Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Plan of Action -Sew For Victory A Peak Into 1942 Fashion

I'm going to a sewing retreat and so excited to meet some wonderful ladies who love vintage patterns like I do.  So, this will be my last entry before I return.  I had all these grand plans of multiple muslins and things to do but life got in the way.  I'm hoping I can just get through one muslin and wing the rest while I am there.

I decided that I would also like to try and make something for Sew For Victory.  I'm not going to formally put my name in the bin until after the retreat, in case it ends up not being the direction I take but I thought I'd share my plan of action.

Sew For Victory is such a fun event and the historical nature of this event very much appeals to me.  I like the idea of seeing all of you lovely stitchers embellishing the moments and thinking about the 1940s.   I thought I would also take on a historical perspective to this event too.

Here is my plan, I'm not sure how it will unfold but my thoughts are to create a blouse from 1942 and to try and be within the perimeters of fabric usage of the period for one of the attempts on the blouse.     My main goal is to be within the "feel" of the Advance Pattern Book I'm going to showcase below and you will see why when you see the pages of this gem.

So how perfect could this reference magazine (pamphlet) be for Sew For Victory?

Of course upon receiving this book, I attempted to see if I could find the exact patterns to some of the illustrations in the book.   It is so interesting to see all the different textures and since this book is closed from daylight, these swatches are just as you imagine the fabric to have been like in 1942.

If some of you ladies haven't yet selected your fabric, maybe this might also help.

"Patterned For Victory"

I love the print on this one:

How interesting is this?  Actual stocking samples from 1942.  They actually feel better than a lot of the stockings today.

Here is an example of the blouse I would like to make (center).  I'd also like to use similar fabric.  I'm going to go with the blue polka dot as in the illustration.

I very much wanted to do the same blouse above but it isn't available.  So, I found a similar Advance blouse pattern, which I will work with.  Funny thing is after I bought it on ebay, which wasn't much, I found that I already had this blouse pattern in my stash that I'd forgotten about.

After finding the blouse pattern for Advance, I stumbled upon the Vogue Special Design in an auction.  I don't know if it is possible to make this pattern for myself since it is two sizes too small but I figured it was worth looking into.  The directions were quite frail in nature so I copied them.  But, my goodness, "Holy Day of Seamstresses", does it make it look complicated.  

Doesn't the blouse and swing pants look grand?  Hey guess what, it's 1942 as well.  Coincidence?

So, yes, I decided to see if the fabric for the blouse above might be floating around.  And, I stumbled upon an auction ending in a couple of hours for 1940s cotton fabric kind of similar in pattern.  Coincidence?  I'm thinking this blouse is just calling my name to be made.  I won 3 yards of this lovely vintage cotton fabric for only $18 (including shipping).  Great deal.  I'm taking the pattern with me to my sewing retreat and hopefully I can get some of it deciphered and see if it is at all possible to make because I do certainly have use for a pair of swing pants.

Here are some other pages that were loose within the Advance Pattern Book.  As you can see most of the pages of the Advance Pattern Book were larger than my scanner, but it does give you a good feel for the period and such a great item to reference too.


  1. Super cute patterns! It is possible to enlarge a pattern to a bigger side. This process is called grading and grading up just 2 sizes is pretty safe so have at it!

  2. I second Stephanie's comments, grading up 2 sizes is pretty straight forward. There is a fabulous grading tutorial on this blog (if you haven't already come across one) Looking forward to seeing the lovely creations!

    1. Thank you ladies for the advice on grading up. It's a good learning experience to try this:) I'm going to check out the links.

  3. LOOOOOVVVEEE your Advance book! How fun is that? I can't wait to see what you come up with… much fun! I'm hoping to participate in Sew for Victory as well!

  4. Oh what a great book!! Fashions for Victory, it doesn't get more perfect for the Sew for Victory challenge than that! You should share it in the Flickr pool :)

    Grading a pattern to your size really isn't hard at all, here is a great article from Threads magazine:

    And Casey from Elegant Musings also wrote a great tutorial:

    1. Thank you Renee, I'm going to check out these links.

  5. Thanks for sharing those war time snippets. I love seeing the old fabrics, and it's so rare to see fabric compositions in so much detail. I personally would love to get my hands on that green and brown "marvel-spun rayon' leaf print or the brown "shetland' herringbone. Good luck with your blouse and I hope you have a lovely sewing retreat-so jealous!
    xx Shauna

  6. Oh, gorgeous! I love how close your fabric is to the one pictured in the pattern. I'm a little uninspired for Sew For Victory, too... I just don't have a lot of 40s patterns, and I definitely don't have the right fabric. I'll have to see if I can scramble anything together at the last minute.
    I haven't graded up a pattern, but I hear that it's not too tricky... I would, however, check the pattern measurements against your own, because often, especially with 40s patterns, I find that the pattern isn't as tiny as I think it is! I tend to use the waist size as a guideline, because I think the bust numbers are probably high bust.

  7. What a great resource. Thank you so much for sharing this! :)

  8. There is such a seriously marvelous array of vintage fashion inspiration in the informative, fantastic post, dearest Joanna. My first thought was to say a lifetime's worth, but I realize that might be stretching it a touch (for some people at least). Definitely enough to help inspire you many times throughout an entire lifetime! :)

    Oodles of hugs & happy weekend wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

  9. What an incredibly lucky find with that fabric. I wish I could fit sewing into my life again, but it just isn't possible at the moment. I will however enjoy following along to see what everyone makes. Oh what I would give for a sewing retreat! Have a great time.

  10. So much inspiration in one post! I'm not very good at sewing and don't have much time to practice at the moment either. I love looking at fashion illustrations from the 1940s and I wish I could click my heels together and then magically they are transported from the page to real life. Sigh, a girl can dream!
    Rowena x

  11. What a magnificent book!!! That's an incredible source to get inspiration from! I do hope you have time to create something amazing, because I'd love to see it! Your ideas are fabulous.

  12. That book is amazing, you must be so pleased with it. It must be an absolute joy to look through. I love the rayon prints, lovely colours and patterns. I think your blouses will be marvellous, good fabric find!

  13. Thanks for posting pages from that book - those fabric samples are great!