1960s | Coats | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Les Fleurs Swing Dress (Simplicity 6820, 1966)

By on January 31, 2017

I posted my leopard print version of this pattern last week and today I’m back with a dark floral variation–specifically the gorgeous Les Fleurs in navy from Cotton and Steel’s collab with Rifle Paper Company. I lovvvve this fabric, and I wanted to use it with few seam lines, so Simplicity 6820 seemed perfect. I’m wearing it with my pink bow coat made last year from Simplicity reprint 1197–a perfect match!

See more on my blog here!

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Vintage Sewing

PDF Patterns Flash Sale

By on January 28, 2017

We’ve been getting requests for PDF patterns for a while and I’ve just been too busy to get it all set up, but thanks to several pots of coffee and a babysitter we now proudly host digital sewing patterns from a selection of indy pattern companies in the WeSewRetro shop. YAY!

Scroll down to see our favorites – clicking the pics should take you to more details.

To celebrate (and frankly because I am on the verge of caffeine overdose) we’re running a 15% flash sale on PDF products for the next 48 hours only with coupon code DIGITAL

That means you only have this weekend and a teeny tiny bit of Monday to pick out your favorites. Go to it ūüėÄ

How To Do Fashion (from Denmark)

Jennifer Lauren (from New Zealand)

Hey June (from the USA)

Cecilia Theresa Design (from Germany)

Maven Patterns (from England)

In non-PDF news….

We’ve restocked Sew Over It paper patterns and now carry the Ultimate Pencil Skirt.

Another new arrival is our selection of Maxant ‘Cover your own belt’ kits. It has been belt-a-palooza since these arrived and we’re now dangerously close to having more belts than outfits, but they are just so much fun. It’s slightly embarrassing how satisfying¬†it is to show off a dress and then casually add “….and here is the matching belt I made…”

If you fancy having a go yourself, take 15% off any Maxant product for the next 48hours with the coupon code BELTAPALOOZA

Stuck? Need help? Got a question? Email katherine@WeSewRetro.com

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1970s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Prairie-palooza: Simplicity 9778 (1971), Butterick 4888 (1977 or 1978), and McCall’s 4872 (1975)

By on January 27, 2017

Three-fer!

This project started out as Simplicity 9778, a Mother Hubbard-type dress from 1971.¬† It’s cute, but you sort of suspect it will work out less well in reality than in theory:

I have a weakness for these prairie dresses with yokes.  #dontjudge

But I found some hideous-slash-amazing Concord print in dull green with brown/purple flowers on eBay, and some awesome deadstock buttons in a weird raisin color, and got to work.

I knew when I got to the collar that I was making a mistake.¬† The band collar is drafted–well, “drafted”–as a straight strip of cloth.¬† It’s not contoured toward the front of the neck the way a band collar should be.¬† Seamsters, take note: If you make this pattern, IGNORE THE COLLAR.¬† Draft your own or borrow from another pattern whose designer wasn’t so lazy.

Predictably, it sat around my neck like a section of pipe.  This looks a lot better and far less amateurish in the picture than it did in real life.  Plus, it was uncomfortable.

It looked cute with a belt, though:

But that didn’t help the collar.¬† It also turns out that this pattern, obviously, is basically a nightgown:

Even with the belt, it tends to shift forward as you walk so all that fabric ends up bunched around your stomach.¬† I sewed six tucks into the back waist, which helped a lot, but . . . eh, I still wasn’t wearing it that much, which made me sad because I loved, loved, loved the fabric.

Patiences pays off: Surfing eBay netted me another yard, so I decided that I would try to salvage the skirt (well, lower half) and sleeves from the baggy dress and attach them to a new bodice.

Butterick 4888 is from 1977 or 1978 and I want us all to take a moment to contemplate the phenomenon of the wedding gown or bridesmaid dress that comes with an apron.

With an apron, people.

That woman is wearing an apron to her wedding.

However, it’s still a cute pattern and, since I wasn’t planning to make the sash, I was pretty sure that 1 yard + scavenged pieces from the old bodice = just about enough to scrape together a new bodice.

I hate long back zippers so I altered it to button up the front (I had to put a placket in the skirt) and made the facings out of scrap from another dress to save on the “good” fabric (this is the waist seam, finished in bias, with the front facing tacked over it):

I cheated on the sizing.¬† I’m usually a 12/bust 34 + slight FBA + added width across the upper back + added bodice length + lowered bust.¬† My 4888 was already a 14/bust 36 so I experimented with just taking in the shoulders and leaving the back width and bust measurement alone (although I still lowered the bust point and lengthened the bodice a little).¬† This time, at least, it worked.¬† I might still do a very, very, tiny FBA the next time because I added more of a front facing than was intended so it takes a little more room.

I actually got some brown/purple solid to make an apron to wear with this.  I have no idea where I will wear it with an apron, but whatever (this is the old bodice with the yoke).

As a side note: If anyone is into loose prairied dresses with yokes, try McCall’s 4872 (1975)–it’s similar to 9772 but the bodice is trimmer and the skirt/lower half is more flared, and it’s more flattering and less bunchy around the waist.

Sorry, you can’t really see it in a black dress, but it worked a lot better than 9778:

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1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Leopard Swing Dress (Simplicity 6820, 1966)

By on January 24, 2017

A few months ago I decided I really wanted an easy, floaty dress that would be less structured than the shift or full-skirted dresses that I normally like, and picked up Simplicity 6820 on etsy. It’s a “Jiffy” tent or trapeze dress from 1966 and it is basically a raglan sleeve mumu! It’s the perfect easy pattern for a bold print since it has few seam lines. This is the first of three versions I’ve made since purchasing the pattern, so I think it was a good buy!

Read more on my blog (and see another leopard print garment too!) here.

xo allie

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1930s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1930s Dress Made Using Original Vintage Fabric

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1930s ruffles dress front

Every now and again you come across a truly beautiful piece of original vintage fabric. You carefully unfold it, hoping and praying that it’s in good condition. You check it over thoroughly, measure it and finally take the very brave step of washing it. At this point you’re on tenterhooks, will it fall apart the second the water hits it? It survives the wash, it dries well and then you press it, checking thoroughly once again for any holes, tears or marks. And finally, you realise you have one incredible pristine piece of 1930s/1940s fabric that’s long enough to make an entire dress. You, or indeed me at this point, then do one hell of a¬†happy dance!

1930s ruffles dress

As you can imagine, I was terrified to cut into the fabric, but I truly believed that this fabric had found its way to me for a reason. I’m very much someone who believes in buying vintage and using it. Every piece of vintage clothing I buy gets worn, I don’t store things away in a dark cupboard but, rather, enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed. That was how I felt about this fabric. It needed to be made into something and not waste away unloved and unappreciated. And it deserved to be made into something authentic.

1930s dress back

I used an original 1930s sewing pattern and original 1930s sewing techniques from both the pattern and a 1930s dressmaking book. The trimmings, such as the rayon hemming tape, were also vintage. The only modern parts of the dress are the white crepe I used for the yoke section and the metal button blanks for the self-cover buttons. That’s why I call this my brand new almost-vintage dress!

You can see more detail photos and find out more about the fabric, pattern and techniques I used on my blog here.

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Vintage Sewing

So Retro its Vintage

By on January 18, 2017

I am just getting back into blogging and sewing after an extended hiatus and found myself reminiscing on some old projects. Both of which are Victorian in style.

The first is Ageless Patterns #1478 an amazing dress.  I do not recommend Ageless patterns to the weak of heart as it took a lot of fiddling to get it even close to fitting but the end result was totally worth it.

Fabric is a green Taffeta with cream crepe and a stretch lace overlay (nightmare lace).  The entire bodice is flatlined in denim to give extra body.

For more details visit my blog

The Second is a mix of Ageless Patterns and Truly Victorian.  If you are planning on making a vintage look like this I would very much recommend Truly Victorian over Ageless patterns unless you have experience with drafting.  Ageless is still presented in its original dimensions and that means the waist to bust ratio is crazy meant for people who spent a lifetime waist training and squishing their internal organs into places they had no business going.  Truly Victorian on the other had has one of the most amazing fitting systems I have ever seen.  They are easy to use and create the right silhouettes for the period whist accommodating modern requirements.

The brown material is some sort of taffeta burnout fabric and the beige is a duponi silk which was a dream to work with.  The overskirt and underskirt came together very easily and were quite comfortable.  The bodice (which is the ageless pattern) was harder but like the dress above well worth it.

further details here

o///

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Vintage Sewing

“Orange Flower” Sheer Cotton Dress

By on January 16, 2017

Ok, this might not technically be vintage, but it is certainly chock full of retro style.¬† So I went with the 30’s feel of one of the views and made a great warm weather dress out of a sheer floral cotton.¬† I used Butterick’s #5951, from year 2013.

I had problems with the fit of this pattern, especially the sleeves, but with the help of an added underarm gusset this dress is a success.  Especially since I squeezed this in with having just under two yards of fabric to work with!

To see and read more please visit my blog’s page for this project here.

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