Retro Upcycled Dottie Angel Frock Using Vintage Laura Ashley Textiles

By on October 11, 2016

Dottie Angel Frock by Karen Vallerius

I used to wear pinafore frocks like these back in the day, so when I saw this Dottie Angel frock all over Pinterest I decided I had to try the pattern out (Simplicity 1080).  I adapted the pattern by using a vintage 80s Laura Ashley floral button through skirt as the main body of the frock.  The hemline contrast section was an earlier 70s Laura Ashley cotton and the pockets were cut from a 90s 00s LA blouse.  Following photos show the textiles more closely.

Will definitely be trying this in the “dress” style too.  I love vintage florals from the 70s and 80s by Liberty of London, Laura Ashley & Marion Donaldson and plan to make many more “pieced” garments using treasured textiles from my stash.  Please visit my blog if you would like to read more


Dottie Angel Frock by Karen Vallerius

Dottie Angel Frock by Karen Vallerius

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1970s | Blouses

Dig My Wide Collar – 1973 Simplicity 6110 Blouse

By on September 5, 2016
Simplicity 6110, copyright 1973

Simplicity 6110, Misses’ Blouse, Skirt and Pants

Seventies fashion always makes me smile.  I absolutely love the exuberance of this era’s designs:  cheerful, big buttons, the oh-so wide pointy collar that spreads from sleeve cap to shining sleeve cap, it all makes me grin.

S6110 frontAccording to the envelope, “This design has the new narrow shoulder look.  The shoulder length of the pattern is shorter and the head of the sleeve is higher.”

I sewed this up using Michael Miller’s “Little Lifesavers” quilting cotton.   This type of fabric is perfect for the way I wash and wear clothes.  That is to say, hot water, high heat in the dryer, and I’ll likely spill something down the front every other wearing.

S6110 back full lengthFitting was simple, as there is no bust dart.  Instead, the front is gathered into yokes.  By comparing the measurement of the pattern to a blouse that fits, I determined I only need to make a rounded upper back and swayback adjustment.

I also shortened the sleeves about an inch and a quarter.  Otherwise, they end at my elbow crease, making my waist look wide.  Between the wide collar and the short, cuffed sleeves, it appears I have a waist (I’m actually pretty square).

Can you dig my exuberant collar?
Can you dig my exuberant collar?

I wanted to emphasize the very pointed collar and cuffs.  I tried Pellon 950S, ShirTailor, which gave a crisp feel to both.

Sewing the blouse was incredibly straight forward.  The instructions are clearly written, and the diagrams quite helpful.

Cuff Detail
Cuff Detail

The oversize buttons that I love didn’t look quite right down the front of the blouse.  I happened to have two sets of the same orange buttons in different diameters.  What can I say?  I like orange buttons, so I have a lot of them.  The three-quarter inch diameter buttons matched the scale of the little lifesavers, and I like the effect much better.

But the cuffs, oh, man, the cuffs were made for the orange 1 1/8″ buttons.  The sheer exuberance of oversize orange buttons makes me so happy!


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70’s Wrap dress

By on August 15, 2016
Its a bit Mistress of the Dark glam
Its a bit Mistress of the Dark glam

SO this was my first time sewing an actual vintage pattern. I totally get what all the fuss is about! The details on this pattern were just awesome! This was my contribution to my Maxi Dress Sew-Along and also my first time sewing linen. Lots of firsts, right?

And my first backless dress.
And my first backless dress.

I usually don’t go for the 70’s look, but I think that may be a mistake! This dress is super flatttering, and VERY comfortable. While this one is a bit of a fabric hog, it’s totally worth it. It took me a second to wrap my brain around sewing a backless dress, I kept looking for the rest of the bodice pieces. Buckle down and follow the instructions, though, and it’s a breeze. For full details, check out my blog, Sewn by Ashley

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1970s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Simplicity 8498 “Old Faithful” Made Petite

By on July 14, 2016

While searching for a quick and easy to make dress pattern, I came across my wonderfully versatile early 1970s Simplicity pattern which has earned the nickname “Old Faithful” as it hasn’t let me down yet!

I love the options for the dress. It can be, sleeveless, short- or long-sleeved; short or long in length; and can also have a belt with a button fastening at the back.

It’s suitable for a range of materials including cottons, linen, synthetics, crepes, brocade, wool and many more.

Depending on the style and material you choose, you can make a comfortable day dress or a striking evening dress suitable for any season!

1970s Simplicity Pattern “Old Faithful”

Adjusting the Length

One of the main reasons I make my own clothes is because I’m a petite fit with an extra short waist! This pattern is easy to adapt to fit your length, whether short or tall on the skirt and sleeves.

1970s Simplicity Pattern “Old Faithful” 01

1970s Simplicity Pattern “Old Faithful” 02

So I started by measuring from the shortening/lengthening point, the amount I needed to decrease, then folded the pattern down and pinned it. Simple!

Making the Dress

1970s Simplicity Pattern “Old Faithful” 03

1970s Simplicity Pattern “Old Faithful” 04

Arranging the pieces on the material was easy thanks to the simple instructions and the directions on each individual piece. They clearly explain how to follow the grain as well as how to make sure the pattern of the material flows well.

I decided to make a short sleeve, knee length dress so folded up the parts of the skirt and sleeve that I didn’t need.

1970s Simplicity Pattern “Old Faithful” 05

My dress fits perfectly and is incredibly comfortable! Once again the pattern hasn’t let me down!

1970s Simplicity Pattern “Old Faithful” - Result

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70s Gold Maternity Dress: Simplicity 1360

By on February 14, 2016

For my first sew of the year I decided on adapting this new maternity pattern to make a vintage style outfit.


Thinking along the lines of “if I lengthen this dress and make it glitzy it could totally look 70s disco-a-go-go” I opted for buying in a boatload of gold lame, without really thinking of the consequences.

When the lame arrived I fell in LOVE, It is sooooo beautiful and undeterred I set about lengthening the pattern and cutting the extension pieces out (excuse the slippers).



I ran a few pieces through the machine to see what the fabric was like to sew. This did not go well. Now, I have always been told to use a zig zag stitch for stretch fabrics (I don’t own an overlocker) but this didn’t work.

After a stressful and annoying night I managed to get the front of the dress completed but only after a lot of turning the air blue and wondering why in the hell it wouldn’t sew like it was meant to.

Truth is, I’m still not sure – is it because the weight of the fabric is too heavy, so it’s not your typical stretch? (If anyone does know please tell me!).

To hear more about me putting it all together please have a click over to my blog www.staceystitch.com

So here I am in all my shiny gold disco glory, pretty happy with how it’s turned out, even if I do look like a preggo space babe from the future.

Gold Maternity DressGold Maternity DressGold Maternity Dress


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1970s | Pants / Trousers

Now with flare

By on January 18, 2016

Last week, I was looking at some pieces of corduroy in my stash and realized one, a very dark brown fine-wale version, had stretch. Immediately, I thought it could become one thing only: 1970’s style flared trousers.

3So, I made the trousers. I used a pattern I had drafted last year for a pair of jeans and just added a lot more flare to the the lower legs.

5Although I hardly ever try for a 1970’s look, I know it is one that suits me. I also seem to have a lot of things in my wardrobe which lend themselves to the look. The tweed jacket, for example, is one I made years ago (as in: pre-blog…) with the intention of making it look 1950’s (which it does, when worn with a skirt).

And I secretly quite like to finally be able to wear this big hat to good effect…

As usual, more about these trousers and more pictures on my blog!

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