Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Blue & White Stripes, Part I: 1940s Utility Dress & Shirt

I don't know a dressmaker who doesn't collect fabric. I almost never buy fabric for a particular project, but for a future imagined project of some sort, usually born from a romantic and harebrained notion that I may create the ultimate costume from the respective textile which has captured my attention and sparked my desire to have it (It's shiny, it's wooly, it's silky, its weavy, it's on sale, etc...). You do it, too, and I'm glad you do! I'm all about enabling a passion - whether mine or yours - even if dozens (maybe hundreds) of yards of that passion are stored snugly in plastic bins for later. Always later. For these three lovely cotton fabrics (above left), later came this year, twenty-years (yes, that's 2-0) after I bought them. They've been hanging out at the bottom of my big green bin (with wheels!) since 1997, fabric I bought when my girls were eight and four-years old. These fabrics were inexpensive, of good quality, and utilitarian. I could use them for a number of projects.

Those projects were a long time coming. It began last year when I bought this pattern from an Ebay seller...

...and stored it safely with my other vintage patterns. Did I make an association between the dress on the right of the Advance pattern cover and the fabric I had stashed? No. The fabrics were long forgotten and weren't recalled until I went digging in the big green bin (with wheels!) a few months ago. "Oh!" I said, when I rediscovered them. "I have a 1940s dress pattern I can make from these." I pulled the fabrics from the bin and the pattern from my collection and set them on my work table. Wait, I thought. Doesn't Kent State Museum have a late-Victorian beach dress made from similar fabrics? They did, indeed! I pulled the picture from my photo archive. Oh, OH! I remembered that there was yet another dress using these fabrics in a 1912 spring issue of The Ladies Home Journal. Whoowee, a dressmaker's delight!

From Advance pattern #3029, here is the first of three blue and white striped garments - a utility, or work dress, from 1942.  

To view construction photographs for this dress, please visit my Flickr page. Blue & White Stripes, Part II, coming soon...

Happy sewing, love, friendship, and blessings for the New Year! 

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