Memorial Day weekend is upon us here in the United States and the unofficial start of the summer season. Can you think of a better time to whip up a vintage mid-Forties midriff?
I picked up this rather worn gem (Advance 4147) on Etsy and it's one of those early patterns with no ink markings but just perforations. Once you've sewn a few of these, they start to make sense; all the info is there. Seam allowances on this pattern are 1/2 inch.
The pattern pieces themselves looked untouched, though they were fragile, as you'd imagine a sixty-five-year-old pattern to be. Advance wasn't top of the line (it was the J.C. Penny house brand). A McCall's pattern of the same period will be sturdier as well as printed.
I had a hard time finding the right fabric for this -- I wanted a cotton print with a vintage feel but nothing too dainty. I ended up with what looks like Tiki bar wallpaper -- palm trees, volcanoes, hibiscus flowers -- a little kitschy but I like it. Laid out, it's actually quite geometric, as you can see.
I wanted the skirt to be solid, and I remembered that in my muslin fabric stash I had an old gray/blue Wamsutta sateen flat sheet that matched the blues in the floral fabric perfectly.
The sheet has a rather heavy drape and satiny polish, and made the floral fabric look stiff (and cheap) by comparison. I decided to tie the two together by cutting the "blouse" from both fabrics and making it reversible. That way the top and solid skirt will look more matched in terms of drape.
Essentially, I sewed two identical tops and stitched them together along the top and side edges.
Here's how things look as of last night:
I think I'll finish the bottom with right sides together, then pull everything right-side-out through the kimono sleeve, and finally, finish the sleeves with bias trim cut from the sheet. That way the blue side will be completely blue, and a little blue trim will peek out of the edge of the floral side.
To tie things together further, I may do the skirt button facings in the floral fabric, so some of it can peek through when the skirt is partially unbuttoned. The shorts will be made entirely of the floral fabric, at least that's how I see it so far. Cute, right?
Readers, it's time to get to work.
Memorial Day celebrators and others, I wish you all a wonderful weekend. We'll be here as usual; no rest for the weary.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!