30s Style Vintage Scarf Top with Bias Cut and Vintage Button Trim

By on February 7, 2017
bias cut vintage scarf top

I was thrilled to be contacted by Dressmaker magazine as they wanted to include my scarf top in their January edition in an article about Second Hand Sews.  I was influenced by 1930s scarf clothing when I designed this top and worked out how to cut a scarf (see below) and then stitch it up into a bias top.

cutting diagram for bias top

I have now uploaded a pdf worksheet on my blog with instructions and photos showing how to make the top if you would like to download it.  The link to my own blog is here

Happy sewing everyone!

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Retro Upcycled Dottie Angel Frock Using Vintage Laura Ashley Textiles

By on October 11, 2016
Dottie Angel Frock by Karen Vallerius

Dottie Angel Frock by Karen Vallerius

I used to wear pinafore frocks like these back in the day, so when I saw this Dottie Angel frock all over Pinterest I decided I had to try the pattern out (Simplicity 1080).  I adapted the pattern by using a vintage 80s Laura Ashley floral button through skirt as the main body of the frock.  The hemline contrast section was an earlier 70s Laura Ashley cotton and the pockets were cut from a 90s 00s LA blouse.  Following photos show the textiles more closely.

Will definitely be trying this in the “dress” style too.  I love vintage florals from the 70s and 80s by Liberty of London, Laura Ashley & Marion Donaldson and plan to make many more “pieced” garments using treasured textiles from my stash.  Please visit my blog if you would like to read more


Dottie Angel Frock by Karen Vallerius

Dottie Angel Frock by Karen Vallerius

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1950s | Vintage Sewing

Upcycled Vintage 50s Border Print Dress

By on August 23, 2015

Karen Vallerius 50s dress

I had been saving this sheet for a project for a while (well, a couple of years!) and since I got a lovely new sewing machine last month, decided to turn it into the 50s inspired border print frock that poor old sheet had been dreaming about all that time!!  I drafted a simple pattern with the help of some vintage “And so to Sew” booklets produced by the National Dressmaking Service in Glasgow in the 50s – no guessing that the skirt was simply the width of the border print fabric cut to length.  I also got to use some pretty vintage buttons which my Dad found for me (yes, he is a fully trained Buttoneer!)  More on my blog.

Karen Vallerius 50s dress (7)

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Vintage 40s Style Halter Tops

By on March 13, 2015

40s Vogue halter topsI have recently been doing LOTS of sewing for a charity store where I volunteer as a seamstress & these two upcycled vintage scarf halter tops were made using instructions in an original 1940s Smart Accessories booklet in the Vogue Knit series of publications. The black halter top was made from a plain vintage silk scarf & I added a 1950s brooch (I stitched a small section of lingerie foam onto the backof the V neck to support it); the Rome halter top is made from a vintage acetate souvenir scarf with satin ribbons stitched to waistline & neckline.  In fact, I have been sewing so many upcycled scarf projects lately that I realise I absolutely MUST buy an overlocker before too long as it is so difficult neatening the edges of silky scarves … I am going to the Sewing for Pleasure show at the NEC in Birmingham next weekend & will be checking out the various brands xx  More of my vintage sewing projects on my blog here 

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1940s | Accessories

Sew 40s Ruffled Scarf Dickie reworked from Vintage Paisley Satin Foulard

By on December 15, 2012

What to do with a vintage St Michael satin foulard in a divine paisley in rich tones of turquoise, taupe and lapis which sadly has several areas of perfume staining to the centre?  Plus, could I turn it into a longer style scarf as I must admit I don’t tend to wear square scarves these days?  I loved the colours and textile of this scarf, and fancied trying to make a ruffled scarf, so yesterday evening out came the scissors, the rule and some narrow elastic.  I wanted to make a 40s inspired ruffled scarf (a bit in the manner of the ruffled dickies of the time) to wear with my latest purchase of a fab vintage style faux fur jacket.  This was a very speedy sewing project and really pleased with how it turned out.  Looking forward to wearing it later today!  Please visit me at my blog for instructions on how to make this.

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1950s | Vintage Sewing

Sew 50s – South Pacific halter from rescued Hawaiian shirt

By on August 26, 2012

Never able to resist buying an “interesting” piece of textile – no matter that in this case it was in the form of a Hawaiian shirt with more than a few rips and tatters – this palm tree beach print had always suggested a South Pacific inspired outfit.  I had bought this lovely vintage 50s halter top pattern – Butterick 6136 – a while back and realised it would be just right for this project.

The pattern needed some long bias strips to face the edges but there wasn’t enough textile to complete this.  My solution was to make the halter completely reversible and use an old denim shirt I had kept since the 90s for the reverse.

The halter fastens with buttons on the back and to solve the problem of button fastenings on both sides, I used a tip from one of my vintage 1940s needlecraft books.  This 40s tome suggested working a set of buttonholes down both edges of a garment and then stitching the buttons onto a length of ribbon so that the buttons would fasten through both sets of buttonholes and could simply be moved to the other side.  The original suggestion was to enable buttons to be removed easily before laundry back in those days when everything was so scarce.

Hope you are all enjoying your bank holiday weekend. Bye for now. Karen x



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