is already “broken in” but yet looks so great (so I think) because it is so comfy, easy, not “perfect”, and just a part of me whenever I wear it. See why this dress is great for real life for me? It’s perfect for errands, cooking, playing with my son, and etcetera…just being a mom, wife, homemaker, and creative person in modern times with vintage style! Dressing in vintage can be as comfy as those jeans and T-shirts many love to wear.

100_3854a-compAs you can see, I chose the collared style. I have nothing like this collar style in my wardrobe, so here’s to a first. However, it seems I do have a tendency to end up making mock-wrap dresses, though. This 1945 dress only has the bodice top half be the mock wrap, but my first full mock wrap oddly enough happened to be a 1946 dressy day dress (see post for it here), also from another McCall pattern. The McCall pattern for my 1945 dress was, as I mentioned earlier, a special birthday present from a special friend, but my first mock wrap (from 1946) came from my very first purchase of vintage patterns. For these reasons, I associate together the ‘46 McCall pattern with the one for the dress in this blog post. They both make me smile just to see them, even not being worn.

100_3846-compMy 1946 cotton mock-wrap dress and my 1945 rayon house dress both share a similar slight problem with the front bodice wrap. Both needed a slight hidden dart where the bodice joins to the skirt to bring the drooping wrap front more taught to eliminate an overly gaping neckline. I’m supposing this part of adjusting fit is all a matter of taste or body types. I, being on the smaller side of chest endowment (to put it nicely), prefer to bring my mock wrap fronts close against my chest. Flashing someone with a peek down your top is not cool. However, I am thinking that just perhaps the mock front of my 1945 dress just might have been meant to be a bit generous. Being an optional “maternity” garment, a wrap front does make things handy for nursing a little one…just sayin’. I made the long waist tie included as part of the pattern (it’s hard to see the tie in the pictures), and it nicely covers up the little tuck/dart that I took in at the bottom of the wrap front.

100_3850a-compThe collar and the facing strips for the mock-wrap front are the only places that were interfaced. The dress as a whole is very soft and drapey so I figured on going with that ‘theme’, if you call it, and I used a lightweight interfacing.  The right detail shot also shows off my handmade matching aqua crystal/sterling silver earrings and agate stone necklace.

For our photo shoot location, we chose a basic place – a 100_3847-complocal neighborhood delicatessen/grocery store. This store, called Le Grand’s Market, and it has been family owned for many years, with the building itself being 70 something years – a good authentic background for a “daily life” dress. It’s one of the last of the old “Tom-Boy” Grocery stores. We love Le Grand’s sandwiches, and here I’m faking at eating a giant plastic hoagie.

Le Grand’s Market is on the edge of the Italian district, what we call “La Montagna” or “The Hill”. In our United States of America, we owe much of our amazing deli shops, restaurants, buildings and neighborhoods (among other things) to Italian-Americans, who had a hard time of things in their new land through most of World War II. The character of Angie Martinelli, the waitress at the Automat in the Marvel TV show “Agent Carter”, keeps her Italian descent low key, no doubt on account of how post-wartime suspicions still ran high. Because of Roosevelt’s “Custodial Detention Program”, established in 1940 and 1941, Italian-Americans were often forced to live like nomads, live under suspicion, and only had access to low paying jobs, if they could find any. Read here the full official history of “A Review of the Restrictions on Persons of Italian Ancestry during World War II” – very interesting and formerly classified reading.

100_3842b-compAngie full shot at AutomatAngie was so dissatisfied being stuck with her waitress job, and had big aspirations to make it big in Hollywood.  Whatever her state in life, I thought she was a lovely person, a real friend for Peggy Carter and a trooper. Angie’s waitress uniform was also lovely, in my opinion, composed of primarily aqua color, and contrasted in peach tones – a combo I like, want to try, and wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. I often tend to fall for aqua, just like how I more oftentimes choose shades of purple. This 1945 dress is primarily aqua…or maybe that’s just what I see the most of in the print!

I would like to think of my “daily life” 1945 dress as a bit of a small tribute to people like Angie, the overlooked ones with big hearts and big aspirations, all the while helping to make the world go round, one day at a time. In 1945, the Second World War was winding down, the veterans were returning, women were used to making do, and it was starting to be the time for things to settle down. Daily life might seem mundane, and slow or unimportant, but it is anything but that. Just so, a casual, tattered, broken-in dress like my 1945 rayon house dress might seem stupid to make new, but, you know, it already has seen a plentiful share of wearing and good memories. No fancy dress that gets worn once or twice a year can boast the utility of a casual, classic, comfortable “daily life” dress 🙂

Do you have anything which you have made which is your “go-to” piece for comfort in both work and play? Do you have something that you made which is so comfy you could feel like you could live in it, even though it doesn’t necessarily look like that would be the case?

My “Agent Carter” 1940’s Sew Along – Closing Words

Due to lack of participation and/or feedback, my “Agent Carter” 1940’s sew-along is over, as promised, now that Memorial day has come and gone.

However, I myself am sad to see it go, and will continue to post “Agent Carter” inspired projects and informative 1940’s era inspiration and info until the 4th of July, my country’s Independence day.