Tuesday, June 27, 2017

title pic My Scarlett O’Hara Ballgown Part 1 – Hollywood Pattern 1988

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on July 20, 2014

The Gone with the Wind Picnic Dress – Hollywood Pattern 1988 Pattern Review

Hello, Readers!

Ever since I found a copy of vintage Hollywood Pattern #1988 on Ebay a couple months ago (one of the rarest patterns in the world), I knew that I would someday recreate the Scarlett O’hara picnic dress.  But I had no idea that I would sew it so soon!  While I’m not really a fan of the film Gone with the Wind, (I like happy films!), I have long admired many of the movie’s Civil War ballgowns and day dresses which I’d seen pictures of for years.  Scarlett’s ivory and green flowered gown with it’s billowy ruffles and green velvet sash made for one of the most elegant and iconic costumes to ever grace the screen. :)


Hollywood Pattern #1988 was released in 1940, from everything we can tell, just a year after Gone with the Wind was released in 1939.  The designers of the pattern did an amazing job of recreating the bodice, but when I measured the bottom of the skirt circumference, it came up at around 130″, if I remember correctly.  The issue here is that while the skirt may have made a lovely 1940s evening gown, it just wasn’t going to come anywhere near the width of a Civil War era dress, and certainly wouldn’t fit over period hoops.


So throughout the whole sewing process, I was often faced with the choice of: “Should I do it just like the pattern says, or should I make it look more like the actual film costume?”  Then again, the actual film costume itself wasn’t even entirely accurate to the era – Scarlett’s dress was a one piece combination of bodice and skirt, whereas a dress from the 1860s was nearly always made with the skirt and bodice separate.  I believe that in early Hollywood movies, they were most likely concerned more with “How will this look (or function) on screen?”, as opposed to, “Will this be period authentic?”  And sometimes the costume designers would even take the problem one step further by conveniently using styles inspired by the popular fashions at the moment.  For instance, the lovely Olivia de Havilland wore bias cut, silk charmeuse gowns (which were totally inspired by evening fashions of the 1930s) in the 1938 Robin Hood, rather than only medieval looking brocade dresses…

But back to my costume!  The only main change I made to Hollywood Pattern 1988 was widening and lengthening the skirt pieces to accommodate a hoop skirt underneath.  As for the fabric, I didn’t have time to order an exact replica of the movie material online and wait to get it shipped.  So I just went to my local fabric store and found an 1860s reproduction print by Moda Fabrics which at least had the same thing – an ivory background with green flowers and leaves, albeit much smaller flowers than on the original version.

Below are pictures of the sewing process.  I knew this would be a project I’d want to remember, so I managed to snap quite a few photos:


Above you can see the two neckline ruffled before they were hemmed or decorated.  Both circular ruffles were to be hemmed of course, but the upper ruffle was supposed to be trimmed with the beading.  And the 5 yards of beading, in turn, was to be laced with 5 yards of green velvet ribbon.


It was not an easy feat!  I think it took well over an hour just to lace the ribbon through all that beading lace. :)


Then this was what the bodice looked like prior to get the ruffle treatment.  (Above)


And finally, after all the ruffles were attached, it really started to look like the movie costume!  The gigantic, pouffy ruffles were totally worth all the intricate work it took to make them!


Next, I made bias binding from the same Moda reproduction fabric to finish the armhole edges.


Applying bias binding to circular edges is one of the finer moments in sewing. So fun!


At this point I put the bodice on my mannequin since it was just waiting on the skirt.  I was so excited with how it was coming along!  Those ruffles are really what make the design, I think.   And up above is a prime example of when I chose to copy the movie version, rather than follow the pattern precisely.  It’s just a small change, but a change nevertheless – the movie costume had three velvet ribbon bows at the neckline: one at the center front and one at each shoulder seam.  The pattern however, omitted the two bows at the shoulder.  I decided to keep all three bows.  :)


The next day I didn’t take a lot of photos of construction because it was just one day before the ball and I was sewing at top speed.  But once the skirt was on (and skirt lining as well), the next step was to insert the zipper.  And with nine yards of fabric in this dress by then, it was no easy task to maneuver all the material through the sewing machine!


So then, the very day of the ball, I finally wrapped up the final steps on the project and I was ready to go!  I have TONS of photos from this most amazing Civil War Ball I attended while wearing the gown, but I will be sharing those in a few days.  :)


Until then, here are just a couple shots so you can get an idea of what it looked like.



{Photo Credit : Sarah of http://pintucksandpinafores.blogspot.com/ – Thank you, Sarah!}

It’s not very often that there’s a real, bonafide reason to make a Civil War costume like this, so it was so nice to have an occasion to wear it to!  The ball I attended was quite possibly even more fun than the Grand Regency ball in Bath, England.  So stay tuned for more pictures later this week!

Happy sewing,


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title pic A 1950s Dress at the Beach – Vogue 9114 Pattern Review

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on June 2, 2014

Vogue Pattern 9114 Pattern Review


Hello, Ladies!

I am happy to share pictures of a 1950s dress which I actually sewed last year, but just now had photographed!  I made this dress last fall in anticipation of my England costuming trip, and you might remember seeing it (albeit topped with a lavender lace bolero) in the blog post about my visit to The Ritz for tea and to the Victoria & Albert Museum.  It was a marvelous dress to wear around London, but I thought that without the bolero it would look just as at home on the beach!




As you can see, this was the dress I wore while at the V&A last fall. I got so many comments on it!

Thinking back to when I wore it at the V&A, I remember that people commented that I looked like I was part of the costume exhibit. :)  You can’t quite tell in the two above photos, but with the huge crinoline petticoat underneath the skirt was ginormous!  But since I only make it to the V&A every several years or so, I like it just as well without the bolero for a more casual, sun dress look.

Vogue 9114


Vogue Pattern #9114 caught my eye right away because of the beautiful floral print on the dress and the oversized sunhat!  What distinguishes this design from your average 1950s dress pattern are the very unusual diagonal tucks under the bust, the square neckline, and the buttons down the front.  It also has the loveliest ribbon bow hanging down the front that looks so elegant and feminine.


When choosing my materials, I picked a fabric whose print was as close to the pattern cover as possible, only in lavender instead of rosy pink.  And pearl buttons were exactly what I had in mind with this print!


Pattern Review

On a scale of 1-5, I would probably give this pattern a 4.5.  It is slightly trickier to sew than a standard 1950s dress, but the finished results are well worth the effort.  The only thing I wasn’t particularly fond of was how huge the waist was.  I had to take the waist in about 3 inches I believe, and even then it wasn’t quite fitted enough.  Of course, I do like my bodices to fit snugly so that it makes the contrast greater between the skirt and the bodice, but if you don’t take the waist in it won’t look like the pattern cover unless you’re larger in the waist than the pattern calls for.  The tucks/darts were a tiny bit challenging, but they certainly were fun once I got them to lay properly!


I chose to omit the short sleeve just because it would not have worked to wear the lace bolero over it otherwise, but if it wasn’t for that reason I think the short sleeve would be just adorable with the dress!

So without further ado, here are some of my favorite photos taken on a very windy day at the beach!


A Close-up





 For all the beach pictures, you can’t quite see the effects of the crinoline petticoat underneath because the wind was blowing so hard. :(  So you’ll just have to take my word for it that this skirt really *is* much fuller when it’s not all windy. :)  Also, because this fabric is a twill, the heavier weight pulls the skirt down instead of fluffing out as much as something thinner would.

So there you have it!  Vogue 9114 worked really well with this fabric, I think, and I’ve had so much fun wearing this dress the last several months!



Well, I hope you all are having a wonderful week, and I’m looking forward to sharing some upcoming projects with you in the near future!

Happy sewing,


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title pic In Your Easter Bonnet with all the Frills Upon It

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on April 20, 2014

A Vintage Pink Easter Dress – Hollywood Patterns #1878


Happy Easter!  I wanted to show you all the vintage dress which I wore today to church for Easter Sunday.  Back in the “good old days”, nearly everyone went to church on Easter (in America, that is), and all the ladies and girls wore their finest outfits for the occasion.  Most families, if they could manage, bought new Easter dresses for each female member of the family every year, complete with new hats, gloves, and shoes.  I am told that the term “the Easter parade” was coined in New York City in the late Victorian era, when the women’s attire which they “paraded” on their way to church became so elaborate that many people would come to the street corners just to see the spectacle of a fashion parade enroute to church, and to pick their favorite hat from the crowd.  Decades later, Irving Berlin penned the song “Easter Parade” in 1933, which was later sung by Bing Crosby in the film Holiday Inn in 1942.  Then in 1948, this song was used yet again in a film starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland, and titled, aptly, Easter Parade.

Well, today is obviously a far cry from the days when everyone would dress up, (or when everyone would go to church for that matter), but I still take the opportunity to do both whenever I possibly can. :)


I sewed this vintage Easter dress using Hollywood Pattern #1878.  Seeing as it was printed in the late 1940s (and possibly into the very early 1950s), it is extremely rare.  So I was super excited to find it online a few months ago!  This design has a peasant style upper bodice with fitted waist, gathered cap sleeves, and a semi-full skirt.


The material is a floral print cotton batiste, lined with blush pink China silk lining.  At the seam between the upper bodice and the cummerbund, I added a pink floral ribbon which has a tiny floral pattern on it quite reminiscent of the larger print.


Here’s a close-up of the bodice, where you can see the ribbon at the bodice/waist seam.

 ~It closes with a side zipper, and it’s quite comfortable to wear, especially compared to many vintage dresses! ~



~ The Accessories:  The ruched pink gloves and ivory net hat are both vintage pieces that I picked up at an antique shop recently.  I don’t know quite how old they are, but they were both in excellent condition.  The hat is made from a stiff netting that has flocked polka dots on the material.  It might not exactly be an “Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it”, but it at least certainly counts as an Easter hat! :)




I did this hairstyle as a mixture of two different styles which are demonstrated in the book “Vintage Hairstyles” by Lauren Rennells.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, this is my favorite hairstyling book ever!!  The author has extensive film experience and is a real pro at 1930s-1960s hairdos.  (This is my honest opinion of the book – I am not paid to do a “product review” of it.) :)


I will note that the late-afternoon lighting today rather washed out the color of the fabric, so unfortunately you can’t see as much of the pattern as I’d like.  Nevertheless, I hope that you can still get a good idea of what it looks like!   But here is a very non-historically accurate picture (on Pinterest) which I took inside today so that you can get a better idea of what the color is if you wish to see.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!

Happy sewing,


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