40s inspiration + sewing sneak peek

Somehow, some way, I finally finished the 1940s playsuit I’ve been working on for the past three weeks! I think it’s safe to say that the days of knocking out projects quickly are over for me. But in a way, that’s proved useful for me: I’ve had to slow down and become more patient with myself (nothing is more frustrating than to spend a precious hour on sewing, only to have to rip it all out again!) and the process. After tinkering on this set, I am so excited it’s done! Pictures of me modeling the pieces will follow shortly. But until now, the trusty dressform will suffice!

On the topic of 1940s playsuits (also known as sunsuits): I have decided this summer is The Summer of the Playsuit for me. I already have my sailor playsuit, this one, and possibly another in the works! They are just so darn comfortable for the hot days ahead, and I love breaking up the pieces and coming up with new outfits! I thought I’d share some of my favorite vintage playsuit inspiration with y’all!

images: McCall 5650 on Etsy | Ann Rutherford | Simplicity 1710 on VPW | Dorothy Lamour.

images: Simplicity 3380 on VPW | Hollywood 1135 on Etsy | 40s playsuit on Etsy | Ann Sheridan.

images: 40s novelty playsuit on Etsy | Butterick 3756 on VPW | Simplicity 1621 on VPW | Deanna Durbin.

So what is your opinion? Playsuits: yay or nay?

June 18, 2012 · 54 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing,vintage inspiration · tags: , ,

Karen B June 18, 2012 at 09:25

I think they are super cute. but I couldn’t pull it off. I’m 41 and could stand to lose some weight. The cropped tops don’t work for me. If I were 25, heck yeah! I love the set you made. What great fabric!

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Sarika June 18, 2012 at 09:34

Playsuits: Id say a definite “Yay!”
They can be very chic with the right styling, and I think they are up there with hats and gloves, in the ‘last hurdle’ of vintage wearing, in that it can take some guts to wear at first, but you look and feel great! Go the whole hog! x

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Casey June 19, 2012 at 07:17

I think that’s an interesting correlation you made between the playsuits/gloves/hats and the concept of more difficult to wear vintage! I think you’re spot on in that observation: it is one of the patently more “vintage” garments that does tend to stand out a bit more than the standard shorts and blouse summer wear. :)

♥ Casey

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Tors June 18, 2012 at 09:41

I love playsuits, but unfortunately it’s rarely hot enough here to wear them. I adore this one you’ve made, can’t wait to see it on you.

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Quincy June 18, 2012 at 09:56

Well, I’m pretty sure you know that for me it’s a yay ;)
That playsuit/sunsuit looks GORGEOUS!

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LBC June 18, 2012 at 10:12

Okay, I am desperately in love with your playsuit. Desperately. I’ve passed over several similar ones because I’m too old to wear them, but now I’m reconsidering.

I have DuBarry 5615 but it’s a “unitard” type playsuit, and I cannot quite accept the idea of a garment that requires the wearer to disrobe completely to, um, “powder her nose”. Not on an adult, at least. I’m planning a dress version using the bodice and skirt, but am waffling on the official playsuit version, even though it would be awesome at the beach where the wind makes wearing skirts without shorts hazardous to one’s dignity.

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Casey June 19, 2012 at 07:19

Yeah–the one piece playsuits always put me off a bit! I’d really like to make this one that came with the patterns I got out of my grandmother’s stash, but the idea of undressing to attend to the calls of nature isn’t appealing! :p I’ve worn a piece like this once, and it promptly sat in the bottom of my drawer for the rest of the summer! :/ That’s probably why I stick to two/three piece playsuits–easier to navigate in! hehe!

♥ Casey

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Hannah Lenichek June 18, 2012 at 10:12

Yay! Love them all but the McCall’s 5650 really appeals to me most! ;)

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Katrina Blanchalle June 18, 2012 at 10:25

I say yay to playsuits, especially the ones with the skirt-over-shorts option. Very retro yet very wearable.
I think your latest playsuit is the ultimate Polynesian movie star attire. Perfect for perching on the side of a volcano, or sipping a drink at a tiki bar.
If this was the fabric you weren’t quite happy with, I hope you’ve changed your mind. It’s just perfect!

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Casey June 19, 2012 at 07:20

Yep–this was the fabric I was just so-so on, and boy am I glad I used it! Talk about a “match made in (sewing!) heaven”! hehe!

♥ Casey

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Cassie Stephens June 18, 2012 at 10:36

I wanna see it on!! I love this, it’s stunning! Casey, you are such a sewing inspiration to us wannabe’s. Thanks for sharing! …Cassie

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Roni June 18, 2012 at 10:40

Absolutely YAY from Austin, Texas! It’s too hot here for anything but. : ) I can’t wait!

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Janel June 18, 2012 at 10:46

Can I say maybe? Yours is really cute! I like the mix and match factor. I would have to think about proportions for me to say if I would do one for sure.

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Charlotte June 18, 2012 at 10:55

Oh so many pretty playsuits! I absolutely love playsuits – even though I’m probably too old to be wearing them. Saying that though, yours is quite a ‘grown-up’ version of the playsuit – being separates, and the one-shoulder design seems more grown-up somehow. I’m planning a playsuit from a 1940s pattern, but the pattern grading involved is a little daunting.

xx Charlotte
Tuppence Ha’penny Vintage

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Casey June 19, 2012 at 07:21

Is anyone ever really too old for something so fun?! (And relatively tame by today’s fashion standards. ;) ) hehe! I do like how sophisticated this pattern is too–I have a feeling that I won’t be feeling to “little girlish” in this in a couple years as 30 creeps ever closer. Hopefully. ;) lol.

♥ Casey

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LBC June 19, 2012 at 10:48

If you don’t now, you probably won’t then, either. I’ll be 35 in a couple of weeks and it hasn’t slowed me down. If anything, I think hitting 30 liberates us vintage seamstresses to wear whatever we darned well please because we’re no longer in our twenties and the pressure to be trendy is reduced. An unexpected benefit to becoming older and less the focus of popular culture is that . . . you’re less the focus of popular culture, which means people pay less attention to what we wear.

Plus, many of us are a lot more confident and self-assured than we were in our twenties, and that makes anything look better. I can rock stuff now that I could never have pulled off in my teens because I didn’t have the guts back then.

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Sara June 18, 2012 at 10:59

Love! Going to start making one this week using some Hawaiian fabric and cant wait. Thanks for the inspiration.

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Annabelle June 18, 2012 at 11:05

Oh, I can’t wait for more photos of the play suit – it looks positiviely lovely and I think it would be fun to wear. I love the idea of a playsuit or two, I just haven’t come across an affordable pattern yes (must keep searching!)

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Casey June 19, 2012 at 07:24

Have you checked out Lauren’s patterns at Wearing History? She has the Sailor Girl Playsuit and Sunkissed Sweetheart sarong set patterns–both of which are darling options for the playsuit look (and a good price for the quality of work Lauren puts into reproducing and updating these designs!). Another option is Decades of Style Boardwalk Duet pattern too. :)

♥ Casey

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Mrs Amber Apple June 18, 2012 at 11:40

It’s lovely!! Thanks for the pattern ideas :)

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oonaballoona June 18, 2012 at 11:46

playsuits YAY, especially yours. though my knockoff will prolly have a covered waist :)

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Casey June 19, 2012 at 07:25

You would not believe how much my midriff is covered when I wear the top and skirt! Honestly, the dressform is deceiving–there is much less tum showing. ;) lol. It’s more like a sliver than a large expanse. :D rofl.

♥ Casey

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Tasha June 18, 2012 at 12:31

Ooh I LOVE the looks of it! See, the tropical was perfect for it!

I adore the idea of playsuits in theory, but have yet to buy or make one of my own. I’m not quite sure why as I love the matchy matchy of them, and they just scream for novelty prints which I also quite love. Maybe it’s that I don’t feel I have anywhere to wear them. But even if it’s just in my yard I suppose that’s good enough! lol

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Casey June 19, 2012 at 07:26

I vote that you need to make one–even just to wear on the weekends at home!!! :D Honestly, I can’t see a ton of places I’ll wear this one as a whole either; maybe a few trips to the touristy part of the beach (always fun to see the reactions of the tourists. haha.), or at home. I’ll probably break it up more often than not. ;)

♥ Casey

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Missy June 18, 2012 at 13:02

I LOVE playsuits! I recently bought this pattern ! I am currently pregnant, so I will have to wait till next Summer to sew it. I especially love the 3 piece numbers ;)

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Murielle June 18, 2012 at 18:35

That is so adorable!

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Casey June 19, 2012 at 07:27

That pattern!!!! *drool* So movie starlet! Love it! :D

♥ Casey

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Dawn June 18, 2012 at 13:06

Such a cute outfit! And I love the different combinations.

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Laura D June 18, 2012 at 13:30

I’ve just finished with four of them…. well child versions, anyway. Haven’t blogged about them yet, though!

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Denise June 18, 2012 at 17:31

I love them. Your one-shoulder version is cute. Love the fabric.

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Sam June 18, 2012 at 17:46

I love it!!! Well done Casey! The fabric is perfect and the buttons work perfectly. I love the idea of a playsuit but have never worn or made one myself. This will definitely be on my must sew list when our Southern Hemisphere spring arrives. Sam xox

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Sarah June 18, 2012 at 18:24

I like them, but could I pull them off? Probably not! I think it takes the attitude versus how well you look in it. With the right attitude you could pull anything off, as my mom says. I can’t wait to see you model it. It looks fantastic!

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Casey June 19, 2012 at 07:29

Great point about the attitude aspect of these sort of vintage styles! I know on days I’m not feeling entirely confident with rocking a very vintage look, I usually opt for something more subtly vintage. This is definitely for those days I feel the opposite! hehe!

♥ Casey

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Murielle June 18, 2012 at 18:31

Absolutely, yay!

I love the Simplicity 3380, the Hollywood 1135, and the Butterick 3756.

(If it were me, I’d be looking for a pattern and fabric that would work with the other two so I’d mulitply my play suites by … wait, have to do the math … LOTS! ;-) )

Can’t wait to see what you create!

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Jana B. June 18, 2012 at 18:47

How cute! I would definitely say YAY to play suits. I made one for myself last year and love it. I like the top on yours. Very cute! :)

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StephC June 18, 2012 at 20:56

This looks gorgeous, can’t wait to see what you do and how you style it. :)

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Alli June 18, 2012 at 21:28

I agree with Karen. When I was in my 20s and still had a flat stomach…… definitely. But now, with my 38th birthday in 2wks time, and 2 children later…..um mm….no, lol. I think on the right person they look really cute, especially with shoes like the red ones in the last shot. It’d definitely look cute on you Casey :)

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Casey June 19, 2012 at 07:29

Aw darn, Alli! You had to mention red shoes, didn’t you? ;) lol. Now I’ve been looking for some since I don’t have any in my summer shoe stash! :p

♥ Casey

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Alli June 19, 2012 at 18:02

Lol! They are too cute aren’t they hedged :)

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Alli June 19, 2012 at 18:04

That was meant to be heehee (not hedged). My iPad keeps changing my spelling! :)

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Solveig June 19, 2012 at 02:14

That looks perfect, can’t wait to see you in it!
I love the way playsuits look but maybe not so much how I look in them. Seems like I’m not the only one who feels that way from the other comments! :) It’s rearly warm enough here for it anyway, but I have a couple that I’ll wear this summer on vacation. They are just too cute so I say screw those extra kilos, I can rock it.

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Casey June 19, 2012 at 07:30

That’s the attitude! :)

♥ Casey

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Jessica June 19, 2012 at 03:45

The summer of playsuits, what’s not to absolutely adore about that idea?! Not a thing, I tell you, not a single thing, and I shall definitely enjoy this season all the more now knowing that you’re dedicating it to such a terrific vintage garment.

♥ Jessica

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Thea June 19, 2012 at 07:08

Definately NAY! when your are past 20. But I think the one you made is more mature and much more like a dress..

But when that is said, I am planning one for my self for gardenwork :D I need something simple to wear when it is really hot and skirt is not really an option and made in the right fabric, they can be fine for that, I tink. Even though I am past 20 ;)

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Caitlin Rose June 19, 2012 at 08:00

playsuits are awesome, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! the second last one you’ve posted looks so spanish or something? I’ve been obsessed with spanish looking things these days, haha. I’m now on a hunt for one like it, thanks for the inspiration!

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sarah June 19, 2012 at 09:13

I love playsuits!! definitely a yay from me!!

Yours is fab by the way, the print and style make it look really cute!!

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Bex June 19, 2012 at 20:07

That outfit is killer, and i’m so jealous of the fabric!

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Angie June 20, 2012 at 07:49

What a gorgeous creation- well done you! I recently posted about playsuits too as as some of your readers point out, a bit more ‘daring’ than other vintagey ensembles. It’s a bit like wearing Victory Rolls; once you’ve done it once you’re confident to do it again & again! Playsuits are re-appearing on the high street too so we don’t look too odd (I hope!) You’ve braver than me as yours reveals midriff- I’ve had 3 kids so won’t be showing that bit- I have a delicious halterneck one though. http://redressingblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/fab-frock-friday.html

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Michelle Marie June 20, 2012 at 11:19

They are practical, sexy, and so stylish. I’m a YES all the way. Plus, let me tell you, I’m over the moon about the one you’ve crafted. Its so gorgeous!! Here’s to a easy, cool, glorious summer!! (I think all that playsuit needs now is a pina colada ;)

xo
Michelle

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Jennifer June 20, 2012 at 11:40

I love playsuits! I made the Wearing History Sunkissed Sweetheart set last year and I love it! I currently have the Sailor Playsuit in the works.

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Emma June 20, 2012 at 14:10

I loveee this! I adore play suits. They are such fun to wear. I can’t wait to see you in it :)

xo,
Em

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chibiwow June 21, 2012 at 02:01

Thats so fab! Love the fabric prints it adds a complete chic look on it. Got my eye on your blog now.

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Maslinda July 4, 2012 at 03:16

I adore playsuits and the way they travel us back at past years…I would love to try them on me but I think I have to be very carefull with what I would combined them with…
Lovely job!!!

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Justine July 4, 2012 at 17:08

I made a 40′s playsuit recently from some vintage madra and I just love it! It’s quite modest too.

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