Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on February 8, 2014
The 1940s Sweetheart Neck Dress – Hollywood Pattern 1059 Pattern Review
There’s just nothing like 1940s dress styles! Despite the fact that all fabrics were rationed during WWII, the fashion designers of the decade created styles which were so detailed with shirring, gathers, pleats, and wide waistbands, that you almost wouldn’t know they were had to scrimp on materials!
And of all the 1940s pattern companies, by far my favorite is Hollywood Patterns (you can read a history of the company here). Featuring film stars on their pattern covers, (including Lucille Ball, Olivia De Havilland, & Ginger Rogers), these dress patterns were far and above their “peers” such as Simplicity, Advance, and Vogue. The incredible detail that went into each dress was simply inspiring, and the pattern covers alone are collectible nowadays. The truth is, I never met a Hollywood Pattern I didn’t like! You can find them on Ebay and Etsy quite regularly, and you can also see some of my favorites on this Pinterest board which is devoted just to designs from this vintage pattern brand.
This dress I recently sewed was made from Hollywood Pattern #1059, which features a sweetheart neckline, ruching at the bust, and a wide cummerbund waistband that ends in a deep “v” at the top and bottom.
The moderately full skirt is pleated, the sleeves are short and puffed (though the pattern has the option for straight sleeves, as well), and there are ties in back at the waistline. I think the overall silhouette is quite classic!
The cutest detail in the whole pattern is the bow trim on the bodice, I think! I chose chocolate brown ribbon to contrast with the burgundy crepe/faille fabric.
I love the pattern so much that I think I’ll have to whip up a few more dresses from the same design! Right now all my sewing time is going into finishing my upcoming pattern for “Liesl’s Edelweiss Dress”, but once that project is done I would love to create several more from this pattern. This is one of those dress styles where you think, “I’ll take one in every color, please!”
Oh, and the hat! This is a vintage hat which I purchased while in London last fall on my historical costume trip. How neat to have something that was once worn in London during the 1940s – I wonder who wore it and what occasions she used it for?
So that’s my latest vintage creation! This pattern was wonderful to work with, and really very straightforward. It is quite fitted in the bodice, so it might be a good idea to cut it out a size larger if you want a bit more room. I think that Hollywood Pattern #1059 is not at all rare (there are several listed for sale on Ebay and Etsy at the moment), so it should be fairly easy to find.
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on January 26, 2014
I have just put together an eleven minute video taking you on a tour of all the Pride & Prejudice film locations I visited in England last fall, along with some video clips of the Grand Regency Ball from the Jane Austen Festival 2013! I have set up this video to run in chronological order, as if you were watching the 1995 version of Pride & Prejudice (minus the words, of course).
In each location I wore a costume reproduction of either Elizabeth Bennet’s or Georgiana Darcy’s film wardrobe, though in the room where Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth I had to wear a reproduction of a Jane Bennet Regency day dress, and at the interior of Pemberly I had to wear my Georgiana Darcy costume for the Elizabeth Bennet “scenes”. (Because I could only wear one outfit a day, I was not able to change for each location.)
Traveling to all these locations on various days and realizing how many different places were used for even just one scene gave me a tiny glimpse into what would have gone into the making of Pride & Prejudice. And once I started making the video, I realized even more how much the scenes “jump around” from place to place! For instance, Mr. Darcy’s letter begins at “Rosings Park” (Belton House in real life), then transitions to the exterior of “Pemberly” (Lyme Park). Next we see Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham at “Cambridge” (the interior of the Lacock Abbey in real life), then it cuts to the interior of “Pemberly” (Sudburry Hall) where Mr. Wickham receives his check of 3,000 pounds from Mr. Darcy and bumps into Georgiana. And the funny thing is that we were at those locations on four totally separate days – so you can see how it would be difficult in making a film to keep the continuity with all those different locations! (NOTE: The video is embedded in this blog post below, but in case you can’t see it the link to the video on Youtube is here.)
Do be advised that if you are not a diehard Pride & Prejudice (1995) fan, you may not understand the pink swirling fabric at the intro, or the change of locations during Mr. Darcy’s letter, or the skipping at Longbourn…. But I sincerely hope that everyone who follows my blog is as big of a Pride & Prejudice fan as I am, and will get the point of why I did what I did with the music, pictures, and video at the exact timing that it was in the film. If you don’t recognize all the shots, I would recommend watching all four episodes of this BBC adaptation ASAP.!:) It is one of the greatest pieces of television of all times, and will surely lift your spirits.
I hope you all enjoy this trip into the English countryside, and I hope you can feel as if you just visited the spots I saw in Jane Austen’s beloved England along with the rest of our group. And for any of you who didn’t follow my blog while I was in England, I have very detailed posts about the tour and about my costumes that I recreated if you go back to the “Archives” section from September 2013-November 2013 (in the sidebar of this blog).
Have a marvelous week!
Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on December 29, 2013
Merry Late Christmas! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. This week I am very excited that my mother is joining me on this blog to show not one but two Christmas dresses! I made both of our frocks which we wore to Holiday High Tea at a grand hotel here in the Pacific Northwest, and it was truly a sumptuous occasion. There’s just nothing like getting all dressed up in rich holiday colors and fine fabrics, donning fur capes and gloves, and heading out in the cold to a palatial hotel for high tea. It was an occasion that we will have to make an annual tradition!
A Victorian Style Suit ~ Simplicity 8947 Pattern Review
I love sewing for my mom (though I don’t have time to do so as often as I would like), and since we’re the exact same size it’s quite easy to fit her outfits. This Victorian style suit, which is made of a resplendent forest green silk slipper satin, comes from a vintage “Gunne Sax” pattern that has been in my collection for some years. (This pattern design abounds on Etsy and Ebay, so those who wish to find the pattern online should have no problem doing so.) It is Simplicity 8947 by Jessica McClintock, a designer who created so many feminine styles back in the ’80s and ’90s. I sincerely wish that her designs today would be as romantic and frilly as they used to be!
The lavish jacket features a long, flared, back which is almost reminiscent of a peplum or bustle. I chose to omit the center slit down the back of the jacket for a much more Victorian look. Puffed sleeves give this garment the air of an 1890s jacket, though the pattern was actually released in the late 1980s, I believe. If I remember correctly I may have added more width to the sleeve cap to create fuller gathers, but I omitted the shoulder pads as they just weren’t necessary for a proper fit.
My favorite part of this ensemble was the opulent Venice lace trim which exactly matches that gorgeous shade of forest green. I applied the lace entirely by hand around the sleeve hem and at the neckline. I was very careful to match the ends of the Venice lace at the neck back when finishing it.
Finally, here’s a back shot and an image of the pattern I used.
The Black Watch Plaid 1950s Dress
Some of you may recognize this pattern from the ivory eyelet version I sewed earlier this spring. This plaid Christmas dress was fashioned from traditional black watch plaid fabric using the vintage pattern Butterick 6835. (I’ve had lots of requests on where to find this pattern, and unfortunately it is quite rare so I can’t offer any advice on where to find it.)
The bodice contains lots of pleats which are almost invisible in the pictures because the well-matched plaid hides the tucks. I swapped out the pattern’s circular skirt for a gored, gathered skirt, and used a textured taffeta for the waist panel.
What makes this plaid fabric so perfect for this 1950s dress is that it is actually a voile, not a cotton broadcloth or taffeta like most plaid materials. So the thinness of the fabric helps the kimono style sleeves drape nicely, rather than bunching up under the arms. Since the material was so featherweight, I lined the garment with the same blue taffeta that was used for the waist panel. The Peter Pan collar was created from this material, as well.
My favorite part of this dress is the choice of “buttons” down the front! In all actuality I cut off individual clusters of Swarovski crystals from a by-the-yard trim in my stash and stitched them on by hand. The front closes not with buttons, but with hidden snap closures. The best thing about these “buttons” is that they look almost exactly like Princess Diana’s (and subsequently Kate Middleton’s) engagement ring! It is a mock sapphire in the middle surround by tiny Swarovski crystals.
And as for the holiday high tea itself, it was positively sumptuous! Our table overlooked the Columbia River, and the dainty china and impressive spread of pastries made for an absolutely lovely afternoon. And though it’s just a few days till all the holiday decorations come down, I take comfort in knowing that in another 11 months I can pull out my Christmas outfits once again!
Hope you all have a blessed New Year,