WeSewRetro.com

Vintage Patterns - Vintage Fabric - Vintage Style
Vintage Sewing

1954 Butterick Dress – Perfect for Spring

By on March 25, 2007

I found this great 1954 Butterick dress pattern at an Antique Mall for $1.99 — it had all of it’s pieces, the instructions, and it was my size. How perfect!

It went together quickly with the most difficult part being the inset collar. For some reason the opening for the collar was too big and I had to take in the shoulder seams a bit to make it all match up. I have had a vintage mint green plastic belt buckle for years waiting for just the right project. This turned out to be the one. I’ve also been sitting on some vintage mint green piping I picked up at the thrift store that wanted to be included too. I piped around the collar and cuffs and think that it really makes the dress.

The illustration on the pattern envelope shows a really full skirt, which mine is not. I’m not sure if this is because the fabric I used is quite heavy or if the pattern envelope models were wearing crinolines. I’ve played around with the idea of making this pattern in a crisper fabric to see if it would be fuller.

This is the first pattern I’ve sewn with kimono sleeves, which are so easy to sew but unusual to wear. As long as I don’t really need to lift my arms higher than my shoulders I should be fine!

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

The black shirt

By on March 24, 2007

With one week to go, I undertook the February/March project: a black cotton shirt – perfect for spring, if it ever arrives in Montreal. The pattern is Simplicity 4047, and the fabric is just a regular cotton: thick enough to have a little bit of body, but cool enough to wear on a sunny day.
Lately, I’ve been really drawn to styles like this. My waist is a pattern-size larger than my hips and bust, so the nipped in waist is perfect for giving me some extra curves. I think it will look best with a narrow pencil skirt, with glasses and pearls (for a librarian-chic look) or with rolled up dark-rinse jeans and a chiffon scarf (for a more Rebel Without a Cause feel).
I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, although I could have tapered in the waist a little more since I’m not going to make the sash for it. The next time I use this pattern (for a shirt dress in a red cotton with tiny white polka dots) I think I’ll taper it in at least one, maybe two sizes for the waist and I’ll lower the neck line an inch or so.

This pattern set is quickly becoming a go-to for me. In addition to the shirt dress (for which I’ll just lengthen and full-out the bottom pieces), I’ll be making the pencil skirt. I’m going to muslin it tonight, so hopefully I’ll have another finished project before the end of this challenge.
Yay for new spring clothes! Now if only it would stop snowing…

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

My Mod Patterns

By on



Here are images of two of the patterns I was excited to use in this sew-along. They are sized perfectly for me, still in factory folds, and how cool and retro they are too. I love the clever details, and they are made with real old-fashioned construction techniques. I saw the Valentino in a crisp silk, and the Bill Blass as more of a day dress.

I saw ‘was’ because in the last two weeks my life has gone totally down the toilet. (let’s just say my boyfriend’s teenage intern had something to do with it) I vow that I will rise again — hopefully while mod, 60s fashions are still ‘in’— and sew these suckers though… Just you wait!

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

Very 50s Dirndl skirt

By on

It seems like cheating to post a Dirndl because they are so, so easy. Plus, this was a border print so I didn’t even have to hem it! The fabric is vintage from Ebay – if you can’t make it out, its a medieval couple with a cart full of flowers pulled by a St Bernard. I so covet vintage border print skirts like this – especially since Prada did a similar line of “travel” themed skirts a year or two ago that were just gorgeous – but the Prada is definitely out of my price range, and even vintage skirts of this type go for a lot on ebay. Plus, they are usually in teenager sizes (25″ waists). I was pretty excited when I found the fabric and was able to make my own!
Here I’m dressed for work. It turned out to be a 14-hour day, which reminded me of another perk of the dirndl: So. Comfortable.

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

cherry dress

By on March 20, 2007

dress plans
Isn’t it funny how ideas marinate together in your head without you even realizing it? Here is what inspired me to make this dress, in roughly chronological order.

  • First I saw some gorgeous retro rockabilly dresses, some of them cherry print, like this one at Pinup Girl Clothing and this one at Daddy-O’s.
  • A dancer I saw at a recent dance in Rochester, totally cutting a rug in red shoes and a cream/red retro flowery dress kind of like the outfit on this page.
  • notamermaid’s lemonade dress and erin’s post about it, suggesting we get ready for summer with, among other things, fruity print dresses.
  • The perfect cherry print fabric was on sale this weekend. There were only 2.5 yards left on the bolt, so I took it all, not sure whether I could find a cute retro pattern for that amount.
  • But rummaging through my patterns at home, I found the perfect thing! a Vintage Vogue (#2858) from 1944, with a cute neckline, simple construction, and only requiring 2.5 yards of fabric.

Here is how it came out!

cherry dress

Here’s my review of the pattern. I love this dress and plan on making more like it. I’m especially happy that I finished it in time to dance in it this weekend! I was considering using red piping in the seams, to make them stand out, but since I’ve never made this pattern before and wanted to finish it asap, I left the piping out. It would make more work for me if I had to re-sew the seams (and since I wasn’t sure if the seams would all come out in the right place and right shape – maybe I wouldn’t want to emphasize them!)

You can see that I made a few alterations. I removed the front gathers (I just re-drew the front skirt piece using the bodice piece as a guide) and I shortened the skirt a bit. If I have enough fabric left over, I’ll add godets in the skirt seams to make the skirt flare out a bit more; the skirt is very straight and I’d like to have a little more room to dance.

This was my first successful attempt at a Vintage Vogue pattern! (my unsuccessful attempt was a 30s evening gown that somehow came out too big). I’m really happy with it and found the pattern easy to follow and the fit was perfect without alterations. I’m between sizes and this time I made the smaller size.

By the way, I totally need this hat to wear with it.

Continue Reading

Vintage Sewing

Coquette Blouse (1928) by Eva Dress

By on February 25, 2007

I read a review of this pattern at the Pattern Review site and fell in love with it. I of course had to order the pattern. I did so and also ordered a 1950’s style blouse pattern and a 1945 skirt pattern which I hope to make in the near future. I had to make several fitting adjustments as regretfully I am a little larger than the measurements for this blouse. All turned out I well I think. Those adjustments included full bust adjustment, adding width to waist and lengthening the top by 2 inches.

Here are two photos of the blouse, tucked and untucked.

It was a great experience using some sewing techniques that were different from my usual ones. The fitting adjustments were also a great opportunity to learn more about adjusting patterns to make them fit(successfully). This is a blouse for the upcoming spring season. You can read more about the making of this blouse at Danvillegirl Sewing Diary. Now that I have the fit down, I plan to make at least two more.

Continue Reading