All posts tagged: 1930s

A 1930s/40s Canterbury Woollen Mills Swimsuit

As a last treat for the Historical Sew-Fortnightly ‘By the Sea’ week, I thought you might enjoy seeing the one piece* of vintage swimwear in my collection: a late ’30s, or 1940s knit wool swimsuit from the Canterbury of New Zealand.   (*Actually, that’s not entirely true.  I do have a couple of late ’50s/early ’60s swimsuits – but this one might be as early as 1938, so replicating it would be within the HSF guidelines). NZ, as a major wool producer, had a number of its own woollen mills and manufacturers in the 19th and throughout the 20th century.  One of these was the Canterbury Woollen Mills, based in Ashburton, just south of Christchurch, in the  Canterbury region of the South Island.  The mill was actually known as the Ashburton Woollen Mills from its founding in 1885 until 1890.  I am relatively certain that it was this mill that produced Canterbury swimwear (just like the Roslyn Woollen Mill produced Roslyn swimwear) Protectionist laws throughout most of the 20th century made importing clothes prohibitively expensive, …

Sea at Sunset dress: 1st wearing

One of the three items I’m making for the By the Sea challenge is the lace evening dress inspired by the glowing hills and muted sea at sunset in New Zealand. The dress had a pressing deadline: I had a wedding to attend, and needed a frock to wear.  The wedding is past, the dress got made (in a massive rush, and only thanks to some help from the lovely Lynne), and worn, and I got lots of compliments on it. But…. …I’m not quite happy with it. Here is what it looked like at the wedding. I ended up wearing it with a stunning early 20th century black feather boa (a gift from the wonderful Lynne) instead of the Capelet of Yay, because the Capelet paired with the dress was just a little too striking for the wedding, and the boa was sooooooo gorgeous and looked perfect with the dress. I felt great in the dress, it was really comfortable, it worked well for the wedding, and I got tons of compliments. But…. …looking back at the photos …

The Spotty Not-Quite Nautical dress

While I showed lots of different colour options in my By The Sea inspiration post, the classic nautical colours are red, white and blue. I’ve got one last dress from Art Deco Weekend that I haven’t blogged about, and it just happens to be red, white and blue and (almost) nautical. Everything is nautical when you pose by the sea and pair it with a giant white anchor, right? The dress was a prototype for my Garden Party Frock, with sleeves borrowed from Past Pattern’s 1931 McCalls pattern.   Interestingly, the skirt is nearly identical to the PP McCall’s pattern as well, but comes from one of my Excella patterns. I ended up going with a easier to wear, more universally flattering, fuller skirt for my final Garden Party Frock, but I do like the slim lines of this one.  The sleeves were another thing altogether.  They look darling, but I had to get Miss Rachel to re-tie them for me literally every 15 minutes, all.day.long. She was so glad when I changed out of …