Vintage Sewing

New Silhouette

By on April 30, 2012

I have recently been inspired by all the amazing Mad Men sewing projects people have been doing based on Joan. I absolutely love the straight or wiggle dress styles on other people and decided it was time to try out a new silhouette for myself. I also decided to sew from a pattern again – something I rarley do as I find it’s often more work than just making the pattern myself.

I brought the below on ebay – it’s a Weigles 1654. According to wiki-patterns Weigles Patterns PTY LTD was started by a polish immigrant to Australian in 1877 and closed down sometime in the 1960’s.

The pattern was easy to follow however I needed to adjust it by 2″ in the bust & hips and 3″ in the waist. This was the first time I’ve graded a kimono sleeve pattern – I just guessed and made it up as I went but I think I got it right (although the gusset insert could maybe be a little bigger). I also decided to change the collar as it’s not really my style. In need of instant gratification I didn’t make a toile but decided just to try it out…..

The fabric is something I picked up in Mexico last year. I love the non-tradition colour combination for this check. Unfortunately the kimono sleeves took up more fabric than I thought and I could only just fit the dress in and had to sacrifice some of the matching checks to do this. I do like the sleeves and how they end up on the bias at the cuff. I think the collar shape is a bit too 70’s and would change it if I sew the pattern again. I would also make the skirt a little more straight as it’s slightly A-lined now. Overall I’m not sure about this style on me – I feel that the full skirt styles that I usually wear suit me a more. I don’t think I have the curves to pull this off and feel more like my grandma than Joan!

On a side note this last picture of me is in my sewing studio that I rent in the Inner West of Sydney. There’s heaps of extra room at the other end of the room. Unfortunately I am not using is as much as I’d like anymore and am looking for someone to share it with me. So if you live in Sydney and your lack of space is stopping you from sewing more email me ( and we may be able to work something out! It’s a shame to see it wasted.

Happy Sewing!

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1950s | Dresses | Katherine's picks | Vintage Sewing

Retro mash-up

By on April 22, 2012

I recently finished this mixed era dress and I love it. I think I’ve worn it at least three times in the past two weeks! I can’t feel anything but happy when wearing this – I think it’s the brilliant green colours…

The pattern is one I drafted myself based on a 1950’s design (this is the second time I have used it – the first time as seen here is much more traditional look). For this version I decided to use a favorite fabric from my stash that I have been saving for 4 or 5 years. I love this fabric so much that every time I considered sewing it I chickened out for fear of not doing it justice. I brought the fabric for about $15 in a second hand store. There was about 5.3m but at only around 90cm wide it only just made it. It feels like a brushed cotton and is lovely and soft and a little warmer which is great with Autumn coming on down here. I’m not really sure when this fabric may be from. 1960’s? or 1970’s? What do you think?

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Vintage Sewing

Still Summer…….

By on March 18, 2012

So my New Years resolution was to make one thing a month for myself (and post it on here of course!). Unfortunately this is only my first post this year – which means that I have a little bit of catching up to do.

I made this 1950’s inspired dress from some beautiful cotton fabric that my husband brought back for me from Mexico. I absolutely love the colours and although it’s been a pretty wet and mild summer over here I thought it was just calling to be made into a sundress. The pattern is something I drafted myself. Originally I wanted something very simple so that the fabric was the feature of the dress however I’m not very good at keeping things simple so I went for a cut-out and tie-up back.

To avoid having to wear a bra with this I inserted bra cups between the bodice and lining. I have never done this before and let me tell you it is something that I will do to all my strappy dresses in the future. It’s very easy to do and so much more comfortable than wearing a strapless bra. Plus no accidental straps slipping out (maybe I’m just old fashioned but I HATE my bra straps showing).

For all you Sydneysiders interested this photo was taken at the Rock n’ Roll markets in Tempe. It’s a great day out full with live music, all things rockabilly and many stalls. I haven’t been in about a year but will be at the next one for sure.

Happy Sewing Everyone!


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Vintage Sewing

Bow Fabric

By on January 2, 2012

On a resent trip to Japan I went a little crazy with fabric buying. As I do a lot of sewing for other people my lovely husband made me promise him that I would make something for myself as my first project when we returned home. Below is the result. This is the first time I have make this style for myself. I drafted the pattern for a friend but it looked so good on her I decided I needed my own version. Apart from fitting changes I made the sleeves longer with a turned up cuff. Although it’s summer down here in Australia it’s been quiet cool so I thought a longer sleeve would work well!

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I need your HELP

By on January 1, 2012

Hi all and happy new year! My resolution this year is to start making my own bras and matching underwear. I have no experience in this type of sewing at all and I am hoping some of you can recommend any patterns and sewing books/guides that you have found useful. I’m a huge 1950’s fan so I am interested in making my own full briefs and perhaps garter belts. I like long line bras but want to make something not too pointy. But anything that you can recommend would be useful – I’m sure if I can get the basics down pat first then I can progress to more retro styles.
Thanks in advance for your help!

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1950s | Dresses

1950’s Retro Dress

By on December 21, 2011

Hi! My name’s Claire and this is my first post on this amazing blog. I’ve been reading it for a while now and have been meaning to contribute – only problem is I hate photos. Finally after a couple of wines with my very best friend I decided it was time to share….

This is a dress I made about a year ago – I just happened to have it on so decided to show it to you guys. I am obsessed with the 1950’s fashions and make and wear my own reproductions most days (I’m lucky enough to have a job with no dress code!). I’m not sure what the fabric is – I brought it at a vintage fair. If feels like a cotton/synthetic blend and is quiet thick. As you can see in the close up picture it has a self stripe that is part of the weave. If anyone know what this is I’d love to know – for some reason I assumed it was from the 1970’s??

The pattern is something that I drafted myself. I find that ready made pattern hardly ever seem to fit me well- weather new or vintage – and that it’s easier to start from my own blocks than alter something. I can’t remember where the idea came from. I have a large collection of inspiration from the 50’s and tend to take elements from a lot of different designs to create my own thing. My two favourite things about this dress are the beautiful boarder print which looks like it was meant to be a full skirt. And the pleated bodice which I think makes me look a little bustier than I actually am. Hope you like it…..

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