1960s | Lingerie | Vintage Sewing

1960’s Babydoll Nightie

By on May 2, 2013

This week I have been working on a gift for my friend’s lingerie party: a 1960’s babydoll style nightgown!  Because what girl doesn’t need one of these in her lingerie chest??? 😉  (I know I do–might be making on for myself next!)

You might notice some pulling on the yoke–I need to give it a final press still, which hopefully will eliminate most of that.  I also still need to hem it.  I really LOVE how it has turned out so far, though!

You can read more about this project and see more detailed pics at my new blog, The Vintage Home Sewist!


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Vintage Sewing

1940’s Blouse By Hand :)

By on April 21, 2013


I have hesitated to sew any garments for myself thus far, as I just wasn’t sure what my body would do after giving birth to my little stinker. 😉  I think I’ve kinda regulated, though, and I desperately need some good warm weather, nursing friendly shirts.  So I bought this lovely cotton from fabric.com, grabbed this classic button-up shirt pattern fro my stash, and dug in!
My sewing machine is still down, so I decided to just stitch this up by hand.  I got a lot done this afternoon!
The pattern: Simplicity 4405 from 1942, version 2 (short sleeved).
Here are some pics of the construction thus far. 🙂

The day’s accomplishments:
Collar finished (but not attached yet), shoulder seams finished, facing hem pressed and stitched.


To see more pics and details, check out my blog! 🙂

Have a lovely day,



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Vintage Quilting

By on December 12, 2012

I have not been super sewing-active the past few months, mostly because I have been very tired and pregnant! However there is one project that I’ve been working on which I thought appropriate to share here with you. 🙂 It is a nursery rhyme quilt for our new addition (who is due any time now!). Today I pieced together the quilt top!

The vintage embroidery patterns are available as a free download from patternbee.com. You probably already know this, but they have a bunch of adorable free vintage embroidery patterns for download. 🙂

All of the fabric used in this quilt was either thrifted or auctioned–I don’t think I spent more than $3 on the supplies.  Gotta love that, especially when you are broke like I am!  The embroidered squares are cut from an old cotton bed sheet.

You can see more pictures at my blog!


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1940s | Dresses

My First Maternity Dress

By on June 30, 2012

Yesterday I began work on my maternity dress!

The pattern is Hollywood 1366, from 1944.

As you all know, after cutting and marking your pattern, the first order of business is to take care of all darts.

I like to tie off my threads at the tip, clipping the excess threads to a little less that 1/4″.

For darts that are going to get a lot of lovin’, such as the bust darts, I stitch a line of reinforcement stitches about 1/16″ away from the dart line and tie off the same.  The reinforcement does not need to stretch the length of the dart–only the last inch or so.


This dress has side front panels that are rather triangle-shaped (they look like a vest here) and a front  panel that is straight and attached to the inner seams of the side fronts.  That sounds confusing, but it will make sense in a minute. 😀

I made darts in the bodice side fronts and back.  The bodice front didn’t need any work done to it prior to joining.

Next I had to put together the waistline belt ties!  I decided to cut these on the bias to contrast with the rest of the dress, which is cut on the grain.  I personally like the belt/tie to stick out a little. 🙂

BTW, isn’t this great fabric?  I love it!  Bought it at a thrift store the other day.  Six yards for $3!  Oh yeah.

Once I turned the ties, I topstitched 1/8″ around the outer edges to lend some solidarity, especially since they are cut on the bias and will be prone to stretch a bit.

Next I basted the ties onto the bodice front (forgot to take a picture of that one, sorry!) and then joined the bodice front to the bodice sides.  This is how the belt will be tied–it wraps around the back and then comes around to tie in the front.  Well, until you get more pregnant, that is!  As your belly grows larger, you will simply tie the belt in the back.

Here is a side view.  See how the front panel goes straight down and the sides are tucked underneath?  Snaps will hold this in place.  There will be several snaps on the bodice side panel for adjustments as your belly grows.

Here’s what it looks like all the way out!

So I did make one foolish blunder.  Well, two.  First of all, I got overzealous and forgot to plan out what sort of seam finishing I was going to do.  I joined the front to the sides and was about to stitch the back to the front at the shoulder seams when it occurred to me that I was going to have to finish the front seams first (duh!).  This fabric is loosely woven, so it definitely needed some good finishing.

 I decided to turn under my seam edges and hand stitch, like so.  I have completely forgotten what this particular finish is called (forgive me), but I love the way it looks.

Which brings me to my second blunder.  I made inverted notches when cutting out the pattern.  Not a good idea on loosely woven fabrics!  I had to do some major stitching-down at every spot where there was a notch.  Just hoping that it holds up.  Oh Bessie.

 Here is the end result!

Looks pretty nice!  Today, if I have time, I am going to finish finishing front seams and hopefully attach the bodice back to the bodice front.  I may do french seams in the skirt, just to save time.  Plus, french seams are pretty darn sturdy. 🙂

So what kinds of techniques do you like to use when making darts?  How about seam finishes?  Do you have a go-to favorite?

 Have a great weekend!


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1940s | Swimwear / Sunwear

1940’s Swim Suit Project

By on June 4, 2012

Hello Sew Retro-ers,

It has been waaaay too long since I last posted on Sew Retro.  In fact, last time I posted it was at the old site!

I began working on this swim suit about two months ago.  It is currently at a standstill, because shortly after I started the project I found out that I was expecting and started feeling rather exhausted and queasy (woo-hoo!).  However I am excited to pick this back up now that I am feeling better.

The sewing pattern is Simplicity 1612, which dates back to the mid-1940’s.

I actually have everything together now.  The only thing left to do is finish hand-sewing the eyelets into the side tabs of the front and back bottoms.  I love hand working eyelets and buttonholes, but boy, it sure does take awhile!  So far I have one tab done.  That leaves 27 more eyelets to stitch.

When I began this project, I had no idea that I was pregnant.  I think I might still be able to swing this, though, as the bottom front is extremely ruched and is accented by a band of elastic cased in the middle.  This might work with my smallish baby bump this summer.  It just might.

The suit was really easy to put together.  I love the criss-crossed back straps.  Oh yeah, I still need to put some buttons on the top…

You can see some more pictures at my blog. 🙂


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