Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Thelma Todd Forever...Sewing the Thelma Frock
   Thelma Todd has to be my favourite lady of acting, comedy and especially fashion, aside from Lilyan Tashman. Period. That's pretty damn high up there too, because there's no one exceeds Tashman to me or even gets close (but that's for another day). I spend a lot of time studying what Thelma wears (sorry, wore). She is constantly in my thoughts and with my husband, who is a clever lawyer and has a degree in psychology, we are working together to solve her murder (which was murder, but yet again that is for another day).
    Because we are so much alike with our height and chubby faces and weight (well, ok...8 more pounds and I'll be back to her size) and style, I like emulate her and especially in her style. That's what we do when we have fashion icons, isn't it!
   Anyhow, I'm not sure if I ever mentioned it but I always name my designs. Everyone at the fashion shows thought it was hilarious but it's just what I do. I've had the Todd dress, Thelma Todd frock and the T.T. frock and now I'm sewing my Thelma frock. Even though this one is not my design I've decided to call it so anyhow for the dotted swiss I'm using was going to be for my original Thelma frock design. This photo was my inspiration but seeing as I'm short on time lately and I'm taking the Vintage Pattern Pledge I decided to use the fabric on a pattern which is similar to this number she's got on.
    Just look at her style. She was quite the happy and unassuming type of person and it showed in her face, her stance and in her fashion. 

So here begins the top half of the frock in the narrow hemmer foot for the ties, normally would see me doing narrow hems by hand, but again, time is of the essence. I just love the colors on the white background. That is a navy, not black, so it'll go with a striking navy blue hat I have.
  Here is also your first glimpse at my Khafra (Singer treadle with sphinx decals), he is my youngest one, manufactured 1923 but he is still a brilliant worker indeed. I would be a lost soul without my treadle and handcrank, they're such capital friends!
   So, to the pattern. It is just a Simplicity pattern from 1934 and it has been one of  my go to's because of it's swiftness in construction and it has that quintessential 1930's look. I was going to leave out the ties at the front just as it is plain in Thelma's photograph but I quite like the ties too much. 
     This dress will be ideal for the summer because of the lightness of fabric and drape of the dress. I used to never use cotton fabrics except organdy, swiss, voile etc., (it had to be fancy or I wouldn't use it) but ever since I started following Rochelle at I've really grown to love cottons. Especially quilting cottons. There are so many lovely prints and I mustn't forget to mention the 1930s reproduction cottons. I guess my hatred for cotton grew out of detest for all of the fabric shops in Utah only carrying quilting fabric and not a single shop for fashion designers. Joanns is a polyester haven (and I still won't touch that stuff) but Salt Lake City has really grown and there are now a couple of shops with apparel fabrics and such, so everything is ok now. I don't have to keep buying my fabric in the UK and filling my luggage full of the stuff and I  must admit, I really do like Hancock's.
  This fabric I'm using for the Thelma is 100% cotton swiss.   I think it shall be complete within the week. You'll see it soon, anyhow. 
    "The two most important guides to one's personality are one's appearance and one's manner of speech. Centuries of experience have shown that by mean of these one may almost without exception get at least a general idea of the sort of person that lies back of them."

                          Lillian Eichler


  1. You have really peaked my interest! Im embarassed to say but I have no idea who Thelma Todd is. Now I must do my research. She seems to have a similar body type to myself as well, nice to see a 1930s lady who isnt a twig. I particularly love those beach pajamas on her. Im sure the dress will be amazing

    retro rover

    1. Oh Thelma was wonderful! She did a lot of films on her own but she's mostly remembered for her comedic partnership with zasu Pitts, whom I also truly adore. Yes, she sure wasn't a twig and I really love that about her! Beach pajamas is what she used to put on in between scenes! Thanks for the comment!