Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on July 3, 2012
A Vintage Patriotic Outfit
Happy Fourth of July!
Since I’ve been on this 1940s roll lately, I decided to combine two of my favorite 1940s patterns for a classy sort of vintage outfit that can easily be worn today. I intended to have red, white and blue in all the pictures, but I only ended up wearing the blue fascinator hat for a couple of the shots. At any rate, you can at least get the general idea that I was going for patriotic colors, and I’m very excited to share about the excellent retro patterns I used!
Simplicity 3688 Pattern Review
These slacks were made from Simplicity’s excellent 1940s pants pattern (Simplicity 3688) . The last time I had sewn a pair of pants was in sewing school nine years ago, and I disliked the project so much that ever since I’d refused to sew them at all! But since it looked like this style would be much more forgiving than our modern day pants, I decided to give it a try. And the results were thrilling!
I can’t begin to describe how much more flattering these 1940s slacks are than the modern day pants styles! For one thing, the fact that the zipper is on the side and not in front is much better for the waistline. (I have never understood why women’s clothing stores sell mainly front zippered styles, since they add at least a good inch to the front of your waist! It is always so frustrating when pants make your waist area look bigger than it really is, just because it has the bulk of a button and front zipper! Even the so-called “flat front” pants that close in front with a hook and eye closure still stick out at the stomach, adding unnecessary size that none of us need or want!)
So that being said, I was just thrilled with Simplicity 3688! Keep in mind that I’m a whopping 5 ft. 3″, so I don’t usually look even remotely tall in pants. However, these slacks have the most slenderizing long pleats down the center of both front and back. The pleats stop in the smooth fitting waist area, and are taken up again by darts that continue in the same vertical line. I love the wide legs, and it’s amazing how much taller one feels when wearing these. In addition, the back is loosely cut and is infinitely more flattering than those horrible legging style pants that make even the thinnest person look fat! The three main things I don’t like about modern day pants (front closing zipper, tight fitting back, and ankle hugging skinny pant legs) are all completely eliminated in this fantastic style! I don’t think I’ll ever buy another pair of pants again. : )
The Sense & Sensibility Blouse Pattern
But the real highlight of sewing this outfit was the red silk blouse made from the 1940s blouse pattern by Sense & Sensibility Patterns! When trimmed with lace and made with long sleeves, this versatile pattern (also known of as the Romantic Blouse) can be made to fit everything from the 1830s to the late 1910s, but makes a classy 1940s blouse when made with short, cuffed sleeves!
I had made a couple of Victorian style tops from this design some years ago and was delighted with the ingenious one piece collar that is actually an extension of the blouse front itself. While I’ve sewn plenty of collars in my time, I have to admit that it’s one thing I’m always glad to have over. Not that there’s anything so complicated about them, but I’m always glad to have that step in the process done. But the combination collar-bodice in one piece makes it so much easier to get a good head-start on the project!
The only thing I do a little differently with this blouse is waiting to sew the pleats until the side seams are sewn. That way I can try on the blouse with the pleats pinned, not sewn, and make any adjustments to make for a looser or tighter fit.
And about those pleats, I adore them! You see this style of darts (or close variations on them) in lots of 1940s blouse and dresses, and they’re a refreshing change to the obligatory vertical darts we’ve become so accustomed to. One of my favorite things about them is they add a beautiful hour-glass sort of touch to the blouse, which comes in handy if you’re on the smaller side of things (but it’s still quite flattering to women of any size!) I won’t spoil the surprise of exactly how these are sewn, but I highly recommend getting this pattern whether you wear vintage clothing or not!
You could very easily sew any blouse you ever need from this design by simply changing the sleeve styles, adding ruffles and trims, using sparkly buttons to dress it up, or casual fabrics to dress it down. For this project I used simple shell buttons, left over from the Diana Barry “Anne of Avonlea” project. (These were extras of the decorative buttons that went down the front of the pintucked bodice.) I think they are very suitable for the 40s, when anything beyond the bare minimum was considered frivolous, but if I make another blouse like this I’m sure I’ll find some buttons that are much more sparkly.
And in order to be as authentic as possible, I broke down and put shoulder pads in the blouse. I usually have a great disliking for shoulder pads – I think I have too many memories of wearing them in my early teenage years when my shoulders hadn’t yet grown into women’s sizes and I looked like I was wearing football pads underneath my dresses! Whenever I could I would rip out the pads from otherwise perfectly good dresses and throw them away! : ) But this blouse looks so much better with shoulder pads in place! It has just enough of a tailored feel to make the padding not look out of place, but rather add to the 1940s look.
As for the time involved in making this blouse, it comes together very quickly. A determined sewer with a few hours of free time on her hands could probably make it in an afternoon or evening. I think this one took me a little longer than that, but I still managed to finish it the day I started, which happened to be the day before I had the pictures taken. (I seem to have a knack for not starting projects till the last minute, then whipping them out because I have no other option – I think sewing is more of an adventure that way, though!)
I am thankful for everyone who has served our country, and all their families who have sacrificed so much. May we celebrate the Fourth of July this year not just with fireworks and bbqs, but with true thanksgiving for this nation and all those who died to preserve our freedoms. God bless America!
P.S. I’d like to add a special “Thank you!” to my family who took these pictures under somewhat difficult circumstances. The antique car musuem had incredibly poor lighting, and since I’m kind of a perfectionist they had to take well over a hundred pictures while I was quite concerned that the photos wouldn’t turn out at all! Thanks for all the help, guys – you’re the best! : ) Love, Katrina