1950s | Skirts

Polka dot one seam skirt

By on October 10, 2012

This neat little skirt is made using Simplicity 3983 from 1952 and is a quick, easy make, having only one seam up the back!

I made mine in red polka dot corduroy and shortened it by a massive eight inches to give it a more modern look. The polka dots are quite subtle though and it can safely be teamed up with other prints (such as gingham!) without clashing too much. There are some nice vintage touches to the pattern, such as adding Petersham ribbon to the inside of the waistband – which I tried and liked a lot! The hip pockets are a pretty detail too and I’ll definitely be adding buttons to my next version as per version two.

I love the fit of it and can see myself coming back to this pattern again and again. More photos and construction details can be found on my blog Handmade Jane. x

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1950s | Blouses | Vintage Sewing

1950’s Style Print Blouse

By on August 9, 2012

I finally got round to making a blouse from this darling Style Print pattern which I picked up over a year ago.

The difficult part of the project wasn’t sewing it up, it was deciding which option to go for.  In the end, I went for View B: a buttoned front, short sleeves and lovely 1950’s collar detail.

I used a linen mix polka dot fabric which had quite a bit of drape and stretch to it. Consequently the blouse sewed up quite large, even though it was only a 34 bust. View B isn’t supposed to have any darts, but I added two sets of darts to the back and one set to the front to give it more shape. The final fit is absolutely fine and I finished it off with some vintage shell buttons. It’s a great shape to wear – I’m so pleased with it.
It’s the first time I’ve used a Style Print pattern and the clear directions and sturdy pattern paper were a delight.  I’ll definitely be looking out for more of them.  More photos and construction details on my blog Handmade Jane. x

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Vintage Sewing

Marilyn-inspired cherry dress

By on July 6, 2012

This dress isn’t made from a vintage pattern or vintage fabric, but it is very much inspired by two vintage dresses which I thought might interest some of you.  The two dresses were both worn by Marilyn Monroe and are just gorgeous!

A cherry print one from The Misfits….

 …and a tight, halter neck dress from Niagara.

My dress is a sort of mish-mash of the two, but I think the cherry print fabric and the classic halter neck pattern (V8727) really add to the vintage look of it.



It was a joy to sew! I lined the entire dress with white silk cotton and other than a few adjustments to fit (mainly around the bust and hips), it came together pretty easily.  Can you tell I love it?!  Now we just need the rain in the UK to stop so I can actually wear it!

More photos and construction details can be found on my blog Handmade Jane. x

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1930s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Mystery Vintage dress

By on May 15, 2012
A few months ago I was given this beautiful vintage dress by my mother-in-law.  She bought it several years ago, but having only ever wore it once, decided she’d like to pass it onto me! I’d  love to be able to give her a little more information on what period the dress hails from, and date it as accurately as I can.  I wonder if any WeSewRetro readers can help?
My guesstimate would be that this is a 1930’s piece.  Perhaps earlier rather than later in the decade as there’s definitely a hint of flapper style about it.  If anybody who has knowledge of clothing from that period can shed any light, I’d be SO grateful.  Or indeed if you have anything at all to say on when you think the dress might originate from, please chip in, I may be completely wrong so I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts.
Here are a few tailoring details:
  • The dress is totally handmade, from what appears to be plum coloured silk crepe with dark green lace inset details.  There’s an impressive amount of hand finishing too.
  • It has two kick pleats to the front and back and a dropped waist.
  • The neckline is low, with a ruffle detail and shoulder tucks.
  • It has what I think is called a dicky i.e. a detachable triangle of fabric that fits across a low neckline to preserve one’s modesty!
  • The sleeves are slightly puffed with a cuffed edge and lace inserts to add volume.
  • It’s just below knee length on me (I’m 5′ 2″).
  • There’s a lovely shaped detail to the skirt, which is mirrored on the back bodice yoke.
I know there are many, many bloggers out there who are very knowledgeable about such things, and I’d love to hear your thoughts.
There are a few more details and pictures on my blog, Handmade Jane. Thank you so much in advance! x

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Made from Curtains | Vintage Sewing

Portobello Curtains Blouse

By on May 8, 2012

Good afternoon.  Just wanted to stop by and show off my new blouse made from a pair of vintage curtains.  I bought the curtains from Portobello Road Market in London, along with the vintage buttons which are a perfect match.  The pattern is a modern one (Megan Nielsen’s Banksia blouse) but definitely has a vintage look to it.

The fit could be better, but that’s my own fault for not making a muslin first.  For a first attempt at this pattern, I’m more than happy.  It’s not a particularly fitted style, so on me  it looks best tucked in.  It seems to look good with a high waisted skirt and I’m planning to wear it with some 1940’s high waisted trousers soon too.  Not a bad result from a a pair of old curtains!

More photos and construction details can be found on my blog, Handmade Jane.  Thanks for reading! x

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Vintage Sewing

McCall’s Joan Dress

By on March 26, 2012

I’m so pleased to have finished my 1950’s dress for Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Challenge.

The pattern is vintage McCall’s 3779 from 1956 – a fitted wiggle shirt dress with kimono sleeves. Here’s the original inspiration picture of Joan that I got the idea from.

I took quite a lot off the length and made a few adjustments to the back centre seam and around the kimono sleeves to give it a more fitted look.  The buttons are self covered and I made my own belt with covered buckle. The dress needed a belt to match the Joan inspiration picture but I personally prefer the dress without one.

I love the pattern, it’s so classy and the contour darts are really flattering.  This version is made with quite a cheap bi-stretch fabric which I’m not that happy with, but it’s a good colour match and the stretchiness helps with the wiggle effect!  There’s already a not-quite-so-fitted polka dot version planned for the summer.  More construction details and pictures can be found on my blog, Handmade Jane. x

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1950s | Blouses | Vintage Sewing

Kimono Wrap Top

By on March 5, 2012

This is the second time I’ve made up this pattern – Advance 7701 from the 1950’s.  It was the first vintage pattern I bought, and the first one I sewed, so it was great to come back to it. I used a wool mix fabric which has a fair bit of stretch – this came in very handy for wrapping the top around my not-quite- 1950’s-sized waist!

Verdict? I really love it – the  colour, the kimono sleeves, the vintage look of it and the cosy, cosy feel of the wool mix.  I know I’m going to wear this a lot.  More details and pictures can be found on my blog, Handmade Jane. x

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