I’m always interested in reading how other people approach sewing projects. Most of the sewing blogs I read have an element of the past to them. Some people sew perfect reproductions of an era which interests them. Others use modern fabrics with vintage patterns or vintage fabrics with modern patterns.
My sewing is a bit more eclectic. I have no problem taking a fabric from one era and pairing it with a pattern from another. I pretty much know what I like, and which fabrics and styles fit in with my casual lifestyle. I live in the South so my summer clothes have to be cool and preferably, loose without being sloppy.
I’ve finally found a use for Facebook. I “belong” to a group called Novelty and Border Print B/S/T (buy/sale/trade). Most of the active members are 1950s border print fanatics, and so there is always a “new” print to be seen there. They also post pages from vintage magazines which show border print skirts and fabrics. If someone spots an interesting novelty print for sale on the web, she will post the link to the sales page. It is really useful the way that group operates.
And that is how I found this great print. It is from the late 1940s, and it is made of a textured but cool rayon. The beachy scenes and the two shades of blue were an added attraction. Quite remarkably, this fabric was for sale on eBay for a $3 buy-it-now.
The downsides were that there were age spots scattered about and that there was barely one yard of it. Even though I rarely buy fabric over the internet, I could not resist, and so a few clicks later it was mine. The spots washed out, the dyes did not run, and the fabric did not shrink. I mention these things because one never knows when using a fabric that is seventy years old.
I know that many sewers buy their fabric with a project in mind. I seldom have that sort of advanced planning in place. I see a fabric I like and later I worry about what should be made from it, especially if it is a vintage fabric with the amount of yardage available already determined for me.
Because there was so little fabric, I was limited in what I could do with it. I decided that I really wanted a casual top, but there was not enough fabric for sleeves. The solution was to pick a pattern in which the sleeves are cut with the bodice. I came up with McCall’s 4093, a pattern from 1957 which I had used several years ago.
Several changes were in order. I did not want the drawstring at the waist, and the fabric was just too busy for details like the tab under the v-neck and the sleeve cuffs. One solution would have been to make them from a solid, but I decided to just eliminate them. I also changed the cut of the sleeve somewhat. The illustration is misleading about how the sleeve cuffs lie. They look as if they are cut straight across the arm, but in fact they are cut on a diagonal. I lowered the top of the sleeve cuff to straighten it a bit.
I lengthened the bodice as much as possible, but my skimpy little piece did not allow for much of that, so I put as small a hem as possible, using bias tape to bind the edge. I left just a peek of it showing on the outside, just because I could.
I used the scraps of a former project to make the collar and facing. I always save my scraps, as I never know when I’ll find a use for them. I made shorts from the blue cotton several years ago. And yes, I do love my bias tape bindings.
The result is nothing fancy, but I’ll wear this a lot.