1960s | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Pattern Sizing | Vintage Sewing

Purple 1960’s dress

By on February 11, 2014

Hi, I actually made this dress last December and it was my ‘Christmas dress’.  It’s made from a pattern I bought off ebay and the dark purple jersey fabric was bought to make this dress.

This is the pattern.  I made view C but with sleeves from view A.  I did lower the neck a little as it was quite high and I also had to draft a back bodice as it was missing!  I used the back facing and the front bodice and a bodice piece from another pattern to help me draft it.

I needed to make the bottom half of the dress wider to accommodate my big bum 😉  (English pear)  My waist and hips are always 2 dress sizes larger than my bust.

I decided to make the skirt a bit A line so I could take out the split at the back.  This was simple – I just took the hem out about 2″ at each side and drew a line up to the hip on the pattern.

Don’t you think the girl in the centre has fab hair?  If only mine would do that!….

I am in love with invisible zips and have used one on this dress too.  I don’t have a ‘proper’ invisible zip foot so I just use my normal zipper foot and my finger nail to hold the zip in the right position while I sew it.

The rouleau strip really finished this dress and was great at hiding the tiny miss match with my zip and under bust seam.  So now no one knows it’s there – except you!

I decided against lining this dress but do like to have some sort of lining or slip because isn’t it awful when skirts stick to your tights?!  I thought it would be quite groovy to keep the vintage vibe going and make a full length slip.  I can also wear it with other things too.  This is what I made out of black silk which was not easy to sew on my machine….errrr!  Tension issues I think and I hate fiddling with the tension on my machine because it doesn’t seem to like it.  I worked French seams and hand finished a lot of this slip.  It has a placket on the left side seam with poppers.


I drafted the pattern from an Enid Gilchrist book.  I love these books!

I hope you like my dress and underslip.  Thank you for reading.





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1960s | Dresses | Jumpers / Pinafores | Vintage Sewing

1966 Jumper dress

By on January 26, 2014


Hi, this is me in a jumper dress I made recently using Simplicity 6555 from 1966.

I really like the shaping on the front bodice.  I needed to move the bust darts down slightly on my muslin.  Glad I made one!  I only made a bodice muslin and only half of one at that.  But it was enough to check for fit.  The fabric looks a bit shiny thanks to my camera flash.  In real life it isn’t so shiny.


The back is quite simple but I’m pleased with the fit.  I used an invisible zip as I prefer the clean line they give.

This is my copy of the pattern.  The envelope is a little ‘dog eared’ but the pattern itself is OK.

I made a different belt to on the pattern.  I used the instructions on ‘Jennifer Lauren Vintage’ Bow belt tutorial.  I think it finishes off this dress perfectly.  It makes it a bit cute but not too cute!

I’d like to make this dress again but for summer.  I may play around with the bodice pieces as it could be interesting… using stripes maybe?




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Vintage Sewing

1950’s Rockabilly halterneck top

By on August 22, 2013

Hi everyone.

This top is one I made recently using a pattern from ‘Subversive Femme’ on Etsy.  She emails the pattern to you and you print it off and stick it together – easy!

It only uses a yard of fabric and I had this left over from a skirt I made several years ago.  I think the fabric is a vintage one?  I remember buying it at a car boot sale and being very happy with my bargin.

The pattern is to fit 34 – 36″ bust.  I made it as the instructions but then had to gather it a bit more on the top edge due to my lack of bust 😉  I measure 34″ but really small – he he!

Anyway…. the top was easy to put together and I lined it which was also easy.  I stitched the lining and main fabric together around the edges and treated them as one fabric as all the edges of this top are finished with bias binding.  I made my own bias out of the lining fabric.  It wasn’t too much of a hardship at all.

The back is really lovely on this but I can’t wear a bra with it.  Ok really for mega hot weather!

This picture shows my lining in white polycotton.  As suggested on the pattern I added boning to the sides.  Luckily I had some in my stash.  It is a plastic boning that I stitched in place near the side seams to the lining before putting it all together.  It works well at keeping the top up.

This piccie is just to show you more detail and the gorgeous fabric!  In case the colours don’t show too well for you it is white with dark green leaves and teal flowers.

Thank you for reading x

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1950s | Vintage Sewing

1950’s floral dress

By on July 9, 2013

Hi everyone!  I recently bought this pattern and decided to give it a go in a cotton fabric I’ve had in my stash for several years.  I bought the fabric in a 2nd hand shop for the grand price of £1.  This pattern is for a 36″ bust and I’m a 34″ bust so I had to alter the size a bit.  I also needed to add 2″ to the waist measurements.

The waist fits me lovely but unfortunately even with my adjustments the top half of the dress just didn’t fit right at all.  The back was OK but the front just hung on me and you couldn’t see my bust at all!  🙁   What I did was stand in the mirror with my pins and I pinned the front whilst it was on me.  Instead of the gathered darts I altered it to have a curve right across the front but still keeping the gathers over my bust.  I took over an inch of fabric vertically from the front of the dress.  It fits me so much better and now the shape of my boobies can be seen!

I used some vintage mother of pearl buttons from my stash.  I like the fact that they are quite big.

On this photo you can just about see where I made the curve to fit.

I’m happy with this dress.  I wore it last weekend to my partners parents and his mum commented on how summery I looked 🙂




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Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing


By on June 17, 2013


Hi, I’m very happy to present to you my new sundress.  I designed this dress myself with the help of a (I think) 1960’s book by Enid Gilchrist – Basic Fashions for Women.  It’s a fab book that shows you how to draft your own patterns and alter them.  I used the square neck bodice pattern and changed it a little mainly by making the shoulders a little narrower. 

I also moved the neck line a little when I made a muslin.  I don’t have a dressmakers dummy so this is done on me with pins, a mirror and a pencil.  All good fun on your own!

The skirt part of the dress I chose myself.  It originally had pleats in but after faffing about with them for ages and then sewing it to the skirt I picked it all out and decided on gathers under the darts of the bodice.

I bought the fabric on a whim whilst on a weekend away recently.  We walked past a sewing shop and I just ‘had’ to have a look in.  This fabric appealed to me very much and it reminds me of a Cath Kidston fabric.  I love her stuff!  When in the shop I imagined it made up into a full gathered skirt so only bought 1 1/2 metres.  But, when I got home I’d changed my mind and wished I’d bought more.  I could see it as a dress so had to think carefully how I was going to manage to have enough fabric.  I really did only have enough for the bodice and a skirt with not a lot left over!  So, I decided to line the whole dress therefore not needing any facings.  I didn’t even have enough to make bias binding to face the neck and armholes.  I like it fully lined though.  It gives the dress a bit of structure and is not see through – always a bonus!

I used an invisable zip on the side seam.  I’m very pleased with how it turned out.  I did one side twice though.  Always remember to match things up ie; waistbands!


I decided to add a waistband to my dress for the feature of it but also to maybe add a little length to the overall dress as I didn’t want my dress to be too short and I only had a limited ammount of fabric.  (There really only was enough left to make some patch pockets if I’d wanted them).  I have some lovely grosgrain pink ribbon that is the same pink as on the flowers.  I bought this off ebay because it was a nice price with no intention of what to use it for – well, now it has come in useful.  I’m very pleased with how it looks used as a feature along the edges.  I folded it in half and included it in my seam allowance.

Detail showing my full lining.  It was relatively easy.  I completed the bodice first and once it was in place and the main part of the dress was attached I then attached the bottom half of the lining to the bodice lining. 

The skirt part of the lining I confess is actually a piece of old bedding that I was using for making my muslin.  I didn’t have enough of my ‘nice’ white cotton to use for the full lining.  It’s Ok though because who is going to see it?  Except you guys right now?  He he.

I recently was looking through an old Butterick book of my Mum’s and saw and filed in my mind this scallop stitch I used to hem my lining.  It is done by hand and was really easy.  Just make a narrow hem and as you are slip stitching it every now and then (every 2 stitches for me) make some stitches over the hem edge pulling it tight to make the scallop.  I think it gives a pretty edge should anyone happen to see it when I swish about!

Once my dress was assembled and because I only ‘just’ got it out of my 1 1/2 metres the length allowed nothing for hemming.  I didn’t want my dress to be any shorter so I turned the hem just a little onto the right side and stitched some more of my ribbon along the bottom as a feature as well as a hem.

I hope you like my dress as much as I do?

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Vintage Sewing

1950’s Dress

By on May 21, 2013


Hello, this is my first posting on here and I want to share with you my first ‘vintage’ make.  I have been sewing and knitting since I was a young girl but this is the first time I have drawn out my own pattern quite like this one.  I recently bought a fab 1950’s book (via pdf) from Subversive Femme on Etsy.  It is  by Enid Gilchrist and has loads of designs to draw up as in the picture shown.  At first viewing the patterns look quite daunting but they are not.  You just need a set square, tape measure, a pencil and paper – I used baking parchment.

I needed to change some of the measurements a little and found this easy enough as the book details how to do this.  I also made a ‘mock up’ of the bodice which I was glad to have done as some tweaks were made to this too.

The cotton fabric was bought in Paris from Marche Saint Pierre, very near to the Sacre Coeur.  It’s a fabric shop on 5 floors.  Needless to say my eyes were popping out of my head when my partner took me there!  So much fabric to choose from!

I chose to make a petticoat to go underneath my dress.  This pattern is also in the same book.  The dress hangs much nicer with the petticoat and I decided to put broderie anglais lace at the bottom.  I could have added net but didn’t want my dress to stick out too much so lace is great.

When making this dress I also completed my first invisible zip and looked on You tube to help me.  It actually wasn’t too difficult and I’m very pleased with the result.

I’m loving my new dress and feel inspired to make some more clothes in this way.  I hope you like it too?



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