Vintage Sewing

A Walk-Away Give-Away

By on May 18, 2010
I’ve received some great things from my fellow vintage sewing bloggers in the last couple of years and it’s time to pay it forward with my first ever giveaway. I have four patterns to give away, and all of them are variations on the Butterick Walkaway Dress. Entries close at noon on Friday. To enter, come on over to my blog, Chronically Uncool.

Here are the patterns:

Pattern sizes and entry details are posted at Chronically Uncool!

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Vogue 8956: Recommended for twirling!

By on May 10, 2010

This is Vogue 8956, from 1956. It is my new go-to dress for dancing at wedding receptions! It’s comfy and very twirly! Making it was a little tedious, but totally worth it. (All those released pleats! Ack!)

This dress included many firsts for me: Underlining, horsehair braid hem, contour belt, and more.

I should have used one of the crisp fabrics recommended on the pattern envelope so I wouldn’t need to underline, but I wanted to use the five yards of loosely woven silk pique my husband gave me for Valentine’s Day. I had a major disaster trying to fuse the edges of my underlining to my dress fabric with the wrong fusible product. It was very bad, requiring me to recut pieces and rush order extra fabric. Thank goodness it all worked out in time for the wedding! Details at Chronically Uncool

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1960s | Dresses

Easter Dress! McCall’s 5898 in Yellow Linen

By on April 12, 2010
I finished McCall’s 5898 in time to wear it for Easter! I have had the fabric (yellow linen/rayon blend with embroidered flowers in orange, brown and green, from JoAnn Fabrics) in my stash for more than a year. It felt great to finally get it done! Here it is, with the kind of wrinkles you get in linen after a crazy day of baby wrangling:
McCall's 5898, with wrinkles! McCall's 5898
The pattern is from 1961. The illustration shows that lovely bouffant shaped skirt, but I believe that shape requires the imagination of the pattern illustrator and/or a specially made fluffer with extra fluff at the hipline. I wore my regular two-layer net fluffer, which has more of a conical shape. I generally have plenty of my own fluff around my hips, but in this case it wasn’t enough to get the skirt shape shown on the pattern envelope. Also, note that this pattern is not specifically designed for a bordered fabric. The bottom edge of the skirt is curved. I went ahead with my bordered fabric because it was a loose floral with an uneven top edge. The thickness of the border on my skirt varies a little because of the curved hem, but it’s not noticable with the fullness of the skirt and the looseness of the border design. This pattern would not work with a boldly striped border print, but it’s fine for this fabric. Details posted here.

I am obsessed with border prints. Speaking of which, I realized I never posted this one:

I found this fantastic fabric obviously inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Coonley Playhouse window design at my local Hancock Fabrics. I have read that Frank actually designed a few dresses, but I couldn’t find any pictures or sketches. If you’ve ever seen one of Frank’s dress designs, please let me know! I used a very simple pattern from the 1980’s: Butterick/See & Sew 3887. This pattern is super simple and ideal for a 45″ wide border print. Details here.

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50% Retro

By on October 22, 2009
This dress is a frankenstein project. It’s half retro and half….um, classic? The bodice is the “Vintage Vogue” reprint, Vogue 2960. It’s the same pattern I used for my Cloud Dress. I slapped it onto an eight-gore flared skirt (recently OOP Vogue 7910) to make something with plenty of twirl that didn’t require The Fluffer. I made it for an outdoor wedding at the beginning of October.

The biggest lesson from this project was that it’s not too difficult to neatly attach a bodice with front and back darts and CB and CF seams to an eight gore skirt. All my darts and seams matched perfectly at the waist without much hassle! I will definitely be thinking about frankenstein-ing more fantastic retro bodices to wearable modernish skirts. I love the full skirts and the fluffer, but it’s a bit much for work most days.

More details on my blog, Chronically Uncool.

Pardon the lack of ironing and the lumpiness (and the obvious dangling bra strap) – it’s been a real challenge to keep up with sewing, photographing and blogging my projects with a 5-month old baby in the house. If I waited until everything was perfect I’d never get anything posted!

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Vintage Sewing

Vintage Sewing Patterns Wiki Update

By on May 14, 2009

Have you checked out the Vintage Sewing Patterns Wiki lately? More than 17,000 patterns have been submitted! Many contributors and editors have helped to tidy up the category tags, so it’s even easier to find patterns with your favorite features. It’s awesome! I could spend days hitting the Random Page button!

The recent post about requesting specific patterns to be reproduced as Vintage Vogue patterns reminded me to go check out the “Wishlist” category on the wiki. I think that the Wishlist would be an easy grassroots way for us to tell the modern pattern companies what we, their loyal and vintage pattern obsessed customers, are craving. Of course, calling or emailing them individually works too.

More than 200 patterns are on the wishlist. However, only a handful of people have tagged patterns for their wishlist, so the list is currently heavily skewed toward mod 1960’s Vogue designer patterns, like Vogue 1418. (Nice, but not my thing. How about you?) The pattern with the most wishes (four as of right now) is Butterick 6737, which is a 1950’s dress style more in line with the patterns that have made it into recent reproduction.

If you have some time, you might want to cruise through a few patterns and tag them for the wishlist. It’s another way to let the pattern companies know what we like and what we want to see on the market!

Also, don’t forget that you can add your pictures of completed projects to a pattern’s page, and then tag it for the gallery! I know that more than four people have made the Walk-Away Dress – where are your pictures?

On a more personal note, I start maternity leave next week (due date is tomorrow, no baby yet!) and I hope to get some retro projects going while I’m home – especially Simplicity 8125! Updates will be posted here and at my blog, Chronically Uncool.

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Vintage Sewing

Vintage patterns/modifications for breastfeeding?

By on April 10, 2009

Does anyone know what women of the 1950’s and early 1960’s did to facilitate breastfeeding while wearing fabulous dresses? Surely some women must have done it. Have you ever seen any patterns or old magazines that offer tips on modifying the dresses of the era for nursing access? Care to share with a mom-to-be?

I’ll be home for maternity leave all summer (due May 15!), and I intend to spend my days wearing swishy retro sundresses, pushing the stroller, and having picnics in the park. I can’t wear my Fluffy Cloud Dress every day, so I’m trying to find other vintage/retro patterns that I can modify for nursing. I think that free pattern from the Victoria & Albert Museum (pictured a few posts earlier) might work as a nursing dress by making the upper bodice piece an overlay that can be lifted up for nursing. Otherwise, I guess I’ll be making dresses with front buttons and hiding my hungry baby under a blanket.

And tips or suggestions for patterns that might work?

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