1980s | Dresses

Butterick 4643

By on December 27, 2011



Slashing and spreading a couple of days before Christmas was scary, but I made it and though a little big at the shoulders, it turned out to be exactly what I wanted. A big sweater dress I can put over anything. For Christmas, I paired it with a bright t-shirt, hot pink thighs and green shoes and I thought I looked very modern and on trend! You can accuse me of being a fashion victim!

The Holidays are not over yet, so let me wish you lots of little stitches in the year to come.



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1950s | 1960s | 1980s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Vintage Fabric….Awesome

By on November 30, 2011

Hello All!

I recently had a revelation….that I could use vintage fabric to make garments with! I know a stroke of genius. I am slow, but when I finally discover something I get this feeling that I am the first person to every have such a notion (though I am probably the last)….well I got on Etsy and Ebay a couple weeks back and I went browsing for some vintage fabric, in a large enough usable quantity and I stumbled upon these gems:

This is 100% Silk that I bought from a woman in Germany and I was told that it is from the 1980s. It was a bit over 3 yards long and in perfect condition and I got it for a good price. My Mr. told me not to buy it since he thought it was ugly, at least he’s honest (lol). In my opinion it is very visually interesting and I think the colors are perfect for this time of year so I ignored his advice and went ahead and snapped it up. My favorite part is that the selvedges are stamped 100% Seide (silk in German) in gold lettering.  I think the reason he thought it was ugly was because I had him comparing it to this:

I love this!….a vintage Silk Organza. When I saw it listed, for the price it was at, I had to have it. It is so beautiful and when I recieved it in the mail it was even more gorgeous….it has this lovely sheen and though it is relatively stiff it still manages to drape and flow so elegantly. The sellers listed it as being “Mid-Century”, 50s & 60s I guess, do you agree? It is 4 yards long and almost 60″ wide, it is a HUGE piece and I don’t have plans for it as yet, it is special and I want to save it for the right dress, but I have turned my German silk into:

This is not a vintage pattern but since I used vintage fabric I think it qualifies as retro sewing. I am very pleased with how this  dress project is coming along, I am very close to completion. The pattern was super easy, fun and I think it shows off the fabric beautifully…for more details about this dress as well as the fabrics please visit my blog and leave comments if your so inclined I love to meet new (to me) bloggers and sewists. Plus, to see pictures of my vintage sewing pattern Haul please visit here.



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1950s | 1980s | Vintage Sewing

Coming Up Roses

By on November 9, 2011

Hello Everyone,  I am new to Sew Retro but I am super happy to find that so many other people out there share my weird obsession.  In fact there are enough of you that I don’t think I can call myself weird anymore, isn’t the internet great?

I made the pattern for this dress myself, it has a full circle skirt and the top is copied from a dress I bought at a flea market in Brooklyn which is actually I think from the 80’s, but is clearly trying to be 50’s.  So three decades, no waiting.  Also, there are pockets hiding in the sides seams.  I am staunch believer in pockets.

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1980s | Dresses

A little re-intro and my latest sewing

By on October 30, 2011


So, I was sharing my sewing projects with you all over at “the old” Sew Retro, and now I finally got to re-register at this new site!

For those of you who don’t know me yet, let me introduce myself briefly: I’m Ewa, born and living in Sweden, and I have been sewing and crafting for pretty much all my life. Over the last years I’ve become more and more devoted to my sewing, and today my goal is to sew almost all garments (except underwear) I want instead of buying them (I do a lot of swapping with other likewise inclined ladies as well instead of buying new). I have always loved vintage fashion, and I like to make clothes from all kinds of styles and periods.

My latest sewing was for Halloween, I went with a vintage 1980s sweatshirt fabric and made a self drafted mini dress, to create the look of a creepy crazy doll. Here’s how it turned out:

If you’re curious about what I’m sewing when I’m not making costumes, or just want to see more pictures of this one, feel very welcome to take a look on my blog, Sew Ewellyn

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1980s | Children

Vampire pumpkins!

By on October 25, 2011

Okay, my three-year-old niece, Little Bit, insisted on being a, “nice pumpkin, not a scary pumpkin, but with big teeth and fangs” for Halloween this year and that her baby sister, Boo, wanted to be “a pumpkin just like me”.  We drew the face together–


And then I started looking for patterns.  It took six patterns to make Bit’s outfit, and three for Boo’s, only one out of them was vintage.  Sinplicity 8833 is from the late 80s.


  We hated the hat on the modern pattern, and so we found this one to use for our pumpkin lid hats.

I love the results, though!  The girls look absolutely adorable, and they’ll be the only vampire pumpkins around! 

More on my blog–Granny Lane Sewing.

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1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s

I’ve been a busy little sewing bee

By on August 21, 2011

…the last few weeks. I’ve been completely MIA at my own blog because I was sewing like a mad fiend for the Pattern Review “Sewing For Children” contest. I’ve got three pieces left to make before the end of the month and then I’ll heave a sigh of relief. In the mean time, I’ll share with you what I’ve made thus far. Some of it is good. I can’t seem to find any bad, but there is ONE fugly. But more on that later.
Let’s begin!

Advance 8932
a jumper and blouse pattern.

This is a size 8 or 10, if I recall correctly and hails from the late 50s. I only made the jumper since my childrens’ school requires *polo* shirts. Even for girls. Which is better than the button down oxfords *I* had to wear. But I digress. The fabric is a polyester spandexy suiting from Joann’s. It was red tag fabric that I picked up for ~$2/yard. WINNING!!!

You can see the pattern envelope here, if you like.

Simplicity 8769
PantDress without skirt

From there, I branched out into some super 70s awesomeness, also known as the “pantdress”. Simplicity 8769 from 1970 was the pattern du jour. I used quilting cotton for the outer, juvenile apparel for the skirt and a vintage bedsheet purloined from my nana’s closet (with her permission, I promise!) for the lining. I wanted to fully line it because who wants raw edges in their hoo-ha?

I used the owl fabric for the reverse of the reversible skirt. Buttons were from my stash as was the zipper. W00T! for using up stuff in my stash!

Moving right along… We’ve hit the 60s and the 70s, lets aim for another decade…

Simplicity 4870

Helloooooo 1940s. Now there are some little girls who can’t carry off all these frills and ruffles. And to be honest, they CAN look a little dated. Luckily for my little peanut, that’s not the case.

For this seafoam green number, I used another one of nana’s purloined vintage sheets for the dress and lining. The trim is vintage deadstock lace! How awesome is that? Vintage pattern? Check! Vintage fabric? Check! Vintage trim? Check! Vintage button for the neck closing? Check!

This dress also came with the matching doll dress pattern as well. I took some liberties with the doll dress because I’d pretty much run out of ruffled part (the top of the sheet) and I’m a lazy cuss. I’m NOT going to put as much effort into a doll dress as I am a dress for an actual child. So I cheated a bit.

Simplicity 9529

Since we’re like, totally sewing our way through the decades, like fer sure, let’s swing by the 80s. They called and they want Simplicity 9529 back. This was a fun pattern to sew. It was all like, totally, a flashback for me. I think I owned an outfit very similar to this as a kid.

The skirt portion and jacket are fully lined with the raspberry fabric to keep the totally rad purple Star Trek TNG fabric from scratching the skin. And yes, I DID have to refrain from singing Raspberry Beret whilst I was working on this one. The skirt and bodice are all sewn together to give the impression of a skirt/blouse. The belt is detachable (and currently lost!?!). This beauty is dry clean only. Someone smack me back into sanity so I don’t ever do that again for a 9 year old. But really the fabric was JUST too awesome AND I bought it specifically for my purple lover AND it was all red tag fabric, so what’s a girl to do? I just wanted to have fun with it…

Simplicity 2007

I feel like I’m missing a decade in here or something. Let’s see, 80s…. Check. 70s…. Check. 60s…. Check. 40s…. Check. That’s IT! I’m missing the 50s. Okay. Here we go kiddies, let’s take a trip back to the Nifty Fifties!

This here is probably my second favoritest kids’ outfit I’ve ever made in the history of ever. Check OUT the mad plaid matching skillz! Now I know that some people think matching plaid is of the debbil, but for me, it’s like…. I don’t know how to describe it. It just is one of the most soothing things to do. Which means I’m officially nuts. Or something.

This is my daughter’s favoritest – even more than the purple – outfit I’ve made for her. What I love is that when sewing vintage patterns for her, she’s a straight 7/8 and not a 10/12 like the RTW stuff you find in stores. She’s freakishly short for her age (just like her mama!) so I’ve pretty much given up on RTW for this kid anyhow.

I especially love the side invisible zip and the back bow detail on this one. You just don’t see stuff like this at the local Big Box Mart.

And now, for the pe-ayce de ray-zis-tahnce…

McCall’s 4672

McCall’s 4672, overalls and jacket. I’m giving you the big version of the picture so you can really take in the details:

Self-covered “stealth” buttons that are matched to the pattern of the fabric so you just don’t see them.
“Stealth” pocket on the jacket.
Chinese dragon that goes across the front from one leg to the other.
Fu Dogs that face each other on the jacket front.

Longevity symbol
overalls without jacket

How cool is THAT? Now that you’ve seen the good… Brace yourself for the fugly. Because, friends, it just ain’t a pretty sight.

Toddler Maternity Pattern?

Yeah. Not quite the result I was looking for. This one did not pass go, did not get entered into the contest. Why? Well, despite the awesome fabric, it just wasn’t *right*. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And this was a BIG lose. Laura Petrie might have been able to carry this one off. Or even Lucy Ricardo as maternity wear. But even with dupioni silk(!) and awesome stretch check fabric that feels like taffeta, this outfit wouldn’t make the grade. And the shame of it all is that THIS pattern is one that I really, really, really wanted to make up. I’m not even sure I’d resell it, it’s so bad. Plus it’s missing a couple of pieces.

***And might I say I REALLY hate Blogger’s method for inserting photos into posts.

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Acceptable in the 80s

By on June 23, 2011

Take a look at what I did with this 80s-tastic ensemble! The pattern is totally awesome but unfortunately this polyester skirt and blouse outfit is huge on me.

This is actually part 2 of a two-part remake. I refashioned the skirt into a summer dress using a basic pattern with ties at the shoulders…

You can find more info, and what I did to the blouse in part 1, on my blog.

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