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.

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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.

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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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1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

A sixties dress

By on December 2, 2016

Sixties dress

So, I’m kinda terrible at picking fabric. I get hung up on whether it will suit the era, the mood, me, and then I end up taking forever to decide. This fabric was originally supposed to be a skirt, but then I saw this pattern and decided it would be so much better as a dress.

Simplicity 4429

This is Simplicity 4429 from 1962. I made view 2, but raised the hem line and change the fabric tie belt so that it closes at the back with snaps. The fabric is cotton with a small amount of spandex that I got from a local shop for $10 a meter.

Sixties dress back

I really like this pattern. A definite remake, but next time I’m making version 1 with the added pocket.

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Vintage Sewing

Black Friday Sewing Sales

By on November 23, 2016


Fancy a little sewing shopping while you’re digesting your turkey this year? Here’s a rundown on the Black Friday sewing sales…



35% off at Swoon Sewing Patterns

Coupon code: holiday2016

Code should be applied at the top of the “checkout” page. Valid now until November 27th.

Swoon patterns are available as PDFs or paper patterns. I’m particularly fond of the bags in the Swoon Vintage Collection – I have quite a few Donna bags floating around my house and the Maisie Bowler is up next.




30% off ePatterns at Wearing History

Coupon code: Thanks2016

Valid November 25th through November 28th.

The lovely Lauren from Wearing History is actually on maternity leave right now (go see her gorgeous little girl on the Wearing History fb page – she’s precious) but she’s opening up for Black Friday-Cyber Monday so you can snag some ePatterns. The Smooth Sailing trousers are a perennial favorite in our WeSewRetro Sew & Tell Facebook group so I recommend starting there!




15% off everything at Atomic Sisters

No coupon code required. Valid November 24th through November 28th.

Lots of 1940s patterns all for less than $10 (and that’s before the holiday discount!) in this section here and look – feedsack fabric!




30% off everything at Sewing Emporium Co

No coupon code required. Valid November 25th through November 28th.

Lots of factory folded retro reissues here and a lovely selection of handmade lace trim.




20%-30% off patterns at Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop

Coupon code: JOLLY20 for 20% off all patterns or JOLLY30 to take 30% off 5+ patterns.

Valid from November 23rd through November 28th.

If you sew for kids, you probably already know about Peek-a-boo Pattern Shop but they have patterns for the entire family, extending up into plus sizes. They’re great for knit basics like tees, sweatshirts, hoodies, swimsuits and pajamas. My oldest spends her summers in rio racerback dresses and our new baby was kitted out with the entire lullaby line when she came home from hospital.




30% off at Mrs. Depew Vintage


Valid November 24th through November 28th.

People often pop into our WeSewRetro Sew & Tell Facebook group asking where to find patterns for vintage lingerie and the answer is always Mrs. Depew! She has an extensive line of digital downloads  plus paper patterns too. Tons of gorgeous stuff here.




15% off everything at Bessie Miller Vintage

Coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY15

Valid from November 25th through November 26th.

Bessie is an absolute sweetheart and she has all kinds of vintage patterns, vintage zippers and even some holiday sweaters.




25% off everything at PatternsFromThePast

No coupon code required. Valid now through November 30th.

No mental arithmetic required here – everything in the shop has been automatically marked down by 25% If you’re a Vogue patterns fan, there are lots to be had!




25% off everything at Faded Primadonna Vintage

Coupon code: cyber25

Valid November 24th through November 30th.

Vintage sewing patterns, vintage advertising and all kinds of vintage clothing.




15% off all sewing patterns at Keepsakes Studio

Coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY2016

Valid from November 25th through November 28th.

300+ vintage and out of print patterns to choose from!




Everything on sale at Redcurlzs

No coupon code required.

Bonus for our neighbors in the Great White North – this shop is based in Canada.




20% off at ClairebearToo

No coupon code required. Valid now through December 2nd.

This shop will be closing for vacation after the sale so get in and get your bargains now!




30% off everything at Mode De Lis

No coupon code required. Valid November 25th through November 28th.

Not only does Lily at Mode de Lis have some really gorgeous vintage patterns, she also sells her handmade vintage dresses. You’ve seen her work pop up on the blog for sure – she’s awesome!




 30% off everything at Megan Nielsen

Coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY2016

Valid now through November 27th.

When we stocked these in the WeSewRetro shop, the Cascade skirt proved so popular I sold out constantly. Megan Nielsen also has an extensive maternity range so if you’re busy making babies, definitely check those out.




Craftsy Classes all $17.99 or less

No coupon code required. Valid November 24th through November 28th.

I just took Beverly Johnson’s Sewing Bras: Construction & Fit class and loved it. She’s a fabulous teacher! Definitely picking up one of her other classes during this sale!




25% off all Bubblegum Dress patterns at Candy Castle Patterns


Valid now through November 26th.

If you sew for girls, you’ve probably already seen the Bubblegum dress pattern by Candy Castle. It’s a sweet little wrap dress (flexible fit makes it last longer before they grow out of it!) with a variety of options. Incredibly fast and satisfying sew – my oldest daughter lives in these.




Deals on Fiskars & Christmas Fabric at Joann

No coupon code required. Valid now through November 25th. 

Nothing majorly exciting going on at Joann Fabrics it seems but with 60% off Fiskers products it’s a good time to pick up a few replacement blades for your rotary cutter. I recently replaced mine and realized how long I had been struggling with a dull blade. It’s also 70% off Christmas fabric.




25% off everything at Pattern Treasure Chest

Coupon code: Blackfriday25%

Valid now through November 28th.

Lots of 1960s patterns here!



10% off orders of $20+ at Starlet Patterns

Coupon code: BlackFriday16

Valid November 24th through November 27th

Aussies, this shop is down under so cheap shipping for you guys!




50% off everything at Grey Dog Vintage

No coupon code required. Valid November 25th through November 28th.

Big discount on a bunch of vintage and out of print patterns here.




35% off at Retroactivefuture

No coupon code required.

Nearly a thousand sewing patterns here so you’re sure to find something from your ‘to sew’ list!




 25% off at Tilly and the Buttons

Coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY

Valid now until November 27th.

Brits, Tilly is based in the UK so cheap shipping on printed patterns for you. Digital patterns available for everyone else.




Free shipping on all Ottobre back issues

No coupon code required. Valid from November 25th through November 27th.

Ottobre is a completely awesome sewing magazine, chock full of thoughtfully designed patterns – separate mags for womens and kids. Shipping can be an absolute beast because they’re coming from Finland, so this is an awesome chance to snag some!




40% off everything at Violette Field Threads

No coupon code required for 40% off, but if you spend over $125 use code BLACKFRIDAY to take an additional 15% off. Valid now through November 28th.

VFT make frilly and feminine patterns for girls, tweens and ladies. They just released a range of matching 18″ doll patterns too.




20% off at Houndstooth Fabric

Coupon code: COUPON20OFF

Valid now through November 29th.

Not just vintage patterns – lots of fabric here too including plenty of Pendleton!



25% off at Fox Vintage

No coupon code required. Valid now through November 27th.

Another one for the Brits: UK-based Fox Vintage.




20% off at ZipZapKap

Coupon code: FRIDAY16

Valid now until November 30th.

Out of print and vintage patterns for women, kids, men and even dogs



25% off fabric & kits at Cashmerette

Coupon code: GIVETHANKS

Valid now through November 28th.

Cashmerette designs specifically for the curvy lady and go up to an H cup.



20% off at Grainline Studios

Coupon code: GIVETHANKS16

Valid now through November 28th. 

PDF and paper patterns for ladies. Lark tee and Archer shirt are popular staples.



30% off at Serendipity Vintage

Coupon code: GIVETHANKS30

Valid now through November 28th.

All manner of vintage patterns. Shop by decade or bust size.



35% off at Greenstyle Creations

Coupon code: BlackFriday2016

Valid now through November 26th.

Greenstyle is great for women’s athletic wear like the Stride tights (XXS to 3XL) and the Endurance Sports Bra.




50% off at Stitch Upon a Time

Coupon code: Thankful4Me

Valid now through November 25th. 

The scrundlewear undies pattern (available for ladies and kids) is a great basic for turning your knit scraps into some underoos.




40% off at Lil Luxe Collection

No coupon code required for 40% but if you want an additional 15% off, join their fb group for an additional code. Valid November 25th through November 28th.
Girls and ladies patterns. The Northwest flares already jumped into my cart.



Everything $2.49 to $4.99 at McCall Pattern Co

No coupon code required. Valid now through November 28th.

Butterick, Kwik Sew and McCalls patterns are $2.49. Vogue patterns are $4.99




30% to 50% off everything at Colette Patterns

No coupon code required. Valid now through November 28th.

30% off everything and 50% off the sale section.

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1940s | 1950s | 1970s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

A pattern mash up, 50 plus 70s equals 40s

By on November 20, 2016


Perhaps the pièce de résistance that a woman might have in the 50s, that rather special pattern in the stash of work and household clothes. Advance 6190 was a delight to work with! And I am so pleased with the results.


I was very short on fabric for this project, but the fabric, a wool blend crepe, given to me by a friend, was perfect, so perfect, I had to use it, so I teamed the 50s bodice up with a simple skirt from a 70s pattern, and voila!


I now have a very 40s looking dress, win!


I have more photos and making details over on my blog.

I hope your sewing projects are going well as we approach the end of the year.

Happy sewing, Angela x

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1960s | Jumpers / Pinafores | Modern Patterns | Vintage Sewing

A 60s Twist on a Modern Pattern! Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dungaree Dress

By on November 14, 2016

Hi everyone!

Whilst I love vintage styles, I’m definitely a lazy 60s style girl in the colder months and save the 1950s for Summer. And luckily a lot of Tilly’s patterns lend themselves to a little 60s twist so they fit in to my wardrobe very nicely indeed!


Sewing Summary:

Notions: 2 buttons
Sewing time: Half a day – need time to concentrate on that top stitching.
Modifications: I also opted for a hem half way between the two options.
Fit: Good! It’s a tighter fit on me that some I’ve seen online because of my figure. I think when I make it again, I’ll add a little extra on the hips. But I like the tight fit with the denim fabric. It makes these dungarees feel accidentally sassy!
Difficulty: Easy-peasy! Beginners – get this pattern!
Watch out for: Tidy top-stitching takes extra care and making sure your pockets are central/even.
Make Again?: Yes! I have lilac needle cord and dungaree clips waiting in the wings for my next one!


For my full review & images, check out my blog The Crafty Pinup.

Thank you!

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