Roses Dress

Hi everyone! My name is Eleanor and this is my first post on WeSewRetro. I am Dutch but currently living in sunny South Africa. I have been sewing for a couple of years now and love wearing and sewing clothes with a vintage feel.

This dress is one of my favourite recent makes. The bodice is from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing, the Sultry Sheath Dress. I combined it with a half circle skirt.

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I made this for no particular reason but then an opportunity to wear it presented itself when I went with my husband for a work dinner. I say that like I was dressed appropriately, but I was terribly overdressed as everyone else was in jeans. Didn’t stop me though, I love wearing this dress!2014-12-19 09.25.12

For more pictures and a review check out my blog.

Christmas Dress! Butterick 9566




Hello there vintage babes, and Happy Holidays! To celebrate the season I have made myself the perfect little holiday dress using Butterick 9566 (slightly modified) and reproduction vintage xmas fabric! I added matching rick rack, my ultimate favorite sewing trim. I absolutely love this pattern and plan on making more versions! Anyone know what year this pattern is?

See more on my blog: ErikaMadeIt



Downton Abbey inspired blouse

Recently, I re-watched season two of Downton Abbey and for the first time, the clothes really appealed to me. Especially some of the blouses looked like they would still be nice to wear now.

I have some vintage pattern magazines in my collection which date as far back as 1918 so I started looking for options. In those magazines, there are plenty of pictures of lovely designs and readers could order the patterns for those… Just some of the designs (about one in each size) were included on a tracing sheet.

jurk_topI finally found these dresses in an issue of Gracieuse magazine from 1922. The middle one is more or less in my size (and so loose fitting I didn’t worry about that) and, more importantly, has the design I was after. So, I used the pattern pieces for the dress bodice to create this blouse.

blouse3It was a bit difficult to find a way to wear it. The blouse is very comfortable and I like it, but most of the bottoms in my wardrobe are more 1950’s in style and really didn’t work with it. I like the look with these trousers though. Not really period accurate but it doesn’t look ‘off’ either.

blouse voor 2With this blouse, I’ve also completed my goal of five items from actual vintage patterns for my Vintage Pattern Pledge.

As usual, you can read more about it on my blog.

Simplicity 2602: The Christmas Edition

Christmas eve is almost upon us and here I have a festive feast for your eyes.

The Simplicity 2602 all made up and worn for my work Christmas party (and soon to be seen on Christmas Day!).

Christmas dress and fabric 2015

I have to confess that I made the choice based on something quick to whip up (relatively speaking) and the lack of messing about with sleeves when I knew how busy I’d be in the weeks running up to the date I needed to finish by.

I picked a medium weight cotton from Benartex (Let It Snow) available from Plush Addict. I went for a good 4 metres and I was very happy in the end that I did.

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

I pinned out the pattern and up came a quandary, mainly that the pattern doesn’t repeat itself often enough.

It meant a lot of pinning and re-pinning before cutting and I had to deal with the sides seams not matching (I decided the back was much more important due to the side closure and the split).

So after holding my breath and cutting while crossing my fingers and every available part of me (I don’t often sewing with patterned fabric!) it was done.

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

I pinned the darts and pinned to my dressform and was already very happy before I even started to sew it up. Sewing was relatively easy apart from the back, which I had managed to get a tiny bit out of sync.

Yet again my seam ripper became my best friend and I opted to sewing on the fold down the back rather than try (for the umpteenth time) to match the seam.

I don’t think you could obviously see it due to the pattern but decided even if you could I’d give myself a break and not give too much of a monkeys.

So on I went, and the rest was relatively easy, the split was a breeze and the side zip went in with ease. It seems that a break away for a while has done me some good. Eight and a half hours later and I was done, pressed and ready to go.

I wore at the office party, looking way more dressed up than everyone there BUT it’s Christmas and if you can’t wear a lovely sparkly dress for a party what can you wear it for? Here it is in all it’as glory!

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

Better photos to follow after Christmas day and on my blog – wait until you see my hand embroidered napkins and table cloth!

Wishing you all a fantastic festive season, a wonderful Christmas Day and much love and happiness with your friends and family. I’m off to ice my ridiculously boozy cake!

Merry Christmas!

1957 outfit

voor2 With the end of the year getting very close, I was keen to try and complete my goal for the Vintage Pattern Pledge after all. And this outfit really helped to achieve that!

rokI found this wide wale corduroy and thought it would work nicely for a pleated skirt. Because of the pledge, I looked for a vintage tutorial and found this one, from February 1957. Which happened to include instructions for the belt as well.

The next issue of the same magazine (Dutch ladies’ magazine Libelle which, at the time, was published weekly) contained this image in the mailorder pattern section:

outfitPleated skirt, gathered belt (check and check) and a normal-for-1950’s blouse… That looks great!

blouseSo, I went in search of a blouse pattern and found one in the sewing magazine Marion from March 1955. I changed the collar to suit my purpose but other than that, I made the blouse exactly as designed and drafted back then.

achterAnd this is the result. Not quite as luxurious as the inspiration (which looks like it’s mostly made from silk) but still colourful and fun.

You can read more about this outfit on my blog and I’ve made a little tutorial for that belt here.


Christmas dress

A few weeks ago a friend bought the Vintage Burda for me and I already tried a couple of the patterns. I instantly thought that the Grace pattern would make a very classic and feminine christmas dress, not least because it has long sleeves (I just can’t wear short sleeves in winter, even with a cardigan). I used a berry colored cotton for my “muslin”, hoping that I could use it for a real dress if it turned out ok. I cut size 36 and it fits as I suspected – the waist of the bodice is a bit too wide and the bust slightly too tight but overall it was quite ok and comfortable to wear in spite of the non-elastic fabric. I had originally planned to make a christmas dress of a beautiful taffeta that I had received as a gift a couple of weeks ago but time was getting short and so I decided to work with the muslin. It was not quite surprising that I was time-pressed – I usually don’t read the instructions before I actually start sewing and I had failed to notice that the pattern asks for underarm-gussets, an advanced technique that I had never done before. The instruction in the Burda issue consisted of two brief sentences that are probably very comprehensible if you are familiar with this technique but I was completely in the dark. I skimmed through my sewing books and looked for online tutorials and finally guessed what I had to do and cut in the fabric and set in 4 gussets – it looks really ok and I guess my next attempt will be even better.


I had already bought a piece of ruby-red dupioni silk several months ago and made a gathered skirt of it because the colors looked looked great together. The fabric has a very nice drape and shimmer but looks slightly crumpled even directly after I ironed it which annoyed me a bit. To counteract this I enforced the hem with a red velvet trim and a double layer of silk, the shape of the skirt looks way better this way. I also used the velvet trim as a neckband, made two little bows at the front and back, and finally also attached it to the belt. I made the belt to mask that the waist is a bit too wide but when I looked at the pictures I noticed that it rather emphasises it. I really liked the common thread of the red trim though so that’s ok in the end. The sleeves are supposed to be 3/4 sleeves but are more like 7/8 on me, I will make them a bit longer next time. The zipper is handpicked, which was quite time consuming but looks so nice (unfortunately I have no detail pictures of it!). All in all I am really happy with my “muslin” christmas dress, even though it is not perfect. Last weekend we took a few pictures in a forest near Bergisch Gladbach, next to an industrial facility with ice covered gas tanks. It was just above 0 degrees celsius and I was so cold but am quite relieved that the pictures don’t show that all too much… :-)

You can find more pictures on my blog!

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