1950s | 1960s | Dresses | Notions | Sewing Machines

Vintage Jackpot and Another Completed Dress :)

By on June 20, 2014


Whoa! I know I just posted yesterday about finishing a dress but the past week has been a very productive one for me and I was able to complete a project that I had gotten half-way through and just wasn’t able to finish at the time! This dress is made out of a wonderful blue cotton from Vintage Vogue V8875 🙂 This was my first time working with a Vintage Vogue repro pattern and while it presented some interesting challenges and techniques I hadn’t tried before I must say I am pleased with the result!                                                    


I also wanted to share a few vintage treasures that I recently acquired! A close friends grandmother passed away and she was left with boxes of old sewing things like patterns, notions, and fabric. When she asked if there was anything I would like since she wanted to see it go to someone who would get use out of it I of course said yes! I came home with boxes of stuff and I thought you’d like to see some of it 🙂 Feel free to swing by my blog frillz24.blogspot.com for more pictures and details!

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Modern Patterns | Notions | Skirts

Checker skirt

By on June 7, 2014

I’ve had several people telling me that this skirt reminds them of the 50’s/60’s so I thought I would share it with you, but it’s not exactly vintage. I hope it’s okay to post it here.

The thing that makes this skirt special and I think helps with the vintage vibe is the fabric. I fell in love with this motif as soon as I saw it. It is from La Modette, a new French fabric designer. She offers lots of really nice and cheerful motifs, several of which have a vintage feel to them. I think I’m not the only one around here who would love them. 🙂

The website is only in French so far but she sends her fabric anywhere, you can pay by Paypal and I think it shouldn’t be a problem to order. There are specific schedules (which you can find there) set for ordering specific fabric types. I was a fabric tester for the poplin, that’s how this skirt came to be, and I can say I had a very nice experience. And I love the resulting skirt!

You can find all my posts about La Modette here on my blog.

It’s a simple knee-length full gathered skirt with an elasticized waistband. To get enough fullness I cut two 1m rectangles that I gathered to the waistband (cut long enough to accomodate my hips), and then I passed an elastic through it.

For this outfit I combined it with a real vintage top that belonged to my grandmother and a Charter School cardigan from ModCloth. I think the skirt could use a little help to flare a little bit more at the bottom, I’m thinking of making a light cotton petticoat with maybe some frills at the bottom? I’d like for the skirt to stay work appropriate so I don’t want too much fullness. What do you think?

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Notions | Vintage Sewing

Vintage Notions Identification Help

By on May 14, 2014

A friend has been going through her grandma’s sewing supplies from the 60s-80s, and passing many of them onto me.  I’ve gotten some great things from her – patterns, about 500 hook-and-eye closures, fabric, seam binding…as well as some notions I cannot place.  I thought I’d post pictures on here to see if anyone can help me figure out what they are.

These little things feel kind of like something you might embroider onto a garment, but there are about 25 of them in a bag and they don’t look like anything someone might want embroidered onto something.  They can be folded in half.

I know the package on the left is collar stays (though they’re kind of long), but I’m not sure about the one on the right.  The white bands are elastic, and the writing is in German.

I’m very confused by these items.  They’re all the same thing, just different lengths and colors.  The packages say “Zig Zag Wire Supports; Braces the fabric, supports the collar flare.”  All of those words make sense…but where and why would you use them?


These packages say “shoulder strap guards; pin-in nylon; snap ends around shoulder strap.”

And finally, these strange things.  They look like buttons, but are made up by threads pulled to the center of the circle.  A friend suggested they might be the buttons you use in the middle of pillows.

The pictures below are items I recognize but have no need for.  If anyone could find a use for any of the items in this post, let me know.  Especially the hook-and-eye closures.  I have enough to last me many, many years.

Thanks for the help!  It’s been fun looking through all those notions and trying to imagine what they might be used for.

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1950s | Jumbo Ric Rac | Notions | Skirts

Half of a Patio Dress

By on July 15, 2013

Do you ever get a really crazy idea? About a week before I left for vacation, a friend gave me some old curtains left in their new house by the previous owners. They were a bright sunny yellow and I just knew it would be perfect for a 1950s patio dress. And I decided that I just had to have it done before vacation so I could wear it on vacation.

Now, the basic pattern for the skirt is pretty easy-it’s just three long rectangles gathered together with an elastic waist band. But vintage patio dresses take heaps of trim!

Aside from hours sewing on ric rac and other trims, my sewing machine decided it needed to break down. Thank goodness all it needed was a new bobbin shuttle but I lost a few days of sewing time waiting for it to arrive.

So, in the end I was only able to get the skirt portion finished, but I do have a vintage blouse pattern cut out to match. Luckily, I had a Mexican peasant top that worked well too!

I ended up wearing this outfit to a bird sanctuary and one of the ladies working there said it reminded her of the outfits she wore growing up in Mexico which just made my day! More photos (and photos of birds!) over on the blog.

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Notions | Vintage Sewing

A Fabric Encyclopedia

By on June 14, 2013

Hello all,
The fabrics called for on the backs of our vintage patterns are sometimes a complete mystery to us. What the heck is sharkskin? Why on earth am I supposed to sew my bathing suit from it? For a long time now I’ve been consulting all of my vintage sewing books and patterns to put together a comprehensive vintage fabric encyclopedia.

It’s rather large or I would post it here. You can find the complete encyclopedia on my blog A Few Threads Loose.

I hope many of you find it useful for your future vintage sewing projects!

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1960s | Notions | Pattern Drafting | Skirts

Self-drafted skirt

By on August 12, 2012
self drafted skirt

self drafted skirt

Not the most exciting skirt in the world but hopefully the beginnings of lots of variations on a theme! It took me a while to fully understand how to create an accurate skirt pattern but now I think I have mastered it! I have documented how to do it on my blog. It’s probably old news to those in the know but I found it a lot easier to grasp once I had laid out these steps in my own words and pictures!

This skirt was made from cheap lightweight suit fabric, a remnant I found in a local fabric shop. The lining is far more exciting: two-tone polka dot poly – 3 metres found in a charity shop for £1!

skirt lining

I used the lapped zipper technique, though I could use more practice with this to get it a bit neater!

lapped zipper

I have some lovely vintage blouse patterns that would look so classy paired with a pencil skirt. Just got to find me some time!

self drafted skirt


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Carded Vintage Buttons

By on October 28, 2011
Carded vintage buttons

Surely I’m not the only person here who cannot resist a ‘mystery shoe box of sewing bits’ at the flea market. You’re buying the experience of digging through it more than buying what’s in it, but the one I picked up yesterday had 20 sets of carded buttons at the bottom. Here’s a few:

Carded vintage buttons
Carded vintage buttons

One of them is marked ‘Made in Occupied Japan’, so we can pin that card down to sometime between 1945 and 1952 (thank you, history class) but I haven’t been able to find verifiable dates on the others.

I tried to sip from the wisdom well that is the online vintage button community, but ‘love of old buttons’ and ‘easily navigable website’ appear to be mutally exlusive. From my cursory googling, it seems like a button reference book is what’s needed but the standard (delightfully named “The Big Book of Buttons”) is out of print, with existing copies running around $400.

Four hundred dollars. These button people are serious.

Anyone want to take a stab at dating these? Do you have insider info on an awesome vintage button resource?

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