vintage may: inspired by rosie the riveter

we’re back with week 2 of vintage may!  last week, Jess and i launched this year’s festivities with a joint photoshoot with our little gals, and today, we both decided it’d be fun to sew vintage-inspired looks for ourselves!

i decided to sew a look inspired by the female propaganda icon of World War II, Rosie the Riveter.

rosie the riveter inspired

Rosie” was the face of a government campaign to bring women to the workforce to take on jobs traditionally done by men while they were away at war – especially in munitions and aviation factories.  it portrayed factory work as patriotic, and Rosie has since been adopted as a symbol of women’s strength and feminism.  i can get behind that!  the expectation was that women would return to their former jobs/lives after the war, but the symbol of Rosie lived on, as women realized they could do work traditionally done by men and they could do it well!

in doing the research for this post i saw that the “we can do it” poster commonly associated with Rosie the Riveter isn’t actually supposed to depict her which is a bit confusing, so hey, let’s talk about the clothes.

 

rosie the riveter inspired

i wanted to make an outfit that nodded to Rosie’s traditional blues, but could be worn as present-day wardrobe staples as well.  i used Grainline Patterns to create both the shirt and the shorts.  it was the first time i’d used Grainline garment patterns (i sewed a Portside Duffle around Christmas) and i’m totally in love with these clothes!  i keep finding excuses to wear them!  i’m now a Grainline groupie!

rosie the riveter inspired

the shirt is the Archer, sewn in a navy swiss dot from Mill End.  i sewed a size 8 straight up and it fits great.  it’s flattering and easy to wear and i love wearing it.  i actually used the Archer sew along on the Grainline website as my instructions – the one thing i noticed with Grainline is the actual pattern instructions are pretty bare bones, but Jen does a great job of posting photo sewalongs on her website that even include Wes Anderson-style videos for the trickier parts.  love that.

rosie the riveter inspired

a button down shirt is the kind of garment where taking your time on the details really pays off and it can be intimidating; but the result is just so great it was worth the time and effort for sure.

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aaaaand since i’m not quite back to my normal shape around the midsection and need to be able to nurse a baby on a moment’s notice, it’s a perfect wardrobe staple for me right now.  i definitely need more Archers in my closet!

rosie the riveter inspired

now the shorts!  they are the Maritime Shorts, also by Grainline, also in an 8 with no modifications.  and again, there is a sewalong, which i used as my instructions and loved (especially since i got stuck on step 1 – be sure to snip into your seam allowance BEFORE you try to match those curves up!).  this was my first time inserting a zip fly and though i have no photos of it finished, it went in great!  like a dream!  new technique mastered.

rosie the riveter inspired

i’ve actually been struggling with finding good shorts most of my adult life – i don’t want to look like a teenager but i don’t want knee-length either, and most of the shorts i go try on are either too short/tight or too long/matronly.  i love how these fit.  maybe i’d add a tiny amount of length next time but they’re not uncomfortably short for me by any means!  i sewed them in a nice chambray (again from Mill End) and they’re super comfy.  ready for summer!

my headscarf is just a 31″ square of red polka dot cotton (similar here).

rosie the riveter inspired

now as badass Rosie, i INSIST you go check out Jess’s creation.  she looks so great in her vintage-inspired wear.  and hey, she took my photos today!  super fun to have a fellow sewing blogger as photographer – too bad she lives so far away and we can’t do it more often!  thank you so much, Jess!

 

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canvas portside duffle

next in the gifting line up, the thing i was most excited to make – a portside duffle!

portside duffle

when Jen of Grainline Studio released her Portside Travel Set pattern a few months ago, i really wanted to get it for a “someday in the future” project (the pattern includes a duffle, dopp kit, and small zippered pouch – awesome value, really, and would make a great wedding/father’s day/graduation gift!).  i exercised restraint and held off on buying the pattern, though – until i drew my brother-in-law’s name for our family gift exchange and i knew it would make a great gift for him.

portside duffle

he’s a tall guy (it’s a huge bag!), he’s a musician (needs to haul stuff around!), and he’s a creative person (appreciates handmade!).  plus i feel like i have a good sense of his taste.  it just seemed like the perfect thing.  when he opened it he seemed to really like it, and didn’t even realize i made it until he saw his initials inside (see below), so it paid off for sure!

portside duffle

i’ve been interested in sewing with heavier materials lately.  i bought a beckel tote for my mother in law for Christmas and the thick canvas and the heavy duty topstitching was fascinating – i bought it at this awesome bazaar in town where i could talk to the woman that sewed it (on an industrial Juki, she said), so this was sort of my chance to put my Bernina 380 to the test and see if i could make something similar in style.

portside duffle

i bought heavy thread, cotton webbing, and a bunch of metal zippers at JoAnn, plus natural and camel colored canvas duck in the outdoor section there.  some of the hardware was harder to find and i had to get it at Mill End.  the bag is lined with yarn dyed essex in leather, which i got as a remnant at Bolt.

portside duffel

my husband said the machine sounded different as i sewed this bag – i honestly don’t think my old machine could have handled the super heavy material!  walking foot, size 16 needle, i pulled out all the tricks to keep it running smoothly.

i quilted the bottom with a layer of batting to help it sit upright if he set it down.

portside duffel

and skipped the dopp kit, but made the little pouch…easy and quick:

portside duffel

i ran into just a couple snags – i think there was a missing pattern mark on the end pieces as to where i should place the straps, and i found the lining a bit too large for the bag, which may have been due to the fact that it’s linen and stretchy versus the decidedly non-stretchy nature of the outer.  not sure, i’d have to make it again to find out.  and my husband has requested one, so it’s on the horizon once he figures out the colors he wants!

portside duffel

pretty fun making such a heavy duty, masculine bag though!  it just feels so LEGIT, you know?  when you finish a project and have that sense of “wow, i actually made that!”, it’s always fun.