1950s | 1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Blue Jacquard 1950’s Dress

By on February 6, 2017

I imagine many people here on We Sew Retro are big fans of Gretchen Hirsche’s wonderful fabric designs for Fabric Traditions available at Joanns, and I have seen so many lovely things made from her fabrics around the community! I recently picked up a few yards of the blue jacquard from one of Gertie’s fall fabric collections in the red tag area of Joanns (always check out the red tag area, is it usually full of dated sad decorator fabrics? Well, yes. Are there occasional hidden gems? Also yes!). I decided the shining sapphire blue jacquard would make a perfect 1950’s style wiggle dress and got started right away!

It was really important for this dress to make sure the raw edges of each seam were finished in some way since I knew I didn’t want to bother with a lining. Also with most jacquards and brocades I like to finish the edges no matter what as they seem to looove to fray apart the moment they are cut! So the first thing I did after cutting out this dress was overlock all of the edges with my serger. The bodice is a simple “kimono” sleeve style which is super simple to make up (just 6 darts total and the side seams) as you don’t have to fiddle with setting in proper sleeves as they are cut into the design. I totally recommend this style of bodice for those who have trouble with sleeves! The neckline was finished with a self fabric facing that I tacked down with tiny thread tacks to help it stay smooth. With a center back zipper and hand sewn hem finished, it was ready to wear! Too bad I didn’t make this number in time for New Years Eve as it would make a perfect holiday party dress! Next year perhaps 🙂

For more photos visit the full outfit post over on The Closet Historian!

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1960s | Skirts

3 Different Delphine Skirts

By on October 6, 2016

On of my most used patterns right now is the Delphine Skirt from the book Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes.

Akram's Ideas : 3 New Delphine Skirts
I made 3 different Delphine Skirts

While I’ve made a few of these skirts in the past, it was the “One Week One Pattern” or #OWOP16 challenge hosted by Cinderellis Sews, that prompted me to make a few new ones.

The goal of the challenge was to wear garments made from one pattern of your choice, every day for one week. I already had 4 previously made Delphine skirts, so that meant I only needed 3 more to make.

You can read about my previous makes here:

While the Delphine skirt is not exactly a vintage pattern it is retro inspired. The skirt itself has a classic 1960’s A-Line design.

Akram's Ideas : 3 New Delphine Skirts
I love this nautical inspired one

In the book Love at First Stitch , Tilly goes over a couple of variations on the skirt. Such as adding buttons to the font. Which is what I did for this nautical inspired version.

Akram's Ideas : 3 New Delphine Skirts
This brown Delphine skirt is prefect for fall

Since it’s officially autumn I decided that my next two skirts be autumn appropriate. I started first with a brown skirt. I need more brown in my wardrobe.

Akram's Ideas : 3 New Delphine Skirts
Love the color of this purple Delphine skirt

I followed up with a lovely purple skirt made out of a quilted type fabric. For both the brown and purple skirt I added a lining for warmth. I also added belt loops which are an option in the book. Finally I also added pockets, because skirts need pockets.

To read more about my process for making my these lovely Delphine skirts check out my blog Akram’s Ideas (http://akramsideas.com/week-delphine-skirt-owop16/)

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1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Simplicity 7737 (1968), v. 1

By on September 30, 2015

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Hello again, retro sewing friends! Today’s dress is Simplicity 7737, from 1968. This was actually one of the first things I ever made, back in 2009 or 2010! It is not perfect but was really a miracle it turned out this well without any alterations (especially since my copy is a wacky teen size I think?). You can see I totally copied the colors and trim from version 3 🙂

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You can see more pictures on my blog, allie J.

Thanks for reading!

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1950s | Dresses

Rock Your Orange

By on June 14, 2014

Ever since I learned how to sew I’ve wanted to attend Zoobilation, our local zoo’s black-tie fundraiser. (I’d always look at the photos from the event in the newspaper and notice how many women were wearing indistinguishable black cocktail dresses. As a person who sews vintage, I’ve always thought I could do better than that.) This year my husband finally scored tickets and I immediately began dreaming up my outfit. The theme this year was ‘Rock Your Orange’ in honor of the brand new orangutan exhibit our zoo has just opened. As it happens I look terrible in orange, so I decided to make a blue dress and accessorize it with orange.

I had a dickens of a time finding the right fabric (thank goodness for generous return policies) but I finally found a cobalt blue taffeta at JoAnn’s that I liked. It’s got just enough sheen to be formal but not tacky, and the heavier weight gives it a nice swish. (Ten dollars a yard but I bought it with a coupon, of course!) Surprisingly I didn’t have a pattern I wanted to use already in my stash, but I’ve been eyeing Retro Butterick 6018, circa 1952, ever since it came out. I actually think the pattern illustrations are kind of ‘meh’ but the pattern has really nice lines, especially View ‘A’ with the dramatic wide lapels and pointy sleeve cuffs. Incidentally, the line drawings are kind of misleading –

There is, in fact, a center seam in both the skirt front and skirt back, making the skirt eight pieces instead of six. On the front of the dress the center skirt seam lines up with that seam/faux button opening on the bodice, a touch I really appreciate, I should probably drop Butterick a line and see if they want to fix the misleading illustration.

Anyway, the construction of the dress itself was pretty uneventful until it came time to attach the skirt and the bodice. I found that the skirt side back panels were about 3/4″ too wide, meaning they wouldn’t match up flush with the bodice (and the skirt seams are supposed to match up with the bodice darts, naturally). At first I tried easing it in but that looked horrible. So then I undid the top 6″ or so of those skirt seams and re-did them with an adjusted seam allowance so everything would fit together nicely. Fortunately I had serged the raw edges of the pattern pieces individually before assembling (normally I sew and then serge) or I would have had a ravelly nightmare on my hands. It only took an extra hour or so, I just wish the pattern had worked right on the first try. This was also my first time doing covered buttons – I thought they’d be a fiddly nightmare but I got a kit from Hobby Lobby but they were really easy and – dare I say it – fun.

Enough talking: Pictures! I look a little weird here because I’m looking down at my 9 year old son who was holding the camera (I do have a neck, I promise). At least it’s not my usual bathroom mirror selfie.

With the husband. He got an orange tie and a new dress shirt with French cuffs for the occasion (mmm, I love French cuffs). Like anyone was looking at HIM.

I accessorized with a Malco Modes crinoline in a shade of orange that’s even more obnoxious than it looks here. (Obnoxious being a compliment when it’s coming from me.) Funny how their picture shows a petticoat that’s nearly ankle length and on me it comes just past my knees. I think I must have freakishly long legs or something. Also, my shoes don’t show up in any of the pictures but they are like my favorite shoes ever: Nina Crystah pumps, don’t they just scream 1950s? (Best part is I got them on eBay for just $15!) I couldn’t find any blue or orange shoes that I liked, so I went with an iridescent metallic which picked up the gaudy hues of my ensemble. And the low heel was practical for all the walking we had to do.

My dress was a huge hit among the thousands of well-dressed people at the zoo! I got a ton of compliments. Probably my favorite five words in the English language are “Thank you; I made it.” One lady even said my dress was the best outfit of the night! Here are some candids so you can see it in action. With an actual orangutan (he was sprawled out lazily on the ground but seemed interested in my crazy orange petticoat):

Roller coaster selfie (oh yeah, we rode the zoo coaster in our fancy clothes. It was awesome.) Also, you can see here that I really don’t know how to apply false eyelashes. I probably should have practiced more.

And this is my husband’s favorite shot of the night. We took a break on the playground that is very explicitly intended for kids age 5 and under, but it was an adults-only event. 🙂 Tons of restaurants from around Indianapolis had booths set up with small portions of food and drinks (all of which was included in the cost of admission). Even the famous St. Elmo’s Shrimp Cocktail. I think I was eating a fancy bread pudding here – we looked at the map later and realized we tried something like 30 samples! Yum! Also you can see here that I accessorized my hair with an orange silk flower the size of a grapefruit, because why on earth not?!

All in all, I am VERY pleased with how my dress came out – it’s exactly what I was picturing when I first found out about the orange theme. I’m already plotting to wear it again to other events – maybe I can drag the hubby to the symphony? And I’m glad I’ve only got about another five years before I get to start making prom dresses for my girls.

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1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Blue Crazy Daisy 1960’s Dress- Simplicity 3833

By on April 3, 2013

Hello!

I wanted share a dress my sister Viola made me out of  Simplicity 3833, a 60’s re-pro pattern. I picked view B with the short sleeves. We’ve also made the sleeveless one which came out really cute too. This dress is simple to make and can be completed rather quickly making it one of our favorite dresses to whip up. I chose a blue floral cotton fabric that was on sale at JoAnn for only two dollars a yard so I couldn’t pass it up!

You can click here to see more.

Keep on sewing!

Sincerely, Vera

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Vintage Sewing

Happy Mardi Gras! My Victorian Lobster for Your Viewing Pleasure

By on February 21, 2012

It’s officially Mardi Gras day down here in the Crecent City. I made this piece for a solo costume show last season. I was so slammed this year with costume commissions that I neglected to make a costume for myself this year. This is still one of my favorites in my collection. It was one of those pieces that kicked around my head for years before I finally actualized it. I made everything but her pasties, shoes, and wig. The chemise is based off a 70’s peasant blouse pattern. The under bustle and under-bust corset (greatly altered) are both based on Past Patters patterns. The bustle skirt I made sans pattern. It was one of those “make it happen” creations. Everything but the corset are silks. My beautiful friend Oops models it in these pics.

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