1950s | Jackets | Skirts

McCall’s 8813 Suit

By on June 19, 2013
Vintage Suit made from McCall's 8813 and Simplicity 3581

I’ve always wanted a vintage suit but they are hard to find and expensive, so I decided to make one. I had some green wool fabric that I bought second hand which was the perfect weight for a suit.

Vintage McCall's 8813 Suit Pattern

I used McCall’s 8813 for the jacket. I bought the pattern without its envelope so I’m not sure which year it’s from. I didn’t like the shape of the skirt from the McCall’s pattern, so I used another vintage pattern, Simplicity 3581, for the skirt.

Suit made from vintage McCall's 8813 and Simplicity 3581

I used some traditional tailoring techniques on the jacket including hair canvas, bound buttonholes and back and armhole stays. I made the covered buttons using an old kit that I bought at a thrift store. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

There are more pictures and a couple of posts about the construction of the jacket here.

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1950s | 1960s | Coats | Jackets

Baby you can drive my car Butterick 2624

By on May 30, 2013
I’ve been working on this early 60s coat for awhile and I finished the hand stitching this weekend.

Initially it had a collar but I didn’t have enough fabric to make a full front facing so off came the collar!

The fit is similar to the 50s style car coats – it’s shapeless and only has 2 small darts at the back to stop it looking too sack like. The pattern I used was Butterick 2624 (1-2-3 Shift!)

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1940s | Jackets | Pattern Drafting | Skirts

UFO finished; a green linen suit.

By on May 2, 2013

I finished a UFO that got stuck right after the first fitting, oh, about seven or eight years ago. That calls for celebration, doesn’t it? It’s a fitted suit jacket, aiming for a 40’s silhouette, and it was left unfinished because tailoring is, or was, kind of intimidating; but I really love the fabric, a heavy, bright green vintage herringbone weave in what I’m pretty sure is linen, and I needed a jacket for spring, summer and fall wear, so I went ahead and did it.

There were a few problems, to begin with; I made the pattern a very long time ago and had lost it, of course, so I made a new one from the cut-out pieces for the lining. I also had a couple of remnants of the fabric that I really wanted to make a skirt out of, but the fabric, having spent a number of years in someone’s attic, had a few large sunbleached areas that were unusable and needed to be cut around. I managed to puzzle out a skirt from tiny pieces anyway before I got to work on the jacket, which was stupid, because as it turned out, I hadn’t cut the jacket collar when I cut the rest of the garment. And this green, let me tell you, was not an easy shade to match – for a while I toyed with the idea of making the collar from the only matching fabric I could find, an upholstery canvas, and then covering it with tiny cross-stitching in a matching green mouliné yarn. My mother came to the rescue with a beautiful green silk twill from Burma, though; I sent a small sample of the original fabric with her. The rest of that fabric will hopefully make a nice dress some day.

Also, I had to refit the jacket, again, mostly because I made a false start at it about four or five years ago, did another fitting then and remembered it as being a bit tighter than I like jackets now, for whatever reason. So I put it together with a smaller seam allowance than originally planned to give it some extra ease now, only to find that it was huge on me and needed adjustments in the opposite direction. On the bright side the fabric was lovely to work with, firm but still pliable, with a nice drape for such a heavy fabric. It certainly wrinkles like linen, but that’s mostly only noticeable in the skirt.

The end result is alright for a jacket I made the pattern for almost ten years ago, and a skirt made from impossibly small scraps of fabric. I still love that shade of green and the herringbone texture. I could be happier with some of the details, but I always could, every single time. And I’m getting a lot of wear out of it at the moment. Mission accomplished.

Green linen suit
Suit in action. The snow is gone now, thankfully.


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1950s | Jackets

Butterick 7444

By on April 28, 2013

I had dreamed of a perfect sailor top for years and finally made one from the very charming Butterick 7444 last week. I chose a dark grey cotton for the main parts and a lighter grey for the detachable collar and also used three very cute (and purely decorative) metal buttons. I am absolutely delighted about this easy and very well fitting pattern and already made new plans to use it again in a lightweight silk fabric.

See a few more pictures on my blog.










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1940s | Dresses | Jackets

Tessuti Gridlock Competition Dress

By on March 31, 2013

One thing I really wanted to do this year with my blogging is get more involved in the blogging community.  This included not only commenting more and getting involved with the community on twitter but also taking part in more sewalongs and competitions.  So far this year I have taken part in the Sew For Victory sew-along and undertaken a sewing dare.  I also decided to give the Tessuti Gridlock Competition a go.

tessuti gridlock competition dress vintage vogue 8812

tessuti gridlock competition dress vintage vogue 8812

As soon as I saw this fabric I thought it would make an awesome summer dress.  I had a peek through my stash and decided on Vintage Vogue 8812.  In hindsight, this probably wasn’t the best project for the fabric as it is quite thick so the gathers look quite bulky.  But once I had made my decision I couldn’t envisage it being anything else.  I thought the contrast of the white bolero would look nice for summer and whipped it up in some cotton drill from my stash.

tessuti gridlock competition dress vintage vogue 8812

tessuti gridlock competition dress vintage vogue 8812

This competition was a great learning curve for me.  I had a lot of fun taking part and I think now that I have done it once I will be more likely to take part in other online competitions in the future.  What I would change next time though is to use a pattern I had worked with before.  This way I would be able to focus on getting the details of the garment perfect rather than trying to figure out a new pattern.  I would also try not to get too set on an idea until I had a chance to see the fabric in real life.  Above all though I think you just need to remember to have fun with it.  Because at the end of the day if you don’t win at least you have a brand new outfit and you had fun making it too!  I am having a lot of fun this year with my sewing and I can’t wait to take part in more sewalongs and competitions.

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1960s | Blouses | Jackets

1960’s Navy Blue Suit

By on March 9, 2013

I fell in love with 1960’s suits with short jackets that have 3/4 length doleman sleeves and tapered skirts. When I saw Simplicity #2154 I had to have it. How cute is the blouse with the bow tie.

My 1960's Navy Blue Suit


The pattern


I used a true navy (almost black) for the jacket and skirt. For the blouse I had a fabric with a tiny blue, tan and cream plaid.

Fabric selection and "braid trim"

I made the “braid” trim myself. To get custom colors I crocheted five strands of embroidery floss together.

I really liked how the loop detail was formed with the trim on the sleeve.

Love the loop

I wear blouses with bows and this one has great overall shape as well.

Bow on blouse
Blouse with the tapered skirt

Both the blouse and the skirt zip on the side.

Putting it all together


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1930s | Jackets

1930s Silk Lounge Jacket

By on February 26, 2013

Since lesson plan reviewing, cushion re-covering and dish washing are all really boring activities, I decided I wanted to make something fun and pretty for myself. I’ve got so many pieces of fabric sitting in my stash for projects that have been put on further hold because I won’t be back into my normal clothes for a few months yet, and we still have lots to do to get the house ready for the baby, I really felt the need last night to do something frivolous and a little luxurious for myself as far as sewing goes (maternity clothes are practical, but not particularly luxe feeling). I had just over two yards of this gorgeous silk that I got from a friend about a year ago, and hadn’t quite decided what to do with it. I’m not sure why, but suddenly last night I had a brain wave. It would be PERFECT for a lounge jacket. Mr. S. has a comfy silk smoking jacket that he’s had for ages and it’s simply not fair for me to not have one as well 😉

I was in the process of re-filing a bunch of my patterns that had been removed from their respective drawers for one reason or another, and remembered I had this pattern from Eva Dress. It’s a 1933 Lounging Ensemble, and it’s the same pattern I had adapted before to make my 1930s pants that I love so much. I hadn’t ever had the chance to use the blouse, apron or jacket components though, and I do love them all, so I decided to do a test run with this silk.

Pardon the bad lighting. Taking pictures in my house after early afternoon is always a bit of a challenge because of the way the light comes in.

The pattern is a size 12, and I graded it up (slash and spread) to a 16 (1930s equivalents). Sometimes I can get away without grading patterns up, but I wanted this to fit loosely like it is supposed to, and fitting on myself is a little challenging right now since I’m 20 pounds heavier than usual and a totally different shape.

The armscyes are just a bit snug (totally wearable just not as relaxed as I would have liked), but that may also work itself out once the baby is born and I’m back to my normal size.

I followed the pattern pretty directly, only altering the pocket edge by making a reverse facing in order to match the wrong side of the fabric that I used for the cuff turn-backs.

 I finished the whole garment with french seams or facings, and this fabric really was wonderful to work with. It hangs beautifully and feels like buttah! I love the color, too. It was tough figuring out what to make with it when I acquired it due to the limited yardage and the slightly more abstract pattern (a bit of a departure from my usual solids and simple geometrics or florals). It’s very well suited, however, to this sort of jacket I think. The painterly quality of the pattern and the slightly artistic feeling, smock like qualities of the garment design seem to work in perfect harmony.

This was a pretty quick, simple project to give myself a break from all the housework, baby related projects, and work related tedium. I’m really excited to have something new and glamorous feeling to sit around the house in after the baby is here.



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