This is the last day of my vacation in Florida! (Sniff sniff.) Many thanks to Harlow and the Boyer Sisters for helping me out with some guest posts! They were fantastic, and I hugely appreciate them!
So this time in Florida has been exactly what I needed. My husband and I drove down and stayed at our best friends' house, and it has been so nice to hang out with them again! We haven't seen them in a while, and it's always nice to catch up with old friends. They are ridiculously hospitable and showed us around their area and helped us learn how to eat seafood… 'cuz my landlocked Missouri self had no idea how to shell anything. But now I do!
In preparation for this trip, I've been "destination sewing" some beach clothing. Having won a photo contest over at Wearing History helped immensely in these sewing efforts! One of the first things I bought with the gift voucher I won was the Sunkissed Sweetheart e-pattern. These 1940s sarong separates have been on my mind for months, but I just couldn't justify buying the pattern. Where would I wear it in Missouri? It just doesn't quite fit as well in Missouri, tropical separates. However, with a beach trip I finally had the place to wear them, and I got to work! I used it as a swimsuit cover up in these photos at the beach.
A while back I bought this 1940s rayon with the most FANTASTIC print! It's Middle Eastern-inspired and features Aladdin-like scenes and belly dancers! Oh the surrealist scandal! It seemed perfect for this pattern because the drape of the rayon would work beautifully, and the crop top, bare midriff coordinated well with a belly dancing themed fabric!
So here are the details about this pattern and how it turned out for me:
(There's a summarized version at the bottom if you'd like to skip to that!)
Skills You Need to Know Before You Start
- Bias tape hem - You MUST know how to hem with bias tape. Every single edge on both of these pieces is finished this way. There are no facings; it's all 'bout dat bias tape!
- Darts - There are two darts at the back of the tie blouse, so you need to be familiar with these!
Fit and Ease of the Pattern
After printing out the pattern (there are a LOT of pages to this one!), I decided to cut out the smallest size on both the top and the wrap skirt. My hip size is a bit bigger than the smallest skirt size, but I figured the wrap shape would be forgiving. (I really don't like altering patterns unless I have to, and the waist measurement was good on the smallest size.) This seemed to work out just fine for me! The skirt has a pretty big, luxurious sweep!
I have a 32" bust and narrow shoulders, and the smallest sized crop top fit me perfectly. The arm holes and sleeve openings were also perfect on me, so I would suggest that more average-sized people double check these measurements before cutting out the pattern. They may need to be increased a bit for a comfortable fit.
Things I Changed
- Skirt length - I took off a lot of length. I'm only 5' tall, geez!
- Double layered - I mounted the rayon on a quilting cotton on both the blouse and the top part of the skirt (down to the hip apex). This helped make the sheer white rayon a bit more modest on top for everyday wear and make the tie and waist more sturdy on the skirt. Tying a knot can stress fabric, and since the rayon is old and very thin, I wanted to give it a bit of extra strength.
Unclear and Tricky Things
- I was a bit nervous about the curved details on all three pieces that have gathers on them as well. Beautifully 40s, but I had never done such things before! I followed the instructions very closely, however, and they turned out well!
- The sarong skirt also has a tie on the underside opposite of the outer knot to keep all the layers situated. I like that a lot!
- I found the blouse a little tricky to hem with bias tape around the gathers. There is a sharp angle there which, in combination with the extra fabric, was a bit tricky for me to get finished in a pretty way. It turned out alright, I think, but that corner is tricky to get it all to lay right.
- I machine sewed the bias tape around the edges of both pieces then turned the tape to the underside and hand sewed it down for an invisible hem. This isn't difficult, but there is a LOT of edge length on these pieces, especially the skirt! It's just tedious work, so be prepared if you choose to finish that way.
Moments of Pride in This Project
I am proud of all those gather details. Having never done them before I was unsure I could do it well, especially with slippery rayon, but I think they turned out well!
Moments of... Eh, I'll Do Better Next Time…
I'm not exactly sure how I'll do it next time, but those corners of the bodice where the gathers are on the neckline could just look a bit better. I think I'll just have to be extremely precise and careful in hemming, more than I was this time, to get it all lined up correctly and have the gathers fall the right way.
This pattern is great! Although it has some very unique details and some not-so-common techniques, the instructions explained it all beautifully. The fit is fantastic and forgiving due to the tying closures, and I love the two skirt length options. I'll definitely be making more versions of this! I could see it in other tropical prints, or even gingham and lace for a more country-girl-next-door sort of look. The pattern also suggest fabrics for an evening version; how incredible would this be in a luxurious fabric with beading?! Okay… that may be the next version I sew……
Also, the pattern pieces fit together perfectly. You can't have that guarantee with original vintage patterns, so that's a big plus for buying this new Resto-vival version from Wearing History!
Here is a summary of the pattern details and things I changed:
Fabric: 1940s novelty print rayon
Pattern: Wearing History "Sunkissed Sweetheart" 1940s Sarong Separates (blouse and skirt)
Year: early 1940s
Notions: bias tape
How historically accurate is it? Extremely! New-vintage pattern and fabric and quilting cotton. Machine sewn and hand sewn, it's very 40s!
Any tricky parts to the pattern? I talk about this more above, but the corners of the bodice where the gathers are was a bit tricky to hem with bias tape.
Did you change anything? Yep, shortened the skirt by, like, 10 inches I think. A lot, anyway.
Time to complete: about 3 long days. The sewing it together doesn't take that long, but the hand sewing sure did!
First worn: 27 April 2015
Total cost: The fabric was a splurge at about $70, but I have some left over for another project, so I'll say $55 for this project alone. The e-pattern was $16 and I made the bias tape out of a cotton sheet that cost $3 at a thrift store, so about $74 total. That sounds like a lot, but compared to repro or original vintage 40s separates like this, it's a major deal!Notes: I've gone into great detail above! This is a fantastic pattern!
Have any of you tried out this pattern or know someone who has? Please add the link and lets help future sewists have a database of good info and pictures of this pattern!