To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3

Thursday, November 12, 2015

First 1930s Skirt: Success!!!

OHMYGOSH!!  At this current moment, as I sit at the laptop and type, I am THRILLED!!!  Why?  Because I completed my first early/mid 1930s skirt and it was a breeze!!  Holy Monkey!  I can tentatively say that I am hooked on vintage.  Ok, I know that this is just a skirt, but what a beautiful experience making the skirt was...well, after the 2 hours I spent trying to piece the fabric together that I had used attempting to make an 1888 bustle suit that never came to fruition.  I will post a picture of it here in a bit.

Let me tick off some of the wonderful experiences I had yesterday and today:

1.  Very little (and I mean very little) fabric was used.
2.  I didn't need to line the skirt.
3.  There was no NO pleating, ruching, gathering, adorning.  No fluff and stuff!
4.  I did not seam rip once.
5.  Did I mention the use of very little fabric?  This skirt probably weighs one pound (if that) as opposed to the several of, say, my Grape Soda Dress skirt.
6.  Took me several hours as opposed to several and more days.
7.  I can use the 2-3 yard remnants of fabric that I have been collecting from thrift stores that can't be used in Victorian/Edwardian to my liking.
7.  Simple. 

Oh yes, I think I am going to like going Vintage!

For my first piece of clothing, I chose to something simple to give me a taste of sewing "Simple".  I have had some delightful cotton plaid in my stash for years.  It started out its costuming life as trim for an 1888 bustle dress and hat.  I decided that the outfit was failing in its job to blow my skirt up and dismantled everything.  The silk from the dress became lining for a Romantic Era hat, the vest is still in tact, and the patterned velvet underskirt still lives.  But...but the plaid has held me captive for ever so long.  I then found some burnt pumpkin wool at a thrift store.  It was a match made in Autumnal heaven!!  Seriously!  I brought the wool home, laid it next to the plaid and they sang songs of sweet harmony!  I knew that this pairing would make a most magnificent vintage outfit!

Then, I realized that I didn't have enough of the plaid.  My heart broke!  I spent days perusing the web, in vain, for the same fabric.  But, this fabric was very old and I had to come to the realization that I would never find it.  So, it sat most forlornly in the fabric room in the garage, weeping and sulking with the wool.  Tuesday, I brought the fabrics out again, maybe hoping that the plaid had multiplied like the fish and loaves in Jesus' hands?  I don't know, but I was determined that this fabric would be a skirt.

I had been looking on Pinterest for some examples of suits from the '30s and 40s that used a skirt in one color/fabric/pattern and a jacket in another.  These were some I came up with and in orange/plaid combos!!!

From eBay.  Ok, so this one isn't a two piece with a different top and bottom, but it was MY fabric!  I didn't want to mess with altering a pattern from an era I had never sewn and I don't have enough solid orange wool, but still, proof that this era used these colors!  Huzzah!!

From Etsy

From Etsy

Here are some wonderful examples from The New York Public Library: Digital Archives

Juvenile Ensembe Pour la Rue
Smart tailleur estival

Then my eyes beheld this beauty, this seriously FABULOUS example from:

Betsy Vintage

This one was it!!!!

I was determined to make the plaid work!

I spent at least two hours yesterday sewing 8" x 55" wide strips of fabric to the one piece of whole fabric I had.  I finally had what I thought would be a big enough piece for the vintage dress pattern I had.  No such happiness.  There were too many pieces and not enough fabric.  I finally ended up using the skirt pattern from Butterick 6330.  I consoled myself with the fact that two of my vintage, long skirted dress patterns from the 1930s had very simple, front and back piece skirts!  Problem with the issue of not that much fabric solved!!!

I was having problems with the fact that I have never seen a dress or anything from the 1930s up close and in person since I have started costuming, therefore did not have any clue as to the construction.  Did they line?  Was that lining sack or flat line?  How did they hem?  Etc, etc.

Then!!  I realized that I had my Grandmother's wedding suit from when she married my Grandad in
1943.  I will have to dig out the photo of she and my Grandad on their wedding day!  They were so adorable!!

Looking at my Grandma's suit, I was able to see the construction of garments, at least a suit, from this era and let me tell is vastly different from what I am used to!  Thank heavens!!  Way more simple!

Photos of Jeanne's Wedding Dress

Very sweet WWII era dress!  I love the lines!

These pictures are super dark.  The suit is made of a light weight wool.  A very scratchy wool.

Love the tucked detail on the front!

Left side zipper closure!

How the hem is finished...with hem tape!

This image is of the jacket facing and how it was finished.

Sideways image of the inside back of the jacket.  The raw edge were turned under then top stitched.  Super cool!

Love the pleating on the sleeve caps!  There are wee little shoulder pads inside!

Fabulous buttons!!

So, from studying this suit, I decided that for now, until I can get my hands on an early to mid 1930s suit, I will employ the construction methods of this suit!!!

And here is my skirt!!!

So excited about it!!!

I couldn't find any hem tape, so used an orange bias tape.

Here is the plaid with the lovely wool.  It is a much darker color in real life, but you get the gist!

This is what the plaid used to be on...

Ok, so now to do some thinking on the jacket for this project!!

I hope your Thursday evening is a wonderful one for you all!!

Be Blessed!!


  1. Huzzah! And congrats on completing you first vintage sewing project! Such gorgeous wool, can't wait to see what you do next!

    1. Thank you Emily! I feel so giddy!! Next week will see more pieces...hopefully...

  2. What beautiful fabric. Great job. When you describe the difference in the weights of the skirts and how much less fabric they use, it reminds me of how women must have felt when fashions started to change after WWI. Learning new things keep you young Gina! Careful you don't start aging backwards. :)

    1. Thank you Tracey! I was thinking about that very thing as I was researching this new era. The truly stark difference that these women saw, especially the ones who had been young adults in the mid to late teens. A lot changed and very quickly. And since I just turned 44, I am totally going to start learning lots and lots of new things! ;-)

  3. Oh Gina!! I am soooo excited for you! And what a gorgeous beginning to your foray into the world of vintage! I am sure that after creating all the amazingly stunning historical costumes that you will find vintage pieces to be a breeze... ;D I can't wait to see what else you come up with! ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

    1. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement Bonita! I got the jacket completed just today for this ensemble, so am pretty excited now for this adventure into vintage!

  4. Love this!! Pumpkin hues are among my favorites. I highly approve. :-)

    And the main inspiration pattern... Favorite!!! You'll do justice to it for sure! (love how you're sneaking in a sailor-esque collar ;-))

    1. Thank you so much Lily! These colors, fall colors, are among my favorites as is Fall in general!! I wanted to make a sailor collar to go with this outfit, but in the end just opted to do exactly what the pattern said to do (with slight modifications to the breadth of the shoulders...). I really wanted to feel like I "could do" this new era and so wanted a "win" outfit!! But yes, one of these days, I am going to make the inspiration image in full!