1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

The battle between light and dark…

By on July 4, 2012

I am about to embark on a project for a friend which has me making a 1970s double breasted blazer a la Don Cherry.  The colour palette requested is based on the Cleveland Browns uniforms – orange and brown.  Yup.  Let that sink in for a second…

SOOOO…I decided I wanted to make something for myself before I threw myself into the Don Cherry project.

I picked up this pattern (Simplicity 8125) on eBay about three months ago and was having a bit of a difficult time finding fabric.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes you just need to find the RIGHT fabric for a project.  This one needed two fabrics!  It was a lot more difficult than I thought it was going to be, but I digress.

According to the envelope this Simplicity pattern is from 1969.  It is for a mod style REVERSIBLE! dress.  How cute is that?  Two dresses for the price of one!

Simplicity 8125

It took me a couple of months and a trip across the border to find two fabrics I liked.  Confession here – it is a rare day that I don’t wear black – so I KNEW one side was going to have a black background.  I was stumped on the second side.  Most people would say – why not white and magenta?  Good question.  I have what people politely call alabaster skin tone.  It is pale to the extreme and blue undertones which means I cannot wear white without looking like I’m dead.  True story.

Here is what I was finally able to find:

On the left: Black and magenta dotted cotton batik. On the right: Light magenta with dark magenta squiggles.

Not too shabby right?

This dress was a breeze to sew up.  The only alteration I had to make was to shorten the dress about 3 inches.  The joys of being so short.  It took me less time to sew up this dress then it did to cut it out.

Here are the results:

The light side.
The dark side.

This dress is much cuter on a real person – my Judy doesn’t do it justice, but it’s been raining most of the weekend and I couldn’t bring myself to fake a cheery shoot!  Maybe when the weather gets better I’ll post another picture.  Fingers crossed that summer comes to Vancouver, BC!




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1950s | Burlesque / Pinup | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Birthday Suit 2011

By on June 8, 2012

Over the last seven years Vancouver (Canada) has been host to the Vancouver International Burlesque Festival the weekend of my birthday.  How serendipitous for me!  Last year I decided to celebrate my burlesque birthday in style.  Between the costumes and the outfits the audience members were wearing, I think I might have hyperventilated with excitement.  Gorgeous!  Amazing!  Sparkly!

I’m not entirely sure, but I THINK I purchased Butterick 5552 from eBay.  I love the idea of the wiggle dress with an optional overskirt and decided it was the look I wanted for such a fun event.

1950s wiggle dress with over skirt

The original plan was to make the wiggle dress in black and the overskirt in black sparkle tulle, but I realized that was going to be just a little too safe and went out on a limb.  Magenta wiggle dress with a teal sparkle tulle overskirt.  There’s no blending in with that colour palette.

From l. to r.: Teal duppioni, magenta faux duppioni and teal sparkle tulle.

I was a little concerned with constructing this gown due to the fact that there is a “peek-a-boo” strip down the front that is sewn last.  (Think double lapped zipper with a strip of fabric as the zipper.)  Everything needs to line up or it will just look bad!  I used a scrap of teal duppioni silk and teal thread for top-stitching.  I took my time and it paid off – it came together perfectly the first time. Yay me!

The "peek-a-boo" detail down the front of the dress.

I made a slight alteration on the overskirt.  I didn’t have enough teal silk to do the long ties so I decided to make a simple waistband and use a beautiful crystal pin made by my favourite local jewellery designer as the closure.

Teal top-stitching and Swarovski pin.

Here is the final result on my Judy:

Judy showing off the finished dress.

Here is the complete look inside the gorgeous Vogue theatre (built in 1941 in the Art Deco style):

A little Burlesque sass!

This year I cheated because I was sick and wore this black and red rockabilly wiggle dress BUT I did make my girlfriend’s dress! (Butterick reproduction 6173):

A little pin-up posing before the show.



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1950s | Blouses | Vintage Sewing

My first post! Cute 1950s top.

By on June 3, 2012

As many of you have confessed on this site, I too have been “creeping” silently on this site before taking the plunge and deciding to post some of my creations.

For my first post, I decided I would show the project I finished most recently:  a simple 1950s top from an original Simplicity pattern – the basic view.

Cute four-way pattern purchased on E-bay.

The fabric I used is a modern polyester faux silk I had picked up just because I liked the colour palette – wine, black, white and grey in an abstract pattern.  Normally, I’m not big on patterns of any kind, but I’m trying to branch out in my wardrobe.

I fell in love with the abstract pattern and the colour palette.

Due to the slippery nature of the fabric, I decided to underline the whole bodice with a wine coloured organza.  Doing this allowed me to omit the use of interfacing of any kind, which made me happy as the instructions called for the interfacing to be fused to fabric instead of the facings.  Personally, I am not a fan of this method and find any which way to avoid it whenever possible!

Organza hand stitched to fabric to add a little stability.

I hand based the organza pieces onto my fabric and then hand stitched the markings for the darts in the yellow silk thread.  I find that silk thread is worth the cost when doing a project like this as I can use a thinner needle which eliminates (or at least cuts down) any flaws running a needle through the middle of your fabric can cause.

Darts were marked using yellow silk.
There were a total of 8 darts in this top. I love the fit they provide!

I serged my raw edges as the organza decided to start fraying.  I think when I do this pattern again, I might use bias tape instead to make it look prettier on the inside.  My personal preference is to use invisible zippers whenever I can as I’m not a fan of lapped zippers. (Might also have something to do with the fact that technically I’m better at putting in an invisible zipper than a lapped zipper, but let’s pretend I’ve made the conscious choice to use the invisible zip!)  I also hand stitched the hem with a wee blind stitch.  I felt that running a machined line of stitching at the hem would break up the clean lines of this top.  The organza made pressing the hem a little challenging – I wasn’t able to obtain a REALLY crisp hem without the fear of scorching any of the fabric – even with a pressing cloth.

The finished product!

All in all, I really liked how this turned out.  I think I would like to make this one again – I’m thinking the one with the bow and possibly finding a way to incorporate contrasting piping in the vertical darts.



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