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1930's summer ensemble (halter, turban and trousers)!

Added Feb 11, 2012

by olystyrene

Sydney, Australia






This is a little project I’ve wanted to write about for some time now. It all started when I came upon a small piece of vibrantly printed red floral cotton. I knew it would come in handy for something, and a short time later, it became apparent why… I found a 1930’s beach outfit pattern online but it was waaay over budget at the time, so I decided to try my hand at drafting the lovely halter top myself. Well, I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that it was a devilishly simple process. The halter top is lined with a plain red cotton for a bit of contrast. I added a hook and eye closure at the back and decorated it with a giant blue button (alas, the only one I had!). I also inserted a bit of boobie support so this baby could be worn sans brassier.

From the leftover fabric pieces I made a ready-to-go summer turban; another bit of fun self drafting work from around the same time. I worked out an easy pattern by draping a few pieces over my own cranium and pinning and gathering etc.

And finally, we come to the navy trousers. I made these using a very simple late 1930’s/ 1940’s pattern. They were exactly what I had been saving a particularly great length of lightweight navy fabric for! These have classic 30’s/40’s features – the wide leg, the low crotch, the high waist. They’re fabulous in every way! I made the waistband wider than the pattern called for, just for a bit of variety (and also because I’m a little obsessed with wide waistbands at the moment, just quietly!). These trousers go with virtually everything and I’ve already found myself wearing them a tad too often…

This was definitely a fun sewing project!

Material Notes

second hand and vintage fabric and notions




Summer, Spring
Garment Type
Beach, Casual, Classic, Vintage
Cotton, Blends

34 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • 77-001_large

    Sep 12, 2014, 12.54 PMby KamySole


  • Charlie_in_blue_on_the_wharf_-_closer_large

    Mar 22, 2013, 04.44 AMby PrettyCharlie

    Ooooh, just saw this! I must have faved it before, however, when I was too tired to remember! (ooops). Did you ever manage to find the pattern pieces? I’d LOVE to see them. And where did you find the turban pattern, pls? I love the little sewn opening at the top. It makes it look very polished. Job well done! thanks for posting.

    1 Reply
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      Jul 30, 2013, 12.54 AMby olystyrene

      Hi PrettyCharlie, unfortunately my pattern got water damaged so I’ll have to draft a new pair. Sigh… Anyway, the turban was self drafted as well. Thank you for your comment!

  • Missing

    Mar 17, 2012, 08.43 PMby lcsimpson

    Love this outfit. Particularly like trousers. Do you have pattern details?

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Mar 21, 2012, 01.38 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you! I will dig it out of my stash and let you know!

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    Feb 15, 2012, 08.58 PMby integerclub

    Dooly, you are hilarious! Those photos, man, especially the one with the fruits, I dunno, it’s so awesome! Also, the halter top is most excellent, I’ve been planning to make one and yours has really given me the push…

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 21, 2012, 12.01 AMby olystyrene

      Thanks, Doyceling! Hehehe! You know the halter was surprisingly so easy to draft! I only used 2 pieces for the outer part and then an identical 2 pieces for the lining, which gave the top the right amount of hold. The fabric was really lightweight, so if I’d used only a single layer, it wouldn’t have sat quite right (and there wouldn’t have been the contrast at the collar). Make yours and post post post!

  • Img_7458_large

    Feb 13, 2012, 04.48 PMby leahfranqui

    This is amazing! The colors, the shape, it’s so cute and 30’s, I adore this! I would never have the guts to wear a turban but you look so chic and glamorous, like a movie star. The pants fit you so well, what pattern is this?

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 20, 2012, 11.58 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you! I gave up a while back on feeling embarrassed about going all-out with 30’s and 40’s outfits; especially the turbans! You do it once and you’ll never go back! :)

      I used a late 1930’s/early 40’s pattern for the trousers. I’ll have a look for the pattern number for you.

  • Bs1107_bus_0711_091__large_large

    Feb 13, 2012, 07.48 AMby Itsbeensewlong

    Totally gorgeous and you suit vintage sew well :) Lou

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 20, 2012, 11.56 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you, Lou!

  • Me_pecks_large

    Feb 13, 2012, 02.17 AMby nessys

    Oh Darl! This outfit/project is THE BOMB! You are so cute and sexy in it! I love the blue button! But I adore the red print/navy combo (yes – always a sucker for that).

    You did a fab job of drafting the halter (boobie support included – not an easy thing!) and the turban and don’t you worry about wearing those pants too much – they are stunning! You need to wear them often!

    WHIT WOO! xxxx

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 20, 2012, 11.55 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you thank you, Nessy, for your comments! I wear those pants nearly every day now… Am a little obsessed, I admit. And you just cannot go wrong with red+navy. It’s just not possible!!!

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    Feb 13, 2012, 12.13 AMby mollykatherine

    I simply adore this! The top, scarf, pants, pictures – everything!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 20, 2012, 11.54 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you, mollykatherine! It was certainly a satisfying project from head to toe (literally! hehe) :)

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    Feb 12, 2012, 10.01 PMby jasminčica

    seeing this project,I really got the feeling that I moved to 30-te,…wonderful :)))))

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 10.55 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you!! When I wear this outfit, I certainly do feel like I went back in time. Now all we need is for everyone else to start dressing the same.. mwahaha!

  • Sewing_machine_large

    Feb 12, 2012, 02.19 PMby bjr99

    Fantastic project.! You really captured the look. I expect to see Ginger Rogers with Fred. Love the fabric too.

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 10.54 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you! It may indeed be high time to choreograph a fitting dance routine a la Ginger and Fred. Oh how those trousers do swish!

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    Feb 12, 2012, 12.49 PMby pampula

    Simply fantastic!!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 10.52 PMby olystyrene

      Thanks, pampula!

  • Ooobop_thatched_house_large

    Feb 12, 2012, 09.37 AMby janene

    What a wonderful start to my day, seeing this! I love the whole ensemble. Sooo impressed that you self drafted the turban and the top. You look fabulous!

    1 Reply
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      Feb 12, 2012, 10.51 PMby olystyrene

      Thank you, janene. I was surprised to find that conceptually, both were relatively easy to draft. They’re each comprised of only 2 pieces!

  • Missing

    Feb 12, 2012, 08.35 AMby anneecharri


    1 Reply
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    Feb 12, 2012, 07.30 AMby Ralf Schmitz

    WOW !!! what a project! i love the used material, the fit, the styling, your creativity. i love everything! this is so so pretty and lovely and great and stylish! BRAVO!!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 10.49 PMby olystyrene

      What a compliment! Thank you! :)

  • 100_1411_2__large

    Feb 12, 2012, 06.01 AMby pambox

    These are so fantastic. I particularly love the collar on the halter top.

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 10.48 PMby olystyrene

      Why, thank you!

  • Applehead_large

    Feb 12, 2012, 05.31 AMby JuliaBobbin


    Please accept this comment as a wedding proposal.

    I’m in love!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 10.47 PMby olystyrene

      Done aaand done!

  • 88a87728fbd0beae2dd8ccfbd88df2de_5291067_large

    Feb 12, 2012, 04.31 AMby Natalie Michelle Watson

    I am in love!!

    1 Reply
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    Feb 12, 2012, 04.15 AMby LadyDanburry

    Wonderful. Those trousers make your waist look tiny! Almost like a cartoon. Just beautiful.

    1 Reply
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      Feb 12, 2012, 10.47 PMby olystyrene

      Hahaha! I do know what you mean though – it’s the combination of a very high waist on the trousers, with very wide legs, and a bright coloured almost-midriff top, I think. Thank you!

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    Feb 12, 2012, 12.14 AMby aluckmann

    Every time you post a new project I am reminded why I miss you so much when you are away! This project is perfection, and the pictures are so sassy and fun.

    1 Reply
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      Feb 12, 2012, 01.12 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you so much! I’m truly blushing right now!!!

  • Sam_0020_large

    Feb 11, 2012, 11.56 PMby wardrobe-cat

    I ADORE THIS! I love this look. You look fantastic, and the colour combination is perfect. I want those pants! It’s my fave style, and much more flattering than a lot of others. Well done ;)

    4 Replies
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 01.13 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you! It’s great to be able to share these sorts of projects with people who genuinely apreciate the styles!!

    • Sam_0020_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 07.19 AMby wardrobe-cat

      No problem ;)

      You look fantastic. I will get my patterns out when I have time to make them. I have planned to do something similar to what you’ve done. So it’s nice to see the look on an actual person. More of an idea how mine will look.

    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 11.12 PMby olystyrene

      Good luck! I’d love to see the finished outfit!

    • Sam_0020_large

      Feb 13, 2012, 10.21 AMby wardrobe-cat

      When I’ve got a minute….

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    Feb 11, 2012, 11.50 PMby Swirlz1

    This is fantastic… you did an awesome job!!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 01.13 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you so very much!

  • The_mermaid_large

    Feb 11, 2012, 11.34 PMby blueartisan

    That is one very awesome outfit! Great job!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 01.13 AMby olystyrene

      Thaaank you!

  • F6a2f09ad32e775a5dd7b401ba14f561b6940eaa_large

    Feb 11, 2012, 11.28 PMby carmenhf

    Very cute. Love the shape of the pants and the whole look!

    1 Reply
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      Feb 12, 2012, 01.14 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you! I too love the shape of those trousers, and the more I now wear them, the more I wonder WHY I hadn’t made them sooner! :)

  • Enlarged_hilarity-copy_edited_large

    Feb 11, 2012, 10.58 PMby Testosterone

    What an ensemble!!!!!

    Most impressive!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 01.14 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you muchly!

  • Bub_large

    Feb 11, 2012, 08.52 PMby baka-pepica

    wow thats very sexy :) i like it :)

    1 Reply
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      Feb 12, 2012, 01.15 AMby olystyrene

      Thank you ;p

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    Feb 11, 2012, 08.46 PMby Debby H

    Perfect – Well done

    1 Reply
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    Feb 11, 2012, 06.47 PMby sewingfan1

    That’s such a cool outfit!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 01.17 AMby olystyrene

      In the true sense of the word ;-) The pants are so lightweight, they’re just perfect for hot summer days – and the cottony backless top means miss is free to feel hot but not too stuffy!

  • Just_debbie_large

    Feb 11, 2012, 06.13 PMby Deborah Zimmerman

    Perfection; Halter, turban, pants, and especially the spirited model!

    1 Reply
    • 3044175_l_large

      Feb 12, 2012, 01.17 AMby olystyrene

      Hahaha! Thank you, that’s very kind!

  • Befunky_img_20130826_083902_large

    Feb 11, 2012, 05.58 PMby BlancheOfArts

    Uuu, I like the whole outfit, especially those pants! :)

    1 Reply
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      Feb 12, 2012, 01.18 AMby olystyrene

      Thanks, BlancheOfArts. One of the best things about those trousers is how freely you can move around in them – very underrated, especially in this era of tight jeans…

  • 487_large

    Feb 11, 2012, 04.36 PMby jadealamode


    1 Reply
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