Saturday, 7 April 2012

Colour (Ready), Fabric (Set), and Pattern Pieces (Go)!

Ready, set go! I've started my, Vogue 9229, Vintage dress project for the Vintage Contest over at Pattern Review.

Researching 1957 fashion trends it became apparent that even though blue was a popular colour, baby blue was a no-no. Brilliant blues were all the rage in 1957. Oops, that was close!

Sew, my fabric choice quickly changed for sewing the Vogue dress. Luckily, this happened before I cut into the baby blue crepe I originally considered for this project.

The sleeveless dress will now be made in a brown 100% cotton fabric. According to Paper Past, "brown vied with black as the smartest daytime colo[u]r".  I have to admit that brown won out because it also photographs better than black.

Interfacing is listed as optional on this pattern and I've decided to go without interfacing based on the weight of my fabric. This is the first time that I can remember seeing interfacing as an option on a commercial pattern. Mind you I haven't sewn with an authentic vintage pattern prior to this one even though I have several in my stash.

Pattern Pieces:
These vintage pattern pieces are noticeably different from the modern or vintage and retro re-issue patterns we use today.

The first thing that I noticed is the pattern markings. It is a printed and perforated pattern. Very cool! I really like how easy it was to transfer the topstitching and button markings on this dress.

The perforated markings were also found on the seam allowance, interesting. I wonder if this is a common feature of patterns from this time.
Another noticeable difference is that there was no trimming. The pattern pieces, when removed from the envelope, were all separated.

Modern-day patterns have several pattern pieces found on one or more sheets of tissue paper that the consumer has to cut.
And is it just me or do these 1957 pattern instructions remind you of a comic strip?

There is a retro-animated vibe that the instructions have with the text boxes positioned alongside the instructional illustrations.

And if you look closely, they're not as detailed as they first appear.
Insert zipper in left side opening following directions on zipper package.  
Now-a-days zippers do not come in packages that include instructions.  And modern-day patterns, including vintage re-issue patterns have detailed instructions for zipper installation. I'll be using my 1955 Singer Sewing Skills Reference Book for the zipper installation. The Singer Sewing Book goes into great detail on dress zipper application. I found the interior belting to the waist-line seam an interesting feature that I haven't come across in RTW or modern patterns.

"Finish" all seams are included in the sewing guide as a vague suggestion. The only sections where finishing suggestions are given are for the facing and hem.

Other than these, there are no specifics supplied.

I did check out the Singer Sewing Skills Reference Book  to check out what was the norm back in the 1950s.

It seems to be the seam finish of choice was done with pinking shears. Even though I do have access to a pair of pinking shears, I chose to serge the seam allowances on my dress. Don't worry the Pattern Review contest rules state:
Fabrics and techniques do not need to be vintage. However, both are encouraged, if available.  
I did try out the pinking shears on my shoulder seam but it did not cut well. They are in desperate need of sharpening.
Another aspect where this vintage pattern differs from the modern patterns  is the amount of detail given to marking the pattern pieces.

I already mention how much I like the perforated pattern for transferring the top-stitching lines.

I used my tailor's chalk for the job, one of the options on the pattern. But check out the detailed instructions for marking your pattern with Tailor's Tacks!
Well, that is enough chit-chat for this morning. I'm going to make some breakfast (yes, I know it is late), get some house work done, take the bike in to get road-ready and hopefully get back to work on this dress.

Sew much to do and read, sew little time.

Happy Sewing!


  1. Heh, I'm procrastinating from tidying up my living room, which is preventing me from getting to my own sewing. This was a good post to read to get me excited to sew again (and thus clean - ugh). :D

    Is this pattern for the vintage pattern contest at PR?

    1. Yes, it is for the Vintage pattern contest at Pattern Review. I don't think I have a shot at winning (Karen from Sewing by the Seat of My Pants entered a beautiful top from the early 1900s and I think I'm going to have to vote for that one out of the ones already posted). But I have to admit I am quite enjoying this project and discovering the differences from an authentic vintage pattern to that of a re-issue vintage pattern. I can't wait to see what else others are going to enter. I don't think 1/2 of them are posted yet.


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