1970s | 1980s | Blouses | Children | Dresses | Jackets | Jumpers / Pinafores | Rompers / Playsuits | Shirts | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

Vintage Patterns, 70s, 80s, 90s

By on November 22, 2014

I’ve been searching Craigslist for sewing notions, patterns, and fabric, and yesterday I made a huge find!  For $20, I purchased over 150 vintage patterns from the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

It’s been a lot of fun going through the patterns.  There’s a good selection of 70s and 80s dresses, women’s suits (pants/skirts/blouse/blazer combos), and skirts, as well as adorable little girls’ dresses.


Happy vintage sewing!

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1960s | Coats | Pattern Catalogs

Marfy Patterns

By on October 21, 2014

Has anyone here ever sewn a Marfy pattern?  I found them via Butterick and am in LOVE.  I am, however, a bit intimidated by them.  There are apparently no instructions, and they don’t have seam or hem allowances.  They are pre-cut and single-sized.  I really want to try, but don’t want to waste money on fabric or the pattern and end up failing like I did with the German coat of doom.

Here is a picture of the pattern I want to get: F3472, Marfy Coat

I really want to make a winter coat this winter, one that I can wear with a petticoat and 50s dress.  This is the best pattern I have found so far.  But it scares me!  The only reviews of Marfy patterns I can find are of blouses, which would be a lot easier than a coat.

Thoughts?  Suggestions?  Help, please!  I’m in love with this coat and just can’t stand it!

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Vintage Sewing

Help! Chevron Dress

By on August 31, 2014

Last Christmas, my sister-in-law got me this lovely green and white chevron fabric.  It’s some sort of cotton blend, with a bit of stretch to it.  I loved it instantly, and set it aside for something special.  Well, it’s been sitting in my stash since then, irritating me because I can’t figure out what to do with it!  So tonight, I finally decided to cut out pieces for my favorite 60s dress.  It’s Simplicity 1609 which I have made twice before and simply adore.

However, I’m not sure if I like the dress without embellishments.  The chevrons are a little overwhelming by themselves.  So!  I need your help!  Which of the versions below do you like best?  The dark fabric is a navy linen I have…if I use a contrasting fabric, though, I will probably go out and buy cotton.  I’ll take alternate color ideas, too.

Here is the dress without alterations.  If the bust darts look wonky, it’s because they are just pinned in place.


Version 1 has epaulets on the shoulders and a stripe down the front center.


Version 2 has navy around the neckline and the hemline.


Version 3 would have a bow like the teal dress below, but in the contrasting fabric.

Ideas?  Thoughts?  I would love input!  Thanks, and happy sewing!

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1940s | 1950s | Blouses | Skirts

Black and White

By on August 14, 2014

I thought I’d post pictures of some of my favorite handmade retro clothes.  I never posted these in the first place, probably because they were in the laundry or being worn!  It just so happens that they’re all black and white!

This skirt is one of my favorites!  It’s a full circle skirt made from some lovely wool houndstooth.  I used a super wide black ribbon for the waistband and along the edge of the lining.  I love love love it!  Unfortunately, it’s a bit too hot right now in Texas for me to wear it.

Another circle skirt!  I’m a little obsessed with them.  This is made out of some sort of linen blend that DOESN’T wrinkle every time you sit down!  I recently finished it (after wearing and washing it several times) by hemming the lining, replacing a lost button, and a little added detail to the waistband.  (I couldn’t resist…my new machine is awesome!)

Finally, not a circle skirt!  This is my second attempt at Simplicity 1590, and definitely more of a success.  The fabric is a weird polyester that is stiff enough to hold the peplum out.  I used tiny black buttons down the front, and added a tie in the back.  It looks great with a black skirt, or with jeans.  A great addition to the wardrobe!

And for those of you who helped me out with my recent sewing machine crisis, thank you!  So many of you told me how wonderful your Janome machines were that I decided to get one of my own!  It is the Magnolia 7330, and I LOVE it!  So, thanks!


Happy sewing, everyone!

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1940s | Sewing Machines | Vintage Sewing

A new-old sewing machine, a pair of pants, and a question

By on July 31, 2014

The past few weeks have been FULL of sewing machine mayhem!  I visited my parents in Indiana, and brought home a new-to-me sewing machine, a gorgeous 1925 Singer 66.  After cleaning out the decades of lint, replacing the belt, and oiling every single moving part I could found, it WORKS!

(pardon my messy sewing area)

It’s really an incredible machine.  If you haven’t sewn with a treadle before, you should try it out.  It’s a good workout, as well as being fun.  I think the physical requirements make me feel like I am doing so much more.

(There are more pictures and even a video of the bobbin winder on my blog.)

I knew I had to sew something vintage on the machine once I got it working.  I was hoping for something 20s/30s, but got too frustrated trying to find a pattern I liked, so one night I just sat down and made a pair of ’40s pants from Simplicity 3699.  I’ve made them before – such a good and comfortable pair of pants!

One of these days, I’m going to make the blouse (I even have fabric picked out).  For now, though, the pants are fun and easy.  I was able to finish them in a night and morning.

(sorry for the distant photos…I’m still trying to teach my husband how to take proper “fashion” pictures of my projects)

I didn’t change the pattern too much.  Last time, the waist was WAY too high (I love the 40s waist, but goodness I’d like my pants below my bellybutton, please!), so I took about 3 inches off.  It’s still pretty high, and the crotch rides fairly low.  They were also very long, so I sewed a cuff on the bottom (which you can’t see from the pictures).  Overall, I’m very pleased.  They are great lounging pants.

Now for a sewing machine question.  In the midst of figuring out how to make the Singer 66 work, my “modern” machine (which is about the same age as me…), a Singer Sonata, decided to kick the bucket.  It had been hanging on for dear life desperately for some time, so it is probably time to let it go.  That, and the repair cost would be outrageous.  So!  I need some advice.  What type of sewing machines do you all have?  Do you like/love/hate them?  I mostly sew clothing, so I don’t need fancy computerized embroidery stuff.  I’ll be happy with a buttonholer, bobbin winder, blind hem, and the ability to sew on all types of fabrics.

If you have suggestions, or a link to someone’s wonderful sewing machine advice, I would be grateful!  Thank you!


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Notions | Vintage Sewing

Vintage Notions Identification Help

By on May 14, 2014

A friend has been going through her grandma’s sewing supplies from the 60s-80s, and passing many of them onto me.  I’ve gotten some great things from her – patterns, about 500 hook-and-eye closures, fabric, seam binding…as well as some notions I cannot place.  I thought I’d post pictures on here to see if anyone can help me figure out what they are.

These little things feel kind of like something you might embroider onto a garment, but there are about 25 of them in a bag and they don’t look like anything someone might want embroidered onto something.  They can be folded in half.

I know the package on the left is collar stays (though they’re kind of long), but I’m not sure about the one on the right.  The white bands are elastic, and the writing is in German.

I’m very confused by these items.  They’re all the same thing, just different lengths and colors.  The packages say “Zig Zag Wire Supports; Braces the fabric, supports the collar flare.”  All of those words make sense…but where and why would you use them?


These packages say “shoulder strap guards; pin-in nylon; snap ends around shoulder strap.”

And finally, these strange things.  They look like buttons, but are made up by threads pulled to the center of the circle.  A friend suggested they might be the buttons you use in the middle of pillows.

The pictures below are items I recognize but have no need for.  If anyone could find a use for any of the items in this post, let me know.  Especially the hook-and-eye closures.  I have enough to last me many, many years.

Thanks for the help!  It’s been fun looking through all those notions and trying to imagine what they might be used for.

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