Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Necklines, Part IV

We don't consider how many choices we have when it comes to necklines Parts I through III each featured five different necklines. In this installment, I have five more to share. There will be a Part V with the final four!

Vogue Patterns Magazine
 September/October 1976

The Surplice Neckline has been a favorite for decades. Proper fit is essential when choosing this neckline since it isn't just a neckline, it involves the entire bodice. That alone makes it the perfect sewing project.  Below are just a few gorgeous examples of patterns that have Surplice Necklines. I chose to show the style over the decades.
 For example, the iconic Diane von Furstenberg Wrap dress was created 30 years ago and is still popular today.
         McCall 7490                   Advance 9362                Butterick 6752              Vogue 7820
        RetroMonkeys              DesignRewindFashions      PatternsFromThePast         SewBohemian

The One Shoulder Neckline is a great style for evening gowns and summer tops. This style has remained popular through the decades as it makes a dramatic statement.

             Vogue 7528                        McCall 6807                     Vogue 1702                McCall's 7156
            by Anne8865                      by Fancywork                  by DesignRewind        by PatternsNew2U

By itself a camisole is the perfect solution for hot summer afternoons. Add a jacket for cool evenings and one dress can transition from daytime to evening with ease. The camisole starts a lingerie and finishes as a business blouse under a suit. Below are 3 examples of camisoles with and without a jacket. 

            New Look 6964                                 Vogue 2618                             Butterick 6093
           ThePatternSource                                Vogue Vixens                            PinkPolkaDot

The Funnel Neckline isn't the most common or the most popular of the myriad of choices. However, it had it's day in the sun. During the mid to late 1960's, the Funnel neckline was fairly common. Similar to a mock turtleneck but a little bit more streamlined. It is often paired with raglan sleeves. 

                 McCall's 2755                                    McCall's 9426                             Simplicity 7161
                     Jantiki                                              ViennasGrace                               CloesCloset

The Gathered neckline, was a challenge. Finding examples was more difficult than I expected. I Tried to stick to the high neckline. Below are 3 examples. A 1950's Dress, 1940's Blouse, and a 1980's Dress. The 1980's dress is what I would call a paper bag neckline. 

                Simplicity 2181                               Advance 4277                                     Simplicity 9823
                  Sydcam123                                  FriskyScissors                                     MonkeyandFriends  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Focus On: Sundresses

By Sherri, sewbettyanddot

It's July, it's hot and/or humid (in most parts of the Northern Hemisphere, in any case!), so let's keep it simple, shall we? Let's look at the easy-breezy sundress. 

By the very loosest definition, a sundress is a simple garment that does not require anything else: no belt, no jacket, no stockings...and if you can get away without a foundation garment under it, so much the better! (That being said, many vintage sundress patterns often have little boleros or jackets, presumably to don when the sun gets to be too much, or perhaps to wear for a bit more coverage while in a restaurant). It is sleeveless and may or may not have a relatively revealing neckline.

Historically, the sundress--loose, comfortable, worn without rigid girdles or slips--follows on from the more relaxed garments seen in the 1920s. In the 1930s women began to embrace the notion of physical fitness, and tanning became popular. This is an interesting sociological development: for centuries, pale skin was desirable because it indicated that you were of an upper class--you didn't work outside so your skin remained pale. In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1813), Caroline Bingley shows her snobbishness here: "How very ill Eliza Bennett looks this morning, Mr. Darcy," she cried. "She is grown so brown and coarse..." Women worked hard to stay covered up when outside (long sleeves--check; sunbonnet--check; shawl--check; parasol--check). In the late 1920s and 1930s, however, social mores switched course and being tanned meant that you were wealthy enough to have leisure time to spend on the beach, golf course, etc. It is alleged that Coco Chanel started the tanning craze after she accidentally got sunburned while on a yachting trip--one more thing we can attribute to Mademoiselle Chanel!

The first sundresses (as we know them) appeared in the 1930s...not coincidentally, around the time playsuits became popular and around the same period when swimsuits exposed more skin. And fashion has never looked back: every decade has seen some version of the sundress--halter, maxi length, mini, backless)--and apparently sundresses are on trend this year. 

So let's look at some lovely sundress patterns from members of the Pattern Patter team:

Top row, left to right: Pictorial Review 7022: kinseysue

Which of these sundresses floats your boat? Tell us in the comments!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Necklines Part III

by Mary Beth, RetroMonkeys
The necklines in this post, see the previous posts on necklines Here and Here, are all appropriate for evening wear as well as daytime looks. 

The first neckline is the Sweetheart. The Sweetheart has a  a curved bottom edge that is concave down and usually doubly scalloped to resemble the top half of a heart. Here are a few examples of the versatility of this neckline. Some are very defined and deep some are more subtle. 

                Simplicity 2219                   Vogue 7944                           Simplicity 4321         
             WeAreVintageSewing             CloesCloset                                  Sydcam             

Next is the Décolleté. A low cut V neckline in the case of the example, any revealing cut that accentuates the bust can be considered a décolleté neckline. 

               Vogue 8546                      Modes Royale 965                   Simplicity 6563
              DesignRewind                  RebeccasVintageSalon                EmSewCrazy

The Plunging Neckline is rarely seen except in evening gowns. A popular choice on the red carpet. The neckline usually extends below the bust line sometimes as low as the navel. 
      Vogue 1438 Teal Traina          Vogue 1030 Badgely Mischka              Vogue 7630
             CynicalGirl                              PeoplePackages                  ShellMakeYouFlip

Strapless tops and dresses have been a favorite over the decades. From formal dresses to a corset or bustier with jeans, the strapless bodice is timeless.

       Vogue Couturier 1113               McCall's 2304                       Simplicity 4272
            SoVintageOnEtsy                        ComeSeeComeSew                       BethTheBookLady

The first thing that enters my mind when I think of Off the Shoulder is Olivia Newton John in Grease. Of course her look in the movie is just one example of the off-shoulder neckline. 

                       McCall 7919                                  Simplicity 5289                     Butterick 8152
                SweetSorotVeasman                              RetroMonkeys                  PinkPolkaDotButton

Halters are a great summer style as well as an evening favorite. Comfortable and sexy with most having a bare back. 

               McCall's 8870                                  Simplicity 3081                         Simplicity 5349
              OmasBricaBrac                              PinkPolkaDotButton                      CloesCloset

That's it for now, Next time - Surplice, One Shoulder, Camisole, Funnel, and Gathered. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Featured Seller - Mantua Maker

by Mary Beth, RetroMonkeys

Churchill hard at work
I’m Deb Salisbury of MantuaMakerPatterns. I now live in Central Texas with my cat Churchill, but I grew up in Northern California. A world of difference in landscape and attitude!
As a child, I loved to make clothing for my sister’s dolls. I wasn’t interested in the dolls themselves, except to make them on occasion, but the clothing was fun to design and create. The hems were ragged and the stitching looked like Frankenstein’s nightmare. At age ten, I was quite proud of them.

Me in a Renaissance Corset
and Farthingale in  Australia
In 1986, my boyfriend took me to a Science Fiction and Fantasy Masquerade, and I was blown away by the costumes. For eleven months I dreamed of them, and in the last month I made my own for the next masquerade. I’ve been hooked ever since. In 1992, I expanded into historical costumes, and discovered a deep love for historical clothing. I started researching and discovered very few historical patterns. So I decided to make my own.

Victorian Corset Pattern
I create sewing patterns for historical clothing from the skin out – underwear, corsets, skirts, and bodices. Even bathing suits and wrappers. It seems important to me that we remember how clothes used to be made, especially because clothing has changed so much, from the cloth to the styles we choose.

Victorian Corset,
Corset Cover, and

I opened The Mantua-Maker Patterns in 1993 
as a catalogue business with one wholesale 
account and the occasional retail sale.
It’s a good thing I had a day job! Twenty years later, 
the Mantua-Maker has forty six patterns, four pamphlets, 
and three books on historical clothing and fabrics:

Elephant's Breath & London Smoke: Colour in History (published by Five Rivers Chapmanry) 

(available on amazon.com)

After joining Etsy, I discovered the PatternPatter Team and vintage patterns. A whole new world for me – who knew other people loved those patterns hidden at the back of my closet? I’m not expert on vintage clothing, but I enjoy hanging out with the lovely people in this team.

Walking Skirt Pattern
My inspiration
My Walking Skirt! 

You can find me at:

Thank you for sharing this post with me. Please feel free to use the following coupon code for 15% off with any Etsy purchase $10 or greater: PPFEATURED

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Focus On: Swimsuits

By Sherri, sewbettyanddot

You're going to Hawaii...what are you packing? A swimsuit? A bathing suit? A swimming suit? No matter what you call it, swimwear as we know it has evolved over a relatively short period of time. For centuries, anyone going into the water went in nude (though there is actually artwork from ancient Sicily showing women doing some sort of sport, and they're wearing what looks remarkably like a modern bikini).

It would be centuries before women were seen in anything approaching a "bathing costume" (rumor has it that before the nineteenth century our forebears didn't go near water much, even for cleanliness purposes, let alone recreational ones; even when bathing, women often wore their thin shifts while in the water). While therapeutic spas (such as Bath in England) became popular in Europe in the eighteenth century, it wasn't until the mid-1800s that people began to enjoy recreational swimming (usually in the ocean). "Bathing machines" protected women's privacy: they were essentially little huts that were pulled into the water by horses, allowing ladies to enjoy the water without being seen. Bathing costumes were full-length tunic-like garments usually made of wool and worn with bloomers, a garment made popular by Amelia Bloomer, a suffrage and temperance activist (who knew?). As you might expect, wet wool didn't lend itself to an enjoyable swimming experience!

In 1907 Australian swimmer and actress Annette Kellerman caused a stir in Boston when she wore a form-fitting suit--like a unitard--and she was promptly arrested for indecency (fun fact: Esther Williams portrayed her in the 1952 film Million Dollar Mermaid).
Annette Kellerman in the form-fitting swimsuit that led to her arrest for indecency in 1907. (photo: Library of Congress via Wikipedia)
After that, women's swimsuits began to expose more flesh. Suits were made of knitted wool (a bit stretchy when wet!): in fact, Jantzen, Cole of California, and Catalina, big names in American swimwear, began life as knitting mills. In the 1930s, Lastex (a fabric that included elastic threads in the weave) was invented and used for swimsuits AND girdles, and the bathing suit was changed forever.  

The French also changed swimwear for good when, in 1946, designer Louis Reard presented the somewhat risque "Bikini" (named after the Bikini Atoll, site of the first nuclear test); it was modeled by an exotic dancer from the Casino de Paris because no fashion model would be seen in it. (Jacques Heim actually showed a version of the bikini he called the "Atome" earlier in 1946).

Sources: Wikipedia, Smithsonian.com, Vintage Fashion Guild

Today women have a wealth of choices when it comes to swimwear, from the skimpiest bikini to more modest maillots and the hybrid tankini. We've come a long way, baby!

Now let's look at some lovely vintage swimsuit patterns from members of the Pattern Patter team!

Top row (left to right): Victorian bathing suit: MantuaMakerPatterns

Boy shorts? A monokini? Shirred one-piece or bandeau bikini? Which swimsuit floats YOUR boat? Tell us in the comments!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sewing through the Cinema~How to Marry a Millionaire~

by Amy ~ViennasGrace 

          Get your tissues ready, no not that kind of tissue silly, this isn't a tear jerker. I'm searching sewing patterns modern and vintage to find the looks featured in classic films. Although it might not be possible to duplicate the exact look, I'll show you how to easily mimic the feeling of the style. Soon you'll see that a silver screen wardrobe is only a pattern away.


    Is a 1953 Romantic Comedy about 3 women, who each set out to marry a millionaire. In the end, all marry for love.



Betty Grable as Loco Dempsey; 

Marilyn Monroe as Pola Debevoise;                     

Lauren Bacall as Schatze Page.

   Watch the Original Trailer

    The film was a fashion extravaganza. 20th Century Fox cast three fabulous, fashionable actresses. Their characters were not only hunting for millionaires, they were playing the roles of fashion models! The costume designer for this movie was the close friend of Marilyn Monroe, William Travilla, under the direction of Charles LeMaire. From time to time Vintage Spadea Patterns designed by LeMaire become available through members of the Pattern Patter Team on Etsy. 
Two bombshell outfits received the majority of the media attention after the movie release, an evening gown and a bathing suit, both worn by Marilyn Monroe.

Butterick 3129                         McCall's 6569                                     Simplicity 1374

The clothing in this film is 1950s fashion at its best. The style elements that really stand out are, great hats, billowing bishop sleeves, mermaid skirted gowns, hip swags, unique necklines, wing collars, cowl boatnecks, (say that 5x fast) just so many wonderful design features! Here are just a few of the wardrobe highlights from How to Marry a Millionaire.

                            Betty Grable in a Mermaid Gown                                

                                                        DejaVuPatterns              PatternsFromthePast                    
                                                       Simplicity 8425                Vogue8190            

The Glamorous Trio, Betty and Marilyn showing an accent on the hips.

                                                     ErikawithaK Vogue 4831                   FriskyScissors Advance 4454

Smart dressed Marilyn Monroe, in her light gold tone blouse and classic beret.

                                                              patternshop Advance 7768                                                               DesignRewindFashions Vogue 9462 


 We should all lounge in such style, great view, and great vintage fashion.

paneenjerez Simplicity 3632
                                                           retromonkeys Vogue 3536        omasbricabrac Simplicity 1510               

I love Lauren in her bouffant sleeves, what glorious sleeves. Kind of makes you rethink a peter pan collar blouse and a jumper, nothing matronly or school girl here!

FancyWork Simplicity 1085                                                         Stitchingbynumbers Simplicity 2390

Egyptian styling influence shows up throughout the film. 

                                                       anne8865 Butterick 4129          marcellassewing McCall's 4116


The photo below is from a scene in the movie at Mr. Antione's Fashion House, a private fashion show just for Mr. Brookman, played by Cameron Mitchell.

Most of the ensembles had fun names: Lft to Rt. Double Frozen Daiquiris~Trouble in the Afternoon~Diamonds are a Girl's Best friend~Hard Hearted Hannah~Lookie, Lookie, Lookie~N/A~Good Afternoon Sweetheart~N/A

How can you get all this style into your closet? I told you, pull out your tissues! Pattern tissue that is, go sew it girl! Below is a Pattern Patter Team Treasury inspired by the lovely fashions in 
How to Marry a Millionaire.
View this treasury on Etsy