A 1954 Mail Order Sewing Pattern

This is a 1954 Mail Order pattern for The Baltimore Sun. Can I just say I get really excited when I use a vintage pattern and it turns out so wearable!

Vintage Sewing 1954

The dress went together amazingly easy. And it was a near perfect fit! I took it in slightly at the waist and the shoulder neckline area had to be taken in about 1/2″ on each side. Other than that- it was a dream to make.

Mail Order Sewing Pattern 1954

What I really enjoy doing is taking a vintage pattern and making it relevant enough to wear today. I really feel like I succeeded with this 1954 Mail Order dress pattern. I find something so special about handling something that was owned by someone long ago. This pattern came from The Baltimore Sun which looks to be a Newspaper. It still has the address of the lovely lady that ordered it and the postmark is pristine. Apr 29, 1954.  Tell me that is not the coolest thing ever!

Vintage Sewing Pattern

You can read all about this dress and get a brief history lesson over on my blog if you would like!

The Fourth of July Shorts

IMG_1554 copy

I didn’t actually wear these on the Fourth of July. I did, however, cut them out that day. Also, high waisted shorts instantly feel vintage and a little forties/fifties-style patriotic to me! The pattern is actually from the eighties (thanks to my wonderful mom who saved all her old sewing patterns!), but I’m going to forgive it that mild transgression. ‘Cos these shorts are so darn cute, if I do say so myself.

The deets

Pattern: Simplicity 5499, copyright 1982

Fabric: 7/8 yd denim, maybe 1/2 yd of random lining fabric my little sister let me use

Size: 12 (26-1/2″ waist, which explains a lot about that waist)


The pattern sewed up a dream, with wonderful guidance through the alterations (though I perhaps need some work on figuring out how I need to alter trousers for my body). Altogether, keeping in mind these are my first pair of trousers, I’m pretty happy.  The short of it (pun unintended but duly appreciated!) is that I really love these shorts! More details and pictures on my blog here!

A Cherry Colette Lily

The dreaded "hair in lipstick"

The dreaded “hair in lipstick”

I have loved cherry printed things since I was a child, I can remember begging for cherry bedding! So when I found this cherry print scarf a few years ago, I couldn’t stop myself from buying it. Although I have honestly never worn a silk scarf and they constantly slip off my egg-shaped head.


I was stoked to find the Lily dress from Colette patterns on sale, I love the vintage-casual feel of it! I debated what to make this with and what to use to accent, when I remembered the scarf! Satin is not the recommended material…but I’m stubborn. I think it turned out pretty okay, what do you think? More details on my blog

Back to the 60’s

I love the 1960’s dress I made last week, so I’ve made another one:

voorThis time, I used a pattern from 1968 which is a bit shorter and a bit more fitted.  This one is really very simple: A sleeveless shift with french darts at the front (which start on the high hip and are curved to do some waist shaping as well) and normal darts and a zipper at the back.

1960I used a fabric I got from my sister. It’s been in my stash for a while because it always seemed a bit too much for my usual dress styles. It works well for this dress but I have enough fabric for two more…

voor2As usual, there is more to read and see about this dress on my blog.

A Rainbow 1930’s Wrap Dress


Hello everyone! I have been a Sew Retro reader for a long time now, and figured it was high time I started sharing my sewing projects with you all in return! My most recent make is this dotty rainbow colored 1930’s inspired wrap dress! I have included some vintage pattern illustrations below to give you an idea of what sort of shape and style I was aiming for. I have a standard short kimono sleeve mid-century bodice pattern that I drafted earlier this past spring that I modified to achieve this wrap dress pattern. I added a triangular shaped front drape (that blends in and becomes quite invisible!) to the front for a 30’s bias-ish detail.

30swrap1 30swrap2

I used my basic pencil skirt pattern for the skirt portion but I added a bit of flare emanating out from just below the knee for more of a 30’s feel. The edges, including the hem, are all bound in self fabric bias tape. I sorta cheated and sewed the tape on by machine instead of doing it nicely by hand. I can be a bit impatient sometimes (always) and occasionally (most of the time) succumb to some sewing shortcuts! This fabric is a polyester crepe in a really great (if a bit slippery!) weight. I found it on the bargain table of my favorite local fabric shop last spring and always knew I wanted to try and make something 30’s from it. I really like how the dress came out in the end!



Thanks for reading! For more photos of this dress and other vintage sewing projects, visit me at The Closet Historian! 


staand1It took me a long time and quite a bit of trouble but this dress is finished… Made from a pattern from Gracieuse magazine from October 1933, this thing proved tricky at every step.

e59c812223944a4a89c30d1332d1d16bThe stripes meant I had to sew very carefully and try and match them and the fabric kept on growing on the bias. I’m grateful for the advice from many people on We Sew Retro Sew & Tell on how to deal with that…

zittend3The dress still isn’t perfect but it is my best attempt yet at a 1930’s design.  And it is item number 7 for my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge.

More information and more pictures on my blog