Monday, November 30, 2015

The "Tropical Doctor" Alma Blouse



Last week I was in Zimbabwe for work and it was so lovely to have some sunshine and warmth!  I knew I was going there at the end of November so decided to sew up a warm weather blouse in advance.

Enter the "Alma" pattern from Sewaholic Patterns.  This has been on my to-sew list for a long time.  I love these patterns; they are easy to sew and the instructions are super clear.  I decided to make "View A" with some mixed fiber fabric that I purchased in the Philippines.

I'm still getting used to the sleeves.  I love the gathered sleeve cap but they might be a bit short on me?  Next time I can't wait to try the longer short sleeve on view B.

The neckline is what sold me on the pattern.  I absolutely love it and it's super easy to sew.  


The blouse closes by a side zipper, which you can see in the photo above. That allows the blouse to be form fitting.  I did take some length off the blouse so that I could wear it either untucked or with my high-waisted 1940s trousers (by the way, these trousers are newly sewn as well from my favourite 1941 reproduction pattern!  More on them to come in another post).


A great warm weather blouse!  The fabric print makes me happy too :-)

By the way, I flew back the day before this:


My graduation ceremony for the PhD.  Though it's been official for awhile, it was great to celebrate becoming a Dr. (and thank you to the reader that recognised me in the audience--what a sweet email)!  Now it's time for a sewcation to celebrate!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Vintage Gown and Holiday Party Patterns

Thanks for your comments on my last post about vintage holiday gowns.  In perusing for photos, I found several lovely, inspiring patterns!

Here are some of my favourites from the 1930s:

1. 1930s Pictorial Review dress pattern, 2. 1930s McCall gown, 3. 1930s McCall strapless gown, 4. 1930s Mail Order H-3391 gown pattern worn modelled by Loretta Young

I think both the 1930s and 1940s patterns are very glamorous.  Here are a few of my favourites from the 1940s:

5. 1940s McCall draped gown pattern, 6. 1940s Simplicity sheer dress pattern, 7. 1940s McCall lace overlay gown, 8, 1930s Simplicity dress pattern

I have the 1940s gown pattern listed in number 5 above.  I simply love the draping!

I love the 1950s for cocktail gowns and the great necklines:


The 1960s gowns are very chic and perhaps the most wearable to a variety of events and parties.  I particularly like the Vogue Couturier pattern (no. 13 below), it reminds me of what Audrey Hepburn wore for the movie 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'.


Of course there are some real gems in modern patterns as well (modern for me is anything post 1980...lol)....

17. Edith Head designed Very Easy Vogue American Designers Original pattern, 18. Calvin Klein Vogue gown pattern

Perhaps one of my favourite things of dressing up is all the topper and accessory patterns.  I'm currently plotting and planning to make a vintage cape pattern.  Here are a few more coat toppers that I love:


For some reason I also associate the circle skirt with the holiday season (perhaps all those tree skirts made into circle skirts..lol).  But I just love Gertie's quilted circle skirt as well.  Here's a few patterns that remind me of that 1950s glamour:


Whenever I think of glamour--both Vogue and Modes Royale patterns come to mind (isn't no. 25 below stunning??):


And what would glamour be without gloves and adorable handbags?  I actually really love the lace, fingerless gloves below:


It's a bit sad that there are not more men's patterns for fancy occasions.  But one I did find is from Mrs Depew for a men's tuxedo pattern from 1950:

28. Downloadable 1950s men's tuxedo pattern

I actually have plans to make this for David sometime this next year....how fun would that be?

Which patterns are your favourite?






Monday, November 16, 2015

Hollywood Glamour Gowns

It's the perfect time of the year for thinking about sewing a holiday gown!  I absolutely love New Year's Eve and all the holidays that allow the chance for dressing up.  Here are a few gowns that I've been looking at lately for inspiration:


Rita Hayworth from "You Were Never Lovlier" (Columbia Pictures, 1942)    

I love Rita Hayworth's dress from the movie 'You were Never Lovelier', especially the lace that becomes a glittery shooting star.

Rita Hayworth - Studio publicity portrait for "Blood and Sand" (20th Century Fox, 1941)  

For those south of the equator, halter dresses can also be very glamourous and Rita looks fantastic in all dresses.

Ann Sheridan (Photographed by George Hurrell, 1940)    

This is also the time of year where glittery and lamé fabrics give a gown the extra glamour like the dress above worn by Ann Sheridan.

Veronica Lake from "Ramrod" (United Artists, 1947)  Costume designed by Edith Head    

I'm slightly obsessed with Veronica Lake's gown – it has a country feeling of glamour and the bodice details are just stunning.

Myrna Loy in a bias-cut crêpe cocktail gown.  
This is around the time of first movie from The Thin Man series (1934-1936)

Myrna Loy always comes to my mind when I think of Hollywood glamour.  In fact, the first Thin Man movie is one of my all-time favourites.  This dress is in a spongy and sparkly crêpe fabric; I just love the drape of the bodice and shoulders. Simple yet elegant.

Joan Bennett -  in her brunette "femme fatale" phase (between 1939-46) 

Holiday gowns also provide the perfect opportunity to sew with velvet – one of my favourite fabrics to wear.  I really want to try sewing with silk velvet. Unfortunately, it's a fabric that is hard to get at my local fabric stores, so I might have to try and source it online.  Any good recommendations?

Carole Lombard from "No Man of Her Own" (Paramount, 1932).  “Connie Randall” beige gown by Travis Banton    Check out the Colette blog about him here.  

I think this dress worn by Carole Lombard is what I would consider the ultimate glamour gown!  Now, can you imagine this in a velvet silk?

Do you have any plans for holiday sewing this year?
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