adjective:old fashioned, out of style, unfashionable [from French, the past participle of démoder "to go out of fashion," from mode "fashion"].

gallery: 20th century creations

1909 afternoon dress

1909 suit

1910 afternoon dress

1910 evening dress

1910s corset

1923 dress (mccall)

1930s blouse (mccall 9293)

1930s dress (simplicity 2654)

1934 knickers

1942 dress (simplicity)

1942 dress (dubarry)

1943 dress (vintage vogue)

1955 skirt (vogue 8786)

retro inspired sweater

1950s applique skirt

1909 afternoon dress (2004)

For more pictures and commentary, see the project diary.

1909 dress 1909 dress

1909 suit (2006, on hold)

On hold -- awaiting lots of time and an appropriate event to get excited about.  For more pictures and commentary, see the project diary.

petticoat petticoat embroidery

1910 afternoon dress (2005)

For more pictures and commentary, see the project diary.

wings of the dove dress wings of the dove dress wings of the dove dress

1910 evening dress (2006)

For more pictures and commentary, see the project diary.

Lady MaudLady MaudLady MaudLady Maud

1910s corset (2004/2006)

Take two (2006) -- for more pictures and commentary, see the project diary.

corset corset corset

Take one (2004) -- for more pictures and commentary, see the project diary.

1910s corset 1910s corset

1923 dress (mccall) (2004)

This dress was inspired by a beautiful early 20th century ivory and black parasol that I found in an antique shop. I loved the color scheme and decided to conquer my fear of 1920s (would I look like I was wearing a giant pillowcase?) and come up with an outfit around it. I've been planning it for the 2004 Gatsby picnic, but was inspired to whip out the dress for the Silent Film Festival.

The dress is made of ivory and black rayon crepe, which was really hard to find! I finally tracked some down at Trimfabric.com. I wasn't entirely sure where I was going until I found the pattern, which I liked for its simplicity. It's obviously from 1923, given the long skirt (hemlines got progressively shorter from 1919-22, then went back to ankle length in '23, and then started rising again in 1924). I knew I wanted contrast collar and cuffs, and thought the straight collar on the pattern would lend itself well to a sailor collar, which I think really adds to the design.

Fitting the dress was hilarious. I graded the pattern up to my size, cut out a mockup, put it on -- yep, it fit. There's just NO fitting involved with these styles! (Okay, I did have to cut the shoulder area a bit narrower -- but I'm so used to futzing!). Since this was a 20th century dress, I was able to use machine embroidery (on the collar and cuffs) and machine made buttonholes -- all of which were SO easy compared to the handwork I'm used to!

For more pictures, see the Gatsby 2004 gallery and the San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2004 gallery.

1923 dress 1923 dress 1923 dress 1923 dress

1930s blouse (mccall #9293) (2003)

For more pictures and commentary, see the project diary.


1930s dress (simplicity #2654) (2003)

For more pictures and commentary, see the project diary.

gatsby dress gatsby dress

1934 Knickers (2004)

I finally convinced my husband to go to a costume event (we compromised that he'll attend 20th c. events, since he likes early-mid 20th century styles), so of course he had to go to Gatsby! First we were going to do the traditional vest and pants, but being oh-so-cute he decided he wanted a 1920s golf outfit complete with knickers! Be still my beating heart!

We'd already bought the pattern from Evadress.com when we were looking for pants -- from everything I could find, it looked like later 1920s and early 1930s pants and knickers styles were the same. It was relatively straightforward to adjust the pattern -- I measured the crotch seam of some pants that he liked the fit on and lengthened the waist-hip section.

Putting them together only created one temper tantrum -- this is the era of cryptic sewing directions, and I had trouble figuring out how the hem straps were attached. My first try was too small, necessitating lots of unpicking -- which unfortunately happened late at night after a few hours of sewing (when I'm tired and things don't work, I get pissed). But I came back to it the next day, breathed a little, redid them and they fit. Figuring out the zipper was annoying too, although not too bad. Hauled out my Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing and squinted at the directions a lot.

For more pictures, see the Gatsby 2004 gallery .

1934 knickers pattern 1934 knickers

1942 dress (Simplicity #4432) (2002?)

A relatively simple wrap dress. I made this out of a green paisley print rayon/cotton knit that I ordered from Fashion Fabrics Club. I was actually expecting it to be more of a rayon crepe, but I forged ahead and simply ignored the fact that it was a knit. This was my first attempt at bound buttonholes, and they actually turned out quite well -- except for the fact that buttonhole "lips" are off-center on every one! I see this is going to take a bit more practice.

Simplicity 4432 Simplicity 4432 Simplicity 4432 Simplicity 4432

1942 dress (DuBarry #5199) (2002?)

I LOVE this pattern! The darts on the bodice turned out just gorgeous, and they are mirrored by darts at the sleeve head (a beautiful way to handle sleeve head fullness without getting poofy princess sleeves) and at the elbow. The only problem is that the fabric I chose -- a green, floral print cotton -- is so dark that you can't see any of the seaming details! Oh well, I guess I know they're there, right?

DuBarry 5199 DuBarry 5199 DuBarry 5199

1943 dress (Vintage Vogue #2322) (2002?)

This was my first attempt at using a Vintage Vogue pattern. The center front bodice and skirt gathering was a little bit tricky -- I'd recommend trying a muslin so that you wrap your brain around it before using your fashion fabric. The fabric was an amazing find -- cherry print rayon! -- that I found on ebay. Okay, yes, I KNOW cherry print fabric is totally cheesy these days, especially for retro/vintage dresses. But oh well, I've never been one to not do something just because it's cheesy!

My only irritation with this dress was the fact that since the fabric was relatively light, I had to line it -- and the lining did not turn out perfectly. I swear, I am bag lining disabled. Every time I try to make a bag lining, it somehow doesn't match the fashion fabric and something ends up wonky! Since I wanted to omit the gathers on the lining, wonkiness ensued, but hopefully it's not visible.>

The only thing I'm unhappy with is the neckline -- the pattern asks you to interface it, which made it really stiff and didn't work with the gathers. I took it out, and I'm still not 100% about the shape, but I'm too lazy to pick it apart and redo it!

Vintage Vogue 2322 Vintage Vogue 2322 Vintage Vogue 2322 Vintage Vogue 2322 Vintage Vogue 2322

1955 skirt (Vogue #8786) (2003)

For more pictures and commentary, see the project diary.

1955 skirt1955 skirt

retro inspired sweater  (2003)

This is one of those projects that's so easy, but I never seem to get around to them! I've always wanted a fabulous vintage bead embroidered or appliqued sweater, but it's so hard to find them in a good size, without tacky gold beads, and for a reasonable price. I randomly came across a pattern for bead embroidering a sweater a year or two ago on ebay, and while this inspired me to create my own, I just never got around to actually doing it!

I finally decided to put off the bead embroidery and just do something quick. I found this sweater at Banana Republic about a year ago -- I liked the color, but hated the buttons (they just SO don't go with the dark red).

original sweater

I looked at other vintage and retro appliqued sweaters online and came up with this design -- made my artist husband draw it out so it would be properly spaced and all. The best part was that I made the flower out of a remnant from Thai Silks, so it's silk duchesse satin -- yummy -- which I normally can never afford. The applique consists of two layers, both cut from the same five-petal flower pattern. The underneath layer is sewn down completely to the sweater, and is just one layer with the edges turned under. The handy Reader's Guide to Needlework was invaluable for advice on how to actually DO this! The top layer was harder to do, and I had to experiment a few times to find something that worked. I finally went with a double layer flower which was machine sewn and turned -- the turning was the hard part, until I hit on cutting the back side of flower with a seam down the center. I basted that seam before I sewed the flower together, ripped that out in order to turn it, and then hand stitched it closed. I had to do a few repairs with a whip stitch to the inner corners of the flower, but it worked! The upper flower is sewn down in a circle just where the petals join. I topped that ring of stitching with a ring of black bugle beads, and switched the non-matchy original buttons for shiny black ones. Ta da!

1950s applique skirt (2005)

I love the applique pattern in this 1950s skirt pattern, but I'm not so much a 1950s girl. Instead, I decided to modernize it by putting it on a modern A-line skirt. I was impressed that the applique pattern still WORKED -- it's an iron-on, and it actually still ironed on!

The skirt is made of an olive cotton twill from Fashion Fabrics Club, and the applique is done in black silk charmeuse (a remnant from Thai Silks - gorgeous fabric, when I wear this skirt I end up petting it the whole time). The applique was relatively easy to do although fiddly, so hand sewing it was a must. It's hard to get those teeny tiny edges to fold under! I was able to keep the applique smooth with my invaluable temporary spray adhesive.

applique pattern finished skirt applique closeup


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Last revised September 7, 2007.
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