1930s | Dresses


By on August 12, 2015

staand1It took me a long time and quite a bit of trouble but this dress is finished… Made from a pattern from Gracieuse magazine from October 1933, this thing proved tricky at every step.

e59c812223944a4a89c30d1332d1d16bThe stripes meant I had to sew very carefully and try and match them and the fabric kept on growing on the bias. I’m grateful for the advice from many people on We Sew Retro Sew & Tell on how to deal with that…

zittend3The dress still isn’t perfect but it is my best attempt yet at a 1930’s design.  And it is item number 7 for my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge.

More information and more pictures on my blog

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1960s | Dresses

Swinging sixties

By on August 7, 2015

Most of my vintage style makes are inspired by or actually from the 1950’s. One of my goals with the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge (both last year and this time) is to broaden my horizons and try out new-to-me eras and shapes in fashion history.

voor:zijTwo weeks ago, I realized the loose shapes and high hemlines of the late 1960’s might be perfect in warm summer weather. After a quick search through my vintage magazine collection, I came up with a few contenders but in the end, I went with this one. The dress on the left.

DSC_0008 21.46.43I made it short sleeves and chose some very different fabric. To my surprise, the fit was pretty much spot-on with very little alteration (I cut 1 cm extra at the back hip and hemmed a bit shorter).

All in all, I think it’s a pretty cool dress, both literally and figuratively.

You can read more about it on my blog.

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1940s | Dresses

1946 dress

By on June 6, 2015

I can hardly believe I’ve reached my target for the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge before 2015 is half-way! This is number 5. I’m already thinking about ways to extend the fun. Either I’ll go for 10 or I won’t count the repro patterns, which puts me back at 2…

voor1Anyway, this is my latest dress.

3989setIt’s made from this pattern from EvaDress (so it’s repro). I know some ladies on We Sew Retro Sew & Tell were also interested in this design so you’ll be glad to know it is available as a multisize pattern which helps a lot when trying to get it to fit you.

zij:achterAnd the news about fit is good too: I’m between sizes on EvaDress’s sizing chart and I used the smaller size for the bodice and the larger one at the hip (I made a toile for the bodice first and measured the back skirt pattern piece at hip level). After that, the only alteration I made was to take in the shoulder a little bit. Of course, because everyone’s body and taste is different we all have different fit requirements but at least there is a clear relationship between theoretic and actual size here.

voor3The fabric I used is a pale orange crepe which has been in my stash for a while and I put in a side zipper instead of the snap placket which is shown in the instructions. And I added some lightweight interfacing to the neckline facing. A lot of pre-WWII patterns don’t include any kind of interfacing and the instructions here are the original ones but I thought that, in this material, the neckline would benefit from some stabilization. And I still think I was right. The neckline has a slightly unusual shape and don’t think it would keep that shape very well without any interfacing.

This is the first time I’ve made a design from before the introduction of the New Look and I have to admit I have to get used to it. When taking these pictures, my  boyfriend mentioned this dress was “less retro” than the ones I usually wear… I guess that actually meant “less 1950’s” but it’s still ironic that he sees this original 1946 design as less retro than all my re-imagined kind-of-50’s stuff…

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1920s | Hats

A cloche

By on May 12, 2015

When I made a hat to go with my 1950’s suit, I got interested in making other styles of hats as well.

Hats can be tricky for me. Not all styles work with long hair and a fringe. But I really liked the idea of making a 1920’s style cloche and fortunately, I had some patterns in my 1920’s Gracieuse magazines.

10This is the design I picked but I didn’t add the scarf.

patroonThe pattern looks like this. Different from any more modern cloche pattern I’ve ever seen.

clocheI made my hat from a material that is definitely not period accurate: thick synthetic felt. I cut the pieces without seam allowance and sewed them edge to edge by hand.

cloche2I think it’s a fun hat and it will count towards my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge. I’m not so sure it looks like something from the 1920’s though 😉

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1950s | Pattern Drafting

Party dress in grey

By on May 11, 2015

voorI made this dress to wear to the wedding of friends last Friday. Initially, I didn’t plan on posting it here because it’s not a ‘real’ vintage project. By which I suppose I mean it was neither made from a vintage pattern nor solely inspired by vintage styles. However, the overall silhouette is still pretty 1950’s and everyone on We Sew Retro Sew & Tell has been so nice about it that I thought I’d post it here anyway.

d4b770a09dc5b406d3495518c70e4850 22.01.31Oh, and this picture from the 1950’s was part of the inspiration too.

The idea for this dress has been at the back of my mind for a while. It seemed like a nice challenge. A way to combine all the different kinds of sewing experience and skill I have collected over the years.

It was just the kind of thing for which you need a special occasion…

straplessMy dress has a strapless bodice with bra-style undewired cups made from lingerie foam. The fashion fabric is pleated and draped over the boned bodice.

I made the skirt using knot design nr. 1 from the first Pattern Magic book. I just placed the knot and pleat at the front dart position of a straight skirt sloper. This also allowed me to remove the side seam closest to the knot and convert the other one to a dart (so most of the waist-to-hip shaping in the skirt has been converted into the pleats radiating out from the knot).

achter 22.01.45For a bit of modesty during the more formal parts of the wedding and for a bit of warmth, I added a simple open-fronted bolero.

This was quite an involved project and I’m really happy with how it turned out. You can see more pictures and read about it in this blog post and I have written more about the construction in a three previous posts.

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1950s | Pattern Drafting

My 1950’s suit

By on April 27, 2015

Hi everyone. I’m happy to reveal my new suit. I’ve thought about making a 1950’s style suit for a couple of years but now I have finally given it a go.

voor1For this suit, I used a peculiar fabric from my stash, a linen tweed. The hand is a bit weird, stiff and limp at the same time, which makes it misbehave in the skirt. For the jacket, I used a very lightweight fusible interfacing which took care for those issues.

62feea25124bfe73dde117956820b93aI drafted my own pattern based on this picture from an issue of the Dutch ladies’ magazine Libelle. 

10312768_438598262982827_235609074456462868_nFor the hat, I used V8008 which has been in my stash for years, in fact, for longer than any of my vintage patterns. I made the pillbox from the suit fabric, interfaced it with mid-weight fusible cotton and lined it with thin synthetic felt. Instead of the flower decorations included in the pattern, I put a large flat bow from the same fabric on the back, tied up with a ribbon in a bow.

voor:zij1It’s not perfect, but nevertheless, I’m quite pleased with my suit. You can see more pictures and read more about it on my blog.


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New robe, 1954 style

By on March 29, 2015

I made a new robe using a Lutterloh pattern from 1954. In the book, it is described as “a decorated robe for the spoiled taste” (my book is the Dutch version, I’m translating literally here). It is also my second make for this year’s Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge.

zwaaienThe fabric I used is a bright blue cotton jersey/sweatshirt fabric which has just a little bit of stretch. The nature of the fabric allowed me to fit the waist piece at the side seams instead of making darts like the pattern suggests.

plaatjeBecause the skirt and upper bodice are wide and connected to the waist piece with gathers, it was fairly easy to fit this thing as I went along.

I made a simple neckline facing instead of a frilly trim and used fusible interfacing for knits on all facings. My robe closes with jersey snaps rather than with buttons and I put them only in waist piece (like in the illustration) although on the pattern there are button positions marked on the top part of the skirt as well.

zij:voorI’m happy with the result. It’s a very different look for a robe but I enjoy the drama of that big skirt and it is really comfortable.

As usual, you can read more about it on my blog.

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