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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

· Working Girl ·

Dress for the job you want.  That's the saying, right?

When I decided to transition away from doing entreprenurial/creative work as my main source of income, I knew that a predictable office job would fill the deficiencies I felt.  Something entirely unrelated to sewing has freed me up to pursue personal work and a few select customer projects without feeling extra pressure.  It's been a win-win so far, and I'm so glad I took this step!

Of course, what would the point of this blog be if I didn't have clothes on the brain while coming to this decision?? As you can tell from my Film Fashions series, I've been crushing on vintage secretarial clothes for well over a year now and I'm so excited to have an excuse to "need" them!

My work place is sadly not in this epic Art Deco beauty (love, love, LOVE it!!), and my office's dress code is rather casual, but that's no reason why I can't get excited about fulfilling my own fantasies of working as a secretary in a 1930s private detective's office or a 1950s department store.  My workplace's dress code allows for lots of lee-way, so I'm still able to dress for my fantasy job. ;-)

Years ago, I purchased as much of this herringbone rayon as the store had- which was not much.  I've been hoarding it ever since and trying to decide on the perfect use.  You know, like I always do with fabric, haha!

I had a test-run of this pattern with my red wool 1930s dress a couple years ago and I knew this would be the perfect fit!  Re-capping from my dress post, this pattern is from Mrs. Depew and it's a 1930s French pattern drafting system style pattern.  I've had sort of mixed success with this style of pattern- I mean, they always turn out looking like the illustration, but I never can tell how much major re-engineering of the pattern was required to get it to that point! ;-)  In short, it can be a fun challenge but must always be viewed from that angle- no quick and easy project here!

The fabric is so lusciously drape-y and perfect for this blouse!  I wish I could find this fabric in tons of colors!

The fact that I decided to make a skirt from the same pattern (McCalls 6993) I used for the aforementioned dress made for a funny coincidence!  I really adore the seaming on this pattern and we had just enough of this rust wool suiting left from a different project to make a skirt!  Bonus- stash busting!

This pattern has rather odd views of how to achieve a high-waisted skirt, however.  I'm not really sure how to accomplish that, but I'm pretty sure this wasn't the best way. ;-)  I was hoping this waist area would be less of an issue over time, but it seems to keep having issues- sigh. :-P

Hem lace- I feel like such a noob to have taken so long to appreciate the wonder of it!  Way back when I made the copy-cat dress, I was in a quandry as to how best to achieve a truly invisible hem.  Answer: hem lace.  WHY was I so resistant for so long??  Say hello to my newest friend and closest ally!  I'll definitely be making up for lost time now!  This is going on EVERY project from here on out!

Back view! Hand-picked zipper! Let's look at anything other than the fact that, goodness gracious, this poor skirt is crying out for an iron! ;-)

Here's to more vintage secretary-inspired makes!

· photos by the ever wonderful Kathryn! ·


  1. Soooo pretty!!! This looks suits you so well, and definitely screams 1930s secretary. :) Congrats on the new job! Hope it works well for you!! And hurrah for getting to wear such beautiful clothes while you're at it - that is a definite bonus!! ;)

  2. I adore this outfit! This is the first version of that skirt that I really like. I bought the pattern when it first came out, but the pattern version is terrible! This one is stunning and really shows off the details on the yoke. I love it! (Now I kind of want to make it up!) The blouse is truly magnificent, and I love the color palette. Wonderful!!

  3. Very much office chic! Lovely details in the skirt! :)

  4. To think that there was a time when all office women dressed like that. Sadly now it's gotten so casual (at most places) that they look like they are going to a picnic instead. Bravo Lily for dressing like a real lady should and not feeling intimidated by what today's culture dictates!
    I wear skirts and flats to pick up my son at school , iam so tired of moms asking me why Iam so dressed up ! (in a sea of jeans yoga pants hoodies and tshirts , yuck)
    Keep on sewing you have such talent!
    Happy Easter 🐇

  5. I love this outfit! I just want all your clothes, basically. Out of curiosity, what was the issue with the high waist on the McCalls skirt? I have the pattern but haven't made it up yet...

    1. I'm also wondering what is funny with the pattern directions for the skirt waist, as it's in my stash but hasn't been attempted yet.

      The outfit is incredible, though! Absolutely gorgeous in its simplicity.

  6. I loved that blouse. Retro blouses have so much detail! The whole ensemble is so elegant, but only the blouse would flatter me. I need to work on making more detailed tops.

  7. I absolutely adore this outfit! You look so classy. I love the orange/red color that you used for the dress and this skirt. It's my favorite color!

  8. Oh, Lily...a simply gorgeous, classy outfit! I am in love with it... Those colours work ever so wonderfully together and that blouse... I want one too! {{smiles}} Lily, you are a genius - your sewing skills continually astound me! I agree with Irene...women just don't get dressed up like this nowadays...even when attending smart concerts and such, shorts and T-shirts seem to be fine... thank you for the lovely inspiration! Always a delight stopping by...

  9. So chic! I work in an office too but never look this put-together. Both skirt and blouse have such lovely detail.

  10. You look fabulous - such an appropriate outfit for an office!

  11. so fun!! you had me at "hem lace".. could you please explain this in more detail? it looks so pretty...

  12. Lauren and Amanda, I think my fitting issues with the waist of this skirt comes down to a matter of physics- I can't figure out how to make a high waisted skirt work on my body! I haven't determined if the problem is my body or my technique/pattern fitting... Since there's no waistband, our other versions of this pattern have stretched out in the waist. I tried to rectify that with a hidden waist stay in this one, but I'm totally unimpressed with the outcome. I feel like a high waisted skirt needs some serious thought and structural support put into it, and I don't think I did either adequately. :-P This pattern really doesn't make matters any better though- it's kind of halfway committal about being high waisted, lol! On the other hand, losing 10lbs since this photoshoot has helped the fit tremendously, heehee. ;-)

    I hope you both have great success with it- that delicious seaming makes any angst worthwhile!

  13. I love your 30's secretary look! I love how you are dressing up for your job too, even though it is not required. I used to wear lots of 1940's workwear looks when I worked in a hardware store, just because it made things a lot more fun :)
    The Artyologist

  14. You look so adorable!! 30's secretarial look is the absolute best! I am wishing you great luck with your job.

    Carla, Tiny Angry Crafts

  15. Gorgeous ensemble and wonderful photos. These snaps almost look like publicity photos for a deco period TV series that I would most certainly watch. I totally know what you mean about a more traditionally "mundane" day job freeing up your creativity to re-focus on new projects, I've certainly felt that way before too.

  16. I love this outfit! Simple, yet so chic! I especially love the detail on the skirt.


  17. I know you haven't posted in a while! Miss you girl! :)



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