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

the concept

1930s blouse pattern 1930s pattern

the fabric

the blouse:

red floral crepe

red, black & white crepe

the skirt:

brown/white wool crepe

the pattern

1930s blouse pattern skirt pattern

the result

Blouse & Skirt

what's on the dvd player?


useful links

Timeline of Costume History: 1930s

Ladies Fashions of the 1930s

SewRetro mailing list


Horlamus, Terry. "Making Sense of Pattern Grading." Threads 101 (July 2002), 66-70.

Blum, Stella. Everyday Fashions of the Thirties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs. New York : Dover Publications, 1986.

Friday, August 08, 2003

È finito... but I'm not sure that I LOVE it. (Crikey, do I always have a caveat here?)

I'm amazed at just how much work goes into a standard blouse! It seems like a relatively small item, but there's SO MUCH finishing that has to go on... buttonholes, cuffs, and all sorts of little futzy things. I finally finished the hem last night, which I hand-stitched because I am completely top-stitching impaired (my top-stitching is always totally wonky no matter what I do).

So I like it, but I don't love it. The blouse has no darts in front (because of the pleats), which makes for a really boxy fit -- not great when you've got hips like mine! And I wish that I had made the skirt at the longer length... But it's done!

Blouse & SkirtBlouseSkirt

posted by démodé 9:42 AM

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

I had put this blouse down for a while thinking that I might not like it when I picked it up again... so I was pleasantly surprised that I did still like it! I made a few fit adjustments to the side seams -- as you can see from the images below, there was too much fabric around the bust.

Then it was on to the sleeves. I recently drafted myself a basic sloper fitted to my normal (read: bra) measurements (previously, I'd only bothered to do this for my corsetted measurements). Comparing that sloper with this blouse made me realize that my shoulders are way narrower than a standard pattern thinks they should be (insert rant about how just because you're big busted doesn't mean you're built like a refrigerator). So I recut the armhole to better fit me, and this helped some with the sleeves -- but not all.

As you can see from the pattern illustration, these are supposed to be slightly puffed sleeves. The puff is achieved through a folded over and top-stitched down dart on each side of the shoulder. No matter what I did, I could not get this to look attractive -- I just ended up with a weird pointy corner in front and back. So I (duh) realized that since what I was going for was a puffed sleeve, I'd just gather the sleeve cap. Worked fabulously.

Then came the cuffs... not hard, once I realized that they (again, duh) needed to be a standard height all the way around. A little bit of rework fixed that, and now all I have left is the blouse hem!

posted by démodé 10:13 AM

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Well, the skirt is back but the concept is revamped -- I decided to go for a below-knee-length rather than mid-calf, and I decided to save the red wool crepe for another outfit -- instead, I used a brown/white tweedy looking wool that I picked up last winter in Philadelphia.

This was a relatively easy pattern which I will definitely use again. The only headache was in lining the skirt -- I definitely wanted a lining as wool = itchy, but I wasn't sure what shape to make it. I didn't want to make an exact match, as the pleat would cause weirdness. I finally decided on ditching the pleat underlay, and making a box pleat where the side front meets the front. This allows a little extra fullness without being as full as the skirt pleat. This also meant that I couldn't sew my skirt lining to my skirt proper as the two don't match, which is irritating in that I had to finish my seams and french seams (always my favorite) wouldn't work. Luckily my new computerized Husqvarna sewing machine came in handy, as it has this cool zig zag chain stitch that worked well for finishing edges.

I really like the fact that the skirt has no waistband -- I'm totally enamored of this, as I'm short-waisted so any waistband just creates extra unnecessary-ness (okay, that doesn't make sense). What I mean is that if I wear a skirt with a waistband, it just shortens my already short waist. Clearer? I used a piece of twill tape which I sewed to the skirt proper along the waist seamline in order to stabilize the waistband -- twill tape is good because it doesn't stretch.

Now the last thing I need to do is to figure out how to make a thread chain to attach the skirt lining to the skirt. I don't want them to be totally disconnected. However, all of my sewing books are in boxes as I'm in the process of moving, so that will have to wait until I've moved and unpacked.

Photos to come!

posted by démodé 2:35 PM

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Okay, I'm back on track with my 1930's blouse now that I've finished the Regency dress I've been creating for my friend Mary...

First, I've decided to ditch the skirt. Too many other projects that I'm excited about!

Most of my time has taken up with the buttons and buttonholes, which I had to hand sew as my machine doesn't make buttonholes (all together now: "What I want for Christmas is a new sewing machine!"). The collar I interfaced with silk organza, which worked out well. I've pinned in a hem, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's not very straight, so I need to try it on and play with it.

The only real annoyance has been the sleeves. In the pattern illustration, they are these cute little puffed, cuffed numbers. In reality, the puffs (which are made from pleats along the lines of those in the bodice back) make these weird little square points at the top of my shoulder. Also, the armscye turned out to be too far off my shoulder, and once I cut it back it left the sleeve too small to fit properly. So I need to cut out a new version and figure out how to make it look attractive (rather than mid-80's Sean Young-esque).

Blouse frontBlouse backCloseup

posted by démodé 10:56 PM

Sunday, January 12, 2003

The skirt fabric has arrived, and it's definitely way too RED. I can't decide if I should dye it (annoying when you live in a 1920's apartment building, as you can't use the sink or bathtub and you have no washing machine!) or return it. Anyway, this project has to be on hold as I race to complete a Regency dress for a friend by February 1st!

posted by démodé 12:37 AM

Friday, January 03, 2003

I've cut out all of the fabric and sewn together the bodice front and back. The pleats in the bodice front took a while -- I tried to mark them with a fabric pencil, but I had a hard time getting the lines to be straight. I finally ended up basting the pattern down to the fabric, and then tearing away the pattern to leave the basting stitches, which seems to have worked well.

One more "learning experience" for me with this pattern is that it calls for topstitching. In addition to being bag lining-disabled, I am also machine topstitching disabled. I can never get my stitching to line up correctly, so I end up with this wonky line that just doesn't look good. I got irritated when I was first sewing the bodice pieces together and just ran some crappy topstitching (I have a tendency to ignore the fact that I'm tired and irritated), so I'll have to rip that out and resew it. Luckily this fabric is very forgiving of ripped seams!

Still no skirt fabric... watching the mail!

posted by démodé 1:58 PM

Monday, December 30, 2002

I can now report that pattern grading works!

I followed the instructions in Threads and the bodice mockup came out just dandy, except for being a bit small around the hip (which is typical for me -- I'm a size smaller on top!). The only irritation was the sleeve -- I realized from reading the instructions that I wasn't too clear on how much I should grade up the sleeve. I've got it down to a workable size, although the two pleats (somewhat like darts) on the sleeve head are very pointy! Looking at the pattern illustration, it appears that there's supposed to be a poof at the top of the sleeve... so I'm hoping it will work when I cut it out of the crepe.

I'm now beginning to worry that my blouse fabric won't match/coordinate well with the skirt fabric (different shades of red, maybe?) -- as the skirt fabric is still in the mail. However, I've never been one to wait, so I'm plowing on ahead with the bodice! (I'm actually much better than I used to be: I used to hate using mockups, and often just went ahead and cut out my fashion fabric without any attempt at double checking fit. Years of weirdly fitting bodices have taught me to go slower, although it's always excrutiating to wait for the fun part!)

posted by démodé 12:23 AM

Saturday, December 28, 2002

So this will be an exercise in pattern grading!

I found this blouse pattern on ebay a while ago, and it's way too small. I've wanted to try pattern grading ever since I read about it in Threads magazine. Since I finally found some fabric that I like, I'm giving it a whirl! I'm wondering how this will work, given the pleats and gathers in the blouse, but I figure if I make a mockup first, I should be okay. (Crossing fingers).

The skirt will be made from a modern pattern (Simplicity 9823) -- because almost all 1930s skirts are bias-cut, and bias-cut skirts just look horrible on me. This Simplicity pattern echoes the lines of this 1930s skirt -- I especially like the two pleats.

I found some red wool worsted crepe on Fashion Fabrics Club for $5.00/yard, and I couldn't pass THAT up! I have enough to make a smart jacket to match, so I've got my eye out for something cute. (Let me know if you have any suggestions!). Now I just need to find lining fabric...

posted by démodé 6:23 PM

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