Tuesday, 31 January 2012

A late 1940's suit


When I was 19 my grandmother Greta gave me a suit she wore in the late 1940’s. I remember her telling me that it was made up for her by a seamstress and that it was in “the new style”- the jacket has no shoulder pads and the skirt was a long, pencil skirt, not an A-line. It was made in heavy hound tooth’s wool in red and navy blue. In my early twenties the suit fitted me perfectly and I wore it a lot. Sadly I cut off the skirt to make it a lot shorter, but to my defense my grandmother heartily endorsed that. All her life she re-made her clothes to prolong their lives and she thought it only natural that I would do the same. Well, I sure wouldn’t have done that today, but it’s a bit too late to regret it now. On a side note; I have a whole box of my grandmother’s 1960’s dresses that has one or two seams opened awaiting a change that my grandmother never got too. Basically they just need to be sewn together again to be serviceable. One of them is in red gold lamé…


But back to the suit. I think it’s a nice example on how The New Look could be interpreted by an ordinary woman. The silhouette is narrower than the earlier 40’s, but my grandmother was around 36 at the time and no longer the petite woman she had been in her twenties, so the jacket hasn’t the exaggerated waist and hip that you can see on the fashion models. The pencil skirt was also a much more fabric saving option than the very full Dior-skirts.





Considering how much I have used it, it's in pretty good condition. One of the buttonholes need to be repaired and one of the side seams have opened slightly. I still have the skirt, but it's packed away somewhere and I haven't been able to locate it.





It's lined with navy blue rayon (the skirt was unlined though). The lable says that it was made at Fernqvist's at the street Kungsgatan in Stockholm.





When I went through all the boxes with sewing stuff my grandmother left me I found that there had also been a matching cap. It’s clearly homemade, my grandmother was very god at making hats and I guess she asked the seamstress for some extra fabric to make the hat.



The lipstick is Certainly Red from Revlon.

17 comments:

Lil Vintage Me (the 1940s family) said...

what a great gift for your grandmother to give you. its absolutely lovely, and how cleaver of her to make the hat. I definitely need to learn how to make hats!!!

Maxine x

Kristina said...

Amazing! Looooove the color and everything else with that suit. Don't feel to bad about the skirt you clearly loved and used it back then...I do hope You find it maybe you can use the fabric to make a purse or details to a new skirt like pocket lapels, belt... surely something can be saved and reused by a clever and handy girl like you!

Laurence said...

I don't own any familly clothes: my mum is too young, one of my grand mother was really poor in the 50's and my second grand mother was a farmer and didn't have any interest on fashion.... But I own some things from my in laws... an amazing 50's coat from my mother in law and a blouse from the 40's owned by my husband's grand mother, I also own her engagement necklace from the 30's made of gold and saphire, really art deco!!!!

Popbabe7 said...

This looks amazing!!!

Isis said...

Maxine: Yes, very. I need to take pictures of the coats I have as well as en evening jacket. It's not so difficult to make hats and quite rewarding as they usually go together vey quickly.

Kristina: Thanks! I love the colours too! And you are right, I could probably re-use the skirt for something. :)

Laurence: That sounds so lovely! Especially the necklace. :)

popbabe: Thanks! :)

superheidi said...

That's beyond pretty, wow!

Johanna Öst said...

Så elegant med den matchande hatten!

Isis said...

superheidi: Thank you!

Johanna: Tack! Det tråkiga är att jag nog aldrig mer kommer att kunna ha kavajen. Oavsett vikt tycks mitt bystmått bestämt mig för att stanna där det är och det är just där jag inte kan knäppa igen den.

Andrea said...

The matching hat is darling!

pimpinett said...

Lovely! How is the cap cut and made? Has she steamed it into shape, or sewn it? I've been wanting one of those tiny, undersized 30's berets that sit on the side of your head for a while.

Isis said...

Andrea: Isn’t it! :)

Pimpinett: Both, actually. It has a sinamay base that has been steamed on a hatblock to give it a rounded shape and then the fabric has been shaped by being four triangular pieces sewn together. It’s more an oval than perfectly round. Very simple construction, really. Have you seen the felt bases MacCulloch & Wallis sell? Some have a very 30’s feel to them:

http://www.macculloch-wallis.co.uk/Category.aspx/Hoods

Amelia Jones said...

I adore this blog!!! I he background image and I am now following you!

Btw ive got a giveaway kind of thing on at the moment if you would like to have a look at it? :)

Amelia xx

http://wearableartblog.blogspot.comlove all t

Olivia said...

Snyggt! Jättetjusig kavaj och den där hatten gav ju verkligen pricken över I:et.
Det är något speciellt med kläder som gått i familjen, då kan man verkligen känna historien bakom....

Mrs M said...

Hi what a great Blog, love it !! I work in couture in paris for over thirty years and am passionate about vintage cut and fit. Yesterday after ages of searching I found an amazing forties jacket in black wool with star engraved jet glass czech buttons, it cost me one euro !! and fits like its made for me. In the same store in Paris I found an even more amazing 'new look' style jacket by a couturier called François Gil, can't find anything on him but the jacket although tiny is an amazing feat of cut ! such a pity I could never fit it but I am going to copy the pattern and grade it up for myself. I will come to your blog often with pleasure; I am starting a haute Couture Blog based on couture techniques and cut with lots of pictures, before during and after and all based on vintage design. Best wishes Stephanie

casey said...

How neat your grandmother gave that to you! I think it's fantastic when family pieces get handed down like this. The fabric is just beautiful--it's always amazing to me how fresh vintage garments look (even though I own quite a few)--they sure hold up well compared to nowadays!

loverink said...

gorgeous! and of course it's still in great shape. they don't make 'em like they used to! (cliché yes, but the truth!)
keep on bloggin'...

Isis said...

Amelia Jones: Thank you!

Olivia: Visst är det! Jag har ganska många av min mormors kläder, men tyvärr så har jag växt ur dem... 40-talskläderna lär jag aldrig kommi i igen, men jag hoppas på 50- och 60-talarna. :)

Mrs M: That sounds gorgeous! And I need to check your blog out- I find Haute Couture very interesting and I wish I could sew like that.

Casey: Yesh, I love it! When I got it, in the late 80's, I had an argument with a woman who claimed that it couldn't be from the 40's as "the pattern looked too modern". *sigh*

loverink: I'm afraid you are right. That quality is hard to find now, at least afforadable...

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