The Dorothy Macaron…

By on September 2, 2013

As I was editing these photos, it occurred to me that this Colette Patterns Macaron looks a little like a modern version of Dorothy’s dress from The Wizard of Oz and that I really should have worn red shoes with it. Oh well, now I know what I’m going as to my next costume party, I just need to borrow a Toto from someone (can a black cat play Toto? We picked them up yesterday, hooray!!)…



I love this pattern, but first off, can we talk about the pockets? In-pleat pockets are officially my favourite kind of pocket! My mind is blown as to why I have never used them before, as it is, I’m quite sure I see a few Macaron skirts in my future. As some of the other challenge participants noted, the skirt is much more of a tulip shape than the pattern pictures make out and to be honest, that’s why I love it. The soft pleats are very flattering across your tummy when you’ve had a big lunch and they hide the deep pockets so well, you could keep all number of curiosities in them and no one would know.




I underlined the yolk/sleeve fabric with a plain white cotton to stop it being as see through and replaced the neck facing with white bias binding that I hand stitched to the underlining.



Overall, I found this pattern lovely to work with. The combination of fabrics you could choose for the dress are endless as well as the number of different changes you could make. The instructions are easy to follow and the dress doesn’t use a lot of fabric. In fact, I loved making this pattern so much that I hopped straight back to it and made a second Macaron for the Sew Weekly Reunion Challenge right after I was done with this first version.


For more pictures and construction details, head on over to my blog Jennifer Lauren.


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The Faux Liberty Macaron…

By on August 28, 2013
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This is my dress for The Sew Weekly Reunion challenge – a Colette Patterns Macaron. The Sew Weekly is (was) probably one of my favourite sewing blogs. I started reading it when it was just Mena writing and talking about her weekly sewing adventures, and then she opened up the weekly sewing challenge to 4 other lovely sewing ladies and it got even better. Sadly, The Sew Weekly ladies stopped posting as their lives, schedules and commitments changed, and my weekly burst of sewing inspiration was no longer.  Until…

They came back, baby! And they invited anyone and everyone along for the ride.

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I actually ended up having to completely underline the main body floral fabric. I bought this online (my first time buying fabric online) and it claimed to be cotton lawn, but really, it’s far too loose a weave to be lawn. It almost looks like muslin (or cheese cloth for those who call it that!). So, while we’re talking about this floral, doesn’t it look a little like a Liberty print? Well, I think so, so I’ve dubbed this dress the Faux Liberty Macaron 🙂
I love this pattern so much and am kicking myself for not making it sooner. For more photos and dress construction information, please head on over to my blog Jennifer Lauren Vintage.

Are any of you participating in the Sew Weekly Reunion challenge?



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The Darling Buds of Mae…

By on August 12, 2013
I was lucky enough to be asked to test another Blue Ginger Doll pattern a few months back and now that it’s been released, I can finally show you my version of Abbey’s newest pattern, the Mae Blouse.



It’s a beautiful 1940s inspired blouse with a scalloped neckline (who doesn’t love a good scallop, of the edible and patterned variety!), a button up back and a lovely fitted silhouette.

I made my Mae using a vintage mystery fabric that I’m pretty sure is a silk georgette with some beautiful vintage shell buttons. I actually had this combination saved for another 40s button up blouse that I hadn’t quite gotten around to making yet, but as soon as I saw Mae, I knew they would be the perfect match for each other.


I’m wearing my Mae tucked into my 1940s Swing Pants, but Abbey has designed the pattern so that you can make it longer and wear it over the top of a pencil skirt (very 40s!) or with jeans for a more modern look.

If you are interested in more construction details and pictures, you can head on over to my blog – Jennifer Lauren Vintage.


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Blouses | Vintage Sewing

How to Make and Insert Inseam Binding…

By on July 28, 2013

Hi lovely Sew-Retro-ers,

I have a wee tutorial up on my blog at the moment on how to make and insert inseam piping as I did on my Airelle Blouse.

It’s so easy to do and piping can add such a sweet little detail to your garments. You can either choose to make it from a contrasting fabric or from the same fabric for a more subtle effect. Insert piping into yolk seams in shirts, waist seams in skirts and even along neck lines in dresses or other tops.

If you’ve ever wanted to know how to add your own inseam piping to garments (or use the same technique for cushion covers and other home wares) check out the tutorial here.



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The Classic Airelle…

By on July 21, 2013
I’ve finished my first version of the beautiful Airelle Blouse from Deer&Doe – my first time using one of Eleanor’s patterns. My sister gave me this pattern for my birthday (along with the Belladone dress which I’m half way through!) and it’s really such a lovely pattern to work with.
While it’s not a vintage pattern, it definitely has that vibe about it with the lovely collar and loose fitting sleeves.
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I found a beautiful, light textured cotton voile for the body of the blouse. As I really didn’t want to use a plain white cotton, nor did I want anything too pretty, this fabric fit the bill. It has a lovely fine stripe throughout the weave which adds some interest, while not being too overwhelming.

I chose a black polished cotton for the collar, cuffs and inseam piping. The polished cotton makes the finished blouse a little more fancy than a plain matt cotton would, while also adding to the subtle texture of the voile.

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For more pictures and construction details check out my blog Jennifer Lauren Vintage.

Oooh, what a deliciously lovely pattern! Seriously guys, you need to get this pattern toot sweet if you don’t already have it. It’s the perfect beginners pattern, but as there is so much scope for adding your own touch, intermediate and advanced sewers won’t be disappointed either.

I’ll also have some tutorials coming up on how to make and insert inseam piping and how to do French Seams like I’ve done with this blouse 🙂


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Dresses | Vintage Sewing

The Kate Middleton Franken Dress…

By on July 15, 2013

So, this is my Kate Middleton-Blue-Engagement-Franken dress. Number three on my Winter Time Sewing List.

Not as pretty as hers.

In fact, not the prettiest dress I’ve ever made. But wearable, and really, what else do you need?

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My version is made up of so many different patterns I don’t even know where to start. I found the front bodice bones in the form of a vintage Vogue dress pattern from the 1950s. The back is self drafted (a back that I had drafted for a little knit peter pan collared top I was selling in my Etsy store some years ago). The ties are taken from my wrap blouse (altered and lengthened) and the skirt is 2 rectangles of fabric gathered all the way around. The sleeves are from my Apples in Winter dress, lengthened.

The knit is a super stretchy wool mix of dubious quality, but I loved the subtle pattern and the colour. And it is so stretchy in fact, that I didn’t need to use a fastening of any kind. I can happily slip it over my head, wrap the waist ties around and BAM! Instant waist.

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It is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. The bust gathers drape strangely down across my arm pit (I needed to make the shoulder a bit smaller I think) and some of the gathers underneath the bust sit kinda funny. But for a complete experiment (using mostly bits of patterns that were never meant to be made with knits) it’s turned out wearable. Well, wearable enough to go to the pub for a drink anyway.

This is my second knit dress and I still feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing when sewing with them. But I guess I’ve made two wearable garments so far, so I must be doing something right.

Have you ever had luck with piecing different patterns together to make something completely new?



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1940s | Vintage Sewing

Wearing the Pants…

By on June 24, 2013

You guys – I MADE PANTS!

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Finally, after many years of sewing, I tackled my sewing nemesis.

Sure, they aren’t fitted pants or anything – I wanted big, wide, swing-y 40’s styled pants. But I made them. And they fit. And there isn’t any – ahem – wrinkling where there shouldn’t be.

While it did take me 3 muslin attempts, I finally managed to wrangle this 40’s pants pattern into submission. But it wasn’t easy. Oh dear, this pattern…

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The cover image makes them look so sleek and Katherine Hepburn-esque. Even the pattern outlines on the back promise this exact outcome. But in actuality, the paper pattern tapers, majorly, towards the bottom of the pant leg. Leaving you with ballooning hips and skinny ankles. Not a good look people. It’s a little Fresh Prince-Harem-Pant gone wrong (was that ever right?). Oh, and they taper on both the back and front pant pieces, in both the inner and outer leg.


That first muslin made me really question my friendship with this pattern and making pants and so we took a break. We both needed some time apart. I needed to make patterns that weren’t completely different to the front and back cover images. And the pants pattern needed some time alone to think about what it had done.

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After a few weeks, we sat down together, sort of made up, and muslin 2 came into being. I made a completely new muslin, straightened out the outer leg taper on both front and back pieces (at this point, I hadn’t connected the dots to realise that the inner leg tapered as well, because it didn’t taper quite as much as the outer). I also added some extra hip and waist room. I tried them on, and to my surprise, we were nearly there.

Onto muslin 3 and I unpicked the inner legs, basted on some extra muslin and straightened out the slight taper there. Now the legs were pretty much perfect. Looking much more Katherine Hepburn than Fresh Prince.

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Oh, these pants I’m wearing? Yeah, I made them.
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If you would like to read a bit more about the changes I made and for more pictures, head on over to my blog here.


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