Vintage Vogue 1940s Scissors Dress!

It has been too long since I sewed a dress! My patchwork Sally dress for Halloween took an enormous amount of effort, and then the holidays happened, so recently I decided to remedy this by making a simple pattern with a fun print!

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Vintage Vogue Pattern #2787! I found this great red/black scissor fabric on sale at Hancock’s and couldn’t pass it up!

So dramatic, Vogue! Obvs, I double checked on Pattern Review to make sure this fancy promo photo wasn't an impossible dream.

So dramatic, Vogue! Obvs, I double checked on Pattern Review to make sure this fancy promo photo wasn’t an impossible dream.

I have an armoire full of fabrics, but most of them are either insanely fancy (dupioni silks, and the like), or inappropriate for the season. So, in an effort to ease back into sewing clothing, I knew I would need a straightforward pattern, but not one I’d sewn before (there’s no adventure in that!), and fabric that’s not difficult to work with. This, to me, usually means cotton, because it tends to be inexpensive and/or on sale, plus the prints are fun and the fabric is super cooperative/non-stretchy.

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This is my final product! Although you can’t see it, there’s a closure in the black I framed with eight black jet buttons! It’s pretty darn cute!

As a general petite-person rule, I shortened the hemline by (an insane) 8 inches! Since this is a 1940s pattern, fashions dictated longer hemlines, however, as you can tell, it still comes to my knees. If you are on any kind of budget, make sure you have a working idea of where you prefer your hemline. (You’ll save enormous amounts of time, money and fabric this way!) If I hadn’t removed the extra length before cutting out my pattern pieces, I would have needed an additional yard of fabric! As it was, I managed to make this dress using only three yards (sans the suggested shoulder pads), and it is completely appropriate for work, or as a vintage-style cocktail dress!

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I opted for knee-high, black suede boots, and victory rolls to really punch up the 40s glam!

This pattern was definitely simple to sew, and although I did need to make some adjustments, they were all completely doable with a minimal amount of seam ripping! For my figure, that included taking larger darts (front and back), amending the curved front seam, as well as taking in the side seams between the sleeves and hips. All of these changes were made due to my “hourglass” shape, which requires making a larger size to accommodate my bust/hips and then making the necessary changes through the waist and shoulders.

So many curves!

So many curves!

Not only did I manage to create this dress with slightly less than the suggested yardage, but I have enough left over to make a matching hat! (When I do, no worries, I will absolutely post the final results/fab ensemble!) During one of my estate sale excursions I found, and immediately purchased, an un-covered hat form. It just so happens to be a lovely 40s-style, wide brim just aching to be covered in scissor fabric, with a contrasting black under-brim and ribbon! Also, I’m officially on the lookout for antique and/or vintage tiny scissors to help create the feathered accent piece! (It will double as a brooch for those rare occasions that aren’t hat-propriate.) If you see some, let me know!

Brimming with possibilities, isn't it??

Just brimming with possibilities, isn’t it?? (Ha!)

The brim is so perfect! It's off-center, so it is supposed to be worn atop an elaborate hairdo!

It is so perfect! It’s set off-center so it can be worn atop an elaborate hairdo!

For those rare occasions not requiring a hat, a fabulous 1940s inspired hairdo will definitely be an acceptable substitute! I know there are lots of tutorials, inspiration, and celebrity throwback styles to choose from! Some of these styles are easy to reproduce at home with some hot rollers and bobby pins, but obviously there are others that require finesse, four arms and extra eyes, so maybe go to a stylist. Here’s some vintage hair inspiration to help you decide!

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Betty Grable looking stunning in victory rolls that are glossy perfection! Don’t be fooled, during the process there’s a lot of teasing. It’s only smooth on the top!

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Rita Hayworth has iconic hair, and you can absolutely recreate that gorgeous wave! Even with shorter hair, just use smaller curlers!

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Veronica Lake created a sly, sexy persona with her deep part and lovely wave curls! Again, grab those curlers and this one’s an instant success!

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Diane Kruger’s modern interpretation, complete with beautiful flower fascinator, proves that a vintage style can be done with fine hair and still look stunning!

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Last, but never least, the fabulously coiffed Dita von Teese in all her 1940s glory! Everything about her is flawless.

See?? You could absolutely do that! If I can pull together a couple of victory rolls before 9:00AM with my unwashed, super fine hair, you too can recreate a glamorous vintage-inspired look! Besides, once you invest in a set of hot rollers (I bought these several years ago for $15 at Walgreens!), you can create almost any 40s-60s hairstyles. It all comes down to effort, brushing, and maybe some teasing. It’ll all be worth it when you look amazing and feel super confident! So, if you’ve got fun plans this weekend, try out a retro outfit and/or hairstyle and enjoy the compliments!

Do you wear vintage and/or vintage-style clothes from the 40s? What about hairstyles? Would you pair a vintage hairstyle with a modern/trendy look? Why or why not?

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Make-Up Brush Holder Tutorial

Make-Up Brush Holder De-luxe!

I had a rare Saturday to myself, without Boyfriend or social obligations (There was a pretty amazing party later that night to celebrate White Linen Nights in the Heights, for those of you who know about Houston good times.), so I decided to rearrange the ever-growing makeup collection!

My amazing shopaholic friend and I went to Sephora and spent WAY too much money on eyeliner and other fancy items, then promptly went home and did makeovers, because looking super hot right before you go to bed is a fashion MUST. Boyfriend totally participated in said makeover party, which is one of many reasons he is awesome, and looked completely gorgeous, especially with the flowing blonde wig that really tied it all together. (I asked Boyfriend for permission to share the evidence with the Internet and was completely denied. Apparently he’s not interested in being Internet famous based solely on his looks.)

Anyway, all that is to say, I needed to go through the pile-o-makeup to choose “special occasion” stuff to keep in the bathroom and collect the day-wear into a single bag. During this process I realized I did not own an adorable makeup brush holder! (Outrageous, I know.) Since I already own several brushes I didn’t want to go out and purchase a cheap holder with equally cheap brushes, nor was I interested in spending additional monies when I have such a delightful skill set as sewing!

So, I started by gathering:

Makeup bag (new and larger!)

Makeup brush collection

Trusty “I need to write this down” sewing notebook

Printer paper (newspaper or pattern paper would be ideal) to cut out said original pattern pieces

Scissors (paper and fabric types)

Ruler

Rotary Cutter (for OCD precision)

Fabric (this is perfect for scrap usage!)

16”- 18” Matching Ribbon

At first I thought, “Ooh, I can make little individual pockets for all the brushes!” but then I realized not only would that be much more complicated, but whenever I acquired new brushes, they wouldn’t necessarily have a place. So I decided to create a petite fold-over sachet with two pockets. (Heretoafter referred to as the MBH.)

I measured my makeup bag, and decided the MBH would have to be no more than 7” to fit neatly inside. My brushes only required about 6” width, so the pattern piece turned out to be 6” x 7” giving it a 1/2” seam all the way around. I created this simple pattern, which is used for all three pattern pieces (inside, outside and inside pocket).

You need these-type things!

You need these-type things!

Then I got to the best part: choosing fabric! I have a pretty enormous “scrap bin,” so I took the opportunity to dump it out and dig through gleefully. I had some pretty stiff competitors: pink Dia de los Muertos with polka dots, fabulous pink Elvis faces, Star Wars, robots, Alexander Henry’s super cute cowboy collection, Japanese “Wizard of Oz” linen, and PUPPIES!

So many zany options

So many zany options!

In the end, since I’ve had it for years, and it’s such a tiny piece of such a tiny print, I went with the “Wizard of Oz” linen! While I do not regret this decision, it did create a unique additional step to this process because I couldn’t bear for the inside to be so boring! I NEEDED more linen on the inside pocket, but the fabric scrap I was working with was super small. This led to cutting out a strip and sewing it to the bottom of the inside pocket piece. (Not difficult, and completely worth it, but it was an additional step that wouldn’t be necessary with more fabric.)

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Here’s the “wrong” side

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The “right” side, now with much more cuteness!

Otherwise, you would first cut three identical pieces out of which ever fabric combination you choose. *If you are using a lightweight fabric and want a little more structure, add some iron-on lightweight interfacing to the outside fabric piece.

Next step was to fold the inside pocket in half (handy/easy way to make a clean seam on the inside!), and baste/attach to the inside piece. You can make as many pockets as you’d like, since I only needed two, I sewed a single center seam. Doing this keeps the pocket from moving around while you sew the outside and inside together, as well as making the center pocket seam invisible from the outside!

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Fold down the inside piece and pin!

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Stitch the pocket in half, and now you’ve got two!

Once your pocket(s) are created, it’s time to sew the inside to the outside (much like a pillow, if you’ve ever made one of those), you basically sew most of the way around all four edges, leaving a 2”-2 1/2” opening on one side. (I made sure my “opening” was not on the same side as the ribbon I included for closure.)

Add your piece of ribbon (before you sew!) by folding it in half and placing it in the middle of your fabric sandwich on the right side, making sure the fold is in the seam allowance (on the outside), and the remaining ribbon is on the inside, that way, when you turn your project right-side-out the ribbon is on the outside where you need it! *I also encourage people to make sure and sew through all the corners, so when you turn your project right-side-out, your corners are all nicely formed so all you have to worry about is closing the remaining gap with a straight seam.

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Cute fabric sandwich, with ribbon nowhere near the seam line.

When you have sewn your seams, unpin, and (after making sure everything is correct!) clip the ends off your corners (being sure not to cut too close to, or through, the stitching), then turn and iron flat. Since you’ve got to close that turning gap anyway, go ahead and top-stitch all the way around the edges of the MBH, this also serves to make it look super posh and professional.

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Perfect! What a cutie!

And you’re done! You (and I) have a fabulous little MBH that is completely personal, themed and utilitarian. Mine fits perfectly into my new makeup bag, helped to make a Saturday afternoon delightful AND productive, as well as inspired me to make some for my Etsy shop!

Aren't they adorbs??

Aren’t they adorbs??

PS – I am making lots more, and adding another inch to the height, making this a perfect pencil/pen case/holder! I also created a few with three pockets (whoa!), for those of you lucky enough to be overwhelmed with lots-o-things to creatively store! They’ll be up for grabs at the Houston Pop Shop the weekend after Thanksgiving!

So many more!

So many more!