1950s | Dresses | Jumpers / Pinafores

Simplicity 3673 View C

By on May 6, 2013

Yesterday I post View A of this pattern here, and despite its currently wrinkled appearance, I had to make view C with its fitted bodice and fuller skirt. For those of you who commented on it, I do have an iron, just no place to use it, but I will have an ironing board on Wednesday. 🙂

View C of this dress has the same bodice as View A, but the skirt is wider and not fitted. I thought about including the faux belt detail on this one two, but instead opted to keep it as simple as possible. As I made it, there were only 4 pattern pieces- skirt front and back, and bodice front and back. And like View A, it was super easy to put together and I had a new dress in a few hours.

You can see more photos here on my sewing blog.


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1950s | Dresses | Jumpers / Pinafores

Simplicity 3673

By on May 5, 2013
I chose View A on the right.

Simplicity 3673 is a pattern I picked up because of its retro styling. I loved the idea of a jumper, but decided to just wear it as a dress once I finished it. This was one of the easiest patterns I have ever sewn, and I am beyond pleased with how it turned out- it looks just like the envelope images.

This dress is of a style I have wanted to wear for a long time, but wasn’t able to try until I had lost a lot of weight, and I’m happy to say I love it!

I used some deep wine cotton broadcloth I had in my stash or some time, making this a great $15 dress. I love when I get something so good for such a small investment!

I followed the directions almost all the way through, and only made one small change to the dress, and that was to add a large button to the center of the faux bow on the front.

Stop by my sewing blog here and see more photos of the dress.

Excuse my wrinkles, please!

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1950s | Skirts

Polka Dot Circle Skirt

By on September 4, 2012

After sewing Butterick 4790 a few times, I was really wanting a circle skirt that wasn’t attached to a dress. I’m trying to give myself some separates this time in my sewing, and create some eye-catching yet still versatile pieces to mix and match. I also love red, and polka dots.

A week ago I wash all of my cotton fabrics, measured them, refolded them, and labeled them so I can see what I have at a glance. I hadn’t realized how much of this fabric I actually had until then, and I saw it would be perfect for my next project.

I used just the overskirt piece from the B4790 pattern, and cut my skirt. I made it about 3″ or 4″ shorter than the pattern calls for, and made the waist opening a bit bigger to allow it to sit a little lower- more towards my hips then at my natural waist. I then cut a strip of the same fabric that was about 6 inches longer then around my waist where I wanted it to sit, cut matching interfacing, and made the waistband. There was a lot of picking out stitches, tweaking, and testing before I got everything just right, but I am absolutely thrilled with how this turned out. I kind of want to wear it every day now!

You can see more photos (including the button tab detail at the waistband) on my blog. Just click here!

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Modern Patterns | Shirts

A New & Old Halter Top

By on September 1, 2012

My latest creation is using a modern pattern (c.2007) but my fabric is something my Mom bought to make clothes for me when I was a little girl. I think I had a shirt made out of this same fabric when I was three or four, so I’m guessing this fabric is close to 30 years old. Its a bright, sunny yellow with tiny strawberry vines and blue and white flowers all over it. Here’s a close-up of it.

The pattern I used was Butterick’s 5011, view A. Its a simple halter top that ties behind the neck, has ties to go around the back of the waist, and just pulls on over your head. Construction was really simple, but I did run into an issue at the end which required me to rip out some stitches and make some changes. You can head over to my sewing blog and read more about it there.

Here’s the finished shirt, with my dog showing her approval.

There’s more photos on my blog.

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Accessories | Lingerie

Garter Belt Hardware Question

By on November 8, 2011

Okay ladies and gents! I’ve been wanting to make a garter belt for some time, and I have one I can use as a basic pattern, but running into one *teensy* problem. Where can I find the hardware for these? Hook & eye closure in the back is easy enough to find. I could even be lazy and use bra findings for that. But the actual clips that hold the stockings and the little pieces to make the straps adjustable in length? I have no idea. The adjustment hardware I could do without if need be, but not the clips.

I’ve checked Etsy.com and eBay. I’ve Googled it a number of different ways. The best I’ve found was a site linking to wholesalers- but I don’t need 100,000 of them as my minimum order, nor can afford the $2,000. or so it would cost me.

I’d really prefer to find a matched set, and not a handful of mismatched salvages from old clothing.

Thanks in advance! Looking forward to some direction here. 🙂

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1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Happy Halloween!

By on October 30, 2011
The huge pile of bias tape I made

I had decided a few months ago that I would like to be a 1950’s housewife for Halloween. My reasons were simple- I could use up some of my fabric stash, I’d have a minimum of cost, and I could make a new dress that I could wear any time I wanted, not just for Halloween. I wanted to do something simple and that I had made before so nothing unexpected would come up, as I know I am one of the worst procrastinators I know.I ended up choosing Butterick 4790, a 1952 Vintage Reproduction pattern. B4790 is basically an apron dress. Its got a narrow front skirt, which fastens behind you, and a full circle skirt that wrap around and fastens at the natural waist in front of you. The entire dress is basically three pieces- skirt, top back, and the front.

Of course due to the large and simple sizes of the pieces, and my large size, I end up cutting the pieces into a few more than that. The circle skirt I cut into 4 sections, the front was cut into two, and the top back was cut as a single piece as directed by the pattern.

Sewing this dress is really simple. From the start of cutting to finishing it, it generally takes about two hours. All the raw edges on this are hidden by bias tape. Stitching that on takes longer then anything else. But because I can never leave anything as it, and because I wanted my bias tape to have a little extra zing, I decided to make my own instead. I armed myself with this bias tape maker from Fabric.com, and my Black & Decker F67E Classic Iron. I had no idea that making my own bias tape would be as time consuming as it was! Between cutting the strips of fabric, stitching them together, and feeding them through the gadget and ironing the folds in, it took me about 2 hours to make enough tape to do the dress.

My finished dress, right before we left for the party

If I had realized ahead of time how much time it would take to do this, I may have just bought plain red, ready-made tape from Joann’s instead. But after seeing how it turned out, I’m really glad I didn’t.

The pattern was graded up about a size and a half from its largest printed size to somewhere between a 24 and a 26 I believe to it my generous proportions. Overall I was really happy with how it turned out, and would definitely make it again if I had the need or a third dress of this style. Of course my hair was completely uncooperative and I couldn’t get anything approximating the correct era to turn out, so finally settled for twisting, turning and pinning a few sections to give it the illusion of extra body and calling it good.

I did forget to do one thing on the dress, but amazingly its not that noticeable of a difference. I completely spaced and forgot to put in the bust darts, so there is some slight gaping at the arm holes, but its not as much as I was afraid there would be when I realized I’d forgotten.

I don’t have an expanded post or this on either of my main blogs, so I can’t redirect you there for more details.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my finished dress as much as I have!

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Hello! My Introduction

By on October 12, 2011

My name is Deb, though I go by Inkdork in most places online. I just signed up for Sew Retro, after being a long time reader and commenter. I am a mostly self-taught sewer, though I did take one basic sewing class to brush up and learn a few basic techniques which has eluded me. I grew up in a home where my Mom sewed almost all of my clothes as a kid, and during a rather torrid relationship, I sewed my own wedding dress with the help of my Grandma.

I have an interest in fashions from the 1940’s, 1950’s, and some 1980’s. My interest in the post WWII years is really about a time when women actually dressed nicely every day, and once the war was over, wanted to glam it up a little. The 1980’s were just a fun, if sometimes disastrous, time for fashion.

One problem I do face as a plus sides sewer is that many patterns are really not made for the larger lady even if sizes do go quite high. Sometimes this means having to make a lot of alterations to a finished item just to get the right fit. It can be a learning curve, but armed with my sewing machine, some brains, and my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing I manage to get through most things. The resources on the internet also prove hugely helpful.

I have sewn several vintage reproduction patterns already, and have a few planned for this Fall and Winter. Right now I’ve just started cutting fabric for Butterick’s 4790, which will be part of my Halloween costume as a retro housewife. Hopefully I will be posting soon with photos of that in its completion! I’m also looking forward to sewing my first Vogue soon.

If you’d like to know more about me, or see some of the things I’ve stitched up, you can visit my website at http://prettycanhurt.com/. I have a photo album set up there that has photos of a lot of my sewing projects.

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