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

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Wearing History's "1930s Gina Dress"

Good Sunday to you all!  I hope you have been having a great end of March/first of April!  We here in Idaho have been enjoying our usual "if you don't like the weather in Idaho, wait 15 minutes" weather.  I do love this about our change of seasons.  At least the Spring/Autumn times.  During winter, you can depend on bitter cold.  During summer, you can depend on disgusting heat.  But in the autumn and especially the spring, it is fun to see what will happen "tomorrow".  Personally I have been super busy doing life things and working on a wonderful somewhat new to me era!!  Here's the story.

About two years ago (at least I think it was that long ago...) when I was in my "let's do all the 1930s, 40s and 50s things!!!" mode, I was at Antique World Mall when I came across the most beautiful pattern I had ever seen.  This includes all of my 1950s sailor dress patterns, even my few Victorian-1916 patterns. Why?  Because of the blue floral print dress.  My heart was lost utterly and completely to this era.  (Great!!!  Like I need another era to have my heart be lost to!!!!)  I think I was just at this point searching for inspiration into this era and hoping that I would be able to find some patterns in my size...both body wise as well as wallet size.  One of my favorite booths offered up the pattern that would change my mind when it comes to the 1930s...that is until I made the 1930s Fall Suit.  But I digress...

Giddy with delight, I photographed it with my phone and went to the one spot in the store that gets internet reception and Facebook messaged it to Lauren of Wearing History.  I think I jokingly asked her if she would size it up for me as the bust size is 32" (if I didn't actually ask her that, I am pretty sure I was thinking it.  When you get "old", memories that are over a week old, begin to get fuzzy.)  Being that I have an ENORMOUS rib cage, there wasn't a snowball's chance that this would fit and I don't even know where to begin sizing patterns up.  Almost immediately I got a response from Lauren and I am pretty sure she was as giddy as I was with the beautiful pattern.  During the course of our furious messaging back and forth, it was decided that I would send her the pattern and she would work her magic and create a multi-sized pattern for all to enjoy!!  I was thrilled!  And to be perfectly honest with you, my thrilled-ness was totally selfish, because that meant that IIIIIIIII would totally benefit from this idea!!  But, yes, I was also thrilled that Lauren would be making a new pattern to sell and others who love vintage dressing and sewing would benefit from the new pattern!  Win Win for us all!!

Well, things over the year happened, like the back yoke piece not being in the pattern and the search for one commencing , and ooooooh a most beautiful, joyful, longed for and loved baby being born and the events that go along with that and the pattern took a while to get sized up.  Lauren kept apologizing that she hadn't gotten to the pattern.  I was totally fine with that as I realize that being pregnant and having a baby totally take precedence over pattern making and I was in no way in any hurry!!!  But recently (see?  I can't even remember when the flurry of hurridness started!)  Lauren informed me that the pattern was being printed and would I like to be a pattern tester?  Well, again perfect honesty here, I hadn't been too impressed with how the Orange Fall Suit fit and I didn't like how I looked in it and "would I really ever use a 1930s dress in a fashion show?" and do I even want to fuss over this "vintage" era as it's not antique?  All these thoughts went through my mind as I slept on her question.  Finally I decided that yes, I would be a pattern tester.  After all, she had been worried that I would be upset if the pattern didn't come out in time etc, so how could I NOT be a tester!!??  See?  I can totally be a selfish snot.

Finally the pattern came and the name of it was "1930s Gina Dress".  Lauren had asked me my opinion on naming the dress and I said I had no idea and that I trusted her to name it.  I can't remember if she told me what it would be, or maybe I forgot what she had said in the hurry and hustle of daily life, but when I was holding the pattern in my hand and saw what the name was, my heart constricted and I got a flush of happiness, humility, unbelief, awe and a huge dorky smile spread over my face and my eyes misted over!  What a great honor to have this pattern named after me!  (Thank you so much Lauren!!!)

I got right to work on the mock up using some horrible fabric that was scratchy and gross, but as the shape began to take shape, I got more than excited.  How had I missed the awesomeness of this era?  Perhaps it was the using of a pattern that wasn't an actual vintage one, I don't know.  In any case, I hit AAAALLLLL of the quilt shops in town looking for a similar fabric to the one shown on the pattern.  Finally I found a fat quarter of THE PERFECT FABRIC at a store called Crafter's Warehouse.  Of course they had sold out of the fabric and wouldn't be getting any in.  I then re-visited AAAAALLLLLL of the quilt stores in town and nope.  Not a one of the stores had my fabric.  So to the internet I went.  Happily Hancock's of Paduca had some!  I ordered it and anxiously waited until it came.  Theeeeen I had to order a soft hand cotton organdy.  That too took "forever"!!!  (I so totally need a worm hole!!)  But both came and I got to work!!!

Below is my version of Wearing History's newest pattern!

The Dress

My version and the original.  I am wanting to do a photo shoot at the Boise Depot as it would be a perfect fit.  The Depot was made in the 1920s so would be perfect for a dress that was fashioned after the fashion of the 1930s!

The pattern.  When I sent it to Lauren, I didn't think I would see it again.  I messaged Lauren and asked if I could have a photo copy of it and she informed me that she would be sending it back!!!  I was so ecstatic about that!! 

 A fun still life.  Original pattern, vintage buttons and belt buckle found at my other favorite antique store (Something Special in Meridian), the new pattern and my fabric!

You can order you pattern from Wearing History.

Emma wearing my new dress.  Poor thing needs to gain some weight!!!

I so love the front of the top!  The gathering into the yoke is so sweet!

The buttons aren't that interesting like a lot of the 1930s buttons were, but the "watery red" of them matched the buckle perfectly!

I rushed to Something Special knowing they would have the perfect buckle and sure enough, an oval, red buckle was waiting just for me!

Hand sewn rolled hems!  I don't think they are too awful for my first attempt!

The sweet ruffles on this dress make it so girly and fun!

Awesome kick pleat at front and back!  Everything about this dress is so cool!

The Hat and Accessories

I had a booger of a time trying to find a hat that would be similar to the one on the pattern, but short of a divine miracle, I am pretty sure one will never present itself.  The blue of the fabric, well it's a really odd blue.  Not navy, not baby, not sky, not periwinkle, not teal...Every hat I found that I held up to it was just off.  And not just off, but make your eyeballs bleed off!!  I decided that instead of having the shoes and hat be blue (I had the same issue with shoes) I would just use red for all the accessories.

Enter the thrift store straw hat.

This is what my 1930s fedora style hat started life out as.  A 1990s summer hat.  It is made of the most wonderful straw that totally does what you ask it to!  I don't know the name of it, but every time I see one of these in a thrift store, yard sale or estate sale, I get it because I know that I'll be able to reshape it into what I am "needing".

The inspiration for my new hat is an original.  I do have some lovely wool that matches it almost perfectly that I'll use for something 30s, but for now it played the perfect model!

The red gloves and both bracelets are vintage.  Not sure exactly how old they are, but will work nicely with the dress!  The shoes...the shoes.  These proved to be a bit problematic.  Until I am sure that I truly love this era (like will I wear it on a regular basis outside of costuming?) I don't want to invest in an expensive pair of shoes.  Until I decide on that matter, these shoes from a thrift store will work just fine.  They have a very vintage flair and the color was red!  Not sure exactly when peep toes came onto the shoe scene, but again until I can afford some Miss L Fire shoes, these are going to be it!  Also, my feet HATE HATE HATE there is that.

The platforms of this shoe are also not era correct, but aren't they so cute?

The pearl bracelet belonged to my Great-Grandma Nonni!!

Firsts For Me!

This era and pattern offered an opportunity for me to grow sewing wise which always makes me happy!  Especially if there is a YouTube tutorial I can watch several times!

Rolled Hems.  How I hate thee!  I could totally write a sonnet about my hatred for these hems, but I'm too tired to, so just believe me when I say, that I hate them.  I did find a lovely YouTube video that really helped me...along with having lovely cotton organdy that didn't ravel much!

Rolled Hem tutorial that totally helped me.  The tips of my fingers are so fat and calloused from sewing that doing small work like this is very difficult.  But after several hours, my hems were completed!

Bound button holes.  Ok, the very thought of these filled me with dread and I had made up my mind that I wouldn't be making them for this dress.  But after much agonizing about them, I decided to make them...then the real agonizing about doing them began!!  Again, YouTube tutorials came to my rescue.  After watching several that seemed way to much like welt pockets, I discovered this one...

This two piece bound button hole tutorial totally worked for me!!

The last first was a lap closure!  At first I didn't see how it would work, but after I started working on it, it became clear and totally worked and lays flat so very nicely!!

First Wearing

As I said above, I am wanting to do a proper photo shoot of the dress, but couldn't resist putting it on along with the accessories and some lipstick!  I am going to have to do some research and make sure the hat of correct proportions but for right now, I'm really happy with how everything turned out!

About the pattern... Lauren as always did a magnificent job with resizing the pattern.  This being my second time making a 1930s outfit, I am quite thrilled with how easily this went together.  Where there are questions about things, Lauren has added WH (Wearing History) notes to help with modern day understandings.  The fit is perfect (I used the size 40 bust for the top and the size 38 bust for the skirt) but ya, the fit is excellent!  I made this blouse using the Tea at Two and that pattern too was most excellent!  If I could, I would own every Wearing History pattern because they are just that fabulous!!

Thank you so much Lauren for making this pattern possible for ladies like me who are not a size 32 bust!  You are such a patterning rock star!!!

I hope you all have a most wonderful week and I'll chat with you later!

Be Blessed!



  1. So lovely! The fabric was worth the hunt, it's absolutely perfect!

    1. Thank you so much Crystal! I was thrilled that I found this fabric!

  2. This looks AMAZING!!! You've accessorized it perfectly, and all the details make it look so period-perfect! The hat is great, too; what an amazing upcycle!

    1. Coming from a totally seasoned and awesome Vintage dresser such as yourself, I truly appreciate your compliment! Coming from the Victorian era, this is so new and now totally fun!

  3. Wowzers, where to start? When I saw this pattern on the Wearing History blog I thought, "Hmm, 'Gina Dress', wonder if it's THAT Gina?", but as you don't really 'do' 1930s I decided it was unlikely....

    THAT FABRIC! It's such a perfect match it's amazing. And the hat!!! Excellent blocking. It's all just too fabulous!

  4. What fun to have a pattern named after you, Gina! It's very cute. And such a great opportunity to learn/practice some new techniques! A little growing is needed for all of us, right? I love love love your original purple hat... :) That color! Mmm...


    1. Thank you Quinn! It is totally fun! And yes...learning and growing is totally needed! This was a super fun experience and not too "painful"! Isn't that purple hat fabulous? I was shocked to find it so local!

  5. This dress is outstanding, I absolutely love it beyond words and it looks amazing on you. I love the whole story of it too, I'm such a vintage pattern nerd so I'm totally giddy about the whole process, believe me!
    Of course the pattern is now on my long list of things I want to make, although I'm probably going to do the non-frilly version, mainly because frills tend to overpower me if I'm not careful. Also, my style is much more along the lines of the 1930s sportswear which the stripey one definitely falls into.
    Oh, a little tip on the shoes - the majority of 1930s shoes didn't have really high heels. Most of them were a mid-heel so you're not tottering all the time. That would probably help with the feet hating heels dilemma. xx

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for your lovely compliments Cate! This was a super fun experience for me, all the way from start to finish! I love vintage patterns as well, and usually only get to have them for their aesthetic appeal as almost all of them are too small and I can't size them up. I can't wait to see your version of this pattern! Yay for stripey/sportswear goodness! Thank you so much for the tip on the shoes. This flipflops/barefoot girl thanks you from the bottom of my soles!!

  6. Oops, thought that I'd commented on this a couple of days ago - obviously it got lost somewhere.

    When I saw the name of this pattern on the Wearing History I did wonder if 'Gina' was you, but thought it was unlikely as you don't really 'do' 1930s.

    Everything about it is gorgeous; the fabric is an amazing find, you've done a stunning job on the hat, and the dress looks fabulous on you! Wow!!!

    1. That's so weird! My blog does that some times. I will see a comment posted, then go back a few days later and it will be gone!

      Isn't that funny? A lot of people have wondered that same thing about the pattern because I'm so much "earlier" in my likes! Thank you for your compliment! This was such a fun project! I can't wait to wear it out!