1960s

Whiter shade of pale

By on March 24, 2017

Hello!  Some time ago I bought 2 remnant pieces of beautiful grosgrains: an apple green rayon and a creamy-white cotton one. I never worked with grosgrain except for the ribbons and I was surprised to find how delicate, soft and drapey it is. The rayon grosgrain has more body and is a bit firmer; the cotton is light and smooth; both have a wonderful, subtle sheen to them, which catches the light beautifully. The only problem is that they fray like crazy: be sure to leave a considerable seam allowances and to properly secure them if sewing with grosgrain fabrics (I used a dense zig-zag stitch).

 

I used the Simplicity 8049 1960s reproduction pattern. I was attracted to the three-armhole dress idea and I liked the purity of its lines. The construction was pretty straightforward; surprisingly enough, the front is cut on straight grain so the “cowl” is created by using pleats. I decided to line the whole dress; this cleaned up the mess inside and helped to give the dress a little bit more body and less transparency. The lining pieces were created using main pattern pieces, I hand-stitched them in place all around the facings, the side seam and the hem.

The cat always thinks he’s so creative with his hiding spots

I made some personal touches to the project like adding a lining cover to the snaps or making a separate belt, which fastens with 3 hooks-and eyes and a snap. For more details and photos, I invite you to visit my blog, rvdzik.blogspot.com. Have a great weekend!

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1960s | Children | Kids | Vintage Sewing

Simplicity 4836 – A Sentimental Make

By on March 22, 2017

Hey lovelies,

I’ve been reading We Sew Retro for some time now, and I’m excited to join the ranks of you who contribute! I want to share a recent-ish project with you. It isn’t by any means my first retro project, but it is special, and you’ll soon see why 🙂

A few months ago, I was thrifting at a secondhand store out of town. I love scouring thrift stores for their sewing patterns – they’re a goldmine! Anyway, I stumbled on this cute pattern Simplicity 4836. It’s a little boys’ pants, vest and jacket suit pattern from the early 1960s. I originally bought it to put it in my shop, but on closer inspection I noticed something amazing.

Simplicity 4836 – you’ll make one little boy so stylish!
Can you see that? This pattern was used for a little Michael too more than 50 years ago 🙂

The original owner had scribbled some notes on the front (as sewists often do!) and made it for a little Michael in 1965. What were the chances – I have a little Michael in my life! At two and a half years old, my nephew is a big strong boy, so I figured child size 4 might be on the big side, but it would make sure there’s growing room. I just couldn’t resist. I set out to make the vest as it’s the most versatile.

I had some leftover navy blue wool/poly twill from a skirt, and enough lining for the project. It was such a quick sew and great use of those awkward leftovers that are “too big to give away but too small to make something”. Based on this logic, I think I’ll be making many, many more things for my nephews!

Kid – you look good!

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1960s | Vintage Sewing

A question to the community

By on March 20, 2017

Hi,

I hope this sort of post is allowed. I am planning costumes for a play that is set in the late 60’s. I was wondering if all the experts I see on here could suggest there favourite “tarty” 60’s look or pattern if you have one in mind. What colours would you use? Also bare in mind that I don’t have the legs to pull off a proper 60’s mini skirt or hot pants look.

I am thinking of going with red as it seems the universal colour for tarts in popular culture (not so sure if it was in the 60’s though). I really am just after whatever inspiration you could afford me.

(mod please delete if not appropriate)

Thanks
Heather

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1960s

McCalls 6569: Gold Satin Evening Dress

By on February 11, 2017

This year I made a decision, a decision not be to scared by fabric. For a couple of years now I’ve had some gold satin I brought back from Vegas in my stash and I’ve been so scared to use it having never worked with anything like that. This year it’s my tenth (?!) wedding anniversary and I thought it would make the loveliest dress for our celebratory meal out.

I picked McCalls 6569 for the pattern; a gorgeous sixties evening dress.

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The first thing I did was post in the We Sew Retro Sew & Tell facebook group to ask for tips, it’s one thing I LOVE about the sewing community, you have a wealth of experience and advice online in a group like that and people are only willing to help and wish you luck. So armed with my new found advice I bit the bullet and cracked on. As you may have noticed if you read my blog, I don’t often make muslins of my clothes but as I was working with an unforgiving fabric I thought I probably should get it right the first time, as a seam ripper might not be the best friend it previously had been to me. I measured up, perfect in the bust but 2 inches bigger on the waist and 4 on the hips (not live I’ve had a baby in the last year or anything….). It was going to need a little adjustment.

To read more about the adjustment process and how I sewed my muslin up pop over to my blog.
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So on to the dress….

I spent a whole night cutting out and marking up the pattern pieces (including the adjusted pieces – see my other blog). My, my, what a pain in the arse. It turns out satin is the most slippery material known to man (slight exaggeration, but it did feel like that at the time).

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The following day I sewed the bodice together which went very well but then it was time for the lining. I should say at this point I have never lined anything in my life but as I was sewing with satin I thought it would probably be a good idea just to bit the bullet and do it.

I then spent a long night sewing the lining to the skirt pieces following this, and here was where I made one of my major mistakes. I have no idea how I marked the fabric up wrong but somehow I managed to.

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When it came to the later stage of sewing it together it meant that I had a row of stitching down the back of the skirt next to the centre seam which I then had to unpick.

With a day to go to my anniversary (and after a lengthy trip to the dentist for two fillings) I spent a full day sewing the skirt pieces together. I attached the skirt to the bodice with relative ease and inserted the zip. Mistake number two: I was silly enough to not check that the fabric was taught when I basted the zip in, meaning that when I went to sew it I, again, had a big chuck of stitches to unpick which left a rather messy side zip insertion.

Thankfully it’s a side zip so really no one’s going to see it unless the come up really close to have a look . I finished sewing the lining pieces together at the waist and was quite impressed with how it looked inside out.

At this point I thought I should just leave the hemming to my anniversary and cut my losses before I cried.

So the day of my 10th wedding anniversary (last Friday) I sewed right up to the last minute but I did finally finish my dress with a couple of hours to spare, and I did get all dressed up and we did go out for the first time on our own in seven months. And here I am in my dress!

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Overall I am extremely happy with how it turned out. What do you think?

To see more photos of my mistakes and successes and to read more about it, please have a look at my blog 🙂

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1950s | 1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Blue Jacquard 1950’s Dress

By on February 6, 2017

I imagine many people here on We Sew Retro are big fans of Gretchen Hirsche’s wonderful fabric designs for Fabric Traditions available at Joanns, and I have seen so many lovely things made from her fabrics around the community! I recently picked up a few yards of the blue jacquard from one of Gertie’s fall fabric collections in the red tag area of Joanns (always check out the red tag area, is it usually full of dated sad decorator fabrics? Well, yes. Are there occasional hidden gems? Also yes!). I decided the shining sapphire blue jacquard would make a perfect 1950’s style wiggle dress and got started right away!

It was really important for this dress to make sure the raw edges of each seam were finished in some way since I knew I didn’t want to bother with a lining. Also with most jacquards and brocades I like to finish the edges no matter what as they seem to looove to fray apart the moment they are cut! So the first thing I did after cutting out this dress was overlock all of the edges with my serger. The bodice is a simple “kimono” sleeve style which is super simple to make up (just 6 darts total and the side seams) as you don’t have to fiddle with setting in proper sleeves as they are cut into the design. I totally recommend this style of bodice for those who have trouble with sleeves! The neckline was finished with a self fabric facing that I tacked down with tiny thread tacks to help it stay smooth. With a center back zipper and hand sewn hem finished, it was ready to wear! Too bad I didn’t make this number in time for New Years Eve as it would make a perfect holiday party dress! Next year perhaps 🙂

For more photos visit the full outfit post over on The Closet Historian!

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