Simplicity 5489 – my second #vintagepledge of five

Simplicity 5489

I finished my second Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge back in September, but still have three more to complete by the end of the year…unlikely! I won’t beat myself up about it though, because I’ve hugely enjoyed playing host to such fun challenge and I love how my Simplicity 5489 turned out!

Simplicity 5489

Simplicity 5489

This is a simple little pattern with three different back views to choose from and an A-line skirt. My favourite detail is the keyhole back I went for, with the sweet little bow detail. My second favourite detail Simplicity 5489 has to offer is the skirt. I love how flattering an A-line shape can be, skimming the hips without the bulky waist of a gathered skirt. This pattern offers the best of both worlds though, with gentle gathers either side of the centre front skirt.

Simplicity 5489

The neckline and back are finished with a facing, but I skipped the armhole facings and opted to finish them with bias strips instead. Shock horror, I even lined the skirt! I’m usually too lazy and can get away with it for fuller skirts, but this shape would have clung to tights like no one’s business.

Simplicity 5489

Simplicity 5489

As usual, you can check out more information and pictures on my blog and you can see all the inspiring #vintagepledge makes to date on Pinterest.

Remember, you can also be in with a chance of winning one of four awesome prizes, as long as you share your makes with me by 31 December 2014 on Twitter (#vintagepledge), through a comment on my blog, or by emailing me.

Vintage Vogue 2569 – A 1943 Wool Dress



Although I’ve worked in theatre for years, I’ve recently started acting – and when you do community theatre, you are often asked to scrounge up your own costumes for shows.  Especially when the director knows that you are a costume designer professionally. :)  So when my husband and I were cast in a local production of ‘Miracle on 34th Street’, I got busy!


Although we’re setting the play in the later 40’s, this 1943 Vintage Vogue pattern really jumped out at me as being perfect for the character of ‘Shellhammer’ – a Macy’s department store employee.  I THOUGHT I was going to have to do a lot of drafting the pattern up (based on the size chart on the back of the pattern), and since the pattern is out of print I couldn’t just go out and buy the next set of sizes.  But knowing that there’s a lot of ease in these things, I decided to just cut the largest size and do a toile, to see what happened.



Glad I did the toile – because the dress ended up actually almost fitting perfectly, straight out of the box (so to speak).  I had to take in the shoulders a touch (I always have to), nip in the waist (my waist to hip ratio is above average), and raise the bodice seams a touch – but otherwise, perfect.

I’ve been VERY pleased with the pattern – it’s not an easy one, but the directions are excellent.  If you follow step by step, and do exactly what they tell you to do (even if you’re scratching your head while you do it), it all falls into place beautifully.  I decided to under stitch the bodice detailing rather than topstitching it – but that’s the only thing that changed.  Lots of vintage sewing techniques – pattern pieces topstitched on top of other pieces.  It’s more like building a dress than sewing it together!

Done in a lovely tweedy brown wool.



More photos in my blog, here!


1965 dress

voorWith the year almost over, I’ve decided to try and stick to my Vintage Pattern Sewing Pledge after all. I’ve just completed this dress, which means I’m halfway (to five…).


1965-2I made this dress using this design from the summer 1965 issue of the Frohne system. This was a German system of ‘enlarge to size’ patterns which was also sold here in the Netherlands. I’m showing it in this post.

Considering the obvious risks of such a system, I’m not at all disappointed with the result. I did make a muslin and lower the bust darts as a result.


The dress is one of those 1960’s designs which sits between the fitted, highly feminine shapes of the 1950’s and the quintessential waistless 1960’s mini’s. It’s a new shape for me and although it won’t make me forget the 1950’s, I like it.

There more about it here

Brocade Wiggle Dress

The holidays are upon us, and that means it’s time for party dress sewing! The wiggle dress that was so popular in the 1950s and 60s makes for a superb va-va voom party dress, and with the right fabric, perfect for this time of year. The pattern for this one is from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing, and the fabric is a silk brocade from Britex in San Francisco.
Rosie Wednesday Wiggle Dress

Rosie Wednesday Wiggle Dress

The dress has princess seams on the front bodice, and a side dart to provide extra shaping. The sleeves are kimono in style, so there are also underarm gussets. A necessity if you want to be able to move your arms while you wiggle! There’s also a vent at the back to allow extra movement. I love the deep V in the back especially.

Rosie Wednesday Wiggle Dress

Rosie Wednesday Wiggle Dress

I feel like such a movie star in this dress! I think it’s such a testament to how wonderful sewing is. I would have never considered wearing something like this until I started sewing. But when you can make it to measure just right for your figure, it’s comfortable and glamorous!

You can see more details on fit and construction on my blog. Happy holiday sewing to you all!

Stitching History: Recreating the Designs of Hedy Strnad

If you’ve ever found a handwritten note or scrap of fabric inside a vintage pattern and been transported back in time to visions of the original dressmaker, I think the following story is going to resonate with you…

These beautiful sketches were designed by ‘lady tailor’ Hedy Strnad in 1930s Czechoslovakia.


The designs were sent to a cousin in America in the hopes Hedy’s talent would secure her a dressmaking job and therefore a visa, allowing her and her husband to escape their Nazi-occupied homeland. Tragically, the plan failed – the Strnads perished in the Holocaust after being interned in a concentration camp.


Amazingly, the Jewish Museum Milwaukee was able to use the information from just one letter to uncover Hedy’s forgotten history, rescuing her work from obscurity to create the Stitching History from the Holocaust exhibit.


In a poignant tribute to Hedy’s talent, the costume shop of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater was able to translate her sketches into finished garments using period fabrics and techniques.




Now the museum is hoping to create patterns from Hedy’s designs so her work can take on a new life and lasting legacy. Can you help?

If you’d like to be involved in the project, please get in touch with the museum at or share this post with any friends who might be interested.


To learn more about Hedy, the dresses and the exhibition, here’s a fascinating PBS Special that includes lots of detail on how the dresses were created.

Powerful stuff. Imagine how wonderful it would be to get Hedy’s designs into patterns so they could be sewn and worn worldwide – please share this information with anyone who might be able to help the museum bring this dream into reality!



Midcentury dress – Butterick (number unknown?)

Hello everybody!

Hope you’re enjoying your pre-christmas period :)

This summer I made me a light dress from a pattern I find perfectly simple and classy :)

It’s from a 1950s butterick pattern. It’s package is very used and I can’t read th number :) .

page de couv



If you want more pictures and details, feel free to visit my blog :)

Thanks for reading!