1950s | Introduction

Vintage aspirations

By on November 9, 2011

Hello. I’ve been reading the wonderful posts on this site for about 8 or 9 months and have felt so inspired by the beautiful dresses and other creations I’ve seen. I just recieved my first 3 vintage patterns and am excited to say that I cut out the pieces for a pair of pj’s for my sister who doubts my mad sewing skills. I’ll show her!

Will post the pics when I’m finished. Hopefully by the end of the week!



The pj’s are a 1950 pattern. i’m making view 1-sans lace and pockets.Here are the 2 dress patterns.


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1950s | Children | Dresses | Introduction | Kids | Vintage Sewing

Simplicity 3213

By on November 8, 2011

Hi everyone!

I’m very glad to find a community of like-minded sewists! I’m no stranger to sewing, having been taught as a child from my mother who used to make all our clothing. However I’ve been on a 12 or so year hiatus from garment creation, so I’m trying to wade back in and brush up my rusty sewing skills.

I decided to kick-start some serious garment construction by sewing for my daughter first (obviously I’m putting off having to address fit issues when sewing for myself!) I figured the instant gratification would make me inspired to do more. Of course it turned out not to be instant gratification (it’s very difficult to sew with a 21 month old demanding all your attention) but I took my time and I feel moderately happy with the result and I would love to share it with you all.

I used Simplicity 3213, which is a super adorable scalloped sun dress with a matching bolero, bonnet and bloomers:

I know we’re in Autumn, and it’s a 3T while my daughter is only 21 months old – but I couldn’t stop thinking about it once the pattern was in my hands.

I used vintage cottons from 1950 that I felt complimented each other perfectly.

My daughter’s idea of modelling is to run around and jump – so here is an action shot!

Both the dress and bolero are too big for her (the dress is tied tight to fit the front), but hopefully by the time Summer rolls around, it will fit better!

Rather than posting too many photos, please feel free to see more photos on my blog.
Thank you for looking!

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1930s | Introduction

Introduction + 1930s sewing comic

By on October 19, 2011

Hi everyone, I’m Sarah, from Toronto, Canada, and I love to collect and research fashion ephemera (sewing patterns, advertising, catalogues). I’m especially interested in designer patterns as a resource for fashion history. When I have time I also sew; my (not-quite-vintage) wedding dress was recently pictured in Vogue Patterns magazine (see my scan here). Right now I’m working with a bunch of 1920s patterns for Halloween.

This summer I started a blog to share my research and sewing adventures. My most recent post features a 1930s comic strip advertising J.C. Penney’s fabric dept., called Sally Makes a Conquest.

JC Penney 1939 McCall comic strip advertising

You can find the full comic at the PatternVault blog.

Welcome to WordPress, SewRetro!

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1950s | Dresses | Introduction

1950s Margo Walters Dress

By on October 17, 2011

Hi Everyone! My name is Tiffany and this is my first SewRetro post. I’m so happy to finally be posting! I’ve been reading the blog for about 4 months now, and I truly love it.

Most of my sewing is in the Victorian fashion, but however much I love Victorian, it is just not easy to wear it in public most of the time. Vintage fashions (circa 1940+), however are much easier to go out in.

I am posting because I tried to “cheat” on a dress over the weekend. I was wandering an antique Mall and found a lovely “Margo Walters” dress from the 1950s in overall good condition. I was psyched, especially since the dress was my size (score!) At least I thought so until I got home.

I tried on this gorgeous spring green dress and alas, my bosom was too buxom. No matter how much I tried to squish them down, I could not zip the zipper. A sad day for me and Margo Walters.

I ended up Etsying the dress, much to my dismay. If I could have let the dress out enough I would have done it in a second!

It was good to finally post here! I hope to post more about my Vintage Adventures in the future, and if any of you want to check out my blog see it here.



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1970s | Introduction | Shirts

Hello from Aotearoa!

By on October 14, 2011

Hello clever sewers, this is my first post on this fantastic blog.. I’ve been reading and following you and your work for some time and I’m finally signed up to contribute, wohoo!

A little about myself, I’m a full-time mama to Luna (3 & 1/2) and Blake (1 & 1/2) I live in Auckland, with my husband, our kids and our old cat Austin. I work from home, when I get the chance, I sew and craft for local markets and sell online at felt.co.nz (kind of like a NZ etsy). I studied fine art, gradualting in 2005, prior to that I worked as a mac operator, and since as a projectionist and took primary school groups on tours at Auckland Art Gallery. And now, it’s about my kids, my sewing our garden and reading and the beach. Here’s my blog, mermaid’s purse.

On to my first project to share: This is Simplicity 8069, a project I started ages ago, when I was still a little afraid of my (nana’s) sewing machine and had few moments between caring for my babies.  I made the middle version, but with longer sleeves…thinking it will be great for the beach or pool, you know.

I have more photos and details about how it all went, here at mermaids purse, it taught me a lot, and I love it.

It have three, yes THREE dresses I plan to make for summer and I can’t wait to get going on them, can’t wait to share how they go!

Enjoy your weekend wherever you are.

Angela x

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Hello! My Introduction

By on October 12, 2011

My name is Deb, though I go by Inkdork in most places online. I just signed up for Sew Retro, after being a long time reader and commenter. I am a mostly self-taught sewer, though I did take one basic sewing class to brush up and learn a few basic techniques which has eluded me. I grew up in a home where my Mom sewed almost all of my clothes as a kid, and during a rather torrid relationship, I sewed my own wedding dress with the help of my Grandma.

I have an interest in fashions from the 1940’s, 1950’s, and some 1980’s. My interest in the post WWII years is really about a time when women actually dressed nicely every day, and once the war was over, wanted to glam it up a little. The 1980’s were just a fun, if sometimes disastrous, time for fashion.

One problem I do face as a plus sides sewer is that many patterns are really not made for the larger lady even if sizes do go quite high. Sometimes this means having to make a lot of alterations to a finished item just to get the right fit. It can be a learning curve, but armed with my sewing machine, some brains, and my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing I manage to get through most things. The resources on the internet also prove hugely helpful.

I have sewn several vintage reproduction patterns already, and have a few planned for this Fall and Winter. Right now I’ve just started cutting fabric for Butterick’s 4790, which will be part of my Halloween costume as a retro housewife. Hopefully I will be posting soon with photos of that in its completion! I’m also looking forward to sewing my first Vogue soon.

If you’d like to know more about me, or see some of the things I’ve stitched up, you can visit my website at http://prettycanhurt.com/. I have a photo album set up there that has photos of a lot of my sewing projects.

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