1925 Blue Coral Day Dress (HSM #8)

The summer has been very busy and I don’t feel like I’ve completed very many sewing projects for myself. Really the only reason I’ve completed anything is because I’ve been live streaming my sewing, which forces me to make things from the list of the-things-I-want-to-make-that-I-never-make-time-for. Do you have a list like that? Mine is lengthy!

One of the first of these things-I-don’t-usually-make-time-for projects was a dress made out of one of the fabrics I bought earlier this year. I really wanted to have it for events this month as they are generally quite hot and the fabric I found is nice and lightweight while still being opaque. I found this fabric at a local discount store for the awesome price of $2.99/yard and then later saw it at a regular price store for somewhere closer to $10/yard, which really made me feel like I got a deal!

The pattern for this dress is a Quinnpen special (ie. made by me). I took my inspiration directly from this extant dress at All The Pretty Dresses. Due to that, it qualifies for the HSM Challenge #8 Extant Originals (copy an extant historical garment as closely as possible)!

To start, just the facts:

Fabric: 2.5 yards cotton lawn.

Pattern: My own.

Year: 1925.

Notions: Small bits of contrasting fabric for bias binding, thread.

How historically accurate is it?: I’d say this one is about as close as I can get to 100%!

Hours to complete: Approximately 8 hours.

First worn: August 5, 2018.

Total cost: $10.50 (including the fabrics I used for decorative sash options).

For the bodice of this new dress, I started with my 1927 Blush Sparkle dress (that dress started life as a tube before I added a head hole, armholes, and side seams/darts to about the hip level). For the skirt, I made a circular pattern that had the zig zag top edges that are featured in the extant dress. It was a bit of trial and error process to get the zig zags just right, but I made it in the end! You can see the topstitched zig zag detail on the extant inspiration if you look at the pictures carefully.

The zig zag top edge of the skirt is pressed under and topstitched onto the bodice. On both my dress and the extant dress that detail gets lost in the pattern, but it allows the skirt to have a lovely drape and fullness while the top can stay that straight 1920s shape that is so iconic. Here’s a closeup of my topstitching. Not bad on the pattern matching!

I finished my dress armholes and neck hole using bias, as I believe the original did based on looking at the photos. My only changes here were to use a contrasting color so I could actually see where the openings are (before I put on the orange binding the blue on blue pattern just made a big indistinguishable pile!) and to turn the bias binding to the inside of the openings (given that I was using a contrasting color). Aside from that the only other detail I omitted was a center back seam on the bodice since I had enough fabric not to need it when I was cutting out the pieces.

The photo above shows the dress with two different sash options that I made for it: pink and orange. I bought the orange when I bought the blue, but when I got home I thought it might be too bold and decided I might like the pink better. But I really couldn’t decide, so in the end, I made both!

When I wore the dress, I was still undecided… so I took pictures with all three options: no sash, pink sash, and orange sash. See each look below!

The idea behind a sash was this inspiration: Wilton Williams, The Bystander, August 12th 1925, though after wearing it my preference is no sash! I think that the bold, large scale patterns in the fabrics of the inspiration dresses lend themselves better to a sash than this blue dress.  The bonus part of not having a sash is that the dress is easy to wear, there’s no fussing with keeping a sash in place, and the dress really does have a nice 1920s shape to it even though the detail of the zig zag is lost from more than a foot or two away. What do you think? Does one style of sash (or no sash) speak most to you?

It’s fun to have a new dress to wear, discuss, and document! There are more dresses in the live stream queue, so if you want to stay in touch with what I’m making I would love to have you join me for one of my virtual sewing circles. You can join me on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9-10:30pm EST!

Advertisements
Posted in #virtualsewingcircle, 1920s, 20th Century, Costume Construction, Historical Sew Fortnightly, Wearing Reproduction Clothing | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Eleanor ‘On The Continent’

When I was in Denmark last year, we got some lovely show-off-the-dress shots of Eleanor (my 1862 plaid ballgown) that I haven’t shared yet. This is the gown that I wore to the grand ball at the end of the week. I decided on it because I appreciate its simplicity and understated elegance: the only real decorations, aside from the interest provided by the large scale plaid, are the coordinating brooches on the neckline and belt.

I absolutely love how this gown looks wonderfully historical without being flashy. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for flash in some instances, but for traveling on a plane and being squashed into a suitcase, this seemed like an option that would travel well and still look elegant, especially when paired with my coordinating necklace and earrings.

Before the ball we took a short walking tour during which were able to capture these cooler-toned photos in addition to the warmer first photo (that first one was taken in the ballroom).

Looking at these photos reminds of the trip, which brings smiles. It was fun to attend a ball ‘on the continent!’

SaveSave

Posted in 1860s, 19th Century, Hoops and Bustles, Victorian Clothing, Wearing Reproduction Clothing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A New Old(er) Dress

Today, I present a new version of an old dress.

(Well, not old in the usual way on this blog, which is a dress that is often 100+ years old. In this case, the ‘old’ dress is about 8 years old. I couldn’t pass up the colors in the flowers, though the cut and fabric was more ‘junior’ than adult woman, especially with the built in underskirt of tulle which I promptly cut out as soon as I reached home. However, worn with a waist length or otherwise cropped cardigan, the original dress saw me through a number of summers.)

And then my shape changed and the the dress became a bit too small and a bit too tight. This is the standard my-clothes-shrunk-in-the-closet problem. Boo! But I still loved the colors, so when I happened to see a similar fabric at the fabric store I snapped it right up with the goal of making a new, older (as in, not ‘junior’ style) version of the original dress, so I could retire the original from my wardrobe and send it on to a new home. (In fact, when Mr. Q saw me working on the new dress he confused it with the old one because the colors are so similar!)

I decided to use New Look #6143 as a starting point for a pattern for the new version of the dress. It’s got a basic bodice that would be good for other things if I liked it made up and a variation on a basic skirt, which never hurts to have either. I believe the only thing I changed from the original pattern design was the neckline in the front. Of course, it took me probably two years to actually get around to finishing the darn thing. I started it, realized it was too big, got frustrated by the amount of alterations needed, and let it languish (for years…).

This year, however, I was determined. Turns out I had just cut a size larger than I needed. (P.S. I hate figuring out commercial pattern sizing. There is so much ease that the size the pattern envelope claims I should be is often too big, as in this case. Do you ever have that struggle? When I took apart my bodice pieces and traced out the lines for a smaller size, the bodice fit perfectly. Nice, but it would have been so much better if it fit perfectly the first time!) I had already pleated the skirt and added side seam pockets when I started the dress years ago-I wasn’t going to change that–so instead I angled the side seams from the pockets up to the waist to take in the excess amount. Not the most perfect solution, but in a full skirt you can’t see the fudge.

I love how tidy the insides of Carolyn’s modern dresses are (like this and this) and I wanted similar tidiness for this dress. The bodice of my dress is fully lined in lightweight cotton and the skirt edges are all overlocked to keep them from fraying.

Oh, and as I mentioned, I added pockets! Most dresses are better with pockets! (I would say all, but some lightweight dresses just pull in awkward ways with things in the pockets, so really, why bother adding them?)

The dress closes in the back with a (pink!) invisible zipper that is carefully sandwiched between the floral exterior and the bodice lining. The pink zipper matches perfectly and amuses me greatly. It’s a fun color!

At the bottom of the bodice lining the seam allowance is turned up and whip stitched to the waistband seam allowance to create a tidy finish. Tidy finishes like this make my heart pitter-patter with glee!

I’m very pleased with the new version of this dress and so pleased that it is off of the UFO pile! My only slight complaint is that I wanted an everyday dress, but the fabric is a little satin-finish-y rather than matte, even though it’s cotton, which takes it more in a ‘dinner’ or ‘event’ direction rather than ‘wear to work’. Oh well! It’s cute, it fits, and the colors are perfectly me.

I’m looking forward to trying this pattern out in other variations! I have plans to make another version of this dress soon–probably during August!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Posted in Costume Construction, Modern Clothing, Non-Historical Clothing | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

Announcing A New Adventure #virtualsewingcircle

I’m going to try something new. At least, it feels quite new to me, inhabiting as I often do the historically clothed past. I am starting live streams of my sewing projects: a virtual sewing circle hosted by me, TheQuinnPen!

The idea was suggested to me by Mr. Q, who pointed out that I already sew often, so why not share the process in addition to the finished garments? Following that idea, I’ll be sewing as I usually do, explaining my steps as I go along and discussing any tips or tricks that might be relevant along the way.

The platform I’ll be using is Twitch, where you can watch, ask questions, learn something new, teach me something new, share your own tips, make progress sewing your own garment with good company, or even sew the same garment that I am in a sew-along fashion!

After each live stream I’ll share photos of my sewing progress on Instagram with #virtualsewingcircle. Share your own progress made during the live stream as well, using the same hashtag!

You can join me on the following schedule beginning this Saturday, July 7.

Wednesdays 8pm-9:30pm EST
Fridays 8pm-9:30pm EST
Saturdays 2pm-4pm EST

As you can see, my upcoming projects are modern and vintage dresses for which I’ve got some really fun, summery fabrics and lovely patterns lined up! I’ll be talking about all sorts of things while sewing these dresses: methods of marking fabric, printing and assembling patterns at home, gathering, side seam pockets, and different methods of hemming, just to name a few!

Remember the fabrics from my recent post about stash additions? Two of those stripes and one of those patterned fabrics are part of the plan for my upcoming project list!

Join my virtual sewing circle! I look forward to seeing you this Saturday July 7 at 2pm. Friendly conversation and familiar voices from the blog will be incredibly welcome!

(Thanks most certainly need to go out to Mr. Q, for excellent technical support, and LRS, for amazing moral support and query help.)

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Posted in #virtualsewingcircle, Summary of the year: Looking forward to the next | Tagged | 3 Comments

Spring & Summer Fabric Stash Additions: Stripes & Patterns

For most of this year, I’ve had a dress in mind that I want to build for an event in August. I’ve been on the hunt for just the right striped fabric for it for a few months, but really hadn’t found anything that was just right. I was shopping for another fabric and saw that Farmhouse Fabrics had a large section of stripes… I had to come back and look through them!

‘Danger!’ Should have been posted somewhere, because I wound up purchasing three different striped cotton fabrics instead of just the one I’d been looking for!

I have solid plans for all three fabrics, which somewhat justifies their purchase. The green seersucker I plan to make a modern dress out of, most likely with a circle skirt. The cotton candy stripe, as I call it, I’m planning to also use for a modern dress based on New Look #6143. The yellow stripe is intended for McCall’s #7153, a 1933 Archive Collection pattern.

I also came across (yes, I promise, I wasn’t intentionally looking for these either!) two interesting patterned fabrics this spring.

The one on the left is a rayon from Joann’s (and in looking for the link I see they’ve got a whole bunch of lovely looking new rayon prints–more danger!). It’s great that they’ve got a wider variety of fiber contents lately. I think it will make an interesting Henrietta Maria. Leimomi posted one awhile ago that I loved and this fabric reminds me of it a little.

The fabric on the right was super discounted at a local store (though I’ve seen at regular price at another store, so I definitely got a deal). It’s a lovely cotton lawn that I think will make an interesting 1920s day dress. I’ve got lots of evening gowns but my daywear options are somewhat limited. It will be fun to have new 1920s daywear! In fact, I’ve already started making a dress with the cotton lawn! I’ve been posting progress pictures of it on my Instagram account. Check it out!

Oh, I also came across remnants of seafoam green silk taffeta for a bargain price that I also bought, though I don’t have a picture or a specific project in mind for that. It’s hard to pass up silk taffeta even when there is no project in mind, because if you go on a hunt for a specific color you can’t usually find it at a bargain price.

I’m looking forward to putting these new fabric projects high enough on the to-do list to actually accomplish them!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Posted in 1920s, 1930s, 20th Century, Non-Historical Clothing | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Much Delayed Leibster Blog Award

My last post about the Mystery Blogger Award reminded me of a related post that has been sitting in my drafts folder for over a year. I’ve meant to complete it even though I’m quite delayed, especially as I mentioned needing to finish it in my Summary of 2017! So finally, I would like to say that I am honored to have been nominated for the Leibster Blog Award at Plaid Petticoats last February!

This award has the following rules:

  • Answer the questions asked by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate 11 blogs who have less than 200 followers for the award
  • Ask questions of the blogs you nominate

First, my answers to the questions I was asked:

How did you start making historical garments? I’ve always been fascinated by history, so as soon as I learned to sew garments I was curious about historical ones. I had the amazing encouragement of mentors who knew more than I did and encouraged me to explore my love of history and historical clothing.

What is your favorite part of blogging? It’s great to connect with others (across the world, which is so neat!) who have similar interests. I also appreciate the blog as a place to document for myself what I’ve made and the process, materials, etc. for different projects.

Describe a time you struggled with a historical project. What did you learn from the experience? Well, I’ve had an 1880s bustle skirt on my dress form for over six months. I’ve played with the draping of the pieces a few times but only recently come up with something I really, truly like. The lesson is that sometimes you just have to let a project sit when it’s frustrating you and come back to it later. Luckily this project has no deadline!

If money and restoration were no object, what piece of historical technology would you love to try using? I would really love to ride in all the different types of carriages and traps from the 19th century. There is such variety and I’m sure there are nuances about how each type felt to ride in that you wouldn’t really know without experiencing them.

Do you watch or listen to anything while you sew? If so, what is your favorite background?  I listen to Disney music if I want something to sing along to. If I’m not at the sewing machine, I like to watch Star Trek. The costumes don’t change much so if I’m not looking at the screen I won’t miss too much and I’ve seen all the episodes before so I never feel like I’m going to miss something.


I would like to nominate the following blogs for this award:

All The Pretty Dresses

Atelier Nostalgia

Flashback Summer

In The Long Run

It’s All Frosting

Miss Hendrie’s Workbook

Polka Polish

Seam Racer

Vintage Gal

I actually really love all the questions I was asked, so I would like to ask my nominees to answer the same questions I’ve just answered.

1. How did you start making historical garments?
2. What is your favorite part of blogging?
3. Describe a time you struggled with a historical project. What did you learn from the experience?
4. If money and restoration were no object, what piece of historical technology would you love to try using?
5. Do you watch or listen to anything while you sew? If so, what is your favorite background?

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Posted in Summary of the year: Looking forward to the next | Leave a comment

‘Mystery Blogger’ Award

Thank you to Kelly, who writes the blog Seam Racer, for recently nominating this blog for a ‘Mystery Blogger’ award! It’s so lovely to be chosen for this type of award. It’s amazing that we can ‘meet’ people via the internet who share our interests, isn’t it?

The Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.” Created by: Okoto Enigma

These awards generally have rules and questions associated with them. The ‘Mystery Blogger’ award rules are:

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Nominate 10-20 bloggers you feel deserve the award
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, with one weird or funny one
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

Three things about me:

#1: This first one is easy, because it turns out that Kelly and I have a shared interest that I didn’t know about until I read her post about the award. Manual transmission cars? Yes please! While Kelly’s interests are more focused on sports cars, I prefer sporty sedans. A car that will get up and go is how I like to roll (literally, haha)… Like Kelly, I also enjoy being the first person to reach the speed limit after a red light. It’s fun to be part of the small percentage of Americans who drive a manual transmission and even more fun to surprise people by being an American woman who drives a manual transmission.

#2: I’m rather contrary sometimes, as people who know me well will attest, and I rather enjoy being surprising in my contrary-ness sometimes as well. As stated above, people are often surprised when they first see the car I drive–a bright red manual transmission sport sedan. I’ve asked but have yet to get a good answer as to what they think I should be driving instead… but it’s not that!

#3: I’m an introvert and sometimes get overwhelmed by being around too many people.


Kelly asked the following questions as well:

What everyday tool could you not live without? Hm… A tool? I think a hair comb! I do not want to begin to imagine how horribly full of knots my hair would be without one!

Do you have a preferred heel height for your shoes? 2″-3″ is my preferred height for heels. For everyday wear, though, flats are my friends!

What is next on your “bucket list”? Oh dear, I don’t really have a well-thought-out bucket list. Going to visit Ireland is pretty high on my list of things to do, though, so we’ll count that.

Who makes you laugh the most? Friends–I am so grateful to have good ones that I enjoy spending time and going on ridiculous adventures with.

Is there a pet that you wish you could have?…no limit! I would love to have a bear (particularly a polar bear) or a penguin for a pet! Both of those pose problems though… smell, fleas, claws, needing cold and space…


I would like to nominate the following blogs for the ‘Mystery Blogger’ award. You are all inspiring! It’s such a treat to keep up with your blogging adventures and information.

A Sartorial Statement

Beauty From Ashes

The Dreamstress

Dressed In Time

Kleidung Um 1800

Miss Victory Violet

Mode De Lis

The Modern Mantua Maker

Plaid Petticoats

Rococo Atelier

The Shadow Of My Hand

Teacups In The Garden

My questions to you are:

  • If you had a time machine, where would you take it to first and why?
  • What do you do to combat the blues on a rainy day?
  • Where would you like to travel next? Near or far…
  • What is your favorite sewing tool?
  • What name would you give to a combination of a zucchini and an asparagus?

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Posted in Summary of the year: Looking forward to the next | 2 Comments