Finished: 1940s Simplicity diamonds skirt & Alma blouse

Last week I completed my first outfit of 2013!

And yes, I planned and sewed an outfit! Let’s talk about the blouse first.

I used the Sewaholic Alma pattern and sewed the size down from my full bust size with only slight changes: I make the neckline a little higher, graded the hips down (since I don’t have a pear shape like Tasia’s line is designed for), and cut 1.75″ off the length. The blouse went together like a dream!

The pattern calls for an invisible side zipper, which I wanted to convert to a normal zipper to be more in line with a vintage blouse. But on my muslin I basted the side seam shut just to see if I could get myself into it without a zipper and I could!

I used fabric I had in my stash for awhile. I know I originally bought it for a blouse and it finally became one. I remember it was described as “linen look” but that’s about it. Whoops. I think it must be a cotton/poly blend.

Look how nice my darts look! They never look this nice.

The blouse isn’t exactly my typical style, but I didn’t want it to button-down or have a collar as I suspected it would look like a waitress uniform. It came out looking a bit 50s/early 60s to me, especially in the pink, though you could make a case that it looks a bit like view 4 of this Hollywood pattern below. (If nothing else, my hair sure does!)

{Source: for sale by Aunt Nonnie’s Nest on Etsy}

 

I could see myself using the great basic shape of Alma to draft something slightly different. I’m thinking a version with sleeves that are part of the bodice. I’m not sure what they’re called, but they’re like cap sleeves but not set in. You know the type, like in this 40s McCall pattern on Etsy or Collette’s Sencha. Does that have a name? One of my hopes this year is to tackle this type of sleeve as it’s always too big on my narrow shoulders but I love the look when I see it on someone else!

As for the Alma sleeves, those were easy to set in. It’s often the point in a sewing project when I’m ready to chuck the entire thing out the window, except I sew in the basement so really I’d have to toss it out the basement door, which loses a little something in the translation. Not this time.

The skirt used Simplicity 2211, a 6-gored skirt that Vintage Pattern Wiki says is from 1945 (why don’t Simplicity patterns have dates on them?!). The envelope is in terrible condition but it’s marked on the flap as a “Truly Teen” pattern. Ha, not quite!

I used a vintage cotton from my stash. I don’t wear a lot of pink but I really loved this diamond-shaped print. I was a bit nervous to use it as I think it was my first time cutting into nice vintage yardage, but I’m glad I did as the skirt is quite the showpiece for it, don’t you think?

I went back and forth about whether to just make the waistband straight or go ahead with the scallop since it’s such a busy pattern, but I went for it. In the end it would benefit from being worn with a more fitted blouse as when my shirt shifts around, it hides the scallop.

What a pain the scallop was, though. The waistband is one piece and you have to fold it in half lengthwise and very carefully sew the shape into just the middle, then clip and turn it, which is all nerve-wracking when you don’t think you’re that precise (like me).

By the way, I learned I’m anal enough to line up the placement of the scallop and the waistband with the pattern, and anal enough to match up the pattern on the patch pockets (which only 95% worked), but I’m not anal enough to match patterns on the seams. I barely squeaked it out of the 2 yards I had, so that’s the excuse I’m sticking to. (I’ll come up with something else next time I don’t do it.)

Speaking of the pockets, those were my own creation… and you’ll just have to wait for a special post in the near future to learn more about them! :)

@#$%$& I can see a bit of the blue tailor’s chalk still!

Overall I’m pleased with the final skirt except for a minor issue. I ended up with a ripple at the top of my lapped zipper, but didn’t realize it until after I’d completed the waistband so I wasn’t going to rip it all back. For me the the underlap side (back) sometimes sucks up more fabric when being stitched to the zipper tape and makes it then not quite exactly the same length as the overlap (front) piece.

Fortunately it’s a busy print. My lapped zippers still need a little work but it’s such a great vintage technique. And who has ever said, “zippers, mine always look perfect!” Um, no one, I’m pretty sure. This one is hand picked, not that you could ever tell!

In the end, even though I made exactly what I set out to make, a matching outfit, I don’t actually like that it’s a matching outfit. But I tried out an idea and I’m glad I did. You never know until you try! And both pieces are a success on their own, so now I have two new separates to mix and match.

I’m already almost finished with another vintage blouse and have tons of ideas swirling about in my head, so I think I’m off to a good sewing start in 2013!

Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

Tagged: , , ,

Golly, 96 Comments!

  • Very cute and I love your poppy tattoos (the sewing wheel ones are pretty cool too).

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  • I love your outfit! The pink colors suits you very well!

    I sewed a couple of matching outfits myself. It was not really planned. I just start with a blouse and think about some fabric from my stash that would be great for a matching skirt (or vice versa). For me it’s kind of a starting point. I add other seperates to make get more combinations.

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  • Ohhhh mmmmyyyyy gaahhhh I love it!!! The print is amazing and I like that your outfit is all matchy, but not overly matchy. Fabulous! You know I’m loving those little pockets ;) ;) and I would have never even noticed anything wrong with the zipper if you hadn’t pointed it out. I think you’re off to an awesome start for 2013 :)

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  • This whole outfit is so perfect for you! I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in pink? That pale shade is AMAZINGLY GOOD on you, though! I’m so glad you cut into that fabric to make that skirt; it’s so crisp and pretty and springy and the pockets are just adorable. Makes me want to dig through my fabric and make some printed skirts too. Hurry up and show us how you did those pockets haha :)

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    • Wow thanks! I would never have thought pale pink would work for me, but then again I am totally a color klutz and just wear what I like, like lots of yellow even though I have a yellow undertone and that’s just wrong wrong. lol

      Neener neener on the pockets, just you wait! ;)

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  • I totally love this outfit, the colours are lovely, at first glance I thought it was a dress the fabrics are such a good match. The scallop being cut out of the pattern, the pocket matching add so much charm to the skirt. Actually I am thinking of doing a dress with two different fabrics like this, I think it makes for a lovely practical vintage look. I do already have the skirt part (black gaberdine, side zipper and high waisted) so i just need an appropriate top pattern, may use the Gertie portrait blouse as it has a side zipper. That short sleeve is kind of a kimono I expect, to my eye there is not much difference anyway. I have always thought they would be too big for my petite frame too, perhaps there will be some useful info in the last Threads magazine (Dec 12?) they did a big article on sleeve drafting.

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  • J’aime beaucoup ta tenue, elle est très sympa. J’adore le tissu de la jupe. Trèe bon choix.

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  • I’m not a pink person either, but this outfit is really adorable…I hope you do wear the pieces together now and again, but they are awesome on their own too! I’ve seen the sleeves you mention referred to as ‘unmounted’ on vintage patterns…not sure if that’s a term that’s still used?!? Also, are they called kimono sleeves sometimes?

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  • What a great outfit! That fabric you’ve used for the skirt is simply lovely!

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  • This is such a cute outfit and sooooo flattering on you. You look amazing in this!

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  • This is a fantastic outfit Tasha, it really suits you. The blouse in particular looks like a great fit.

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  • This looks fantastic on you! I’m usually not big on matchy-matchy outfits, but I love them on other people—maybe that’s how you feel? Well, I’m telling you, from an outsider’s perspective, that you look great in this matching outfit!

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  • Perfectly paired! This combo is gorgeous! This color is phenomenal on you! And those pockets! I can’t wait to see how you did them!

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  • Lovely! I’m in love with the colors (obviously lol). The whole outfit looks fantastic on you. You make me want to learn to sew!!!

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  • This is a gorgeous outfit ~ I love the little details too – the scallop waistband and the pockets! The pink looks really good on you – I love the Alma pattern – it’s so easy. I thought the top was linen at first – good to know what it really is and that it sews up nicely – the darts are perfect!

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  • very cute, love the pockets!

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  • It’s such a wonderful ensemble! You truly look amazing!

    As for Simplicity patterns and dates — the earlier Simplicity patterns do have dates on them, but rather than being on the envelope, they are usually along the very bottom of the instruction sheet (often on the right corner).

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    • Oh good grief, there it is right there in the lower left of the instruction sheet– 1945. Thank you! But at least I don’t feel -too- crazy as I checked a few of my other Simplicity patterns and they didn’t have dates. lol

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  • The outfit, and you, are gorgeous! I can’t see a single mistake that you pointed out. And how much do I love that skirt fabric?? You’re right – the skirt is the perfect stage to show it off. You’re inspiring me to make a skirt for myself!

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  • You look great! The skirt and blouse turned out fantastic. I love the pocket detail. I always have placement problems when the pockets are on the front of the fabric. I love the shape of the blouse too. I call those kind of sleeves kimono because that’s what they remind me of. I like that still of sleeves too because you don’t need to worry about everything lining up even and neatly.

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  • Beautiful! I agree that the Alma blouse is a great pattern (and yes, don’t the sleeves go in like a dream?!) it looks great without the collar too. I often think I should wear pink as it’s supposed to be a good match for my colouring but I’ve got mixed feelings about it. It looks FAB on you though, hhmm, tempting! The whole outfit is just perfect, you should definitely wear the two pieces together once in a while as they look so great together. X

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  • Amazing outfit- you look gorgeous!

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  • What a lovely outfit, I especially love the pocket detail on the skirt.

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  • See that is what our current day clothing is missing, that little extra detail. I love the little flipped over pink material and button on the pocket, that makes the entire look.

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  • You dear girl are flippin amazing! I love it! Its so pretty and the details are just gorgeous. You are such an inspiration!!!! xox

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  • I love it!! I’m not one who likes to match everything either but I love the matchiness of this outfit. I can’t get over that print and those pockets are so cute! What a great addition!

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  • That is one fabulous outfit! The skirt in particular is just stunning!

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  • That print is a knockout, and those pockets! SUCCESS! :)

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  • That is a brilliant outfit and I love the skirt, especially the waistband and pocket detailing.

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  • Very cute! The pocket detail really stands out to me. The colour/print combo is great and works perfectly together. Awesome start into 2013.

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  • Lovely! I really like that baby pink colour on you – and that little pocket and button is too cute!

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  • I LOVE the print of the skirt fabric, it’s fantastic. The fit of everything is great for you as well, I’m envious of your skills ;-)

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  • Absolutely love this.

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  • Great colors!!! I love this skirt details.

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  • I Absolutely log it! Great color combo and I adore the pocket details!

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  • So cute! I love the pockets :)

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  • Oh!! It’s just lovely :) I love how you’ve altered the Alma blouse – the pink suit s you so well, and that skirt is just DIVINE. Seriously love that fabric, and those pockets? Totally dreamy. Well done on making such a fabulous ensemble!

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  • I LOVE this outfit! And I usually don’t even like pink, but this is just perfect. I like that while it’s two pieces, it still kind of feels like a dress in some ways since it’s so unified. It totally makes me want to make something similar myself now.

    Ok, and those POCKETS. The best part of the outfit! Well done! I’m really impressed with your pattern matching. That is NOT easy with limited vintage fabric. I think you should consider this a wild success. Inspiring and impressive!

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    • Thanks Moe! I didn’t even try to match the seams… frankly with slightly curved pieces like a skirt I’m not even sure I’d know where to begin. Good thing that I don’t really mind. Hee!

      I know what you mean about it all kind of feeling like a dress with the matchiness, but it’s nice as it does break up the pattern unlike a full dress in a pattern. Plus then it’s twice as versatile since it’s separates!

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  • I’ve been following your blog for wee while now without commenting but have to say that this is beautiful! I love this so much and it looks gorgeous on you. Well done!

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  • Very awesome outfit!

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  • Soooo pretty! Makes me want to sew soon too!

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  • Love it! Alma is such a great pattern. Can’t wait to see how you did those pockets!

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  • That pink is such a beautiful color and it looks so pretty on you! I also have the Alma pattern and you have inspired me to do something different for the next version :)

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  • Your post gave me a great idea. I too have the alma blouse but I love the vintage blouse pattern you posted. I think I am going to redraft the Alma and switch the waist darts make gathers/pintucks at the shoulders. I saw instructions on how to do that in Gerties book tho I am not quite ready to attempt that yet. SOON!

    Gorgeous outfit!

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  • oh my i love that fabric!

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  • What a gorgeous outfit! I love the print on the skirt and the pink pockets poking out. I am a shocker at matching prints too. I get too excited to start a new project and just jump in without really paying attention.

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  • How lovely! I really love the detailing on the pockets that match the top, and the print on the skirt is beautiful. Well done for completing your first project within the first two weeks of the year! :)

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  • It turned out so so cute!!

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  • Ack!!! I love it! I totally wish I could steal the whole outfit {shoes included} for my wardrobe! The pink! The fabric pattern! The buttons! The pockets! The matchy-ness!!! I just adore the whole look and I think you’ve executed this look marvellously Tasha!

    I also think it’s more of an 40s look than a 50s/60s look ~ maybe it’s the hair and the shoes? Anyway, love, love, love it!

    xox,
    bonita of Depict This!

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  • I am a pink person and love your outfit! I think it is the best one yet. If you lengthen the cap sleeve a bit it would be a flutter sleeve. Keep on sewing I think your zipper is great. I have been sewing for over 40 years and still don’t do perfect zippers.

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  • LOVE IT, looks really good together, I thinkthe top would look adorable with a black wiggle too:)
    The scallop looks perfect!!
    zippers are my enemy

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  • I love the whole look! The Alma looks so pretty on you and the vintage skirt fabric is heavenly! I love the pockets and the little buttons you used.

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  • Wow, I can see from the many comments above that I am not the only one impressed by this outfit. Both pieces are beautiful, and I think you could easily pair either with other items from your wardrobe for a less “matchy” outfit. Great job.

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  • PRETTTTTTY! I love that colour on you. Your shoes are dreamy as well!!! :)

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  • I love that blouse so much, it’s such a flattering fit and so versatile! Really though, this whole outfit is flawless and I am thoroughly impressed with your skills! That skirt is particularly wonderful, the pattern, the buttons and the detail at the waist are all lovely :)

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  • Gorgeous! It’s such a cute outfit. I’m glad the sleeves went in painlessly.

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  • It looks lovely- when I first saw the photo, I thought it was a really cool dress :) In fact, is it not in line with the 2-piece “dress” so prevalent in vintage fashion? :)
    The pockets are awesome, by the way!

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  • LOOOOOOOOOVE that skirt, and the whole outfit is great, too! The book “Blueprints of Fashion: Home sewing patterns of the 40s” has a pattern dating chart that I’ve found very helpful.

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  • How adorable!!! If I didn’t know better i would swear i saw you in a 1960 yearbook. The outfit is the “bomb”.

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  • Everything about this outfit and you in it is just so, so snazzy!

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  • I am utterly in LOVE with this outfit! I adore that shade of pink and just love the detailing on the pockets!

    xoxo
    -Janey

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  • This outfit is positively stunning. I don’t think you could have made that scallop in the waistband any more perfect! I love the pocket detail you have added, I think I might steal that to give my Hollyburn a nice vintage feel, hope you don’t mind!

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  • Just love this outfit.you do such a great job.Love the colors and the pattern on the skirt.the pockets look really cute.

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  • AWESOME!!!! I love that print and those pockets. I don’t know why but I am always afraid of prints; you’re changing my mind with that beautiful fabric.

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  • That is really adorable. Love the fabric, colors and the bracelets too! You did a terrific job.

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  • Lovely outfit! I especially like the pocket flaps on the skirt!

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  • I absolutely love the skirt fabric and this outfit looks fabulous right down to the shoes. A couple of great separates that will team well with others.

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  • Oh Tasha, this outfit looks so tremendously pretty on you! Pink + your colouring is a match made in becoming style heaven. Amazing job on creating a whole outfit in the first half of the first month of the year!!!

    ♥ Jessica

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  • I love the skirt and the contrast colour, although I would have loved to have seen a version of the blouse with the contrast colour of the skirt, maybe on the cuff but you could always make a little scarf to go with the outfit if you have enough material left over, that would look rather nice. Well done! I love your blog and will continue to follow you with pleasure and inspiration throughout 2013! Have a great year!

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  • They’re called kimono sleeves :)
    I love both pieces, but the skirt in particular is amazing and of course you’ve styled it perfectly. I envy your ability to pull of such vintage styles!

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  • I just stumbled upon your blog recently, and you are absolutely adorable in this outfit. Those little pockets are giving me life! I’m also in Chicago (or rather in the boring suburbs) and it’s nice to see someone else who loves vintage clothing and tattoos as much as I do. If you don’t mind, I would love to get your recommendations for vintage shops in the area. The ones in Naperville aren’t that great.

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  • Beautiful! I’m the same as you when it comes to “matchy matchy” but this really does work. What you said about the Alma sleeves has piqued my interest actually! Sleeve setting is my current nemesis which I’m determined to defeat this year. So perhaps Alma is a good starting point for that. (some patterns I’ve tried in the past have the most ridiculous sleeve heads!) As you say, it also looks like a great launch pad for some drafting too….hmmmm….food for thought!
    Px

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  • You have so many lovely comments, I had to scroll down *forever* to leave you mine. :)

    I love this blouse and skirt, but it’s soo different from what I’ve come to expect you to make. Not that I love it any less, but I think it looks very fresh. The pocket details on the skirt are my very favorite. :)

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  • Love this Tasha – the colours look really good on you! I’ve always been too scared to cut into my vintage stash :(

    I know the little cap-sleeved tops you mean – have you seen the new Simplicity re-print that’s out? http://www.simplicity.com/p-8463-misses-retro-tops.aspx?

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  • Tasha, you’re of my biggest style inspirations! I absolutely love your vintage casual look and your outfit is lovely!

    Xx,
    Naomi

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  • I absolutely adore this outfit! It looks like it fits you perfectly, and is so flattering. And I love the skirt details. It’s also so comforting to know that even mor eexperienced sewers like you have trouble with zippers. I sewed my first lapped zipper last weekend, and it was a bit of a mess, but hey, it works. :-)

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  • Hello,

    I’ve been quietly reading your blog for ages and never commented but I thought this outfit definitely warranted one! Those colours are incredible on you and I love that they match. One of my most favourite things about mid century clothes is how they often matched. And I don’t mean to be too personal, but you have such a lovely figure and this shirt and skirt sit beautifullly on you.

    I wish I were patient enough to sew!

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  • I love this outfit, the pattern and the pockets on the skirt are to die for!

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  • Wow I absolutely LOVE this outfit!! The blouse is beautiful and the skirt is just amazing, I absolutely adore the fabric!! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.co.uk

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  • Well, Simplicity patterns used to have the dates on them. I have a dated one from 1924 :) but my forties and fifties ones no longer have the date. Very odd. The darts do look fab, and the fabric is a great choice!

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  • I love this outfit. It is matched, but not too much, I really like this little detail on the pockets. And the shirt is really beautiful and cake, isn’t it? An excuse to sew some more frosting. ;-) Great vintage-looking variant of a contemporary pattern.
    The fabric you used for the skirt is really nice and I would not have seen the non-matching pattern on the seams without you mentioning it. But I am already lost when it comes to cut simple checkered fabrics to match, so maybe I’m not the right person to ask.
    In short, I love it! You really made me want to skim my patterns and start sewing something to wear in spring immediately (but I fear that it will take some weeks or months until spring will reach Switzerland).

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  • I love love love this outfit. Love your blog. Love vintage sewing blog like yours! Grah so so inspired to sew and blog more! You are fantastic. Following now..

    Nora
    NoraFinds

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  • gorgeous!

    I have these same buttons, too! I found them in an opportunity shop, have been waiting to find the “right” thing to use them on. Yours look darling on the skirt pockets :)

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  • I’m in love with your outfit, so gorgeous! Great blog :)

    ***

    The Marvelous World of Narcissa

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