1970s | Rompers / Playsuits | Vintage Sewing

Late 1970s Krizia playsuit

By on September 30, 2014

Some of you may have seen my post on McCall’s Krizia patterns, released in the late 1970s to early 1980s. I sewed up the playsuit from one of my favourites, McCall’s 6624, a¬†playsuit and wrap skirt pattern from McCall’s “Carefree” line.

McCall's 6624 by Krizia (1979)
McCall’s 6624 by Krizia (1979)

It’s a short and strappy playsuit, with the bodice and shorts pleated into a midriff band, a combination zipper fly/button front, and shaped side vents on the shorts.

I had a sparkly stretch knit found at Fabricland that seemed suitably disco. The pattern isn’t specifically for stretch knits, but one of the recommended fabrics is synthetic jersey.

My wife photographed me by an awesome local graffiti mural—a collaboration between two Toronto artists:

More photos and construction notes on my blog

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1930s | Children | Coats

1930s Toddler Coat

By on March 11, 2014

30s coat pocket

I made our little niece a vintage tweed coat using a 1930s Pictorial Review pattern:

Pictorial Review 6128
Pictorial Review 6128

In true 1930s spirit, all the materials were re-purposed or came from my stash. We had some purple Woolrich tweed and black lining, and I cut the pocket flaps from an old pair of leather gloves. The buttons are vintage Civil Defence buttons from wartime Britain.

This was an experiment in both coat-making and tailoring for me. The pattern instructions said to pad stitch only the undercollar, and because the coat is a size 1 there could only be so much hand sewing. I love working with wool and heavy fabrics, so the project was a lot of fun, especially the pockets and lapels.

Here are some photos of the finished coat:

1930s child's coat front
1930s child's coat - front view
1930s child's coat - back view
1930s child's coat - back view

Here’s a closeup of the front buttons. I also tried out some handworked keyhole buttonholes:

Civil Defence buttons
Civil Defence buttons

For more details and tailoring progress pics see my blog post.

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1920s | Swimwear / Sunwear

1920s Swimsuit

By on November 9, 2013

I made myself a vintage 1920s swimsuit using Vintage Fashion Library 145, which is a reproduction of Simplicity 7041:

Simplicity 7041
Simplicity 7041 via the Vintage Patterns Wiki

I made the one-piece with scoop back, using some lightly textured, black swimwear fabric and matching white fabric for a contrast belt. The repro is a B38, so I needed to grade it down to fit me. I didn’t alter the length of the shorts, only the belt and straps. I added white topstitching along the top and bottom edges of the bodice, with contrasting black topstitching on the white belt.

My wife took some photos of me in the suit at Sunnyside Bathing Pavilion in Toronto’s west end. Worn with a coverup, it’s almost indistinguishable from a playsuit:

I was able to cheat and sew the 1″ buttons directly through the straps:

And yes, you can swim in it! I’m considering making the low-backed view in a lighter swimwear fabric for next summer… I’ve posted more details at my blog, PatternVault.

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1970s | Dresses | Mildly Insane Photo

’70s Givenchy evening dress / Quaithe costume

By on December 3, 2012

Daenerys and me

For my Halloween costume this year, I made a 1970s evening dress by Givenchy, Vogue 2014. I was making my wife a Daenerys costume based on the character’s outfit in the season 2 finale of Game of Thrones, so with the help of a red mask I went as Quaithe of Asshai (the version from the books, not the show).

Vogue 2014 is a Very Easy Vogue pattern, and I was able to cut it one day and sew it the next. With the exception of the centre front seam and the facing extension, everything is finished by hand.

I made the dress in vintage black Qiana without alterations, thanks to the design and the stretch in the fabric. The one change I made was to substitute a string of beads for the pattern’s 18″ back tassel. It’s probably a little too heavy, but I like the effect.

Here are a couple photos of me in the finished dress, taken by the fabulous Rachel O’Neill:

Quaithe full length
Vogue 2014 by Givenchy - full length
Quaithe - back detail
Vogue 2014 by Givenchy - back detail

More details and photos on my blog here.

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1930s | Vintage Sewing

Another ’30s sewing comic

By on September 4, 2012

Last year, in my first post to We Sew Retro, I posted about a late Thirties comic strip called Sally Makes a Conquest. I wanted to share another J.C. Penney advertising comic strip: How Ginger Got the Job!

How Ginger Got the Job!

(Is it me, or did someone disagree about Penney’s prices?)

Unlike the earlier comic strip, this one credits the patterns illustrated—McCall 3363 and 3364—but they aren’t yet on the wiki.

For more details and discussion see my blog.

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1960s | Dresses

Vogue 1556 by Yves Saint Laurent

By on April 15, 2012

This winter I was fortunate to get some fantastic photos of my version of Vogue 1556, a dress from Yves Saint Laurent’s famous ‘Mondrian’ collection. (You can see my post on Vogue’s Mondrian collection patterns here.) Some of you may remember the dress from my We Sew Retro profile a while back.

For the pattern’s first release, the original dress was photographed at the Knoll showroom in Paris, so I roped a photographer friend into a photo shoot at Toronto’s Knoll showroom. Here’s one of the shots:

We had a blast with all the mid-century furniture in the showroom. See my blog for details and more photos.

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1920s | Capes

McCall 4455 by Martial et Armand

By on December 18, 2011

My latest 1920s sewing project—an evening wrap by Martial et Armand—is finished! Here’s the pattern envelope:

Like the other three, this one’s also from 1926. Although it isn’t called an evening wrap on the pattern envelope, the catalogue promotes it as a design for evening. I made the plain version (without shirring) in black velveteen. The standing collar is even more dramatic when made up. Here I am in the finished wrap:

For more details and photos see my blog.

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