Category Archives: 1940s

Challenge #1 HSF ’14: Make do & Mend

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First finished project of the year!  Admittedly, this was mostly finished, and I could have finished it yesterday, but instead I pulled it out after many months languishing in a plastic project bag because I knew it would meet the requirements for the first challenge of Historical Sew Fortnightly ’14

The Challenge: #1- Make Do And Mend

Fabric: Very high quality cotton.  This was a thrifted men’s shirt, so I did not need to do buttons or buttonholes!

Pattern: Simplicity 3551.  Used mostly for shape, which had to be adapted to the shape of the existing shirt.

Year: Early 1940′s (YAY for WWII era being permissable for the HSF this year!!!)

Notions: Interfacing.  Bias binding.

How historically accurate is it? Pretty accurate!  But, that being said, not too many sewing techniques that are available to the home sewer today weren’t available to industrial sewing in the 1940′s.  I did cut corners by using the button and buttonholes that were originally on this blouse, but the blouse itself was made from a cut apart men’s thrifted shirt, then cut to period from the blouse pattern.  I cut corners by sewing the bias tape facings by machine instead of by hand, but since I plan on wearing this a lot and machine washing it, I figured a this would be faster and more durable for laundering. They did this in the 1940′s, but most often on cheaper, factory made clothing.

Hours to complete: I’m guessing around 6-8.  I did cheater grade it to my size, but eyeballing it as I was cutting.

First worn: Not yet!

Total cost:  About $6 for the shirt.  The blouse pattern cost $15 (I know since it’s still got a sticker on the plastic sleeve), but this is my second time making it, so I think that means I should cut the cost in half, so that means the pattern cost me about $7.50, plus bias tape, thread, and interfacing which were in the stash.  So maybe about $14.50ish.

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Free Vintage E-Pattern- Adorable Autumn Acorns Crocheted Border

Today I have a fun little freebie for you!

If your fingers have been itching to take up needlework again, here’s a cute little crocheted pattern from the late 1940s for a crocheted acorn border.  I’m sure they originally decorated things like household linens, hankies, etc,, but why not use them on a blouse, purse, or something to wear?  Maybe even a little hair accessory.

Have fun! If you make them up, please share photos!

Introducing the Newest Pattern! WWII Home Front Overalls

I’m happen to announce the latest pattern addition to Wearing History, which is now available for Pre-Order!

A perfect addition to your 1940s wardrobe, these WWII Home Front Overalls, Playsuit, and Trousers are both functional and fashionable!  Every WWII gal needed a pair of trousers or overalls when working toward Victory, and with this pattern you can make this vintage essential for your wardrobe!

This pattern features a lovely V neckline, straps that criss-cross at the back, a set in belt, and trousers with optional front pockets.  This can be worn over a blouse (blouse NOT included in this pattern, blouse pictured is from Smooth Sailing pattern), but the overalls hit high enough that you could wear them without a blouse, as in the late 1930′s “Farmerette” fashion, or as a playsuit with shorts.  The front of the pants have a tuck on each side, which is hidden when the pockets are used.  The tuck will be visible if no pockets are used.  If made without the top, these make excellent trousers, and when made in denim and with the pockets, they are great 1940′s jeans!

This pattern is a Wearing History Resto-Vival pattern based on an original period mail order pattern from the WWII era.  Unlike the other Resto-Vival patterns, which are follow the outline of original period pattern pieces, this pattern needed serious corrections in order to make the pattern fit together properly.   I have edited, corrected, and improved this pattern so you can be sure the pieces will go together as they should.  This pattern retains authentic period fit, including the lower crotch rise length that is different than the rise in today’s trousers.

This pattern includes pattern instructions based on on the original instructions.  Some notes have been added to the instructions to aid in construction.

 This pattern was originally available in Misses sizes 30″ bust to 40″ bust, but this pattern has been graded to expand the sizes to MISSES size 30″ bust through 46″ bust.  Larger sizes are based off the same misses size pattern and ARE NOT plus size.

This pattern is available in 3 sizes per packet.

 
This is the first Wearing History pattern that will be available as a mailed, printed pattern OR as a print-at-home E-pattern.  The expected release date is May 9th.

 

As a special promotion, until the pattern release date you can pre-order this pattern for $24!  That is a $6 discount off of the regular $30 price.

 

The e-pattern is not available for pre-order, but will be placed on the site on the release date for $9.99.

 

This pattern is an excellent match for the Victory Hats Pattern (which includes a factory worker cap to keep your hair in place for your Rosie factory worker impression) or the Smooth Sailing Pattern, which is the pattern for the blouse pictured here with the overalls and includes my top-rated WH original pattern for vintage trousers.  Remember, two patterns ship for the same price as one!  Patterns ordered with this pre-order will ship after the release date.

 

Thanks so much for supporting my little indie small business!  And if you love this new pattern don’t forget to share with your friends :)

The Etiquette of Good Grooming, 1940.

Today I’ve got a great page from the August 1940 issue of The Woman’s Home Companion.  This page gives a good peek back at etiquette of yesterday, complete with darling illustrations..  Today’s ladies might do well to keep it in mind, too, though I’m sure most of us are guilty of some of them!

Click on the image below to be taken to my Flickr stream for a larger image you can read.

 

1940s Bra Sample Photos!

It’s about time!  This was one of the first patterns I did as a “Resto-Vival”, back in 2010, and it’s finally time I actually sewed one up and took some photos!

At work recently, I had been given the task to create 1940s undergarments for stock (I’m currently working at a theatre), so I brought a printout of my handy dandy Wearing History digital bra pattern with me and set to work.

bra04

Although the original vintage pattern was stated a 32 (no up size), reviewers had said that this bra ran large.  I found this to be the case as well.  The dress form is 35″ around the bust and about a B cup, and it fit very well.  I have edited the item description to note this.

A few little things I did for decoration that weren’t called for in the original pattern were the topstitching details.  I found it easiest to finish the seams with a bias binding on the inside, so decided to go with contrast thread and use it as accents, and then continue the motif on the bottom piece of the cups.  I also added real bra straps (not of ribbon or fabric as called for in the original  and added a little bow at center front.  The original pattern called for bias binding around the edges but I went with a bias facing instead, making it 1/2″ shorter at top and bottom than it would have been with facing.

All in all, I don’t know why I procrastinated on making vintage bras for so long!  It went together super easy and very quickly.  I’ve actually got a pale pink one partially constructed already, and can see making more.  It’s funny leaving a pattern review of my own pattern, but there you have it!

If you want to try out your own version, you can purchase the digital download on my website for this 1940′s Brassiere Pattern.

Great Los Angeles Air Raid, 2013

Wow! It’s been about a month since this event! How did that happen?  Well, I’m a bit late, but here’s my favorite photos I took at an annual event in San Pedro, CA, at Fort MacArthur Military Museum.  This event is called The Great Los Angeles Air Raid and is a WWII themed dance and re-enactment that happens once a year, commemorating the time during WWII when they believed they spotted foreign aircraft over Los Angeles. Panic broke out, and in the end it was a weather balloon (or a UFO, depending on who you ask). You can read more about the real event here on Wikipedia.

This was my first time donning a real WWII uniform.  I was fortunate enough to come across an original British ambulance driver’s uniform. I guess you can tell where some of my heritage is from, as it fit me to a “t”!  We couldn’t find a helmet, and finding other parts of this uniform is proving somewhat impossible, so my husband and I made the hat to go with the jacket by looking at real WWII photos of women ambulance drivers.  I actually also have the matching overcoat, but for once this event was too warm to need it!  We all usually freeze at this event!

Here’s some photos of friends and I at the event.

Hope your week is going wonderfully!

Outfit Post: New 1940s Plaid Suit!

I’m so, so excited!  My Christmas present from my husband got here, and it has to be one of my very favorite vintage things I’ve ever owned.  He said I could pick out a couple things on Etsy for my gift, and I jumped on this suit from Raleigh Vintage.  It’s an early 1940s lovely wool suit- kind of like a tweed, with a thick weave in a bold red, white, gray, and black.  So yummy!!  I’ve always admired vintage suits, especially the “man-tailored” or “collegiate” style ones, so I’m very excited this lovely suit is now gracing my closet :)

I love how I can wear the suit open or closed- both look really authentic to the sporty look of the early 1940s,

My felt “envelope” hat is also new.  I bought it recently from Frock You Vintage in San Diego.

And a silly little close up.  I felt very “film noir” detective girl in this suit!

Now on my wish list, I would love to find a red tweedy wool jacket so I can mix and match a 1940s wardrobe, and a gray or red overcoat.  Someday!  For now, I’m just much too thrilled with my new to me vintage suit :)

Adventure at Fort Rosecrans- Remember Pearl Harbor

It’s a tad late posting these, but I wanted to share photos from one of our last vintage outings.  My husband and I went to a WWII re-enactment public display at the beginning of this month at Fort Rosecrans, San Diego, in remembrance of Pearl Harbor.  They recently restored an underground bunker, and they do a small WWII public display once a month.  You can find out more on the Cabrillo National Monument website and by calling the park to see when they plan on having the bunker open to the public.  There’s also a Victorian lighthouse, a military cemetery  and tide pools at this park, but we ran out of sunlight and camera batteries, unfortunately!

Here’s some photos of the day.

Being the sucker for adventure that I am, I could not resist the opening of the bunker!  Who knows what untold fun awaited us?  But in WWII I’m sure there was a heavy dose of fear that accompanied the need to go into these bunkers.

I’m on the lookout.

And some shots of the inside of the bunker.  The re-enactors brought most of these with them to set the bunker up to how it would have looked at wartime.


My husband and I.  I’m wearing the 1940s jerkin I made a while back and a new shirt I made especially for this occasion.

And our beautiful San Diego coastline.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and Happy New Year!  Be safe while you celebrate!

Finished Project: A 1940s Patriotic Sweater and an Update

First of all, I want to thank you all who took the time to comment on my last blog post about our car accident and my new job.  All of your kind thoughts and prayers have been truly appreciated.  I’m still not normal yet (it happened only a week ago), but things are getting better little by little.

It ends up I had a concussion and several pulled muscles, as well as whiplash.  My husband is not quite as bad (the car hit mostly on my side), but he does have injuries as well, including whiplash and sore muscles.  For what happened, we’re SO fortunate it wasn’t worse!!  I’ve got some meds from the doctor and have started physical therapy, which is helping, and I’ve been using an ice pack quite a bit which helps the soreness and headaches.  I can’t really do much sewing, since it really hurts my shoulder. In a way I’m thankful it happened when it did, since I have a few weeks off for the holidays- there’s no way I feel good enough yet to get back to work.  Of course, we wish it didn’t happen at all.  It did end up my cousin’s truck, which we had borrowed for the weekend, was totaled, as well as the girls car.  Just horrible.  :(

Between my twice a week allergy shots (spending about two hours a week in the doctor’s waiting room) and spending weekends at home (before the accident) I had nearly finished this sweater a few weeks ago.  So, little by little, I have been doing a little finishing on it.  I’m so excited- I am such an A.D.D. knitter- I start things, get sidetracked, rip them out, start something else.  I actually started AND finished a project!  Hurrah!

I still think of myself as a beginning knitter, even though I’ve been doing it on and off for several years, and even I was able to work up this pattern with little difficulty.  It’s been for sale as a download on my website for probably a year or so, but now I have sample pictures to go with it and a sweater for myself!  Yay!


I got the yarn (Vanna’s Choice) on super sale at Joann’s on Black Friday this year.  Since I wasn’t sure if I actually would be able to finish it or knit it up, I wanted to try with cheaper yarn.  In the end I like it *ok* but wish I had chosen something with natural content instead of 100% acrylic.  Ah well, for the next project I will!

The buttons are vintage and bought from Atomic Regeneration on Etsy.

And you can get the knitting pattern on my Wearing History Patterns website.

Hope you have a great weekend, and if I don’t check in again, a very blessed Christmastime!

God Bless,

Lauren

Finished Project- The “You Were Never Lovelier” Fringey Dress

Thanks to my good friend, Beth, I have pictures to share of this project!

This was another dress I made for Costume College this year.  The theme of the evening on Thursday night was “Carmen Miranda,” but when I was watching You Were Never Lovelier a month or so before Costume College I knew I needed the fringey dress that his lead singer of Xavier Cugat’s band wore in one of the opening numbers.  It just so happens to be on YouTube, so here it is (and now the song will be stuck in my head all day).

The dress and strap were made of fabrics in the stash.  The fringe was bought on Etsy.  I had an interesting time coming up with the pattern- it actually started life as two seperate patterns (one mid 1930s, one mid 1940), which were combined, draped, and completely altered to make it work to be similar to this design.

Here’s Beth and I at the party.

And, of course, since it was Carmen Miranda themed, I needed to add a turban!  Stephanie posted a great image of Carmen Miranda with a butterfly turban, so I knew I needed one!  It was made by draping swimwear fabric on a foam head block, then creating rings of quilt batting and covering them with the same fabric.  The pointy bits were sewn to that shape then I added millinery wire to make them stand up. The glittery butterflies came from Ebay.

That wraps up all the projects I made for this year’s Costume College :)  Many thanks again to Beth for the pictures!