Well, by the time I had figured out every stage of my Winter Wardrobe Project, done all the diagrams and color studies, and bought all the patterns, it was summer! And while there’s nothing wrong with getting a head start on building a winter wardrobe in the summer, I’ve decided to spend the next few months making weather-appropriate garments, for a few reasons. The first one is it’s HOT OUT and I don’t want to touch or think about wool if I can help it (knitting with it is tolerable). The second reason is that I’ve learned when it comes to garment construction that it is a cumulative skill, and it’s best to start out slow and easy. Summer garments will be the best choice for re-learning the basics of sewing. By the time winter comes I’ll be ready to tackle the more demanding cold-weather projects. Note: this post only tackles sewing; I’ll have another post up about knitting soon.
On the left is the book I’ll be using to re-acquaint myself with sewing (not pictured: a few books on pattern alteration and tailoring), on the right is the ultimate sourcebook for the decade that speaks the most to me.
“The early Forties might have been years of make-do-and-mending and fashionable inventiveness, but the latter half of the decade saw an explosion of contemporary forward-looking fashions. 1940s Fashion: the Definitive Sourcebook is an extensive survey that brings together previously unpublished photography and beautifully drawn illustrations to provide a comprehensive overview of the period, from the austerity fashion of the war years to the introduction of Dior’s revolutionary “”New Look””, and the rise of Hollywood glamour.
From haute couture to ready-to-wear, this publication comprehensively documents the season-by-season fashions of the WWII era and the immediate postwar period. The images feature prominent stars of the decade such as Joan Bennett, Veronica Lake and Barbara Stanwyck, and designers including Dior, Lucien Lelong, Balmain, Nina Ricci, and Worth.
1940s Fashion: the Definitive Sourcebook covers every aspect of female fashions from the period, from lacy evening gowns, tailored skirt-suits and luxurious fur jackets to figure-sculpting undergarments, satin negligees and glamorous swimwear. The introduction outlines the different themes of the period and each chapter is given an introduction. Biographies of major designers of the time are included, for an in-depth look at who shaped the 1940s fashion world.”
On the left is the simplest top pattern I own, and the one I’ll be starting with. It might seem unremarkable, but to me it’s the perfect basic summer top, and there are tons of possibilities there. We’ll see if the top adequately defines the bust area; I may experiment with darts. I might design my own fabric using Spoonflower to give it a completely personal feel, or after a few versions made on linen I might try to make a vintage version of this top. (At which point I will finally have an excuse to buy this book to learn the required embroidery techniques)
On the right is a pattern for Bermuda Shorts (view 4). Together with the simple top, these two garments perfectly express the summer silhouette I want. At the moment, I have 2 or three pairs of storebought shorts, but none of them come up to my waist, and so do nothing for my figure. It’s also very hard for me to find shorts that cover my bottom without buying gross khaki mom-shorts 😦 These shorts show a lot of possibility; a scalloped hem or a heart shaped waistband will add interest to the design, and I’d like to make them in a wide range of neutrals along with a few bold colors.
When I feel ready to move on, this darted short sleeved shirt will be the perfect addition. Solid colors will work best, I think. A pencil skirt in a summery fabric will be an important step (I can’t wear pin-up shorts everywhere, unfortunately) but I will probably shorten it to be above the knee; we’ll see how the muslin turns out. Plaids, neutrals, and a few bold colors are the best choices here.
No summer would be summer, in my opinion, without an adorable play-suit like in view #1 above! The 40’s weren’t the best decade for summer dresses (they just look too hot, or at least I haven’t been able to find all that many that look breathable) but I love the 40s playsuit so much! Silky florals and breezy linens will be just right.
When I’m feeling ready for a real challenge, I’ll tackle these Gibson Girl inspired blouses in a range of sheer fabrics. This is a new blog but let me just say here and now, this is as frou-frou as I get!
My sewing machine is in the shop for servicing, but in the mean time I’ll be spending my evenings and weekends tracing and cutting muslins.