I've made up my mind: my next project will be Simplicity 3873, a two-piece dress pattern from 1941. (Sorry, Maria -- it's back to the convent for now.)
I mentioned this pattern on Monday; I'd ordered it on Etsy and received it last week. I wanted something classic Forties, but simple. It cost only $5.99 with shipping; the somewhat ragged envelope no doubt kept the price low.
I'll be honest: I have some trepidation about this project. Maybe it's those bound buttonholes, which I may not even bother with. I've never sewn anything this old. Frankly, I think this crosses the border between vintage and antique.
I hunted for the right fabric but didn't find anything that felt appropriate to the period.
I've had this in my stash since the fall and badly want to use it:
It's cotton and definitely has a vintage feel but I don't think it would work. For one thing, the skirt has twelve separate panels and I don't think those roses would look good broken up that way. I'll save this for something more flowing (I think both Gertie and Elaine have picked up rose prints too -- spooky, huh?).
I tend to honor the pattern artwork: if a dress is shown in a solid, I'll go with solids. I did get some fabric on Monday -- four yards in fact -- of a purplish-blue cotton with a vertical stripe in the weave, but when I got it home I realized it was too heavy. I'd been thinking of this as a suit -- it looks like a suit -- but it's a dress. The skirt has to move and the cotton is too stiff. It would make a great summer men's suit and maybe that's what I'll do with it.
I've decided to use sheets again -- clean sheets. I'm going to use this yellow one for the top...
...and the black one pictured here with the yellow for the skirt:
I don't know; maybe if I have enough fabric, I'll do the whole thing in yellow. We'll see.
Yesterday I started to prepare my pattern pieces and imagine my surprise when I saw this:
This pattern pre-dates seam allowances printed on the pattern pieces! I recalled reading something about this on somebody's blog, I don't remember whose. The patterns of this period had no printed markings, but rather only different size punched holes. Here's how individual pieces are labeled:
This marking is for a dart in the top of the sleeve:
I should mention that straight out of the envelope, the pieces looked like wadded up Kleenex:
I managed to inventory and press everything yesterday and am happy to report that all the pieces are accounted for. Today I'll start cutting and we'll see how far I get.
My goal is to make this version:
Readers, have you ever sewn from one of these old unmarked patterns? Would you? What's the oldest pattern you've sewn?
Do you prefer contemporary vintage patterns to authentic ones? Is there a difference?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!