Friday, June 28, 2013

Custom Rompers- 40s & 50s Style Playsuits

Both rompers were custom request, she chose her fabrics and sent them to me along with some pictures and a basic outline of what look she was going for. The one above is made from a vintage cotton seersucker fabric, she wanted the bodice to be like the image but with shorts instead of the skirt shown. I did a white contrast cuff and fabric covered belt and buckle, back zipper. The second romper she gave me a drawing of what she wanted, based off of a romper from the movie the ''Notebook'' but there weren't any good pictures of it. She sent a vintage rayon fabric with a fun zigzag pattern, the white rayon, top and sleeves, is new fabric. I went with yellow contrasting buttons and wanted to do a yellow buckle but was unable to find the right yellow to match so i went with a faux shell buckle. The back has a zipper and button closure at the neck.

Monday, June 10, 2013

There's No Business Like Show Business-Marilyn Monroe's- Beige Bow Dress

 This dress styled after one of the many amazing dresses worn By Marilyn Monroe in the film "There's No Business Like Show Business''. The fabric i used is a beige stretch suiting with a fine gold thread running through in both directions, it's very pretty up close. Sadly this was the last of this fabric so i will have to find something else should i make it again. I draped the pattern for this dress about a year ago and  i believe there is at least one earlier version of this dress already on this blog but i thought id share this version, since i really like the fabric. Below are of course are some photos of Marilyn in the original dress :-)
Have a dress made through my Etsy shop Morningstar84

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Something's Got to Give-Marilyn Monroe's Black & White Sarong Wiggle Dress

 These dresses I made last year and apparently forgot to post! Styled after the dress worn by Marilyn Monroe for the unfinished film ''Something's Got to Give'' in 1962. The first one is a cotton fern print fabric that was my first test of the dress. I later found this very light silk fabric with a larger floral print that i used the second time. I used bullet bra cups  and boning in the side seams. I am out of both fabrics and am on the look out for something that is closer the the original print used for the movie. There aren't a lot of pictures available of this dress just some costume test photos and film tests. I took some screen grabs from one of the film tests below so you can see the back of the dress. I watched this short test so many times trying to figure out where all the seams are and how its put together, i think my final design is pretty close, though id love to see the original dress i'm sure there is some detail that i'm missing!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Basic SwimSuit Details-Vintage & Modern

Summer time is just around the corner. So naturally everyone is thinking of swimsuits! I have gotten some comments and thoughts from you guys and also noticed there isn't a lot of info available for people interested in making their own suit. So I have come up with a few things I have  learned or noticed in the process of making swimwear.This is just very basic, i'm not going into the whole process of how to do each thing that would take quite a while, but just some ideas that may help when starting this type of project.

For me i like to start with my dress form and drape exactly what i have in mind, making a pattern from there, though this does waste fabric sometimes if you aren't careful to leave seam allowance or decide to go in another direction with the design. But it does let you see your design come together and make style changes from the beginning of the process instead of in the middle. This is particular helpful if you are copying a design from a picture but don't have a pattern. I also have several simple vintage patterns that I love and have made many times that I use as a quick comparison to my newly drafted pattern to see if i need to tweak anything, you may not have a pattern to check against but you may have a swimsuit that fits you well that you can use to help.

Most people these days prefer Lycra/Spandex Swimwear Fabric- Its very stretchy, dries quickly and is forgiving if you make a little mistake in the sizing. The downside however is that spandex shows everything especially when wet and not everyone is a fan of skintight fabric.

If you are starting with a pattern not meant for swimwear fabric you will have to size down your pattern so that it will fit properly once on. Depending on how much stretch your fabric has and how snug a fit you want/need for your swimming purposes you will want to make the pattern smaller width wise. Start by measuring yourself then subtract 3''-4'' from each width wise measurement (Bust, Waist, Full Hip) this is what your suit should measure when you are finished, you may want it to fit more snugly once you try it on. If the fabric has a lengthwise stretch shorten by about 1''-2'' total. If the fabric has no lengthwise stretch do not shorten. Once you have your suit together enough to try on you will see if you will need to adjust the length and width more, its always better to cut a little big than too small, i would also wait to put in the elastic edges until after you have tried on your suit. Most of the adjustments needed should be pretty obvious once you can see it on.

For Vintage enthusiasts who do not like Spandex-

There are many options if you want to use what I call normal fabric. For vintage suits they would have used anything from wool, which i wouldn't recommend, to cotton which is much easier to work with and more comfortable. Normal fabrics do take longer to dry, some will fade faster due to chemicals in pools and some fabrics may sag when wet. So if you are a serious swimmer this is probably not the way to go.  I suggest testing your fabric to see how it behaves when wet and also see how sheer it is you may need to add an underlining especially if its a light color. wash both your fabric and underlining fabric before you start! This is very important as your lining may shrink differently than your outer fabric. As far as fitting you would want to measure yourself and add some ease just as you would any other item of clothing, most of your ease will be needed in the hip area I would allow 1''-2'' through the hip for sitting ease and about 1/2'' at the waist, the bust will need little to no ease for the best support.

Some vintage suits that I have come across will have a silky nylon panty attached inside the shorts, but they are often cut out  because they get worn/stretched and the elastic gets brittle. Many of the vintage Hawaiian play-suits have this type of panty built in. Briefs can be added to your suit or you can wear a spandex bottom/panty you already have. I have also seen swim briefs cut on the bias if using a non-stretch fabric, this helps give a better fit around the seat. Bias cut bottoms are usually attached under the skirted suits some will have a panty liner of some sort instead of the nylon panty like in the shorts, I have also seen some 1970s bikini bottoms cut this way as well. Some vintage suits will have no panty lining or brief added and they would have just worn their own panties under the suit especially under the shorts style bathers. The patterns below are available on Etsy from different shops to give you an idea of the styles of suits I have seen these details used in,  though these details are not called for in these patterns they are just examples.

Vintage bikini tops often have built in bras, i would suggest adding a bra to any vintage suit for the best vintage pinup look, obviously the thicker foam bras will tend to hold water and take longer to dry. Even if the top doesn't call for boning or elastic I like to add some just for a more secure fit. I usually cut the back band of a bikini top a few inches larger and add elastic to the top and bottom edge for some breathing room and boning to the sides of each cup. Sometime I will add boning to the center of each cup depending on the style and cut of the suit and the cup size, or add boning to each side of each breast. Below a few pics of this type of bikini top, the cups are also interfaced for more shape, this would be a great bullet bra type lining for a retro suit project.

And there you have it, just a few ideas for the pinup sewers out there, good luck with all your summer projects!

Simplicity 1624-1950s Pinup Halter Bikini Tops

The outfits above are a made from Simplicity 1624 view 2. It is a super easy little top, with only 4 pattern pieces: the cups, the tie, halter band and under bust band. The cups are cut on the bias with a straight center front seam hidden by the tie which is sewn into the band. The sides of the cup are slightly curved and gathered. I used another vintage pattern that i have adapted for the shorts, i don't remember which pattern I originally used to make the shorts pattern since I have re-sized it a few times. I also added pockets to one set. Both are made using cotton fabrics that I have had hanging around. The green Hawaiian print set I adjusted the cups to make them a little larger, as is the pattern would best fit a B-C cup. Both samples are available over at my second shop Psychedelic Pinup.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pink 50s Wedding Dress-Simplicity 1461

For this dress I started with a 1950s Simplicity pattern (1461) I modified the neckline and shoulders, adding set in sleeves. I also omitted the front dart and added godets to each skirt seam. Sounds like a lot of changes but each was a pretty simple alteration, i then sized the pattern to the measurements, and chose the dress form that was closest and added a little padding where needed to get an idea of how the dress will look on a body. The fabric is a poly faux silk in light pink, the over layer is an ivory patterned mesh fabric called Point D'Esprit. I sewed the mesh directly to the bodice but left it separate from the high hip down for more flow. It is fully lined with a netting ruffle attached to the lining which was cut the same as the outer dress except for the godets were not added. The sleeves are just the mesh fabric, gathered  on the outer arm to a small strip of ribbon for support. I also made a detachable bow which hooks on to the back of the dress with thread loops. I also added light weight boning to the seam allowance of the main fabric just through the midsection to keep everything smooth. 
In the 1950s the dress would have had a more structured skirt, fully interfaced for that full stiff look you see on the pattern envelope, this would have be done in some 1960s skirts as well. But I wanted to go with a  softer look.