1960s | Dresses

Apples in Winter Dress…

By on June 10, 2013
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This early 60’s pattern from Advance was a dream to sew up. I really really enjoyed making this dress. It was easy, quick and it has no darts. Let me repeat: No Darts! All of the shaping comes from the gathers at the neckline on both the front and back and the bias cut across the bodice.

I made the dress with a printed cotton seersucker and really like the way the stripes in the fabric lend a subtle chevron detail up the middle of the bodice. I think this would look great in a more striking stripey or plaid fabric.

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And look at them there set in sleeves!

I generally try to avoid set in sleeves because I seem to believe that they are harder than they actually are. Using my new dress form, I managed to get the sleeve sitting perfectly at the edge of my shoulder and my tailors ham also came in mighty handy for shaping and ironing those little beauties into place once sewn on. Much better than a rolled up tea towel. So if you don’t have one, I suggest you make one toot sweet!

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More pictures and details on my blog here.



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1940s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

The 40s Knit Dress (aka Vogue 8728)

By on May 29, 2013

Vogue 1

I think there are quite a few of us who have this pattern in our stashes. I’ve certainly had it for about a year now and was originally inspired to get it when David and I were in town and I saw the exact dress design in a shop window. It was made out of some fabric that I have the vintage twin of (a turquoise polka dot cotton) and it looked so great on the mannequin I bought the pattern that night.

Before I touched my lovely spotty fabric though, I wanted to make it up in a navy cotton knit first for 2 reasons – I wanted to test the pattern and I really wanted to practice sewing with knits a bit more. I finally got my fabric about 2 weeks ago and the dress was added to my list.

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The main construction issue I had with this pattern was getting the sizing right. There are so many conflicting reviews about which size to cut. I ended up reading so many and getting bogged down in them, that I eventually went with my gut and cut 2 sizes smaller in the gathered bust and 1 size smaller all over. I had a lot of fabric and so it wouldn’t have been an issue if I had needed to recut any of the pattern pieces had I got the sizing wrong. Luckily I didn’t have to worry about that as the dress fit perfectly.

For a full review (where I discuss the issue of ‘boob-gatherage’ with this dress), more pictures and chickens (!!!) check out my blog here.


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Vintage Sewing

By on May 16, 2013

A few weeks ago I was asked to be a pattern tester for a new indie pattern company that Abby was starting called Blue Ginger Doll. I received a lovely big package in the post a few weeks later that turned out to be the pattern for Abby’s first dress, the Billie Jean.

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It was a truly lovely pattern to work with. I made version 2 of the dress but made the skirt less full. My version is made from a light cotton black and white polka dot fabric and is lined in the same fabric.

If you would like to read a little more about the dress and the pattern I’ve written a bit more on my blog 🙂



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1960s | Vintage Sewing

That’s a {Violet} Wrap {Dress}

By on May 7, 2013

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This pattern has been sitting in my pattern stash for at least a year (probably longer). I fell in love with the violet dress on the front as soon as I saw it, but the only problem was that I just couldn’t seem to find the right coloured fabric! It needed to be a violet wrap dress. No other colour would do. Needless to say, I found the right fabric a few weeks ago, but guess what? It’s actually cotton quilt backing! I know, I’m such a rebel.

The best thing about buying quilt backing for a project? You get twice the amount of fabric for the same price because it’s folded over double on the bolt. You really can’t lose folks.

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While the dress itself was relatively simple to make up, I spent so much time on hand sewing I could cry. I really really didn’t want to lose the clean lines down the front of the dress by top stitching my facings in place by machine, and so I did it all by hand. If I didn’t know how to do an invisible hand stitch before, I sure do now. But just look at that hand stitching! Oh wait, you can’t…

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I also added some purple hem lace to the front line of the skirt. This was actually lace left over from our wedding and I still have a bunch of it in all sorts of happy colours. I really love the result and think my next few garments will probably all have lace detailing of some kind on them.

Last but not least, I swapped out the arm facings for bias binding. I have a tutorial on how to make your own bias binding here and will have a tutorial on replacing arm facings with bias binding on my blog on Friday!

A little bit more on my blog here 🙂

xx Jen

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Vintage Sewing

Make Your Own Bow Belt…

By on April 25, 2013

As promised, I’ve written a detailed tutorial on how to make your very own bow belt on my blog like the one I made for my striped dress.

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Bow belts are so easy to make and can add that pretty little detail to any outfit to finish it off. They are also great for using those scraps of left over fabric you have that you aren’t quite sure what to do with.

There are endless options for customising your belt as well. You don’t have to make the belt from one single fabric – mix it up and have a different coloured bow and belt, or a different textured knot on the bow. You can also just make the bow part of this tutorial and use it as a decorative feature on any number of projects from head bands, pillows and cushions, hair pieces, shoe clips…the list is never ending.


If any of you make one, I’d love to see them!



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Vintage Sewing

Stripes and Stripes…

By on April 22, 2013

Yay, I’ve finally finished another of my WIP’s! I started making this dress back in January and finished it a week or so ago. It’s a pattern that David gave me for Christmas 2011 and it’s number 1 on my Sewing List (which I think needs updating now…).

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I decided to cut the bodice on the bias so that the stripes angled down diagonally like the cover image. To stop the bodice from stretching out because of my cutting it on the bias, I underlined it with a plain white cotton which gives it some much needed stability. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have had enough fabric to also cut the skirt on the bias as well, but I quite like the contrast of the different angled stripes on the top and the bottom.

The pattern called for a bow on one of the shoulders of this dress. But since it’s getting cooler here now, and cardigans will soon need to be worn with this dress, and I didn’t want to look like I had a lump on my shoulder, I decided to make my own version of a bow belt instead to finish off the look.

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I’ll have a tutorial on how to make your very own version of this bow belt at the end of the week! They are so simple to make and are great for using up those little scraps of fabric that are left over after finishing a project (I made this one from some of the left over fabric from my black circle skirt).

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I ignored the facings for the arm holes, as I usually do, and this time around also ignored the neck facing. Instead, I used black bias binding on both for a neater finish on the inside. I took photos as I did this and will have a tutorial coming up for how to do this in the next few weeks (it’s so very very easy by the way!).




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1950s | Blouses | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

Going Green…

By on April 15, 2013

I’ve been sick for over a week now. I’m not normally a sick person and so I’m very very much over the incessant coughing and general stuffy-ness of this particular sickness. But I have to admit, it’s been great for my sewing!

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I made another Afternoon Blouse in a vibrant apple green cotton voile and finally finished a black circle skirt I had cut out in February.

I’ve also finished a striped black and white number I started back in January (number 1 on my sewing list – photos to come soon) and started a 40’s blouse made out of a mint green polka dot cotton. It’s really rather lovely and I can’t wait to show you!

More photos on my blog.

Does being sick help your sewing along at all? Or is it just me?


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