1940s fashion… Decisions and inspiration


Of these which would you make? Planning my sewing year and as I succumbed and bought some gorgeous vintage rayon, I am having a hard time deciding. Maybe the far left pattern, top right blouse?
Anybody worked with vintage rayon? Dream or nightmare? Tips and tricks please…?!
Next question, what are your favourite movies for 40s fashion inspiration. So far on my list I have: the Notebook, Pearl Harbor, Casablanca… Any must see movies to add from the era?

A new special addition at Vanessa Loves Vintage on etsy

Its Australia day weekend here in Aus and it feels like I have spent most of the day “working”… Many years ago I chanced upon an elderly seamstress and acquired a number of items from her own collection of vintage patterns. You know, pretty Australian Home Journals from the 40s and 50s, a gorgeous 40s Vogue Counter Catalogue from 1947 (it was the first of a number of treasured volumes) and a very special dressmaking book from the 1950s, designed for the home seamstress who wanted to draft their own patterns. I feel such a bond with other seamstresses…  Especially those who worked through the years of austerity during World War II- who doesn’t admire thrift, talented workmanship, the skill to make something from nothing in such times? At the time it seemed very dear but I knew from all the gorgeous designs I was going to treasure it… forever! The book was similar to Lutterloh and imagine how wonderful to know it is out of copyright and in the public domain.

So its taken me a while to reproduce it, but I FINALLY added it to my etsy store as an ebook today. For 225 pretty patterns including evening gowns, halter dresses, lingerie and childrens wear, I think its a value buy!

Anyway, here is the eye candy… All of these designs are in the book. The book shows you how to draft each corresponding pattern piece. It does assume a healthy knowledge of garment construction. I wish I had the figure for some of those Claire McCardell style bathing suits!!!

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Everyone loves a vintage apron… (A work in progress)!

image …not least of all because they are relatively quick sewing projects that can be worn frequently… I don’t have enough so thought Mccall 1279, which first became available in the 1940s was a great choice… And I so love ruffles. This pattern was sold by Mccalls well into the late 50s, a testament to its popularity. Here is the work in progress. I was going re-make it sans bows but you can see the overlap creates a slight pucker so it’s a necessary design detail. For anyone else making this, I added a small square of iron on interfacing to each corner of the slit (wrong side) to reinforce it. Still deciding about lace trim on the ruffle… The pink version on the top right is so girly… Yes, I also used my beloved ruffler foot. The fabric is a cotton floral by Riley Blake. I hope to finish it before tomorrow night, weekend activities permitting. Will definitely make my little girl one in the next few years in a smaller size so we can match! As was fashionable in the 50s… Super easy pattern to draft for a little one, just use one of your little girls skirts to get an idea of the width and depth you want.

Vintage apron patterns, featured in Mccalls catalogue November ’57


Vintage patterns eye candy…  And info for anyone trying to date their apron pattern… The image on the top right is McCalls 2184, the model looks a bit like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, doesn’t she? I think it shows the “Audrey effect”.

I definitely need a cobbler… I would walk through the house cleaning up and collecting toy cars in my pockets! 😉