Last May, I entered a contest at Pattern Review that focused on using vintage patterns. Pattern Review was also running a mini-wardrobe contest at the same time. So, I thought I’d do a two-fer and use vintage patterns to make a mini-wardrobe. Seems easy, right???

I used these two patterns as the foundation of my mini-wardrobe:

Well, eight months later, I have finally finished one ensemble: the skirt from Simplicity 4773 and the top from 5348.

The skirt went together very easily and the top just needed a FBA to make it work.

Here I am looking cheerful wearing the outfit (My Honey decided he needed more light, hence the lamp on the stool):
I really like how this turned out and will use this combination again. Heck, I may even make a mini-wardrobe out of it! Actually, I am totally relieved that it turned out well. I made a jumper out of a modern pattern, recently, that was a total disaster. Using vintage patterns really IS so much nicer and the results so much better than modern patterns! I recommend these two patterns highly if you can find them (they are from the early 1960′s).

I talked about my adventures with this outfit in this week’s Grandma’s Sewing Cabinet podcast if you’d like to take a listen to it.


Vintage 1957 Apron

by DrJulieAnn on June 8, 2008 · 3 comments

in Aprons

I finally had a chance to finish something!!

I recently redid my kitchen chairs with home dec rooster fabric (My Honey’s choice, not mine). There were about 2 yards left so I decided to make an apron.

I tried about 5 different patterns but none of them worked because of the directional layout of those darn roosters (did I mention that My Honey chose the rooster fabric?).

I finally found a pattern that would work–a cobbler style pattern that had been my great-grandmother’s. I never saw her or my grandmother wear this style of apron but it had her writing on several pattern pieces.

This pattern was an “‘instant’ apron: Paper pattern is one piece for each fabric in each view; pin to fabric according to cutting layouts and cut instantly.”

As I mentioned in my May 8th podcast, the pattern is designed to be laid on the open fabric. But, my great-grandmother laid the pieces on the fold (like, I did). But, and this is where we differed, instead of folding the pattern piece in half, she cut the piece down the middle!

This apron tested my bias tape application skills but I am pleased with the overall results:
You can access the podcasts at Grandma’s Sewing Cabinet


After months of relishing everyone’s projects and posting comments as The New Professor Mentor, I thought I should join the party as a full-fledged member of Sew Retro. Thank you to Anna for the invitation.

I started collecting vintage patterns about 15 years or so ago when I went to an estate sale and bought a box of dusty old patterns for $1.00. I was hooked. When I graduated with my doctorate in 2000, I wanted something really special to wear under my academic regalia and so I attempted to make a dress from a 1940′s unprinted pattern. Unfortunately, my skill level and the amount of time I had to make the dress didn’t match and I ended up having to buy something to wear. But I was hooked. And I’ve continued to buy vintage patterns. I think I have a little over 100 now, probably more.

For the next six years, I didn’t really have much time to sew but a little over a year ago, a friend’s blog (Carolyn of Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) caused me to reassess my sewing priorities. I started my Grandma’s Sewing Cabinet podcast and have tried to sew more.

A couple of months ago, I ventured into the land of full-time self-employment. As I was visualizing my perfect day, I noticed that I was wearing lots of vintage or vintage inspired clothing. I also made sure that sewing time has a high priority in my schedule.

So, here I am! I joined the vintage sewing contest at pattern review and I’m in the process of rebuilding my wardrobe so that I look like Donna Reed while I work at home and Jackie O when I run a workshop or attend conferences.

Current projects:
Reissued Simplicity jumper out of lightweight denim: http://www.simplicity.com/dv1_v4.cfm?design=3673
I had to lengthen the bodice by 6 inches to get over my 36DDD bust. My husband is a little concerned that the jumper will emphasize my generous bust a little too much. But then, with MacGuffies (as he calls them) this size, everything seems to emphasize them!

And this delectable “wiggle dress” from Out of the Ashes: http://www.risingfeenix.com/inc/sdetail/9097

Oh, I collect vintage cookbooks, too!

Grandma’s Sewing Cabinet