Tag Archives: 1940s

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,



My New Goodies- Purchases Made at The Vintage Marketplace

I admit that, even as a seller, one of the best things about The Vintage Marketplace is the shopping!  There’s not really many vintage clothing items, but I did find some pretty fabulous finds this time.  In fact, more than I was expecting! Haha.  I was a bit naughty.  But I want to share my new/old pretty things.

Warning! Lots of pics ahead!

My first find was this super cute sewing caddy I got from Rita of Mammabellarte.  She is one of the two ladies who runs the show, and when I went over to her booth to ask a question I spied this little cutie and snapped it up for only $20!  Beats the normal shoe box or plastic bag next to the couch for holding evening projects ;)

sewing caddy
It even has a little shelf inside for holding thread!
sewing caddy
These pretty little floral furniture appliques also came from Rita.
furniture appliques

These cute little earrings were made by Janis of Graceabounding‘s daughter. She’s saving up to go on a choir trip to England and was selling these cute little handmade earrings to stash away money for her trip. I am a sucker for cabochons and filigree.  I want to highlight some of Janis’ lovely work in an upcoming blog post.
handmade earrings
All of these came from the same seller, at different times during the weekend. As a inside scoop, sellers will often bring new things the second day, so keep your eyes peeled and shop early!
I can always use more lace, and this one was darling and would be perfect on antique style undergarments
vintage lace
When talking on Friday, she was nice enough to mention she had vintage fabrics, so she brought these on Saturday for me to paw through. These two had to come home. The floral will be a 1940s house dress (complete with rick rack), and the blue will be a 1930s sporty dress.
vintage cotton fabrics
And then my husband found these two hats for me from the same seller! Quoth he, “If I didn’t get them I knew you’d kill me.” Lol! He knows my weakness for hats, and the sillier the better!
vintage 1940s hat
vintage 1940s hat
vintage 1940s hat
vintage 1940s hat
vintage 1940s hat

And lastly, I bought these two darling items from Sweet Magnolias Farm for my mom. Since she’s seldom online I know I can post the photo here without ruining the surprise. I have lots more photos to share soon from Sweet Magnolias Farm, since I want to highlight this fun company run by a mother/daughter duo- Abbey and Sara.
Sweet Magnolias Farm

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!

Current Sewing Inspiration: Glamorous Film Costumes

Costume College is sneaking up on me really fast.  The theme this year is the Golden Age of Hollywood, so I’ve been madly trying to come up with some classic film worthy gowns!  Last year I made one gown inspired by classic Hollywood (you might remember if from this post)- and then the theme for this year was announced- so I grabbed at the chance to further indulge my inner classic movie fan. So far I’ve got two new gowns I’m taking with me this year- one 1930s and one 1940s.  I’m not sharing pictures yet, but here’s what I’ve been inspired by:


Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford

Dorothy Lamour


Katherine Alexander

Ginger Rogers

Gored Dance-Worthy Skirts!

Carole Lombard

All images property of Doctor Macro

I’m also teaching two classes this year.  If you’re attending make sure you come say “hi”, and take my classes if you can.  They are “De-coding Vintage Patterns” and “Building a Basic 1930s/1940s Wardrobe.”

Finished Project: A Wrap Top from 1946

I finished up a super quick little sewing project and wanted to share!   This top is from Simplicity 1867, from 1946.  I made style 5.  This blouse was meant to be made with a single fabric with a lace edgeing for the ruffles, but I had both of these yardages in my stash, and both of them were not enough to be something on their own, but together they worked!  I didn’t have enough fabric to do this project properly.  The blouse should have been larger and the sleeve ruffles and bottom ruffle were not supposed to be hemmed- but it somehow worked! I admit I did a little cheating with cutting- some pieces cut on the grain, some on cross grain- and the back was cut from two pieces instead of one on the fold- but hey! It kind of works! The ruffles of the sleeve were supposed to have about four inches more of gathers on each side, and the bottom ruffle was pieced, but it was kind of fun to squeak this out of my fabric.  Of course, rick rack makes everything better ;)

I think it’s funny that this blouse is called a “poncho blouse” on the envelope, but the description is rather accurate.  It pulls on over the head and two ties come around the front and tie at the waist to cinch in the back, then the two long ties tie at the back to make a bow.

I’m shortwaisted so shortened the pattern pieces of the front and back one inch each, but in reality they could do with at least another half inch to an inch of length taken out of them- it does fit a bit more blousey on me than on the dress form!

It’s a fun little pattern, and it’s kind of kooky.  I probably will make more of these if I end up having more yardage I love but don’t have much of!

Rita 1930s/1940s Shorts Pattern Available!

Great News!!!

The “Rita” Pleated Shorts pattern is now available!  This one was finished and ready ahead of schedule, so if you’re looking for some fun Summer sewing go take a peek at the link and grab your own copy now.

It’s always a combination of relief and a bit of nervousness I get when I finish up a new pattern.  Relief because usually the last week of work is the most difficult (plus, I work extra hard and long to try to get it done faster!), and nervousness because I always hope that what I put so much time and effort into will be well liked!  I really hope you love this new pattern.  I’ve got to say, I’ve already sewn up four versions of it myself and I totally want to make more- I love wearing them just that much :)

Now on to a little break from patternmaking for me- I’ll be putting more original vintage patterns up on the Etsy site and possibly eBay in the coming weeks.  There will also be a few photo tutorials coming up on the blog that you can use on this new pattern.

I’m also teaching two classes at Costume College in August that I’ve got to get cracking on.  If you’re attending this year make sure you come say “hi”.  I’ll be teaching two classes- one on understanding vintage patterns and on on building a basic 1930s/1940s wardrobe- and they’ve given me the “ok” to offer patterns for sale at the end of my class (as long as we don’t go over in time).

Hope those of you in the USA have a wonderful Independence Day tomorrow!

xo Lauren

“Rita” Shorts- Official Pattern Preview with Pictures!

I know I jumped the gun last night, but I’d like to officially announce pattern #1006- the “Rita” Pleated Shorts!

This pattern is an original Wearing History design and was inspired by vintage mail order catalogs and magazine images from the late 1930s through the mid 1940s.

These classic shorts look like a mini skirt but are actually shorts!  Perfect for summer days, and a great modest and flattering solution for your hot weather wardrobe.

These shorts feature three box pleats at the front, three box pleats at the back, a side zipper, and a narrow or wide waistband.  When choosing the wide waistband option you can also add detachable suspenders!  These shorts hit at the natural waistline (not low rise- “high waist” by modern standards).

These shorts are meant to have a vintage cut with a bit of an updated fit, including a higher rise (crotch length) than vintage shorts, but a longer rise than modern shorts.  It’s a happy mid-point that I think you will like!  Although these shorts were inspired by late 1930s to mid 1940s images, these can easily carry you into the 1950s.  By lengthening the rise of the shorts and the length they can work for mid 1930s styles as well, when done with the narrow waistband.

These shorts make a great base for your creative embellishments.  Add decorative buttons at the front for a sailor style, add piping to the high waistband and embroidery for a western style, or play with your designs in the form of appliques or fabric paint.  They’re a fun and playful addition to your wardrobe.  Make multiple pairs that are styled differently to keep your look unique.

This pattern includes step-by-step instructions compiled and illustrated by me, as well as cutting charts for 45″ wide fabric.  Blog tutorials for pleating and zipper insertion are coming up after the pattern release!


These shorts look great in printed or solid cottons, linens, and rayons.  These work best for dress weight or mid weight fabrics.  They have a lot of “swing” to their movement!  If you make a matching blouse this will make an adorable playsuit!  I suggest the Smooth Sailing Blouse, the Late 1930′s Beach Halter top (both tops shown above) or the the Sunkissed Sweetheart tie top as adorable companions to these shorts.

You can purchase the Rita Shorts Pattern here on my website.


First Peek at The “Rita” Shorts!

I’ve got a special surprise for you! My cousin and I got together today for photos of the new pattern and I just couldn’t wait any longer to show you what I’ve been working on!

Introducing pattern #1006- The “Rita” Shorts.  These pleated shorts are suitable for looks from the late 1930s through the mid 1940s, and will include three options- short waistband, tall waistband, and tall waistband with suspenders (the last of which is shown here).  This is shown with a top from pattern #1002- Smooth Sailing.

I hope you love them! I’m estimating that they should be ready in about two weeks! :)

Eight Favorite 1940s Movies for Fashion

I’m all inspired by 1940s fashion right now! I thought, to share inspiration, I’d pass on some of my top favorite 1940s movies for fashion and costume design.

In no particular order:

#1- Cover Girl(1944).  Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly.  Costume Design by Travis Banton, Muriel King, and Gwen Wakeling

Image source: Nancy Girl Blog- Go to the post for great screen shots of this film.

#2- Pin Up Girl (1944)- Betty Grable, Martha Raye.  Costume Design by René Hubert.

Image Source: Andi B. Goode on retroaesthetics on Livejournal.  Check out the link for more great screen caps.

#3- The Philadelphia Story (1940)- Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart.  Gowns by Gilbert Adrian.

Image Source: Vili Flik Blog.

#4- State Fair (1945)- Jeanne Crain, Dana Andrews.  Costume Design: René Hubert.

Image source: Ruffles & Whiskers blog.

#5- Casablanca (1943)- Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart.  Costume Design: Gowns by Orry-Kelly.

Image Source: Fashionable Forties. Check out the blog post for more great images.

#6- Now, Voyager (1942).  Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains.  Costume Design: Edith Head.

Image source: She’s in Vogue blog. Check out the link for more images.

#7- Ball of Fire (1941)- Barbara Stanwyk, Gary Cooper.  Costume Design by Edith Head.

Image Source: Screwball Cinema Blog.

#8- The Lady Eve (1941)- Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda.  Costume Design by Edith Head.

Image Source: Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule

What are your favorite 1940s films for fashion?

Playsuits and Peasant Tops

There is something in the air! Summertime!

One of my favorite lady bloggers, Casey, just posted a sneak peek at her finished playsuit, and I’m madly at work making my new shorts pattern.  I just finished sample #4, and tomorrow I’ll be taking photos.  But, of course, being completely insane, I decided I need to make a peasant top to go with one of the samples.  I’ve been drafting up a peasant crop top inspired by lots of vintage images.  Take a peek at some of these yummy vintage style finds, found on Pinterest and Etsy.

Peasant Dress made by Jitterbuggin, $214.

Peasant Blouse by NudeeDudee on Etsy, $125

Peasant Dresses, Life magazine archive on Google.

Advance 4214 on Vintage Pattern Wiki

Butterick 2926 on Vintage Pattern Wiki

Are you a fan of peasant tops and peasant dresses?