Friday, 2 May 2014

A Pretty Pair

I like the month of May.  My mum’s birthday is this month, and May also signifies the start of the 1940’s events season, I’m so excited, but I’m also so tired.  Can’t shake it off at the moment, lots of late nights as it is coursework marking time, so Mr Y is up until all hours.  I’m extra tired this morning because my Mr and I had a rare, child free, trip to the cinema last night to watch Monuments Men, which I thoroughly enjoyed. 

So today, with everyone so tired, we are having a fairly lazy day, lots of reading and craft, thankfully the girls love craft as much as I do and then gymnastics this evening, the girls, not me! 

I don’t drink hot drinks at all, so no caffeine fix to help me through the morning, instead, I have a rather large slice of homemade Bakewell Tart to keep me company, while I share with you some beautiful floral dresses, to brighten up this dull and dreary May day.

This first dress was started a couple of years ago, cut out on a snowy day in February 2012.  I vaguely remember why it was shelved, something to do with an overly hot iron, and a visitation from a frustrating guest, but I won’t bore you with all the details ;o)

The fabric dates from the 1940s, a right old slippery, and easily creased, piece of rayon in a hard to capture shade of lavender, with white and black floral spray detail.

Rayon silk creates a beautiful end product, but is an absolute pain in the bum to work with.  An inordinate amount of time was spent pinning and tacking, but it was definitely worth it.

I chose this Du Barry pattern,

From a design point of view, Du Barry patterns are some of my favourite.  The only unfortunate thing with them is that the instructions aren’t as good as some of the other patterns I’ve worked from.  There is a degree of assumption with Du Barry instructions that the seamstress is already a master of many of the techniques needed to complete a garment.  Working on this one also wasn’t helped by the fact that it was missing a piece, the piece that joins the skirt and top, so a new piece had to be made.   

The dress has many of the features you would expect in a dress of the era; full sleeves, fitted bodice, detailed finishing.  Aiming to create a reproduction dress as close in quality to an original 1940’s dress as possible, it has been finished with vintage methods such as hand hemming, side popper placket etc.

The dress has turned out really well.  I love the detail at the neckline and the tiny gathers at the waist and collarbone.  Flicking through the photographs, I have realised that I didn’t get a shot of the back of the dress, but that has 4 off white 1930’s style button and a big bow.

Having already struggled with the aforementioned Du Barry pattern, you would think that they would have been knocked off the “to make” list, but no, the next pattern is, yes, you guessed it, another Du Barry. 

Again, some original 1940’s fabric was used, this time a fabric called moygashel, which is a sort of linen fabric.  Moygashel frays.  Simple.  Even when cut with pinking shears it frays.  It is even more frustrating to use than rayon, as every single seam needed to be over locked.  But the pattern and design of the fabric is pretty, which sort of makes up for how tricky it is to use.  Sort of!

Because of the busy pattern, the detail doesn’t show up that well on camera, but “in the flesh” the dress is really sweet.  The tie bow at the back creates some detail in an otherwise simple design, and the full, typically ‘40s sleeves, finish the dress of perfectly.  Like the dress above, this one has a side placket with poppers, but the opening to get your noggin through is at the neck, and flaps forwards, which I’ve never seen before, and which I forgot to photograph!

The back bow, sort of shows up.

We have a much needed Bank holiday weekend stretching before us.  I will be very grateful, come Monday morning that I don’t have to set the alarm for silly o’clock.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend, wherever you are in the world! x


  1. They are gorgeous Lucy, I am so envious. My mums birthday was in May too.
    Its nice to have lazy days. My Mr and I are having a very lazy day too today
    Julie xxxx

  2. Beautiful dresses! I'm really envious of you having those patterns. You've done a lovely job on both and I'm sure that 'in the flesh' they look even nicer.

  3. Beautiful dresses Lucy. I'm looking forward to seeing that film. Have a lovely weekend :) x

  4. Gosh, these are truly stunning! You are so clever with the needle - both sewing and knitting.

  5. Lovely dresses, both fabrics are so pretty and the style details are gorgeous. I am sure that Bakewell tart is a great fuel for sewing. Why is it that crafting and cake go so well together?!

  6. Good Morning Lucy, my name is Chris and I am contacting you as a representative of the East Lancashire Railway in Bury. We would like to discuss our upcoming 1940s Weekend with you, would it be possible for you to contact me on Thank you for your time, keep up the good work on the blog!