the sew weekly “reality check”: the “flirty forties” ensemble

The Facts:

Fabric: silk/rayon/wool whatever from…paron’s?  cool stretch knit from paron’s.
Pattern: Simplicity 1927 (skirt); Alabama Studio Sewing + Design T-shirt/Bolero; The Consulting Dressmaker (Steph C) BCT 40’s Hack (Inspiration)
Year: 1940s (skirt); contemporary (t-shirt)
Notions: lace, grosgrain ribbon, zipper, elastic trim
Time to Complete: 5 hours
First Worn: july 25, 2012
Wear Again: yes, separately and together
Total Price: ~$30
Challenge Theme:  “reality check”

i knew that for my “reality check” i wanted to riff on two excellent inspiration images i’d been saving for the right challenge.  casey, in one of her wonderful posts, highlighted this image for us to drool over.  it’s so forties, so fabulous, and so…tweeny.  i’d admired the skirt for a while but remained on the fence about my ability to pull it off.



also causing palpitations of envy was steph c’s april BCT “hack,” where she re-drafted her classic “blank canvas t” based on several classic 40s details, including a keyhole neckline and a bolero.

ultimately, steph’s method and drafting instructions (while great, don’t get me wrong) didn’t suit exactly my end, so i ended up cutting and re-utilizing the pieces of my alabama studio sewing + design T, along with their bolero pattern, to create a “fauxlero” built into the top.  i used one of my stash 40s patterns to trace off a keyhole neckline and create a facing, and utilized the excellent fashion sewing supply knit interfacing to keep that neckline…well, in line.

i trimmed the “fauxlero”, neckline and sleeves with some great stretch lace from daytona trimming and finished the shirt hem with the selvedge from the shirt.  this had interesting results to say the least–i had forgotten to account for the fact that the stretch on the selvedge would be considerably less than the stretch on the cross-grain.


i ended up with some fascinating construction order on the skirt, let me say.  the original pattern calls for a faux overskirt, made by strategic placement of a ruffle above the hemline of the skirt.  it’s actually a very cool bit of pattern drafting, and i should have realized that in the 40s they wouldn’t be wasting fabric on an overskirt layer.  still, after some consideration, i decided that i wanted an overskirt on mine instead of a giant ruffle, so that’s the way i went.  i trimmed the overskirt with a cool lace, also from daytona, and both fabrics were stiff enough that i got some great volume from the intense fabric gathering called for in that waistline.

THEN i attemped to clean up the waistline seam with some grosgrain.  i’m not really sure where i went wrong, but to call that waistline seam (and subsequent belt) a hot mess is an insult to hot messes everywhere.

so the end result is a great skirt, goofy, but just on the cute and cool side of goofy, and a really, really cool 40s-inspired t-shirt.  i saw my grandmother yesterday and she said, wow, i had a skirt like that in the 40s…only mine was longer!

Pattern Description:
The bodice, styled with a low neckline and extended shoulders, is fitted with darts at the front and back waistline. The skirt is gathered at the waist and trimmed with a ruffle simulating an apron. Tie ends extend from the inset belt and fasten into a back bow. Style II has a contrasting bodice.

Pattern Sizing:
Size 14
Bust 32″
Waist 26″
Hip 35″

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
the idea is definitely there.  had i followed the design and pattern exactly, the results would have been pattern-envelope ready.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
it was the 40s.  instructions were…challenging.  and this is merely a two-piece, gathered-waist skirt!  i was initially baffled by the ruffle.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
i loved the semi-edwardian feel of the ruffle, making the skirt look like something even older and evoking a bustle and parasol or something.

Fabric Used:
silk/wool/rayon from paron’s.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
i used the ruffle stitching line as a guide to create an actual, separate overskirt pattern, which i made in a lighter and slightly translucent fabric for extra volume and interest.  i made a separate top, one following the pattern and one based on a t-shirt, so that i could wear the skirt as separates.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
doubtful, with such a unique design, but one never knows.  maybe i’ll want one in red!

This entry was posted in Finished Objects, Pattern Review, Vintage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to the sew weekly “reality check”: the “flirty forties” ensemble

  1. duck bucket says:

    Super, super cute.

  2. Sassy T says:

    40’s brought bang up to date. Style personified.

  3. Foster says:

    Darling. Love the back of the blouse. So pretty!

  4. StephCStephC says:

    It looks so cute! Love what you did. 🙂

  5. prttynpnk says:

    You are too sweet in that! Love all the details.

  6. Clio says:

    LOVE this outfit on you!

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