I haven’t made anything from a vintage pattern for awhile. Well, let’s say I haven’t finished one in a while.

However, I have now, Butterick 4948. I picked up this little 1970′s gem some time ago, in part because it reminded me of these modern Sabyasachi Spring 2007 designs.

Also, I was in love with the pattern picture where it is worn over the striped turtleneck. I sure love me some striped tees, too bad you can’t find good multicolored stripe knits in the fabric stores, not even online. If you know of any, please let me know.

From the beginning I knew I was going to make this in corduroy, though my first choice was orange or red. However, I never found one I liked and I preferred to feel the fabric before buying so I found myself at Jo-Ann’s. They had a great red called Jester Red and this purple called Blackberry. Since I’ve been on a purple kick lately, I decided on the Blackberry in a 16 wale. It’s extremely soft, you could make pillows out of it.

The only change I made to the design is with the collar. The original had a flared curved line to it and I altered it to a straight line. Otherwise, I made no other design changes and besides widening the hips a bit (not really needed, as it turned out) I made the dress without any fitting alterations. I think I could even get by with a smaller size in the body but the bodice would have to be the same as I can barely get it over my head as it is. You can read my pattern review here.
So what do you think, does it scream 1970 to you?


I just wrote about this on my blog, but thought that the Sew Retro readers might be interested in this too.

Jacqueline Durran’s design
I’m sure everyone who has seen the movie Atonement has already oohed and ahhed about Cecilia Tallis’ (Keira Knightly) green silk dress, designed by Jacqueline Durran. Well, I just saw the film for the first time.

However, over a year ago, I was reading through the archives of The Costumer’s Guide (a fabulous site on film costuming) and read about the dress. The page on the dress includes detailed closeups of the dress after it was placed on display and anything else you might want to know about the choice of that particular shade of green to any details on Cee’s other costumes is there or a link is provided to other sources. One of those links was to a great post on the creation and maintenance of the many dresses used in the film at Sunday Couture. It detailed how delicate the original dresses were because of their laser cut detail work.

The dress is fabulous and there have been many copies sold and some patterns made resembling it, the closest would be Vogue 7365, still being sold today. Eva Dress and the Vintage Pattern Lending Library also offer one with a similar feel but not as drop-dead sexy or exposed; Eva Dress 5941 or Z5941.

A New York Post interview about the dress.

Images: The Costumer’s Guide, Vogue Patterns, Eva Dress


What Goes Around…

by lsaspacey on February 21, 2010 · 9 comments

in 1930s

Over 15 years ago I made a brown wool crepe dress from a Style pattern that I truly wish I hadn’t thrown out. It was lovely and I did a great job with it; if I say so myself ;) . Unfortunately, it just looked ridiculous on. When I made the dress, I had really miscalculated on the size and I was swimming in the dress. One thing about the design that didn’t help at all was that it required huge shoulder pads. Imagine this: huge linebacker shoulders and then a sack (a heavy wool sack!) of a dress swimming on a then-tiny girl. However, because I loved the design and was proud of my work on it, that dress has been with me ever since. Even though it was only worn once or twice.

Last year, I decided to try it on along with a few of my older vintage pieces. While none of the ones I actually used to wear could even be zipped up (or get past my hips!), this one FIT!!! Yes, and it fit like it was always supposed to. Amazing. Fifteen pounds heavier and with my bust, waist, and hip measurements all three inches larger…it now fits. See for yourself:

Forgive me, the dress had not been pressed when I took these pictures.

Notice the interest at the neckline with the pull-through tie detail, the dolman sleeves that become narrower towards the wrists, and the trumpet shaped bias skirt. There was definitely a 1930s influence in the design of this dress.

P.S. Does anyone know what Style pattern this was? It’s from the early 1990s and I would love to find it again or at least get the pattern image and number for my Patterns Lost Flickr archive. Thanks!


Simplicity 8126

From the moment I saw Simplicity 8126 over at Out of the Ashes I was excited. More so than for any lovely poofy 50′s silhouetted gown. Probably because I could see myself actually wearing this skirt, that it could fit into my life easily. I also like how young and “flirty” it looked. For some reason it really makes me think of hopscotch, bike riding or some other outside activity I did as a kid.

As a long-time crafter I’m also a big fan of functional pockets in clothes and I could see the denim version of the skirt as a great work-outfit for crafting. So that’s why a denim version was the first one I made.

I found a great Lycra-infused denim at Jo-Anns on sale. I followed the instruction to the T except for the pockets. Using the pattern’s layout, the pockets ended up being too effected by the stretch in the denim and stretched out of shape. Eventually I’ll cut another set out and put them on the skirt.

I love this skirt, I love how it doesn’t even look like a typical wrap skirt. The center pleat fools you into thinking it’s a regular skirt while the gathered back almost completely camouflages the wrap portion. (Especially if this was made in a floral pattern) And, about the “wrap factor?” Very good! There is basically a double layer of skirt there in the back so there is no lack of coverage. Also in a fabric with heft like this denim the lower layer sort of serves as a petticoat. I think this skirt would be quite fetching in a silk shantung or taffeta. Affordable yet lovely skirts for bridesmaids, perhaps?

The only (small) problems I had was with the pattern itself. The pattern is just four pieces and the two main portions of the skirt are fashioned so that their seam is visible through the center pleat. I’m not a fan of that but yes, it’s a small quibble.

I hope to make quite a few of these. I already have a gorgeous purple linen ready for making another one of these, so I think I will change the pattern accordingly. This was an easy sew, the only time-consuming detail was the hand sewing of the hem.