Monday, 1 April 2013

Planning a (Plus Size) Vintage Wardrobe

It's obvious from this blog that I adore history and vintage. I have been wanting a vintage inspired  wardrobe for years now, but with five young children there have always been other priorities.  As the children have been getting older I have dabbled with patterns from the 40s and 50s, and made a few dresses, but I have decided the late 20s and 1930s is the direction I really want to head in. I love everything about 30s design - some of it was just so modern, but with an edge that just screams Style.  Movies from the 30s are among my favourites, along with movies or shows set then, like Poirot and Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.

Looking for bodies at the beach in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, c. 1928
I have been looking at colour schemes and lots of fashion from the era in recent posts, and as an interior design student I researched the 1930s extensively.  I think that I have a good understanding and feel of the era, although I am still finding out new things each day, which is exciting.

30s Interior design sketch by Ernst Kauffman

The other night I went to a cocktail party with what I thought was a 30s inspired long silky jersey evening dress, vintage 30s diamante jewellery, basic 30s make-up with arched brows and my hair done in loose 1930s waves (I used rollers).  When I mentioned to one gentleman that I loved the 30s, to explain me having Ella Fitzgerald and the Nat King Cole trio on my I-phone, he asked me if I ever dressed in 30s style.  And here I was trying not to be too obviously 'vintage costume' looking.   I actually replied that I was planning on it once I had lost some weight, and he replied - you know that Marilyn Monroe was a size 14 to 16?  As I am an 18 I took that as a compliment!  It also made me think 'What am I waiting for?"

Imported French fabrics, E. Meyer & Co., Paris; fall, 1930-1931
The way my weight loss is going I am going to actually go up a size soon, so I may as well just start sewing!  Trying to find 1930s clothes in a 44 inch bust is quite trying - I have tried, believe me.  Although I have found a few vintage styled items that I like at the thrift store,  I will have to sew most of what I want.  Even if I lose weight  my fist few outfits will probably not be perfect anyway (it's been a while since I have sewed anything more than a hem) so I wouldn't mind taking them in or making new ones.  I'll start with cheap fabrics, those remnants at the store or from the thrift shop.  And now that we are getting into cooler weather I will be able to set up the sewing machine on the deck and lots of room to spread out.

Plus Size (or any size) Vintage 1934 Dress Pattern - PDF - Pattern No 90 Eugenia

I have found some great reproduced and vintage inspired patterns on Etsy that are size adjustable, so I may start with those.  I would like a few dresses as well as skirts, blouses and wide legged pants.  I have some blouses that could pass as vintage if I tucked them into a 30s style skirt, so I think I will start with a skirt.  I have found a free 30s style skirt tutorial - I may give that a go if it
s not too tricky.
3-skirt tutorial
Living in the tropics I don't need many jackets or knit wear, or a winter coat.  Although I am planning a trip to Melbourne in Winter so maybe one of each would come in handy. I also want to start knitting and crocheting again, so I could make some accessories such as hats, bags and scarves.

Vintage pin wheel bag Pattern 
The big pattern companies, like Vogue and Simplicity, also have some original 30's patterns that they have reprinted in the last few years.  I have found a few on Ebay.

Vogue 1938 preproduction pattern
There are also lots of free patterns to be found on the net.  As I find these I shall add them to my 'Free 1930s patterns' page.  As my 1930's magazine collection grows I will also hopefully be able to share some other patterns.

So, I have lots more research to do, but I can't wait to get sewing.  I'll keep you updated with my vintage wardrobe progress, with either what I am making, buying or finding. Please feel free to let me know of any great resources you know of, too.

Deb xx

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