Vintage Sewing

Simplicity 8126 – The Hopscotch Skirt

By on June 21, 2009
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.

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

Working The Vintage Kinks Out

By on May 29, 2009

I wrote about this top before when I first made it but I was never happy with the fit. Though you might not be able to see the difference this top has now been taken in quite a bit at the sides, the neckline width was reduced, the length was cropped, and it received an entirely new facing. I think the most noticeable change is the detail down the front. That was were I had to take a vertical tuck in the front because the neckline was far too wide to be comfortable or to keep from slipping off my shoulders!

I think I now know that I won’t be making any more outfits from McCall’s 8251 though I still love the “idea” of it so much. Trying to alter this pattern to make it workable has thoroughly frustrated me. I even thought I could find the pattern in the next smallest size and go from there but there is something odd enough about the sleeves and armholes that I’m not sure that would even work.

If anyone out there has made a similar pattern to this one that worked for them, like McCall’s 8337, Simplicity 6634 (both below) or something else, please let me know, OK?

McCall’s 8337 Simplicity 6634

Mosaic created with fd’s Flickr Toys.

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

Copyright issues with vintage patterns?

By on May 1, 2009

Has anyone ever attempted to sell clothes made from a vintage pattern? Do you happen to know what kind of copyright issues are involved?

The pattern in question is from 1969 and truly consists of just three rectangles. When buying the fabric for a sample (with the pattern in hand) three of the women working at Jo-Ann remembered wearing this particular style of garment “back in the day” so it was definitely popular at the time.

What are your thoughts? Thanks.

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

Pink? Ruffles? Yes, please!

By on January 29, 2009

silk taffeta ruffle wrap dress

I saw this dress as part of the J.Crew wedding collection. Now, I’m not into wearing pink, especially not this obvious a shade and ruffles have never factored into my wardrobe, at least not since my mother stopped making my clothes. However, I loved it and actually thought it would make a much better wedding dress than the one it was pictured with. (This one is also nice in lavender!)

A few months later, I found and sent this Eliza J dress to EmilyStyle as a suggestion for her wedding reception dress.

Simplicity 7715

Well, later still, I found this gem of a pattern on Woof Nanny‘s Flickr stream of vintage patterns! At first I didn’t notice the similarities. Not until I left a comment for the picture saying how it would make a great modern wedding dress. And that was when I had my AHA! moment… ‘I had thought this before.’

Now, of course, it’s really just the last two dresses that look alike but to me they are all a departure from what I would normally gravitate to. So I think it was all a needed progression so I could fall in love with this last one. Which, come on, wouldn’t mean the same to me if it was a modern pattern. Of course, it had to be vintage, right?

I am now thinking that a version of Simplicity 7715 might be a great dress to have in the closet for weddings, christening, and other such events. Hmmm….maybe a subtle pinkish-lavender?

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

The Maternity Muu Muu….NOT

By on September 25, 2008

I found this dress pattern in the maternity section at Lanetz Living. That’s probably why it was there long enough for me to debate for weeks to buy it. I’m not sure many modern women want to knowingly make a muu-muu to wear when they’re pregnant. However, since I wasn’t in the “family way” I thought McCall’s 6712‘s belted version was adorable. The fact that it had a self-fabric belt and pockets just made it ideal.


Worn with cheap but lovely 50’s-style jacket from Forever 21.

As soon as I saw this Denyse Schmidt “Katie Jump Rope” fabric I knew it was the one. Now, why it took me an entire year to make this dress though, is a mystery. But it is now done and just in time to catch the dwindling summer days of 2008. In addition, if I find the right knitted cardigan it could possibly stretch into fall.

For more construction details, see my blog post here.

Please excuse the blurry full-length photo.

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

It may be late but I did finish…

By on September 23, 2007

More than a year ago, I claimed to be making a retro inspired dress using a Target tablecloth as fabric. Well, I finally finished it last week. It feels good to be done…but it doesn’t fit!

Well, it fit when I cut it out (a year ago). It fit when I attached the bodice lining (months ago). It just doesn’t fit me now. Throughout this stressing summer, I lost weight. I was shocked at how much. And for me that’s not a good thing. However, I am not taking the dress in. I will get my weight up once I find a job and no longer freak out about how much food costs.

the back

My dress just doesn’t look as cute as it should. So even though I finished it, I’m not happy. It’s loose overall which isn’t that bad until you come to the waist. My waist comes in much more than that and I want the 50’s New Look silhouette that is the dress design. I will be buying a petticoat soon, however, in the meantime, maybe a belt will help? They show one on the pattern.

So, I will be on the lookout for satin-like ribbon 2 in or more wide, something you just don’t find at JoAnne’s or Hancocks anymore. Maybe grosgrain instead?

I also have this retro McCall’s pattern from 1966. This top just needs to be hemmed a little longer than shown. I looked forward to making this pattern. I thought it was simple and I could whip out dresses and tops from it all summer long. However, I’m having fitting problems with this as well. It just seems to be drafted really big, regardless of my weight loss. The sleeves were longer than pictured, I had to cut off about 2 inches. After easing the sleeves in, they are actually puffy.

I promise next time I sew anything where fit is a major part of its design, I will make a muslin. That will be extremely hard for me because I am an impatient seamstress. But if it eliminates this frustration, then I will do it.

Continue Reading