Vintage Sewing

Can You Help Me Find a Pattern For my Wedding Dress?

By on July 14, 2014

Hello retro sewists! I haven’t posted in awhile, but I’m here today to ask you for some help. I’m getting married next year and I’ve decided to make my own dress. I found a gorgeous vintage dress online that I would like to re-create, but I’m having trouble locating a pattern (I don’t really know how to draft my own, so I want something to go off of). Below is  a picture of the dress I would like to re-create (in my size), from Dear Golden Vintage:

(Source: Dear Golden Vintage)

I think that this pink dress below, also from Dear Golden Vintage, might have been made from the same pattern, which makes me think it may have been sewn from a commercial pattern, rather than being custom-made.

(Source: Dear Golden Vintage)

I looked through many patterns on the Vintage Patterns Wiki and online, but none seemed to be quite right, but then I stumbled upon and image of this pattern, Advance 8394. It seems like the closest approximation so far, despite the skirt being completely different.

(Source: Vintage Patterns Wiki)

The trouble is, there are no copies currently for sale online that I can see, so I was wondering if anyone has a copy of Advance 8394 that I could buy, borrow, or rent. I would pay the shipping both ways if I could just borrow one to trace off. Any size is fine!

Or, alternatively does anyone have the actual pattern for the two dresses that I can’t find? That would be pretty amazing!

If I can’t find the pattern, I’ll go ahead and try my hand at drafting one, but I thought it was worth a shot to see if I could locate a pattern first.I also posted about my search here on my blog, Mint Green Sewing Machine.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me! I’m so glad I can tap into this amazing online community!

Happy Sewing!

-Melissa

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1940s | Dresses

Advance 4864 (1948)

By on July 12, 2013

I definitely had a “look” going this spring.

In May, I wore a peplum blouse made from Advance 4858 (1948) to the wedding of one of my cousins on my dad’s side of the family.  I had another wedding to go to in less than a month, which meant serious crunch time.  I decided to make Advance 4864 (1948) because it had the same general shape, so most of my fitting work would already be done:


But since the second wedding was that of another cousin on the same side of the family, the fabric had to be really different.  This is cotton from Spring Creative Group, which appears to be the generic brand for Hancock’s:

I behaved myself and made the actual dress this time; the version on the right with the giant bow.

I wish I had some kind of funny and/or mildly traumatizing story to tell you about this pattern, but I don’t.  It’s a perfect lady: Everything fit together the way it was supposed to.  It didn’t even need much alteration.  I even added a small pocket in the right-side seam (there is a zipper in the left side) and it went in without any hiccups.  My only trivial issue was the one I always have, which is that I swear tie ends are never long enough to look the way they do in the picture.   Even if the waist (or the neck, in this case) fits, the ties are never long enough to tie properly on me.   The Chicken Dress was terrible about this–the ties are just long enough to tie into a hard, back-bruising, little knot but not an attractive bow, even though the waist fits and doesn’t need them to hold its shape.  Am I the only one who has this issue?

Anyway, I don’t have great pictures of it.  Here I am cropped out from between my dad and one of my cousins.  Ignore the wine glass.

It’s also a ridiculously comfortable dress, which is great because it’s really a day dress and not a dressy-dress, so not only can I wear it on a normal day, I’d actually like to wear it on a normal day.

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1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Sunny Floral Dress (Advance 9209)

By on June 3, 2013

 

Hi again! I just wanted to share this dress I made last week. If you couldn’t tell, I made it from a vintage sheet.  The pattern I used is shown below, Advance 9209. The pattern is actually for a pinafore to be worn over a nightgown, so I made a few little tweaks to make it work as a sundress- adding more buttons and making the pockets a little smaller.

I made my own bias tape for the first time for the project and I’m amazed at how easy it actually is! I also learned how to use my sewing machine’s buttonhole foot for the first time (embarrassingly, I’ve had it for like 8 years!) and I think it just changed my life!

I have more pictures and info over here on my blog, Mint Green Sewing Machine, if you’d like to pop over and take a look!

-Melissa

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1940s | Blouses | Vintage Sewing

Advance 4858 (1947-1948): Peplum blouse alteration

By on May 30, 2013

I have three cousins getting married in the next few months.  Luckily, I am running out of cousins to marry off because I can barely keep up with the sewing.

I had to be realistic and accept that I had procrastinated too long and frittered away too much time on non-necessary projects, and I wouldn’t be able to complete a full dress for the first wedding.  I’m old-fashioned enough that I feel a bit weird wearing black to weddings, especially summer weddings, but . . . oh, well.  It was time to trot out the black skirts and settle for making a new blouse.

I picked one that looked comfortable but also looked like it couldn’t have too many fitting issues.  Advance 4858 is from 1947 or 1948:


Classic postwar design: Extended shoulder line, long waist, big skirt.

The red flags were length (easily remedied; I always have to add length) and neckline (thin shoulders; boat necks and I do not get along.  But necklines are also easily altered).  I decided I’d switch to a back-button closure because I seem to be going through that kind of a phase (see the Simplicity 4727: Black sundress post below) and make the whole thing into a peplum blouse.

It didn’t need a lot of help–I lengthened it a little, closed up the neckline some, and changed the button opening, but the bodice itself was basically fine.

I completely winged it on the peplum: I drew a rectangle (two, actually, front and back) that matched the waist circumference, then slashed and fanned it out until it looked the way I wanted.  And that was it.

In fact, it was so OK that I put the entire thing together without a hitch despite the fact that my copy of the pattern has no instruction sheet.

And here it is.  Sorry, my hair won’t do anything.  I live in braids.

The fit is a little blousy but I think that’s intentional.  It also has massive shoulder pads.  They look less ridiculous here than I thought they did, actually.

The necklace is a double-strand of faceted crystals that belonged to my grandmother.

Close-up of the back with the awesome huge iridescent plastic buttons:

The fabric is, as usual, cotton.  I had originally chosen a purple stylized floral but then decided it was too funereal.  It was also an out-of-print remnant and I didn’t think I had enough, and couldn’t get any more.  I’m not wild about splattery magenta prints but at least it was happier.  (Don’t get me wrong: I love me some funereal fabric, but it wasn’t my wedding, right?)

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Dresses

Advance 6993: A Wearable Muslin

By on March 11, 2013

I have been wanting to at least try to make Advance 6993 ever since I picked up the pattern at a local antiques mall.  However, the pattern calls for something like 6 and 1/8 yards of fabric for the simpler version, which had rather put me off from making it.  But… Joann’s had a sale on their cheapest cotton ($2.49 a yard!), so I of course jumped at the chance to make a “muslin” of the dress pattern to test it out!

 (Dress pattern plus chosen fabric– my choices were limited by needing more than 6 yards of it!)

(The pattern had two newspaper clippings tucked inside when I bought it… obviously the previous owner had clipped a few inspirational ideas!)

(And here are the pieces, so you can see what I was getting into.  There is a lot of skirt.)

The main thing I was struck by as I cut out my pieces was just how much skirt there is for this pattern.  It’s about one and a half circles when it’s all put together, and it’s expansive.  I was very happy that this pattern included pieces for all the facings, and they were relatively easy to put together.  Many a time I’ve started sewing a vintage pattern and come to instructions that tell me to face an armhole opening with a bias strip that I was never instructed to cut!

So, how did it turn out?  Well…

I LOVE it.  The fit is insanely flattering, and the skirt is HUGE and twirly.   I actually ended up cutting off 8 inches of skirt before I hemmed it, because it was just too long for a cotton day dress.  I probably could have left it an inch or two longer, to compensate for the fullness.

Two twirl pictures to get a sense of the scale and movement of the skirt.  It’s REALLY fluffy.  I’m wearing one full petticoat and one light petticoat here, but really it can easily accommodate two full petticoats without much trouble.  I ended up putting in a very narrow twice-folded hem instead of the deeper hem the pattern suggests because I didn’t really relish the idea of trying to press out the fullness of one and a half circles.  No thank you!

I made a few small alterations to the fit, as well:  I ended up taking in the side seams by about an extra half-inch, and I sewed the armholes closed higher than the pattern showed, as there was quite a bit of bra visible from the side when I first tried it on!  I also ended up taking in the top back (rather inelegantly) by tapering the piece towards the top of the zipper, it was gapeing badly at first and falling off my shoulders a bit as a result.

Next time I make this, I’m going to graft on some sleeves from one of the other Advance patterns I’ve sewn.  I think I’ll also leave the skirt an inch or two longer.  Oh, and I’ll remember to start pinning the zipper from the TOP of the opening, so I’m not closing the top inch with hooks & eyes.

I will need to make another one, and probably soon… I don’t think it’s considered good form to wear the same dress four days in a row!

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1950s | Lingerie | Vintage Sewing

Advance 5876 Kitty Pajamas

By on February 18, 2013
Advance 5876

This little 1950s gem was in an eBay lot I purchased last summer.  It has the name of the owner (Barbara Gilliam – Homeroom 111) written on every piece – the envelope, instructions, and every single pattern piece.  She even did the hard work for me and identified each piece (front, back, etc.)!  This pattern was probably her school project.  My store-bought scottie dog pajamas, worn nightly for 5 years, bit the dust the same week Joann’s had a sale on flannel AND a 20% off coupon.  I took it as a sign to get to work making these up and chose a kitty fabric as a contrast to my previously worn dogs.

I cut View 2.  I didn’t have to make any major alterations to the pattern, but I did lengthen the pants by about an inch, and extended the wrist cuff by an inch so it wouldn’t cut off the circulation to my hand.  It took about 2 days of sewing to complete, but only because I did french seams, turned and stitched seams, and bound the armhole and uh-hum…[crotch] seam with bias tape.

Armhole showing all three seam finishes

I know, the bias tape doesn’t match!  I had this self-made tape left over from another project and didn’t feel like making matching tape for a part of this garment that only I will see.  Besides, waste not, want not!

Pocket

 

Pocket detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pattern has two front pockets.

Finished Pajamas

These are perfect for the frigid winter nights, and I’m hoping they will last me even longer than the store-bought ones did!

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1950s | 1960s | Dresses | Mildly Insane Photo | Vintage Sewing

The Completed Fall Fancies Dress!

By on July 30, 2012

This post is all the behind-the-scenes details of my latest me-made project, which I recently featured in an outfit post ~ My Fall Fancies Dress.

I started this dress in February with an vintage Advance 9785 shirtwaist dress pattern I got off Etsy and some vintage thrifted cotton.  I think the Advance is late 1950s – early 1960s?  I’m not 100% sure, but I thought it was pretty anyway.

I had to tackle a few new skills with this pattern ~ doing to an FBA on a kimono sleeve bodice was just for starters.  The dart ended up looking funny, so I just moved it to where I thought it should go and thankfully it worked!

I also had to try my hand at my first on-the-bias project, as the bodice was bias cut, and to make the layout trickier, I had to pattern/stripe match as well!  This meant that it took me THREE hours just to cut out the bodice, and I wasted a fair amount of fabric which led me to the conclusion that, although pretty, bias cuts aren’t necessarily worth it.

Buttonholes and pleating were also two new skills to me ~ and I have to say I adore my Bernina 860!  It’s five step buttonhole program is the easiest, simplest way to do buttonholes and once I practised a few I just breezed through the three buttonholes on the dress’s bodice.  I never thought I would say this, but ~ I love stitching buttonholes!

The pleats were relatively simple, and I am positively ecstatic with how they look!  I think that they suit my figure far better than gathers, so I know I will be trying these again.

Of course, although I like the original pattern, I still made an alteration and took out the buttons/facing strip down the front of the skirt.  I think my reasoning for that was that the bodice buttonholes were scary enough without having to do more!  Plus, I find button-down skirts annoying.  They tend to pop open a lot on me for some reason.

I had trouble with the collar/neck facing and end up tacking and sewing that down in about a hundred different ways/places, as well as the collar being a pain to put on.  I had to re-apply it and rip it out at least three times, but even though the inside is a little messy, you can’t tell from the outside, which is good. I guess these things just take practise.

All these new challenges meant I did a lot of stop/start sewing; sometimes leaving the dress for weeks until I could summon up the courage and the time to pick it up again.

However, the thing that I am most proud of with this project is how perfectly my seams match!  The centre back seam and the shoulder seams are spot on and I love how the front facing has that lovely ‘bridge’ between the two front chevron-stripes.  Pattern matching is fiddley and time-consuming, but oh, so satisfying when it comes out right!

~ Project Details ~

Year:  Late 1950s – early 1960s
Pattern:  Advance 9785
Fabric:  About 6 yards/5.5 metres of thrifted cotton doona cover {$9.00} ~ this is one fabric eating pattern!
Notions:  Three buttons {$3.00}
Time to complete: I have no idea…
Make/Wear again? Definitely wear again!!  I am really happy with how it came out: I love the fit, the style and the fabric. However, I am not so sure that I’ll make the pattern up again.  I’m thinking that once was enough.  Although, I do love the skirt, so it does seem likely that I might use that part of the pattern again.
Total Cost:  $25.00 including the pattern

xox,

bonita

P.S. ~  For more posts, outfits, tutorials and more, please visit my blog Depict This!  I hope to see you there soon!!  ^ω ^


								

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