Part Two of the 40’s Sew Along

Fabric: Turquoise/red cotton from JoAnn’s
DuBarry 5090
Interfacing, 5 buttons for blouse and 8 for skirt, 1 bakelite belt buckle and 1 yard belting from stash, 2 packages pre-made piping from stash
Time to complete:
6 hours
First worn:
March 2013
Wear again?
$17.97 for fabric + $6.22 for buttons so $24.19 total


Here is my inspiration shot:

This is the lovely Sydney Ballesteros, she of the Golden Girl of the West blog. I’ve been inspired by her before, most notably last year when we did our Mixed-prints challenge at Sew Weekly. I loved the polka dotted goodness of this dress, along with the piping that made it “pop” and her shoes. I debated for a WEEK about dress vs. separates and finally decided I’d get more wear out of separates.

The blouse part of the DuBarry pattern was missing a few pieces so I ended up using my old standby, New York 1779.  I did try replicating the curve of the collar but honestly, I was still stuck in the “Must Get It All Done This Weekend” mode and didn’t have the patience to work piping around those curves. When I got the facings on and put the shirt on the mannequin it reminded me of men’s PJ’s : ( I kept going because I loved the fabric and hoped that the skirt would tone down the PJ-like feel but I seriously stumbled for a moment.

My daughter and I took these photos at a local monument to War Heroes.

It was originally dedicated to those who died in World War One but in 1954 it was amended to include those in World War Two and the Korean conflict.

It just seemed fitting.

The plaques behind me are the names of those who died (on the right) and the communities from which they came (on the left).

It was a blustery day : ) I had tried to do my hair in a 40’s style but the wind wasn’t cooperating!

My Victory rolls fell down a little and while I liked the polka dotty clips I felt a little Bette Davis in “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane“, my daughter just laughed at me : )

The first two buttons down the front of the skirt are functional, the rest are sewn through all layers. I’ve tried wearing button-up-the-front skirts and dresses for years and I always rip out the bottom buttons. I didn’t even bother making buttonholes for the other 6 buttons! If I were the very precise and remarkable Laura Mae I would do bound buttonholes all around, used or not : ) Seriously, she is amazing.

I pulled out a pair of shiny red shoes I found at Target last year, my button bracelet and a pair of red bakelite cherry earrings to up the red-goodness factor and off we went.

Normally, when we do a photoshoot, we go for about 100 photos to get 4-5 good ones. Sometimes the difference between one I like and one that makes me look like a dork is 2 seconds:

So just for Vickie (because we started including our outtakes last year!), here is the dork one : )

I had every intention of getting this post up last night and had even started it earlier in the day so that when I posted my pics to the 40’s Sew Along Flickr site I’d have this all ready to go. Then the real world stepped in and I spent several hours trying to save an Anna’s Hummingbird last night:


Jim had found him in the street last night, unable to fly. While trying to keep out dog away from it he scooped it up and brought it home. The poor thing was exhausted so we let him rest for a while and then I made sugar water and got him to take 2 mls by small syringe. By 9 pm he was bright and perky, comfortable resting in my hand unless he had to poop. Then he moved quickly away, did his business and came right back : ) He sat on the back of my hand as I typed this, moving when he got too warm to the desk top where I grabbed my camera and took this photo of him. (You can see more photos on my Instagram) I snuggled him for another hour, fed him a bit more and put him in a cage in my sewing room to be safe and warm through the night.

He died before dawn. I’ve sat at my desk all morning in tears. At least he wasn’t stepped on, or a cat toy, or died cold in the rain. Whatever the issue was (injury or illness) he died in comfort. That’s the tough part of animal rescue. I know I’ll outlive all the animals I help but it doesn’t make it any easier. There was no sewing last night so my “extra” week is slipping away but that’s ok.

15 thoughts on “Part Two of the 40’s Sew Along

  1. I love the interesting locales your photo shoots with your daughter take us. I also love that you share your sewing moments of doubt– the pajama moment– (which encourage me to get through my own) and nurture life like nobody’s business. Oh, and great dress! Aqua and red together are brilliant and you definitely captured the spirit and details of your inspiration.

  2. That lovely piping just takes your outfit up to a whole new level. Do you have an endless supply of bakelite buckles or do you just transfer them from one belt to another? I would never have thought of just sewing up the bottom of a skirt as I’ve always just left the bottom one or two buttons undone. I love your softened victory rolls. Gorgeous shot of the humming bird and a very sad yet uplifting story. Animal rescue is all about bringing some happiness to the animal and you definitely did that. Thanks for sharing.

    • I do NOT have an endless supply of bakelite buckles!! I do transfer one to another (you’ll see the red one pop up on another outift this weekend). When I made a belt I velcro the end that holds the buckle so I can slide it off. I think I have about 6 buckles in different colors. A friend of mine who is a collector and dealer will sometimes give me one of his “extras” since they really aren’t worth that much. I think the most I’ve paid for one was $15, they ususally rung in the $6-8 range.
      I love the look of the buttons but the practicality of them makes me crazy : ) Too many skirts were ruined as I got out of a car even if I unbuttoned them a couple more buttons. I also stitched the layers of the skirt together under the buttons so they’d act more like one piece and not pull. Maybe I should take a picture of that…
      Thank you for the lovely compliments : ) . I try to live by the motto “If you can’t help at least do no harm”. I did what I thought was best so maybe he just needed a soft spot from which to leave this world.

    • Thank you Cindy Lee! The shoes are fun, I’m finally getting to wear them more now that it’s warming up. I figured red shoes needed red toes : )
      We’re going to bury the little guy this weekend with one of our chickens that just died. I hate losing little creatures but the world is what it is. I do hope his last hours were better with us that they might have been.

  3. You look gorgeous! You’ve inspired me to pull out a forties pattern I bought last year and have yet to use. And to finally tackle piping. Great idea with the buttons, I always rip out the buttons at the bottom of the skirt as well.

    • Thanks Donna. Yes, pull out your forties pattern and use it! They are MUCH easier than you might think : ) Piping isn’t so tough, it just takes concentration and a zipper foot. If you get stuck you can always email or message me and I’ll be happy to help!

  4. Beautiful work on the dress. And the bird – I’ve never seen anything like that, although I’m Australian and we have lots of weirdly-coloured and wonderful native birdlife – it is incredible and your efforts to save it were truly great.

    • Thank you on both accounts, Stephanie : ) He was a gorgeous little guy, we have them in our yard regularly at our feeder. They are loud, territorial little things and I love them. I was sad I couldn’t do more for this one but I tried. My vet routinely shakes her head over my animal adventures but we have good success with little birds and newborn kitties : ) One of my fellow Sew Weekly contributors lives in Australia and she had a Magpie invade her house! I thought that was pretty cool but she didn’t share my enthusiasm…

  5. Just bragged about your pics!! BEAUTIFUL!! Love how blouse & skirt turned out. Shoes are soo cute. Victory curls are soo hard to do on windy days!! Love your whole look. 🙂

    • Thanks Audrey! I’m going to get some professional assistance this weekend with those curls, see how to do them right : ) More pics to come…

  6. You gave that sweet little bird a great gift by bringing him in to be in comfort and peace when he passed. By the sounds of it, he was very appreciative.

    Your dress is AMAZING. And, the shoes, the victory rolls- They really push this over the top.

    • Thank you very much Michelle. I’m glad you like the outifit, I was a little hesitant at first and am still trying to get over my initial PJ’s moment : ) I’m going to try again at the Victory rolls this weekend with some professional assistance and, fingers crossed, a really special photo shoot!

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