Tag Archives: patterns

A Little 1930s, a Bit of the 1940s and a Touch of 1957

It sounds like a hot mess, but I actually made this strange soup and it turned out quite well.

I’m always looking for blouse patterns, and have been really partial to those from the late 50s and early 60s, like McCall’s 4403, which is from 1957.  It’s version C that I was after, but those tight little sleeves where just not going to make it into the final version.

Back in the winter I’d borrowed some fabulous patterns from Kate Mathews, and I’d been wanting to try the pleated sleeve on this design from the 1930s:

(Unfortunately, I was too lazy to grade down the entire pattern, but isn’t it super?)

So I had a plan, and all I needed was the fabric.  When I ran across a red print cotton from the late 30s or early 40s, I knew the plan was complete.

I’ve always been a bit afraid to mix and match elements like this, afraid they wouldn’t “fit.”  But in the past, it was common for home sewers to take the bodice from one pattern, add the sleeves from another, and pair it with the collar from yet another.  You could even purchase patterns of just sleeves and collars.

I’ll try to post a photo of me actually wearing it, but I was so anxious to show it off that I could not wait!


Posted by Mod Betty / RetroRoadmap.com:

Oh how I envy your sewing skills, I have the vague inclination but am always on the road. Can’t wait to see how it looks! I was just readying for a garage sale at the Hacienda and came across a bag of old patterns that I had thrifted- mainly for the artwork. I should send them to you, you might be able to make something of them! 

Thursday, September 16th 2010 @ 2:56 PM

Posted by Dakota Walsh:

I just found your blog via the Fedora Lounge, and it’s great! I’m so envious of a lot of your finds, and it’s fun to see the locations you visit.
That’s a lovely blouse! Looks cohesive to me, and the detailing is fantastic. 

Thursday, September 16th 2010 @ 5:44 PM

Posted by samsara:

What a lovely blouse. I also admire your sewing skills an ingenuity! 

Thursday, September 16th 2010 @ 6:29 PM

Posted by Lizzie:

Thanks so much! Sewing really is not so hard, especially if you are mechanically inclined. It’s like anything else; you have to learn the skills. 

Mod Betty, I’d love to have them if you are so inclined, and will gladly pay the postage.

Friday, September 17th 2010 @ 11:45 AM

Posted by Sarsaparilla:

Your 30s/40s/50s soup turned out very well! What interesting 30’s sleeves – and a great print. You did good! I do hope you’ll model it for us sometime. 

Monday, September 20th 2010 @ 9:06 PM

Posted by quietandsmalladventures:

gosh that’s super cute, i love the pattern and how everything came together!! 

Thursday, September 23rd 2010 @ 8:16 PM

Posted by Holly:

Well, I love it! In addition to the adorable sleeves, I always find that a blouse with the dart below the bust and that slowly releases as it moves down the waist looks great and can be easily tucked in or left untucked. 

Friday, September 24th 2010 @ 8:11 AM

Posted by Denise:

Found your blog via Sew Retro. 

What a great blouse – love the addition of the sleeves!

Saturday, September 25th 2010 @ 9:26 AM

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From Anne Spadea Combs

I received a lovely letter and some photos from Anne Spadea Combs last week.  The photo above is of her parents, Jean and James Spadea.  The photo was taken sometime in the mid 1950s.  Anne said her father always wore a hat, often a beret!

She also sent a copy of an invitation to a Jean Spadea Retrospective which was held at the Stover Mill Gallery.  The cover of the card has a self portrait Jean painted in 1936.  Inside are examples of Jean’s work from the 1920s through the 70s.

Finally, I want to share a photo of Anne.  Anne and her brother and sister were all artists.  Sculpting was Anne’s talent.  As a little girl, she watched her mother sculpt mannequins for Bonwit Teller, and at the age of 39, Anne began sculpting herself.  She did over 100 pieces before “retiring” at 75.

Illustrations copyright Anne Spadea Combs


Posted by Kevin J Solar:

I’m the nephew of Sarah Spadea Black, Jean Spadeas’ daughter. I was not aware of the history behind this fine woman. It is good of you to tell her story. I was at the Stover Mill Gallery where I met Mrs. Spadea and her husband James. I was about 8 yrs. old. Very interesting. Thank You.

Monday, March 16th 2009 @ 9:38 PM

Posted by Seija:

You Have Great pages! I sew 40´s and 50´s glothes and i love old times! Have i nice spring! Greetings from Finland!:)

Sunday, April 5th 2009 @ 10:16 AM


Filed under Sewing