Vintage Sewing

Unprinted Precut Vintage Sewing Patterns

By on January 15, 2017

My least favorite thing about sewing is cutting out pattern pieces.

Whether it means wrangling enormous sheets of tissue to find the pieces I need or taping and cutting printer paper from PDFs, it’s just a slog for me. (Pssst, speaking of PDFs, we’re putting PDFs up in shop this month if you want to sneak a peek – official announcement to follow once we’re finished.) 

Actually as I was typing this I had a flashback to the last time I tried to turn a spaghetti strap right side out- considering there were bellows of rage and several unladylike gestures thrown to the heavens, cutting out pattern pieces might have to be second least favorite. But anyway, cutting out pieces = zero fun in this house.

So I’m all about unprinted vintage patterns, like this Simplicity pattern from the 1930s. 

I love that they can come straight out of the envelope and onto the fabric, but the marking system of various punched holes can take some adjusting to.

If you haven’t had a chance to sew with many genuine vintage patterns yet, staring down at a big blank piece of tissue can be unnerving, so here’s something you may not know: there was a brief period of time in the early 1940s when Simplicity (and just Simplicity I think…I’ve never seen another brand do this) released patterns that were both precut and printed, like this:

Best of both worlds, right? Well, maybe, maybe not.

The argument for printing patterns instead of precutting them was that printing is more accurate than punching pieces from a giant stack of tissue paper which might shift around as the cut was made. If you’ve ever accidentally sewn something using the wrong seam allowance, you’ve already seen how a tiny deviation can have big results on a finished garment.

If you want to try one of these pre-cut printed patterns, you need to be looking for Simplicity patterns from the early 1940s like these:

Not confident in your pattern envelope dating skills? Here’s a tip – look at the hair styles. If you spend a little time with a cup of coffee scrolling through pinterest (torture, right?) you’ll start to get a feel for the haircuts associated with each period.

You’ll also see on the logo in teeny tiny text it says ‘cut to exact size’ above ‘printed pattern’, like this:

[insert record scratch noise here]

About a week after I confidently asserted that only Simplicity did this, I found another one…this time a 1956 Vogue Pattern. Here it is:

You can see at the bottom of the front of the envelope and on the back flap ‘Vogue’s new printed and perforated patterns’.

Here’s a pattern piece, showing the seam line printed on and notches and perforations precut.

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1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Coral Eyelet Raglan Sleeve Sundress

By on January 6, 2017

I have a bit of a backlog of dresses to share here, so this one is from July back when it was sunny and warm…

This coral eyelet dress is Simplicity 4475, my go-to full-skirted dress. It’s so simple to make with the raglan sleeves–no setting in sleeves!

I made a few differences this time, the biggest one being I changed the front bodice darts to gathers into the waistline. I love it–and the scalloped edges of the eyelet meant no hemming so it was a super quick make! More details on my blog here.

xo allie

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1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

My last 2016 project, Simplicity 8252

By on January 2, 2017

So excited to have finished up 2016 with a bang! The last project I worked on was Simplicity 8252.

Vintage sewing, Simplicity 8252, chiffon and crepe | Vintage on Tap

Vintage sewing, Simplicity 8252 | Vintage on Tap

 

Vintage sewing, Simplicity 8252 | Vintage on Tap

 

Lots of fiddling with chiffon, lots of fiddling with crepe, and a ridiculous amount of hand sewing. I actually jumped on this pattern when Simplicity released it and I’m glad I did- because even though it was a bunch of work, in the end it all came together.

Shortly after snapping these pictures, I actually added some hidden snaps along part of the center front (total of 3) to “close up” the front just a little bit more. The original pattern had the front fully closed, but to be honest, I knew that the buttoned up look wasn’t going to work for me or be very practical for how I like to wear my clothing.

I definitely would want to make this for myself again in the summer. Probably a cotton underdress and a light eyelet redingote, which would be awesome for a day adventure.

More photos are on my website.
Making Of video (including how I solved me accidentally cutting into the chiffon bodice *sigh* ) on my YouTube channel.

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1940s | 1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Significant birthday dress

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ooobop party dress

This is the dress I made for my significant birthday party in December. Inspired by a Dior dress I saw in a magazine which I could never hope to create but which kickstarted the need for a puffball skirt. It’s a full circle plus 16 extra inches around the waist for four box pleats, two at the front and two at the back. The hem is all gathered up into a mini a-line underskirt, both of which are attached to the bodice at the waist seam.

ooobop in the woods

The bodice is from a vintage Weldons pattern, undated but I’m assuming late 40s, early 50s. Just by nature of the really basic instructions and the hair do on the illustrated cover!

weldon 3833

I used a black and red, two-tone dupion silk which was a dream to work with. And I sewed cockerel feathers to the yoke, just because!

ooobop party dress back

 

More details and photos over at ooobop!

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1950s | Burlesque / Pinup | Dress Forms | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

The Little Red Dress Project, Butterick 5603

By on December 22, 2016

The holidays are now in full swing and I knew I had to hurry and stitch up my holiday dress! Fortunately I was able to fall into the “Little Red Dress Project” guidelines with my 1956 Butterick 5603!

Butterick 5603 | Vintage on Tap

Butterick 5603 | Vintage on Tap

Butterick 5603 | Vintage on Tap

Butterick 5603 | Vintage on Tap

 

I used silk dupioni, silk charmeuse to underline the whole thing, and silk organza to stabilize it. Surprisingly, for a dress with so much hand sewing, it didn’t take more than a few days to complete. The fit itself also wasn’t too difficult, though I did need to change the bust darts into pleats to be able to handle a full bust adjustment of 2″. From the waist, I cut about 5-6 inches to accommodate a small waist length as well.

To see more photos and read more about my specific tips sewing this dress, please check out my blog.
To watch the whole start-to-finish making of video, head on over to YouTube! 

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1930s | Blouses | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

1930s Bishop Sleeve Blouse & Pocket Detail Skirt

By on December 8, 2016

1930s blouse and skirt

Do you ever have an idea in your mind that never really pans out when it comes to your sewing? Yep, that’s exactly what happened here. Both the blouse and skirt were going to be very different to how they actually turned out, mainly due to not having quite enough fabric for either of them!

The white silk with navy polka dots is actually a vintage fabric I picked up at a flea market. It was very narrow and as a result, the originally planned pattern of McCalls – 7053, from their Archive Collection, just didn’t fit. So after abandoning this idea, I decided to use the top half of this beautiful original 1930s dress pattern instead. It’s been sat in my collection for a while totally unused, but boy am I glad I used it this time.

Vintage 1930s Buttons

It worked out beautifully in this fabric, despite having to redo the front yoke many, many times. The issue was that it needed to be lined to give it some stability and the join at the bottom, where the button placket areas overlap, was incredibly fiddly. After many attempts, both on the machine and by hand, I finally got it to sit right. However, after all that stress I gave up on trying to do buttonholes, so just sewed the buttons in place.

1930s sleeve detail

Instead of finishing the sleeves with a mid-forearm cuff as shown in the pattern, I decided to add a long cuff right down to the wrist. I absolutely love this style of bishop sleeve, it’s so classically 1930s, and of course keeps your forearms warm! I finished it off with four buttons and rouleau loops to allow enough room to get my hand in and out.

The fabric itself, unfortunately, has weakened during the pre-wash and making up stages. As a result, I’ve decided to only wear it on special occasions and to try and find another white and navy polka dot fabric for a more wearable version. I think it would work well in a crepe or a soft cotton lawn.

1930s blouse yoke detail

The skirt was drafted from another original 1930s pattern, which I’ve used multiple times as it’s such a simple design so can be changed to just about any style. The fabric is a deep mustard linen, which I bought from My Fabrics and a dream to work with. It’s quite a heavy weight linen so can be used for both summer and winter.

The design itself was taken from an original 1930s skirt I own but haven’t yet worn. I love the little pockets on it, so decided to replicate them here with a slightly different style button tab. They worked out quite well I think and give such a lovely interest to the front of the skirt, along with the deep single kick pleat on the centre front.

If you want to read more about it, and see the gorgeous original 1930s navy suede shoes I wore with it, just pop on over to my blog.

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1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Grey dress from a 1960s Burda pattern

By on December 7, 2016

In summer I stumbled upon a beautiful and simple pattern for a dress in a 1962 wedding edition of Burda and immediatelly made a few versions of it, including one for a client who loved it as much as I did.

img_9671 img_9679

The pattern proved very versatile and looks great with a variety of fabrics –no wonder, because it’s just such a simple and staple piece. I really love the short sleeves, they add elegance to an otherwise simple design. I made it with different skirts. I usually freehand them, pinning tucks as I go but I also made one version with a circle skirt that I need to photograph.

img_9759 img_9674

This is one of my iterations of the pattern: I added a collar with a bow to it. For a moment there I was afraid it looked too much like a hotel personnel outfit! But I guess the bow helps distract the mind from this easy association ;). It’s fully interlined but with no lining. I’m having second thoughts about interlining this one… turned out quite stiff, even though the outer fabric was quite thin. I finished the skirt with a blind hem stich by hand.

Check out the original blog post for more photos.

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