Sew Much Fabric, Sew Little Time…

How often do we all make new year resolutions are never stick to them? Earlier in 2018, I shared some of my personal goals for 2018 which included taking more time for myself doing something I enjoy. Thankfully that new found commitment  encouraged me to finally sign up for Beginners Sewing Classes at a local shop. Of course I always have big ambitions, I decided my first project would be Gertie’s B6453 Swing Dress Pattern.

My first visit to the local fabric store was so much fun to say the least. I browsed every aisle looking for prints that might jump out to me….floral, fruits, novelty prints, border prints, etc. From the moment I spotted this darling bird print fabric with colourful autumn leaves and berries, I knew it was meant to be. Of course I happened to be smitten by a stunning border floral panel print fabric as well, so that also came home with me for a future project. Next up was picking out the coordinating sewing notions for the B6453 Swing Dress; 2 spools of thread, 14″ zipper, adjustable bra strap rings and a yard of interfacing.

At my first class, I immediately saw that the other ladies were starting off with much more basic projects like pillow cases, kids clothing, aprons, etc. since most had little to no sewing experience but I was absolutely determined to make this dress over the next 10 weeks. With the aid of my teacher, she showed me how to “read” my sewing pattern and the proper placement for cutting out the fabric. After class I did a little homework online and found Gertie’s Sew Along Tutorial for the B6453 Dress. That is when I quickly realized I had cut out the wrong size of my pattern (too big) because the envelope measurements were incorrect. Long story short, I bought another B6453 Pattern and decided to trace it out instead of cutting into the original. Gertie’s tutorial also recommended making a muslin bodice to ensure the fit is right before cutting into your good fabric.

For the next couple classes, I worked on the mock up muslin bodice and learned how to do princess seams, darting, serging, installing a zipper, etc. The moment of truth finally came when I tried on the muslin bodice and it fit perfectly. I was pretty amazed and excited to move onto making my actual dress. Over the next 5 weeks, I saw my creation come to life. Week after week, my teacher coached me through the various steps and gave me tricks to make the most complicated steps feel much less daunting to master. I also continued to reference Gertie’s tutorial as well, I found her tips very helpful when sewing at home with no teacher by my side. Once I reached making the gathered skirt, it was not too long before my dress was nearly complete.

Although this was my first sewing project, I was adamant to get each step perfect…my OCD would not accept anything less. With sewing, you must have A LOT of patience. If you don’t get it right the first time, or second or third, patience will pay off when you finally nail it. There are a few steps along the way that I had to undo my work more than once but I was so happy that I took the time to redo it to be just right. Let me tell you, sewing the zipper in took 4 very frustrating tries but each time I learned something quite valuable for the next attempt. Every session, my classmates were eager to see the progression of my dress and just waiting for the final reveal.

After 8 weeks, my dress was finally complete and it was pretty AMAZING!  I know that may seem like a long time but our 2 hour weekly classes always flew by and I unfortunately didn’t have much time at home to work on it. All in all, I am beyond proud of what I accomplished over those two months and have a beautiful new dress to show off. There are couple small adjustments I plan on doing to the waist for a snugger custom fit but it is very wearable as is. Since learning new stops, I decided to enroll in the next session of classes and cannot wait to see my next project come to life. Stay tuned…

Ray of Sunshine by Lauren The Homemade Pinup

Guest Post by Lauren the Homemade Pinup

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Hello dolls! I’m pleased as a peach to be contributing for Pinup Persuasion – this is almost the Holy Grail of vintage and pinup blogs, wouldn’t you agree? Over at my own blog, The Homemade Pinup, I frequently write about me-made vintage pieces or re-dos and I thought I’d share one of those with y’all today.

Environmental responsibility is a big priority for me, and that is part of what makes vintage so appealing. Rather than creating a higher demand for newly made products, I prefer to find a unique piece from decades ago that saves resources to boot.

While vintage is clearly about a certain aesthetic, I also feel that it can be about a certain mindset or way of living. As I’m sure many of you know, during World War II women were encouraged to refashion or repair their old, worn clothing rather than buying completely new garments. For our own time, I’ve interpreted that to mean that while I may not be able to realistically have a brand new clothing item each week, I can find inventive ways to repurpose or mix-and-match what I already have. I’d love a larger vintage wardrobe, but right now, it just ain’t gonna happen! In true forties fashion, however, the Make Do and Mend movement is still alive and well today – or at least I hope to encourage its resurgence!

Grand Ways photoRemaking or refashioning thrifted garments – or even better, ones already in my own wardrobe – is my easy contribution to helping both the environment and my budget, and be perfectly forties to boot! I recently remade a dress of mine that I originally completed back in 2011, which I had named the “Sunshine Dress.” It was certainly not my best work, as I was still learning then, and was showing its age as well as its lack of style. I always felt the dress lacked a certain panache or detail; additionally, it had too short a skirt for my current taste, so apart it came! Here’s how it used to look…

HS photo glove photoIt was originally sleeveless, though even then I covered the bodice with a sweater since the neckline didn’t turn out how I intended. (Also, I couldn’t resist including the latter photo! I’m wearing a pair of gloves my grandmother gave me, which were gifted to her by her father in the forties. Aren’t they divine?)

My newly refashioned dress is constructed from Simplicity 1459, a delightful reprint from a late fifties/early sixties original. This dress was supposed to be the one I graduated in, as yellow is one of my university’s colors, but my sewing machine chose to revolt and conk out when I was about halfway through. Oh, well. Sometimes the sewing fates decide things for you. It was finally finished about a month behind schedule, but better late than never!

Disney photo 1 Disney photo 2 Disney photo 3 Disney photo 4The white collar and skirt panel were done by necessity – I simply didn’t have enough fabric leftover from the last dress to do otherwise – but I think they added so much more charm to this number! And isn’t that just “Make Do and Mend” to a T? Additionally, gingham skirts with a thick white border are quite authentic and I think the effect is darling. (As a side note, there’s some GREAT inspiration here for Mommy/Daughter outfits! Miss Betty Doll, I’m lookin’ at you 😉

Florida Fashions 1951 photoI was overjoyed to find the below image from Montgomery Ward 1959 and realize how similar it is to my own dress! Finding a period photo like that really solidified how suitable my design is for the era I’m emulating.

Montgomery Ward 1959The reception of vintage is unlike anything else, I’ve noticed. People respond incredibly well to these classic fashions, from young children to mothers and fathers and grandparents alike. I think there is something wonderfully relatable to vintage era ensembles, as they can be demure, sweet, sexy, adorable, and more all within the same outfit – a very hard thing to achieve, particularly within the limits of modern fashion. What’s your favorite adjective for how dressing vintage makes you feel?

Disney photo 5 Disney photo 6 Disney photo 7Do you, like me, have any specific reasons for dressing vintage besides how it looks? My passion for saving resources and time through my vintage and re-do lifestyle has led me to coin the term #WomensFashionArmy – modeled after the Women’s Land Army of WWII – for those of us who creatively rework our wardrobes to better make use of its infinite possibilities. I’d love to have y’all jump along my bandwagon!

Stop on by my blog for more inspiration and be sure to drop me a line if you do. Thanks for having me!

Until next time,

Lauren || The Homemade Pinup

P.S. Watch out for Part Two of this post, filled with ideas to eek out more outfits from your current vintage wardrobe!