1940s | 1980s | Blouses

A polka dot peplum top

By on May 27, 2013

Hummingbird knit top by Cake Patterns in polka dots by Polka Dot Overload

Hello, We Sew Retro! It’s been some time since I posted here (I’ve been ill and out of the sewing game for months but am finally recovered!) but you may remember me as the artist who created the art you see on the header above.

A properly fitting peplum (seam snug at the waist, skirt at the right length and proportion) is a thing of wonder. It can suggest an hourglass figure, or accentuate one that already exists. Peplums seem to be most associated with the 1940s and 1980s, though they seem to pop up a bit in the 1950s and 1970s as well.

Me Made May 19: A Little Hummingbird Told Me

My mother has actual live hummingbirds in her yard, but try as I might I could not get one to land on me for my photos!

The top pictured here (full project details on my blog, Polka Dot Overload) is a modern sewing pattern with vintage roots—the Cake Patterns Hummingbird Peplum Knit top. The skirt here is just a RTW pencil skirt, but I’m working on the skirt from the pattern next. (Full disclosure—I am the pattern envelope illustrator for Cake, but I was not paid to sew this pattern and tested it out on my own time for my own peplum-loving ends).

Here was my initial spring sewing planning sketch (Hummingbird in center):

Spring Sewing Sketch 2013 — Cake Patterns Edition

I’ve also made a more colorful version, but it’s not quite as vintage-inspired of an effect. The fabric print is almost 1970s-looking to me:

Cake Patterns Hummingbird Peplum Top—in hummingbird colors

Again, full project details (for the polka dot version) and lots more photos on my blog, Polka Dot Overload.

P.S. I hope to have more projects to show soon, including this half-peplum asymmetrical dress from a vintage mail-order pattern (acquired from the ZipZapKap store):

Vintage Mail Order 1640 Sewing Pattern

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1980s | Dresses

The Single Shoulder Maxi: Vogue, Very Easy, 7699

By on March 7, 2013

The pattern for my third vacation dress was printed in 1980 (I’m not sure what the bench-marker is for vintage…I consider anything that pre-dates me as vintage, for now). 
It’s quite possibly the easiest dress pattern I’ve ever worked with. There are only two main pattern pieces to this dress (plus POCKETS!) I’ve got more photos and a couple notes up on my blog.

 

 

 

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1980s | Buttons | Skirts

Simplicity 5454: The London Fog Skirt

By on January 16, 2013

Hi everyone! I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I’ve posted. Wow. In truth, this is the first vintage pattern I’ve sewn in quite a while. How odd is it to call a 1980s pattern “vintage”?!

Since I last posted, I moved back to my native New York (I was in Virginia last we spoke). These photos were taken on a particularly foggy afternoon.

Pattern: Simplicity 5454 Wrap Skirt (1982)
Size: 12
Fabric: Cotton/Linen Canvas by Echino (2.5 yards from Sew L.A.)
Notions: 4 gold flower buttons (from the Pasadena Flea Market)

I chose Simplicity 5454, a pattern from 1982 that I thrifted in North Carolina a year and a half ago. It’s a skirt that wraps in the back. I love that the skirt has pockets – in all these photos I’m actually holding my cell phone and my keys in each pocket!

The skirt was easy to make, and it includes darts for shaping at the front and back. I ended up shortening the skirt 4″ so it hit just above the knee rather than at mid-calf. The back edge and skirt hem are finished by creating mitered corners with a machine stitch finish. I usually hand sew my hems, but, dare I say, I like this finish!

I had exactly four of these buttons! When I lived in L.A. I had visited the HUGE Pasadena Flea Market every so often, and these were my first sewing-related purchase. Ah, fond memories. They were at a table watched over by an elderly lady who had a ton of random things for sale.

A view of the pockets. This is leftover fabric from my first skirt ever in 2009! I’m glad you can see the fabric (a Japanese print called “Tiny Flowers”) because I think it’s just really sweet and my other skirt is pre-blog. Doesn’t this skirt just scream springtime? A little early, but at the rate I sew I’ll be thankful it’s done now.

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1980s | Dresses | Shirts

Spring Projects

By on December 28, 2012

It is winter break for my district, which means loads of down time for me.  It may sound crazy, but I really don’t do well with too much time off.  I get bored and the cabin fever sets in.

To help quell my boredom, I am collecting spring clothing patterns and projects.  I have found a few so far on Merrick’s Art.  If you haven’t checked out the blog before, take a gander.  There are some great tutorials.

Here are a few that I found and am planning on trying.

Tunic Dress
http://www.merricksart.com
Doman Sleeve Top
http://www.merricksart.com

Both of these are super simple tops, made from knit cotton.  I can’t wait to give them a try.  I will let you guys know how they turn out!

Here area  few more links to projects I want to try.
http://www.merricksart.com/2012/06/easiest-pencil-skirt-youll-ever-make.html
http://www.merricksart.com/2012/03/jersey-pencil-skirt-tutorial.html
– Nikki
To see more, check out my blog at http://retro-phile.blogspot.com/

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1980s | Pattern Catalogs | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Lutterloh find

By on September 30, 2012

 

I was browsing the local Goodwill in the craft section when I happened upon a box that caught my eye. I had heard about the Lutterloh system many years ago and had forgotten about it, but the box was intriguing. I looked inside and saw all the lovely illustrations for patterns but I didn’t know if I wanted to fool with it. I put it down, then picked it back up, what the heck, it was only $3.99. Well, I am glad I purchased it. I can’t wait to make some of the lovely items from the book. It is dated 1984, so it’s not that old but still somewhat retro,hmmmm? I have also been inspired by those of you who have made some great items from a Lutterloh pattern, thanks for sharing!

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1970s | 1980s | Mens | Shirts | Vintage Sewing

Vintage western shirt #2

By on September 3, 2012

Flowery vintage western shirt

This is the second time I have made this shirt for Mr Ooobop!, using Butterick 5007. The last one was quite literally a year ago. I added some contrasting detail this time. Under the collar, the inside collar stand, under side of pocket flaps and inside cuffs.

contrast red detail

I also added some bias trim on the hem to retain some length but I love how it has ended up defining the shirt-tails and adding some more popping red!

bound hem

I made a couple of adjustments namely to the chest, shoulders and sleeve length but the most time-consuming thing of all on this shirt was the topstitching and flat felled seams.

Defo worth the effort though! More info over at ooobop!

 

 

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1980s | Children | Dresses | Kids | Vintage Sewing

Grace’s first day of school dress

By on August 18, 2012

Grace’s first day of school was a few weeks ago, and, of course, I had to make her a new dress to start school in.  I had this pattern picked out a long time ago–  McCalls 8859 from 1983.  I made my standard changes to the pattern by cutting off the seam allowance around the neck and lengthening it to knee length.  It ended up a little longer than that, but as far as I’m concerned, that’s fine, because now there’s some growth room!  Gracie requested a “pink Pooh dress”, so this fabric was my only option.

 

  I made bows to match, too.  🙂 Grace is pleased as punch about being big enough for school and has been proclaiming how she’s a “Big-big kid now!”  Instead of the appliques, I tracked down vintage 90s Classic Pooh buttons and made simple “frogs” from pink cording.

 

 

 

Grace loves her dress, and it fits pretty well.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a little surreal that I made a dress for Bit that my mom could have made for me! The piping is whipstitch piping I had in my stash from a grab bag I bought a while ago.

 

 

 

 

 

The pleats were different on this one–they have underlays in them, making the pleats a little different than average.  The buttons are actually Gracie’s favorite part!

 

 

I think the only improvement I could have made was to add pockets.

 

More on my blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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