Get this on your gift list: the Retro Butterick 1950s Calendar

If you’re a member of the WeSewRetro Sew & Tell facebook group (if not, why not? It’s the best part of facebook, hands down!), you already had a sneak peak at these when they arrived. We sold out super quick and just got some more in so you still have time to add one of these fab 1950s retro calendars to your Christmas list…


Grab one from the WeSewRetro shop here. We do ship worldwide but Europeans should find it cheaper to purchase one direct from the UK here. Your sewing room can thank me later ;) December 15th is the shipping deadline for Christmas delivery within the US, so get your order in quick!


I’m secretly hoping Butterick will release a 1940s one next year if this one does well. What decade would you love to see?



Simplicity 7737 (1968), v. 2

Hello! I have a bit of a project backlog to share, so expect to see a few post from me in the coming weeks :) First up is version two of Simplicity 7737. Compared to version 1, which I made years ago at the very beginning of my sewing career, this one is a bit more subdued.

wednesday addams dress | allie J. |

I used a black rayon twill and white cotton for the self-drafted collar. Drafting a collar yourself is very simple, making it easy to add a sweet touch to basically any dress pattern you own!

wednesday addams dress | allie J. |

I really love this pattern–It has become my go-to for an a-line shift dress. Yay for tried and true patterns!

See the full post on my blog, allie J.

My wedding dress

My wedding dress journey officially began on March 20th 2014 when my gorgeous man popped the question – however I had already spent almost 6 months researching couture gown construction methods – you know, just I case I ever needed to produce such a garment…. (wink wink).

( I posted the result of this research, the ‘index of DIY Bridal Gowns‘ to my blog as a resource for other DIY brides, if you know of a blogged dress I have missed please let me know and I will add it ! )

I have watched enough “say yes to the dress” to know that around 5 out of 10 women want to look like either Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly on their wedding day, but I really meant it: “Timeless, simple lines with a tidy updo, thanks!”  I already had simplicity 2442 in my stash and was pretty sure I would use it  (minus the gloves and boob-collar), I love the proportions and the use of print on the pattern envelope. This rare pattern is circa 1948, I purchased it on etsy.


My sewing experience at that point consisted of a pencil skirt that didn’t fit and a vintage dress with floppy facings, however one thing going for me is that I am one of those annoying people who can cut a vintage pattern straight out of the envelope with no problems whatsoever. Just to be on the safe side I visited local couture wizard Sally Mussared who produced a moulage for me using Parisian drafting techniques, this is a fantastic asset and I have used it for every sewing project since – I highly recommend doing this if you are sewing an important garment, fitting becomes a synch!

How did this strapless dress stay up? I spent 6 months sewing the corselet alone. If you want more detail on that there are several posts on my blog regarding this mysterious process (here, here and here)

With that done I had about 10 weeks to produce the rest of the dress! I chose a beautiful silk organza jacquard which was a dream to work with, and underlined it with a blueish grey silk to tone down some of the yellowness


I completely altered the skirt of the pattern after I saw this Rochas dress on pinterest:


I loved the huge centre box pleat – I just draped it on my dress form and basted the pleats into place, ensuring the centre pleat was  as wide as the darts in the bodice piece are apart so that everything matched up.



I also modified the bodice by adding a highly unorthodox seam right across the bust apex. This allowed me to achieve a very close fit in the centre of the bust and added a bit of interest, I thought.

For my veil I took inspiration from one of my favourite ballet moments, the Willis from Giselle. The Willis are deceased jilted brides who have been left at the alter! They’re certainly miserable and sombre beauties, but super chic in my opinion.


Ok enough chat – here is the finished gown, with stacks more photos here for the wedding enthusiasts among you !




I enjoyed every minute in this dress and was quite sad to take it off at the end of the day! It was light, snug, and didn’t budge an inch which I am very proud of. I am a very different sewer on this other side of this project and look forward to applying these new skills in some garments that will get a bit more wear. I’d like to publicly acknowledge the effort Mel from and Laura Mae from Lilacs and Lace have gone to to document their couture level techniques on their blogs, without these resources I would not have had a chance of success – have a look if you don’t already follow!

There is more construction information than you could ever want and two construction disasters  on my blog , which you will enjoy if you’re the schadenfreude type.  Thanks for reading !



raincoat and a-line skirt , 60s patterns


Raincoat based on Simplicity pattern 8591 (1969) with some alterations (zipper, pockets )


simplicity 8591 raincoat vintage pattern











A-line mod mini skirt based on Maudella 5626 pattern  , with huge front zipper instead back zipper


vintage vinyl fabric maudella 5626 pattern aline skirt front zipper 60 1960 mod space age twiggy







The fabric is a kind of thick crinkled vinyl with woolen back , found in yard sales .



more here :

50s-Style Playsuit

I feel like there are few garments which capture the pin-up girl aesthetic so well as a good old-fashioned playsuit. I’d been wanting one forever but the selections in shops disappointed and patterns I saw failed to inspire. Until, that is, I saw the romper variation in Gertie Sews Vintage Casual. It was the playsuit of my dreams, and I am so pleased to finally be able to bring those dreams in to reality!

Polkadot Playsuit

I was so delighted with how it turned out :) Though there were some trials and tribulations in sewing it, the result was well worth the effort. You can read more about it, see more photos and construction details on my blog.

Polkadot Playsuit


Until next time,

Miss Maddy xx

As seen on Pinterest

I have made a few things based on vintage photographs (two dresses and a suit based on a drawing, in fact) but this is the first time the picture in question did not come from a magazine from my own collection. This one came from Pinterest.

ef8779d187cc39718fa4e063282b4434Such a lovely, unusual design. Clearly 1950’s but with a freeform, sculptural flair. Because I found the picture on Pinterest, I don’t know in which magazine it was printed and in what year. There is text printed next to the image, which is in English and mentions a price in dollars which makes me guess (combined with it being very much a winter style) that it comes from North America, either the USA or Canada.

voor2Although I love herringbone tweed, I know from experience that I don’t enjoy whole dresses made from the stuff. Those are just too warm for houses with central heating. And a dress like this would look best if it were very closely fitted, which is not that comfortable in a woven fabric.

zijSo, I used a thick-ish  knit fabric with a kind of tweed-like look. (I bought quite a bit of it on sale last year).

bandThe dress was simple: a six piece skirt with a bodice made from thinner viscose jersey. I make the most of the waist definition, I gave it an inner waistband from soft elastic which closes with lingerie hooks-and-eyes under the side zipper.

The jacket was more trouble. I made several muslins, exploring different pattern options. The original looks like the sort of thing which was draped directly on the model. Great, but not a realistic option for me.

lachenIn the end, I went with this pattern. It isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with it.

More about it on my blog (the link goes to the post about the finished article, there are several posts about the drafting of the jacket before that)