Category Archives: sewing

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Finished Project: 1002 Nights Poiret Dress

I have just finished up my Poiret inspired dress!

Paul Poiret is one of my fashion design icons.  Making a dress that paid homage to him was really fun!

I felt so “high fashion” in it, because of it’s absurdity, so had fun with editing my photos to capture the way it felt.

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If you missed the prior post with more details about the making of this dress, you can find it here.

This “excuse” for making this dress (not that I needed one) was the Historical Sew Fortnightly’s “Fairytale” challenge.  Here’s the info for the challenge:

The Challenge: #6- “Fairytale”  Inspired by Paul Poiret’s “One Thousand and Second Night” party.

Fabric:  The tunic is all poly with little rubber dots on it.  Pretty horrid, but has a great look when made up for the “Poiret” look.  The dress is a black satin rayon, which they actually did have in this time period.

Pattern: Underdress: My Cordelia skirt pattern and the 1910s Blouse pattern with an altered neckline and no sleeves.  Overdress:  Very loosely based on a bodice pattern from the period, but mostly entirely self composed as I went along.

Year: 1913-ish

Notions: Indian import trim, hooks and eyes, snaps, hoop wire, bias facing.

How historically accurate is it?  If it wasn’t for the fibre content, it would be pretty close.  I’m knocking myself for that, though, and giving myself a 40% accuracy marking.

Hours to complete:  I have no idea.  Maybe 12-ish?  It went pretty fast, but I puttered in 15 minute increments on it over the span of three weeks (didn’t make the “fortnight” due date).

First worn: Today for pictures!

Total cost: Hmm…. considering the only thing I really bought for this was the dupatta, I think it was around $35.  Everything else was from the stash.

More outfit details:  My shoes were thrifted, my hat is authentic Edwardian, and the brooches, etc are vintage, with the exception of the necklace and earrings, and the choker I used as an accent on the belt.  All of those are new from Ebay, bought over the last seven years or so.

 

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In Progress: A Poiret Inspired “One Thousand and Second Night” Dress

The next Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge is “Fairytale.”  I was originally thinking that I would finish my Edwardian tea gown and do “Sleeping Beauty”, but then I got totally uninspired and realized I made some mistakes in construction when I started it last year.  That, and I had about a million pieces of insertion lace to cut the back out of and finish, and I don’t like the fabric.

So my second thought was “The Midas Touch”, and making a gold 1920′s evening dress and cape.  But the event I was going to make it for was last night, and we didn’t go, and I obviously didn’t make the dress in time.

So then, I looked on this lovely Indian imported dupatta shawl (bought at Queens Club on Etsy).  I had bought it to make a 19-teens evening dress for, but when it arrived I wasn’t enthralled with the poly content and little painted gold dots on it.  But the trim on the edges is GORGEOUS, and, the next idea that popped into my head was more costumey, which would allow a little more wiggle room for authenticity than my original plan I had purchased it for, so it was sort of serendipity.

One of my fashion design icons of all time is Paul Poiret, and he had lavish parties themed “One Thousand and Second Night”.  PERFECT theme for the HSF challenge!

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Denise Poiret, 1911, at one of the “One Thousand and Second Night” parties (found via Pinterest).

Did I mention I love roses, so I bought it for the rose pattern and then realized not only did Poiret LOVE textiles of this sort, but his signature rose was similar in design to the one on my dupatta.  Serendipity!  Meant to be!  And it’s coming together SO quickly.  Love when that happens.

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Poiret Dress from FIT (found via Pinterest)

One of my main inspirations are the “lampshade” dresses that Paul Poiret was incredibly well known for.  This one is a classic.  Katherine of The Fashionable Past actually made a great 19-teens evening gown inspired by the existing black and white version of this dress.

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I started with an original vintage pattern, circa 1912, but changed it quite a bit in the muslin mock up stage to accommodate a bodice that would cross in front and in back and have a slightly different sleeve than the original, which was tighter fitting and had gussets.

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I pinned the bodice and skirt to the dress form to get an idea of the length of the lampshade skirt.  I did end up shortening it, and decided I wanted it to have a slightly longer length in back than in front.

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The dress it’s over is the dress I made for the Cordelia skirt pattern sample of the evening train.  I have never worn it, so chopped off the sleeves, removed the trim, and am making it work as an underdress for this outfit.  I also will have to let out some of the seams, since I’m not the same size I was a few years ago.  But still, better than starting from scratch!

I have decided to make the underdress and overdress separate, so that I have the option to make harem trousers for this at a later time.

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After I cut the right length, I assembled the underarm seams, the back seam, and decided on a center back closure.  The original was most likely a front closure, as is normal with period gowns, but I decided the back closure would be easier to construct (though it means I’ll need help getting into it).  After a little thinking, and remembering how period dresses are made that I have, I decided on the inner waistband, with the skirt and bodice gathered to it.  All seams are now encased between the inner waistband and the rayon seam tape.  It will lap over at center back and fasten with hooks and bars and snaps.

IMG_4059 And on the form, ready for the next step!  I will have a waist sash cover the waist where the tape is visible, and I have to sew the inside casing for the hoop wire next.  It’s coming together quite quickly, considering I only started it yesterday afternoon!

I have a board on Pinterest I started as inspiration for this project, with Poiret images, examples from the Ballet Russes, and other period inspirations.

Hope you had a fantastic weekend!

Finished Projects: Edwardian S-Curve Corset + “Improvers”

If you’re following me on Instragram, you may have seen my progress posts on my Edwardian corset and bust improvers.  The corset project was a UFO from last year’s Historical Sew Fortnightly from the same challenge.  This year I was determined to finish it.  It’s just in at the deadline, barely, but I finished it!

I have a few entries for this challenge, since I decided to make Edwardian bust improvers to go with the corset.  Each project is listed separately, but I’ll include them both in this post.

It was much too small, so I had to add 2″ panels to each side.  Luckily, with the other seaming, it’s not terribly obvious.  I had accidentally cut this WAY too small, and had forgotten I had added extra seam allowance to my mock up but didn’t transfer it to my pattern.  Thank goodness I had *just* enough coutil and fashion fabric to cut panels!

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The Challenge: #4- Under it All

Fabric:  Cotton coutil, silk broade

Pattern: Truly Victorian TVE01- 1903 S-Curve Corset

Year: 1903

Notions:  Metal boning, busk, eyelets, ribbon, vintage laces, corset lace, bone casing, twill tape for loops for detachable garters (garters were made for a previous corset, but work for this one as well).

How historically accurate is it?  Pretty close, but I serged the inside seams instead of leaving them raw or flat felling them.  The garters are not really period correct, as they would have been constructed differently.

Hours to complete: Way too many

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost:  Pretty expensive.  I didn’t keep track, but I’d guess in the $50-$60 range.  Most of the materials were bought either last year or several years before, so I didn’t need to buy any new products to complete this during this year.

paddingAlso made were the padding.  I made the “hip pad” from the Truly Victorian pattern that was included with the corset.  For the bust pads, however, I decided I wanted ones similar to those in the LACMA museum, that I had seen in the “Fashioning Fashion” exhibit.

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Woman’s Bust Improver (Falsies), England, circa 1900, image from LACMA
I drafted up a quick pattern based on these.  First I made ones that were 16″ across, but they were kind of big and more “Barbie”ish.  Today I whipped up another pair that are 14″ across, and they suit better.
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To compare, here’s the larger ones, and the smaller ones.  They’re both somewhat ridiculous, but so period correct!
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I actually ended up sticking this up on my site as an e-pattern.  Since I went to the trouble, I thought others might want to make some, too.
e102COVERwebFair warning/disclaimer.   These were based on those in the collection of LACMA, but the pattern I made is in no way affiliated with LACMA, or endorsed by them.  It was just a fun, quick project, using an existing period example as inspiration.
In any case…
For kicks, I took pictures of my corset with a dress I had made a few years ago with padding and without padding, to get an idea of how it changes the silhouette.
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How interesting!  It reminds me so much of this ad:
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The Challenge: #4- Under it All

Fabric:  Cotton muslin, cotton shirting

Pattern: Truly Victorian TVE01- 1903 S-Curve Corset, + Wearing History E102- Edwardian Bust Improver

Year: 1900-1908

Notions:  For hip pad: Cotton wadding, twill tape.  For bust improvers: cotton wadding, double fold bias tape, flat lace that was gathered, lace beading, silk ribbon.

How historically accurate is it?  Pretty close.  I think the TV pattern is dead on for the period.  Bust improvers of the time varied greatly, so I wouldn’t be surprised if some exactly like this existed.  The museum examples were constructed open at the back, so they could be stuffed and unstuffed.  For ease, and because I will very seldom actually wear these, I just stuffed them and seamed it in, so they have  closed back.

Hours to complete: These were quick. Probably under an hour for each item.

First worn: Not yet.

Total cost:  Everything was from the stash.  Actual cost of each was probably under $5.  The cotton batting was free, and everything else was constructed of scraps of inexpensive cotton.  The lace was probably the most expensive part, since it was all vintage.  The silk ribbon was maybe a few dollars a yard and under a yard was used on each bust improver.

Finished Project: Early 1920′s Combinations.

At first I wasn’t sure if it would be done by the Historical Sew Fortnightly deadline, but I made it!  The finishing touches were done last night.

If you missed the prior post, with more details on the process, you can find it here.IMG_0830 IMG_0831 IMG_0832 IMG_0833 IMG_0834 IMG_0835

The Challenge: Historical Sew Fortnightly “Pink” Challenge

Fabric: Vintage silk crepe

Pattern: Butterick 3201

Year: 1921

Notions: Vintage lace edging and insertion, vintage “imitation silk” embroidery threads, silk ribbons for embroidery, pearlized off white beads, hook and eye tape, and a few little ombre ribbon flowers.

How historically accurate is it?  Very.  I used all period correct techniques, including french seams and insertion methods.  The modern things would be of polyester, including the ombre ribbon flowers used at the sides and the straps, polyester thread, and the hook and eye tape is most likely polyester, with the hooks and eyes having some sort of white plastic coating.  Otherwise, it’s all authentic, with period correct techniques and materials.

Hours to complete:  A lot.  I spent a good amount of time on embellishment.  Otherwise it would have gone together quickly.

First worn:  Not yet!

Total cost: I’m not sure.  The fabric was bought at an estate sale a long while ago, and I don’t remember the cost, but it was probably $5-$10.  The lace and trims probably total somewhere around $5.  I don’t remember the cost of the pattern.  So we’ll say, probably $30 or so.

It hangs a little funny on my dress form, because she is not biforcated. ;)

I’m pretty proud of this one!  I spent time of doing French seams and embellishment.  I think it looks pretty close to some of the period ones I have seen, and, because of the fabric, even feels like a real one!  Yay!

In progress: Early 1920′s Combinations

I’m not a one of those girls that’s really into the color pink.  I tolerate it more than I used to, and I occasionally do buy something pink, which is a long way from where I was in my high school and college days, where I blatantly refused to put anything pink on my body.  Now, I actually kind of like certain tones of pink, but I am very particular.

When the Historical Sew Fortnightly “Pink” challenged was announced I instantly knew what I would do.  I have found I have an affinity for the color pink when it’s used in vintage undergarments, or on vintage “boudoir” items- like little rosettes for decoration, etc.  I even have a pinterest board for these items that I pink to on occasion, and others things of the pink vareity are on my “pretty things” board.

Since I had so much fun with my 1929 pajamas, I decided to go with something 1920s again!

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I decided on Butterick 3201, and a little detective work shows it was probably from 1921, since the pattern sequence number appeared in Delineator magazines of that year.  I love that it still has a late 19-teens vibe, so I could probably wear it for both.

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The construction is quite odd.  Here’s my muslin with markings drawn in sharpie.  That longish dart actually hits at the waist.  The line you can see at the back waist in the image isn’t a belt- it’s the dart seam.  The little fish eye dart hits under the armpit.  Luckily I had almost no alterations.  My friend Beth was kind enough to fit me in the muslin when she was down visiting.

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The fit is very loose at the bottom, and very long.  It hits knee length of me.  Both Beth and my husband thought I was pretty amusing, especially when it was made up in unmovable muslin with my awesome fluffy slippers and big white socks!  LOL!

I did play with the idea of shortening it, then decided, what the heck… I’m just going with it.  Unflattering they may be, but they’re period, and once I add trims I bet they’ll be more fun.

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My original trim idea of wide lace didn’t work, since I chose to do the version with the curved hem.  It would have made the lace stick out funny at the sides, or have to be gathered in, and I just didn’t feel like dealing with it.  I broke out period catalogs from the late 1910s through early 1920s for design inspiration and settled on a narrow lace at the hem and decorations instead.

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Most of the period examples in my catalogs were really plain on the lower portion, but I decided to do bows!  I had wanted to try lace insertion bows for quite some time- ever since I saw them in a period sewing book of the late 1910s.  My kitty is helping.

20scombos3 First bow nearly done!  I drew this one freehand, out of my own imagination, with a pencil, then attached the lace.

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Then I transferred it to the other side with a light box.

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Right now I’m taking a break from lace work and making little french knot embroidered flowers on the front.  Part way through I realized I should have used a more flat type of embroidery if I’m really going to wear these as 1920s underwear, or else the texture will show through.  Oops?  Maybe they’ll just be for cute, instead of for practical.  But French knots are SO period!  I just had to do them.

I’m moving right along with these, so I hope to have them finished by the due date on Monday!  I’m pretty proud of myself for attempting embroidery AND lace insertion on a Historical Sew Fortnightly project!  It’s only because the garment itself is so simple that this has a possibility of being finished on time!

In Progress: Late 1920′s Pajamas

I so seldom remember to do “in progress” blog posts, but I’m making an exception because the thing I’m making now happens to be two pieces!

For the Historical Sew Fortnightly’s “Innovation” challenge I dilly-dallied with a theme.  First I thought zippers.  Then Rayon.  Then Trousers (this still might happen).  Then brassieres.  Then movie star fashions (related to marketing, like “Hollywood” or Butterick “Starred” patterns rather than an actual movie costume), then combinations… and then I settled on pajamas.

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I’ve wanted to make these since I bought the pattern which was way too many years ago to remember when I bought it, so I thought this was a good excuse.  I had actually scored a few lengths of rayon for pretty cheap in different spots that compliment each other well, so it was easy to get this project together.  The print was $3 a yard in Los Angeles, and I grabbed the last two yards they had with intention of making beach pajamas (this is close enough to the original idea), and the red rayon was a thrifted find for $2.99 for the whole length, so this is a cheap project that actually fills three “innovations”… pajamas for women, rayon fabric, and Art Deco since the print is very reminiscent of deco prints of the period.

Tonight I’ve managed to get together the trousers!  Hurrah!

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The cute little pocket got put on first. <3 the pocket.

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And the funny, saggy butt pajama pants!

I was lazy and didn’t mock up, since these are just pajamas, and they’re too big in the waist, but that just means they’re more comfy!  I had to add five inches to the length, too.  I guess I’m a bit tall compared to what they thought the height should be, but I noticed the illustration shows the length about at ankle length and I wanted these longer.

Although I thought this was from the late 20′s, and I’m still going with that, there are newspaper clippings inside from 1931.  If fact, I just found on Witness 2 Fashion, that the number places it at 1929.  Pajamas were the sort of patterns that would be in production for quite a while, since fashions didn’t change that drastically.  In fact, I have a McCall catalog from 1939 that shows patterns that would be from the mid 1930′s, but the illustration art.  So these pajamas are at a fun point in history- I was going for something a “collegiate” girl might wear.  I think the cheerful print would be right at home in a young ladies wardrobe!

Next up, I’ve got the blouse!  I’m doing the longer tunic blouse, but I really hope I have enough print left to squeak out a sleeveless, shorter blouse as well, that can be tucked in so I can show off the pocket on the trousers.  We’ll see!

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.

Finished Project: 1930′s Polka Dot Blouse

I’m trying to finish up a few little UFO’s before the New Year, and I just happened to have this one finished in time for the Historical Sew Fortnightly’s “Celebrate” challenge.

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The pattern I used was an NRA (National Recovery Act) era pattern, which puts it between 1933 and 1935.  I altered the sleeve a bit, but otherwise it’s as the envelope shows, the version at the top with the short sleeve instead of long sleeves.

I was a bit lazy, and sewed it up to the size the pattern is in, even though I know it’s too big for me.  I figure with the ties, the shirt can be tied in.  I’m somewhere between the dress form size and the original pattern size.  Because it’s a bit large, I was also lazy and didn’t bother with a placket- so it just slips on over the head, then ties to fit.

The fabric is a poly chiffon I bought at an estate sale for $5, and for the hem I did a little zig zag and trimmed away.  It was a pain, but I like how narrow of a finish it is.  I’m not very good at rolled hems, so this was a good choice for me.

Here’s the HSF required info:

The Challenge:  “Celebrate”  Last challenge of the year!

Fabric: Poly chiffon

Pattern: Simplicity 1676, an authentic original 1930′s pattern

Year: 1933-1935 (NRA period)

Notions: Thread

How historically accurate is it? Not very.  The fabric is not accurate, and the finishing is a mix between vintage and modern.  The cut is authentic, of course, since an original pattern was used.

Hours to complete: Maybe around 10-12ish.  Chiffon is fiddly!

First worn: Not yet!

Total cost: Somewhere around $40, including pattern cost.

Finished Project: A Tissot Inspired Ensemble

This may be the latest posted “Finished Project” on my blog EVER.  In fact, I finished this many years ago, before I even had a blog!  It’s one of those projects that I felt completely inspired by, intended to wear to an event, but then put away and never took out again.  Well, I was determined to take photographs in it this year.  To be honest, I highly doubted I would actually fit in it, but a little squeezing from my new corset I made this year, and it *barely* fit.  Good enough for pictures, anyways!

When I first became aware of James Tissot’s amazing paintings, I wanted to make a bunch of dresses inspired by them.  This one, “At the Rifle Range” (or “Woman at the Rifle Range”) from 1869 was an instant favorite because it appealed to my inner adventuress.

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My husband was sweet enough to instruct me how to stand, so we could play at replicating the feel of the pose.  Here, with photoshopped background to look more autumn/winter-y than we currently are in Southern California.  The pistol is just a toy.

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And here is how the plants really look in November where we live.  I honestly wish we had some sort of weather- the years tend to kind of run together when you don’t have a visual representation of the changing of the seasons.

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Unfortunately, I can’t give details on it because I honestly don’t remember what I did, but I DO know I used Truly Victorian for a base of top and overskirt (though I can’t remember which ones), and changed the patterns, but the underskirt is my all time favorite base skirt, the Grand Parlour Skirt.  The fabric is an odd, interior decor fabric of sueded synthetic fibres, and the trim is faux fur.

Here’s a view of the back.  I used antique cut steel buttons.

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Trying to be Christmas-y with a vintage fur muff.1870fur3webAnd some kitty pictures for good measure :)1870fur4web1870fur5web

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Many blessings to you and yours.

Finished Project: 1934 Sports Jacket

I finally have this finished and ready to post!  I actually finished this jacket one week ago, but am only now getting to the blog post.  Work has been just CRAZY, so I’m glad if I want to sew at all on my own projects.  But the show we’re working on is amazing and I get to sew some beautiful fabrics, so there’s a plus to the work madness.  If you haven’t kept up with my Facebook page, you may not know that new Wearing History releases are on hold for the time being, due to life craziness, but things will hopefully resume sometime around mid November, when I will be able to pick up more projects again.

But here is my jacket!

I have had this pattern for years and years, so it was exciting to finally sew it up!

This was started to be part of the Historical Sew Fortnightly, so here’s the info for the challenge:

The Challenge: Outerwear

Fabric: Green corduroy, bought at an estate sale.  It had to be cleverly cut, as the  fabric had fading down all the fold lines.  Because of this, I opted for the short sleeve version, even though I technically had enough yardage for the long sleeve version

Pattern: McCall 7802

Year: 1934

Notions:  Four vintage plastic buttons

How historically accurate is it?  Very.   It has overlocking to the inside edges and uses poly thread, but otherwise entirely accurate.

Hours to complete: I never keep track of this when doing projects for myself, but I will say it took longer to complete than it needed to, since the bulk of it was made in 15 minute increments when I was able to.

First worn: Not yet!

Total cost: Hmm… I don’t remember how much I paid for the pattern, but the fabric was probably less than $5, so I would say the total cost was most likely under $30.

I do actually have a mid 1930s blouse cut out of green and orange polka dot chiffon, for the “green” challenge that’s due tomorrow, but I will be lucky if I get it finished sometime in this next month!  I’m so glad that The Dreamstress has chosen to continue the Sew Fortnightly into next year, and extend the date range to 1945!  I have so many UFOs I’ve made this year that need to be completed!