The “Cat’s Meow” Jeans

I am much more au fait with the 50’s as you probably know, but I have been wanting this  pair of high-waisted 40’s jeans for ages.  This week over at the Sew Weekly – its 40’s week.    I had some fun with 40’s slang in my post this week.

Mena and Debbie  have used this pattern, those broads know their stuff.  Wow, this pair of pants just flew together! I cut them out and started sewing – 20 minutes later I was trying them on! Hooray! Of course it took another 5 hours or so, to finish them properly.

They were a little gapey at the waist so I took them in at the centre back then had to move the darts over, to the middle of the back pieces, as they looked weird, too close together, after the alteration.  The waist band was too small – had to remake that.  Not sure what went wrong there!

They have a little bit of what we used to call in my student days “hungry bum” the centre back seam dissapears up your backside a little – I can’t remember what to do about this – lose weight?!!  It needs a full bottom adjustment.  If I had made a toile I would have been forced to deal with this problem – C’est la vie!

These jeans are the cat’s meow! They make your gams look really long!  And totally hide your muffin top!

I added 1cm to the outside leg tapering out from hip level to a full 1cm at the hem. However I think this was a mistake. Now that I have worn them a couple of times I feel like they are a little too full in the leg – the silhouette is not that flattering.

I also added a huge hem to finish with approx 7cm cuffs – as I noticed these was a feature of some 40’s jeans in my research. I wish I had noticed that they often just left the raw selvage at the sides, that would have looked keen. But I cut mine in the middle of the fabric so I had to finish them properly.  I am not sure if I will keep this feature – I would love your opinion on whether to keep them or not.

I used a metal zip because they are very heavy weight denim. I sew with an industrial sewing machine which is great for this kind of thing. I think I dug out my leather needles and used them to attach the waistband and top stitch it. There was quite a lot of “hand wheeling” going on but I broke lots of needles sewing through the bulk.

Thank you to my lovely friend Penny for sparing me one of  her precious Bakelite buttons.   She is my local vintage cohort.

I know I will wear these a lot and I definitely want to make more – I highly recommend this simple pattern, it’s swell.

All the photos on this post were taken by my dad Malcolm Blair – he is in Sydney for his birthday this week – we went out for a Yum Cha lunch before the photos (that explains the creases in the jeans) thanks Dad – wonderful job.  Time to scram and make birthday cake.

The Facts
Fabric: Stretch Denim approx. $15/m
Pattern: Simplicity 3668
Year: 1940’s
Notions: Metal zip for jeans, 4 machine needles, 1 bakelite art deco button exchanged for one childs plastic Samurai sword!
Time to complete: 5 hours
First worn: May 2012 – Dad’s Birthday Lunch
Wear again? Try and stop me
Total Cost: $45

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1940’s inspiration

Here are a few snaps from a 40’s Vogue magazine in my collection. I am sharing because we are doing 1940’s clothes over at the Sew Weekly.

Coat in Astrakhan (a wool fabric with a pile cut and curled to look like a loosely curled fur made from the pelt of very young lambs originally bred near Astrakhan, a city and port in southwest Russia)- remember when these used to be in Op Shops?!!


Wonderful peeptoe platform shoes – look comfy don’t they? I definitely have “stay at home” feet!

A hat/snood arrangement – perfect for covering up inept hair styling I think! Must get one!

And this lovely ad for Tussy lippy “for that young, young look”!! – sums the era up quite nicely in terms of hair, and fashion.

I hope you enjoyed that!

The “Postcards from Abroad” Skirt

The main fabric of the skirt is this wonderful 1950’s postcard print.   The postcards depict scenes from exotic locales like Venice – and may feature other scenes of Italy (I have just learned).  With wonky stripes.  If you can identify any of these scenes – please, enlighten me! The fabric might be chintz – as it has a lustrous appearance.

I picked up this remnant at the 50’s fair in Sydney for $40.  It had the top cut off .  Perhaps the rest of the fabric it was used for a dress and belt – leaving a bit almost big enough for a skirt for me!

The second fabric (on the yoke) is Suessville from Robert Kaufman.  It is a quilting fabric. It has the wonky stripes – I thought it would be perfect.    The first issue is that the stripes look tiny on my computer screen.  It’s hard to judge scale when buying fabric online isn’t it?  I wasted at least an hour trying to tea dye the bright whiteness out of it.   The second issue is that it just looks like a wrinkly rag next to the beautiful glossy postcard print.  I will seriously consider sewing garments from quilting fabric in the future.

I was very disapointed in the way the stripes make me look like I was wearing a large striped maternity t-shirt with a curved hem, under my top and 50’s cardi!!!

I tried turning the skirt around – it helped a little, but I hated it so much that for the outdoor photos I wore my long top to cover the yoke.  We went out for a big mothers day lunch – so maybe that didn’t help!

Also I have to confess – after my bathroom photo shoot I gave up on the skirt and the waist is unfinished (except for stay stitching) so it slipped down my hips and looks longer than I wanted it to when I was out to lunch.

Anyway  as soon as I can find black fabric that is slightly faded and glossy – that wobbly stripe’s outta here!

The gorgeous postcard print deserves another attempt at being turned into a garment.  When that’s done it will be a strong contender for being what I wear to this year’s 50’s Fair.  I’ve already bought my ticket!  Got yours yet?

The Facts
Fabric: Vintage Cotton $40, Robert Kaufman Suessville Quilting Cotton $10
Pattern: Advance 6064
Year:  1952
Notions: Zip
Time to complete: 4
First worn: May 2012
Wear again? Once it’s got a plain black yoke

Total Cost: ~$50

What’s new Spotty?

I recently checked out Spotlight‘s offer for Autumn. They have some Wool Coating fabrics 80% Wool and 20% Nylon (which gives the fabric increased durability).

They also had some Wool Flannels – which were made in India – and quite coarse looking – but ok for jackets etc.

But as always what got me going were the Cotton Lycra Sateens! I love these – they look great made up, sew together easily and drape beautifully – perfect for 50’s style dresses, and that hint of elastomeric fibres (Lycra or Elastane) makes them comfortable!

Lets feast our eyes!

Yay! How good are these babies?!  I love the brown roses – but I have a piece of vintage wool challis in almost identical tones, (Daisy print, not roses) so I left that one there.  I bet it’s there next time!  Not many people can wear that colour.

Um, I am not loving these as much, but I like the one second from the left.

I find these ones quite Nana-ish – what do you think? The one with the purple rose is a bit 50’s looking – but it’s not great.

Here are my picks!

How gorgeous. Two of my favourite things: Polka Dots and Roses – Yay, under the terrible light Roses actually looked Olive green and the background grey-ish. It’s all tones of brown actually.  I will do a blouse out of that.

This was the one that made me gasp! Is it not gorgeous?  I love it and I bought four metres for a shirtwaist type of dress. Good isn’t it?!

Don’t know what’s happened to all the lovely floral prints – maybe we’ll see some in Spring/Summer. This is definitely moody – suits my personality just fine!

Which one do you like?

Oh and by the way, I have been blogging for a year!  I know!  I can’t believe it!  So watch out – I plan to do a giveaway each week this month, some patterns and bits and pieces.  And thanks so much for popping by and subscribing!

I am so grateful that you are here.

Trish xxx

The “Fools Rush In ” Two Seam Top

Now I am quite a goody good, I suppose you’d say.  I don’t like getting in trouble.  I follow the rules pretty much.  But when it comes to sewing I am quite the rebel.   Instruction sheets – pah – I know better, do the zip this way – no thanks.  If I can think of an easier way I’ll do that.  Recommended fabrics – I’ll be the judge.

But when Casey tried out this pattern and advised that it was meant for knit textures, I wish I listened.

Pink is not really my colour.  I like it for pyjamas, but it doesn’t suit me.  But when I found this lovely painterly 50’s-ish rose print, I thought – that will be just the ticket!

I am glad I only spent an hour sewing two seams – which sounds like slow going when you count them! But I wanted to finish them nicely – because it’s a sheer fabric.    Casey said turn and catch stitch.  I wonder if she has washed her one yet?  I was taught that hand sewing does not hold knit fabrics.   It just falls out – now that is a rule I am not willing to break!

This top is difficult to put on, pulls uncomfortably over my arms and falls down constantly, needing readjusting.  On me it is unflattering – too bulky at the front.  And I couldn’t drive a car in it – fail!

Still, I really like the concept and would love to make it up in a knit fabric, perhaps in a stripe – would be fun.

The pattern is intriguing as it uses really little fabric and does produce what is a cute little shrug – if you need such a thing to wear to your next summer wedding or formal event!

I recommend you take Casey’s advice – that girl knows her stuff.  And remember – hand sewing is not recommended!
The Facts
Fabric”  Thrifted Polyester Georgette $3.50
Pattern: Self Drafted based on Simplicity 4538
Year: 1950’s
Notions: just thread
Time to complete: 1 hour – a record!
First worn: April 2012 for the photos
Wear again? Nup!!

Source: google.com.au via Trish on Pinterest

Source: flickr.com via Trish on Pinterest

I found the back of the pattern envelope in Flickr here! And I coulden’t have done it without that – thanks!