Monday, June 30, 2014

A Little Bit of Vintage Sewing -- Hollywood 1512

In a burst of "conscientious" sewing, I tackled a project that I -- no kidding -- cut out when Little Man was tiny. Since then, it has been sitting folded in a zippered bag in various nooks and crannies of my sewing room. You know, one of those guilt-inducing UFOs that stabs you with an army of pins every time you move it, just to remind you that you're a lazy, unmotivated procrastinator?

Fed up with the guilt trips (and the pin-pricks), I finally pulled it out and went to work.

The pattern is Hollywood 1513, circa 1939 -- Here's a link to one that's for sale. Isn't it just the most fantabulous house coat? I paid a pretty penny more than I'd typically spend on a pattern, because I was just so taken with this design! It's interesting to see how "loungwear" has changed in the past eighty years.

Sadly, the pattern is slightly larger than my size, so the finished product is a bit big. But it was really intended as a mock-up, so in the end it's not much of a disappointment.

The pattern was also one of those "lovely" vintage numbers that has delicate pre-cut sheets of tissue with about a million "markings" on them in the form of little dots and diamonds. If you know me, you know I HATE pattern markings with a vengeance, so it was quite a labor of love to transfer each and every one. Oh, and I traced the pattern onto nonfusible interfacing first, so that I wouldn't have to compromise the tissue paper sheets.

There are some definite negatives about the finished dress -- mostly to do with my fabric choice (light weight quilting cotton), which was not ideal for this dress. I think it was what I had on hand at the time. The collar and lapel pieces are not interfaced, so the dress lacks some much-needed structure in the bodice. Oh, and I didn't read the cuff instructions very well, and due to the way I attached them they don't "cuff" as much as they should. But since this was intended as a mock-up, I'm okay with the little issues.

I love the little sewn in "pleat" in the sleeve!
In the end, I doubt I'll wear the dress in public. It's less "me" than it was when I cut it out (again, fabric). But it's looking smashing on Yvonne, who has been rather scandalously clad in *just* an apron for months.

The intructions were remarkably vague! In fact, I'm quite glad this was a mock-up, because it gave me the chance to try out the various steps. I think I'd be much more confident next time around.

I love the details on this dress -- the bound buttonholes (which would have turned out better if I'd read ahead in the instructions and had picked a better fabric *wink*), the wrap front, the sash that feeds around and can be tied either front or back. I'm toying with the idea of sizing it down and making it in a better fabric, as it really is a splendid pattern.

The buttons line up much better when the dress is worn by someone with hips;
Yvonne is rather lacking in the hip department...

It's a bit humbling to post a project that has (in my eyes) so many shortcomings, but I suppose I get brownie points for honesty? And come to think of it, it could be quite a treat to lounge around the house in this dress! 



  1. Now that is a fabulous pattern! That waist detail with the buttons really "makes the style." Congrats on finishing it; I know the relief/joy of completing "one of those" projects that seem to never make out of the to-sew pile. :)

    You could always sell it if you don't plan on keeping it. (Shh, that's what I do with garments I no longer wish to keep. I'm working on going through some historical stuff I made years ago that no longer hold the same appeal that they once did!)

    1. Cheri,

      Thank you for your kind words! I've found that I'm falling in love with the pattern all over again, now that I see it again. And I know just exactly what I'd change next time...

      I've considered selling it, but I'm on the fence -- and I had a historical costume cleanout a while back, myself! It was really kind of sad, but I ended up passing them on to people who (hopefully) enjoyed them. After all, they weren't being used anymore, and it ended up being quite a relief to have them cleared out.


  2. I definitely think you should make this again! I also think your mock-up version would be a wonderful house dress. I remember my mom wearing pretty house dresses when I was young. The good old days!

    1. Diane,

      Thank you for your kind comment! You know, the more I think about, the more I think I *will* make it again -- with a better fabric, this time! It's so interesting that what women used to wear in the privacy of their homes a few decades ago is far more dressy than the loungewear commonly seen in public places today.



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