Tag Archive | 1950s

Spanish Fan (#S-897)

dsci0144After making some doilies for my mom’s Christmas, I decided to start one for my craft/ guest room to put on the pattern file cabinet (but then was sidetracked with the crochet animals for a month).

I originally started off with another pattern from the Coronet from Coat’s & Clark’s #197 (same book as my grey Brocade doily).  I only got to row seven then was stuck.  The row really didn’t look like the picture at all.

So abandoning the Coronet, I searched through the other crochet patterns I had and settled on the Spanish Fan (#S-897) from Coat’s & Clark’s #324 Priscilla Doilies to Crochet (circa 1956).  The main deciding factor was that the caption above the picture stated “The elegance of simplicity… a charming design that is easy to crochet, even for beginners”.  It didn’t hurt that there were also, 5 other doilies listed in Ravelry.  At least I knew others had made it.

I used Aunt Lydia’s Classic crochet thread size 10 in coral instead of the size 30 thread requested in the pattern.  I also used a B sized crochet hook (2.25mm).  In the end, my doily was about 21 inches wide.


This is one time I may have to agree with the pattern book.  This was a fairly easy doily to crochet.  I had the first 5 rounds completed before Christmas.  So when I recently re-picked up this project I did have a little trouble trying to figure out where I left off at. But after that was sorted out, I was able to follow the pattern very easy.  I didn’t complete round 34.  I did start the round which has picots in the chain between the double crochet stitches.  My picots looked so messy that I decided it was best to finish it at round 33.


Upcoming crochet projects include a doily for my mother for Mother’s day and making Emma the bunny from “Edward’s Menagerie”.




A Perfect Silk Slip- Simplicity 4218

It took a while to find the perfect fabric for this 1960s pattern. The original pattern is designed for woven fabric so it was cut on the bias. My fabric is a stretch silk charmuese fabric. Instead of bias, I went with the straight grain for my half slip.

Simplicity 4218

The original length of the slip was 25 inches. That was just too long for what I needed. I needed somewhere around 15 inches in length. I had the size 14 (bust 34- waist 26). Plus I needed about 4 inches added to the waist and hips. So I went ahead chopped about 6 inches off the top of the pattern. That added about 1 inch to the waist on each piece. Then I took an additional 2 inches out from the shorten on lengthen line area to get the length I wanted. Then I went back and split the pattern pieces down the center to add another inch to the waist.

The half-slip was much easier to alter than I had expected. I didn’t make a muslin of this after I made all my pattern changes. Everything worked out well.

A side note, I adore being able to adjust my zig-zag width. I was able to use the 7 mm width for applying the elastic at the waistband. For the lace, it was the narrow zig-zag probably somewhere around 1.5 mm. So far, my new Pfaff Ambition Essentials has not let me down at all.

I cannot say if this is true for the slip and the panties of this pattern. For the half-slip only, it would be a good starter pattern for sewing on the bias. It was only two pattern pieces a front and back. There were no darts on the half-slip. This also made it very easy to switch the pattern for a stretch fabric instead.

Jungle January went to the Dolls- Simplicity 4347

I may not be styling animal print this Jungle January, but one of my American girl dolls is instead. Hopefully Anne at Petty Grievances can forgive me. I really did buy a snake-skin patterned rayon Challis for myself, but I just don’t think I will have time to fit a pattern.

I had finished cutting out my navy and white fabric for the quilt blocks. I had enough fabric left over to squeeze out a couple of doll skirts.

The pattern used for Molly’s outfit is Simplicity 4347 (same one that I made the navy wool coat from).

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The top is from view B, C, and D. It isn’t very hard to put together. I think I had the entire top finished in 20 to 30 minutes but that doesn’t include cutting. I will admit, when I saw this lying flat on my floor, I didn’t think it would look cute on my dolls at all. It looks so much better on the dolls than flat.

The skirt is sort of combo of view B, C, and D. I didn’t put the pocket on it. The pocket would have gotten lost in the zebra print. There isn’t much sewing involved in the skirt. A lot of gathering the long rectangle into the waistband. I didn’t have enough fabric to follow the grain recommendations on the waistband piece. But the skirt still worked out well. Next time, I would add some length in the waistband. It was a little tight on Molly.

Even though this is a reprint of a 1950s pattern, everything is still pretty modern and usable today (especially depending on fabric choice).

The next post I swear will be something for myself.  Just to get out of the doll rut.

Doll Play- Eden Ava Play Suit & Heritage Sock Hop

DSCI0068Apparently the scrap box is way bigger than I expected.  As I was cleaning and organizing the craft room, I was able to fill an entire 70 gallon storage container with scrap fabric.  I really need to start getting this monster under control.  I did find a hand cream I had picked up for my mom stuffed in one of the scrap fabric bags.  I spent part of my week cutting multiple doll clothing patterns and a top pattern for myself.  I also asked my dad to make me an amoire for my doll clothing.  I am not sure if I am going to get that since he rolled his eyes at me as I asked.

The shorts are from Eden Ava Couture’s 1940s play suit pattern.  The pattern also has two versions of tops and a wrap skirt.  The shorts only have three pattern pieces.  The back waist has elastic in it.  So I figured with the elastic, the shorts should fit fine on my doll.  I didn’t do any pattern adjustments.  I went ahead and cut out a couple different sets and one night just factory lined several pairs.  The construction of these shorts are very easy.

The top is from Heritage Doll Fashion’s “1950s Sock Hop” dress pattern.  The pattern suggest using cotton.  Rummaging through the scrap box yielded a pretty pink rayon Challis.  I decided to use that.  The fabric may be a little too drapey for the pattern.  I was able to get a roll of thin lace at the craft store for half off of a couple of dollars. For the top, I did go ahead and add in a quarter of an inch to the bottom hem line width.  I tapered it back to nothing at the arm opening.

Maybe I don’t have the best fine motor skills.  But it was challenging getting the lace a quarter-inch in so it sticks out on the collar pieces.  I may try getting wider lace so I just have to line it up at the edge instead.

When I make the blouse again, I definitely will reconsider the facings.  The back may not roll out as easily, but I feel like the front may roll out or ripple.  I think I would be happier with lining the front and back bodice pieces instead.  Putting preference items aside, the 1950s Sock Hop blouse is a well drafted pattern.

I definitely need to try the other parts of both of these patterns.

I thought this was a Garden Party… Vogue 8789

Lala helping to quilt

The night before pulling out the fabric for this project, I had some cotton out practicing with my rotary cutter by making a quilt block. (A side note, that finished quilt block is missing. I should probably send out an APB on it, more likely a CCR (clean the craft room).) Suddenly, my new little pet decided he was going to help out. I think he wants to be a debutant in the sewing community. Sewing community, this is Lala. He came home with me in October. He apparently has a love for helping out with crafts, throwing items (especially remotes) off the couch, getting into mischief, and thinking he is in charge of the power cord for the sewing machine (he doesn’t like the serger though). I think I have finally broke him of the bad habit of trying to chew the power cord but he sits right next to it and me as I am sewing. If I end up with a needle through my finger, it will be because I was too busy watching the bunny and power cord not focusing on the needle like I should.

On to the finished project, here is Vogue 8789 in a pink plaid silk taffeta.

It is a reprint from 1957. Vogue describes it as a pull over dress with a bias cut fitted bodice in view A which is the view I made. Vogue give you an unlined dress in this pattern. The neckline facings are attached to the bodice pieces so that they are cut out in one piece. Since I was using silk taffeta, I consulted everyone on Pattern Review as to if silk taffeta needed to be lined. They suggested to line it for better use. I picked up some silk lining also from a different online store.

Vogue rates this as an easy pattern. I think that is an appropriate rating. I started this on Saturday January 12th. By the end of the weekend, I had about the whole dress done and that was including several 30 minute breaks so the bunny could get out and play. He wasn’t allowed out of his cage while the silk was out. I was just missing back of skirt, skirt lining, horsehair braid, and waist stay. My progress slowed down after that weekend because I had to go back to work and hand sewing.
I should have been able to get everything done in a week if I had been better prepared with what I wanted to do. But since I wasn’t sure about doing two skirt panels or four, I didn’t have everything cut at the same time and had to go backwards to cut and serge edges. Also, I had a bit of a bunny dilemma. Monday night as I was preparing to cut the last of the silk, Lala had a tantrum in his cage and threw his litter pan across the cage. He wanted out to play. I didn’t want Lala out because I was afraid he would get dirt on my silk. He kept repeatedly throwing the litter pan after I would put it back so I had to keep putting his litter pan back while cutting. After I had everything cut taking 30 minutes instead of 10, I had to let him out so he wouldn’t tear the cage apart. I didn’t get my dress complete until February 4th. I could have possibly finished it over the weekend, but I went out to my parents’ house. I just didn’t feel comfortable enough with the Singer Futura 920 which is set up to operate on a knee peddle. I didn’t want to take chances with my creation just getting ruined because of unfamiliarity with a sewing machine.
The dress fabric is a silk taffeta I got from an online fabric store. I haven’t really used silk before this dress. I did noticed that my fabric had a great tendency towards fraying. So this did worry me a little. I went ahead and put the serger over all the edges to prevent fraying. It also made it much easier later to do narrow rolled hems with the horsehair braid.
Since this was a pricier fabric, I went ahead and made a muslin in size 14. I probably made the muslin back in September. After several months of not looking at it, I probably had a more objective opinion when it came to fit. So now for modifications-

• I had troubles with the front gaping- so I took about an inch off the length in the shoulders (so probably about a size 6 in the shoulders).
• I added 2 inches length back in under the bust. The finished dress has a wrinkle right at the bottom of the bodice so my 2 inches should have been more of a 1 ½ inch or less instead.
• I took about 10 inches off the hem.
• Since I was doing a lining, I didn’t bother with the arm facings.
• I hand sewed the neckline facings to the lining.
• I opted to do a narrow hem with half inch polyester horsehair braid in it instead of the 3 inch hem. I am trying to get all the fluff possible out of the skirt. That is why I went with all 4 panels in the skirt. Most of the versions I have seen online only used 2 panels. I haven’t decided if it needs a crinoline yet or if I am up to the task of making a crinoline.
• I didn’t add a waist stay yet. I need to look into some more tutorials for this to be sure I am inserting it in correctly. I think my original try wasn’t doing what it was designed to do because I placed it too high.
So there is one “mistake” on my dress. In trying to conserve fabric and line up everything evenly, I flipped the grain line on the back pieces which changed the color order from purple above pink to pink above the purple. I didn’t notice it until I had the entire bodice assembled. All the lines are matched up pretty evenly that I don’t think this one item will be noticeable by anyone who would see the dress.  The only place you can really tell is at the side seams.   I did test out this out on my parents and they couldn’t tell until I actually showed them. Otherwise, all the plaid stripes line up very well. But for anyone else making it, all arrows need to point the same direction.

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The oddest part was the skirt lining pieces would not gather at all. I used china silk for the lining; it is possible that I needed to use a different stitch length than my normal basting length of 7. I had my two lines of basting stitches for the gathers. Every time I would pull the bobbin thread to gather, the fabric would just slip out of the stitches. I got some of it gathered properly. For the parts I couldn’t get to gather well, I had lightly gathered and sort of pleated it into the area I wanted.

I absolutely adore this dress. It has the potential of knocking the coral Simplicity 5267 from 1963 (https://sewbeading.wordpress.com/2012/04/09/simplicity-5267-1963-dress/) out of the position of my favorite dress I have made. But that is a tough competition. I can realistically see me making this dress again if the right fabric came along or if I had another special occasion requiring a new dress. It could be a cute cotton summer dress but the weight of the cotton material could be an important factor to consider. My silk taffeta was fairly thin and very crisp. So a thick cotton would probably not work easily. For a thicker cotton to work, the skirt would definitely need to be re-drafted so that it was lighter. All the skirt gathers would weigh it down too much.
I wonder if it would work as well in a knit fabric. Knits are not one of the recommended on the pattern envelope. I would imagine the bodice would work in a knit. The gathered skirt is very questionable. I just don’t have the experience with sewing knits to be positive if it would work. Last summer I had troubles finding appropriate sun dresses to wear to work when I had an allergic reaction to scented laundry soap. This style would be very work appropriate if made in a knit fabric.
Vogue 8789 should work well as a base for a fitted costume bodice. I had made a French maid costume from a different pattern before and felt that the top was not the most flattering. This bodice would have looked a lot nicer than the puffy one in my costume pattern envelope which made me look like a burnt marshmallow.
A special thanks to my co-workers. Not only did they allowed me to dress up and get my project pictures taken at their Wednesday night social but they also used my ultra fussy camera. Trust me, that camera is a pain. I have threatened to replace it multiple times. There was a reason it was in clearance when I bought it. It doesn’t like not using a flash, doesn’t take pictures immediately after taking one (the wait sometimes means I miss what I wanted) and so much more pickiness. Don’t worry about the dress. I changed immediately after the pictures. I didn’t want to chance spilling anything on my pretty silk dress. It is a nice change from me having to figure out where in my house to do pictures; hopefully you enjoyed the pictures too.  Granted I took pictures of it at home too by myself.
Next up was suppose to be Vogue 2960, but I left my tracing paper out at my parents’ house which means I can’t work on fitting changes this weekend. So I will probably work on the Cynthia Rowley top in rayon challis instead over the weekend.