Pink Roses

By on October 31, 2013

A while back my Mum’s friend had gifted me some vintage fabric that her mother had in her cupboard. From looking at the fabric I suspect it was from the fifties – the print, the width, the feel, all had 1950’s written all over it. Lucky for me there was about 4 metres of it so plenty to make a full skirted dress of some description. It was a super pretty fabric, I don’t think you could have gotten more girly if you tried. After a quick look through my existing vintage reproduction patterns from the 50’s, I chose Butterick 5603.

I thought this pattern would be a nice change as it has the empire waist line just under the bust and then the skirt bottom flares out from there. I cut out a size 12 to ensure it wouldn’t be too tight around the waist as vintage patterns can be that way. I had pre washed the fabric to get out the musty smell it had from years kept in a cupboard. Washing it ended up making it feel quite crunchy, so it felt like I cut almost cutting out paper when I cut out the pattern pieces. Thankfully once I got the iron onto the fabric it softened it. I opted to use contrasting matching pink satin for the neck and under bust trim so it stands out a little more. It was a process finding a pink that I liked that didn’t have that tacky polyester satin feel about it. I ended up finding a fabric I liked in Lincraft. This is a nice pattern to sew up for a newbie to vintage sewing patterns. The skirt bottom is very straight forward, and I only had to take it in a little towards the top of it. I ended up taking it in the at the side seams under my arms but otherwise it was a pretty good fit. I lined it with a pink bemsilk lining which was a bit of a pain to stitch down near the gathers under the bust but I got there in the end.

I gave horsehair braiding a go for the first time on this dress skirt hem too and I love how it turned out. I read Gertie’s book for advice on how to sew on the horsehair braid and it was a doddle. Except for the fact I ran out of it and had to rush back to the store again to buy more – d’oh! I’ll blog about my horsehair braiding soon so I can try and persuade you to give it a go. It made the skirt flare out more but didn’t look too much.

More pictures on my blog: http://www.bobbinandbaste.com/2013/11/pink-roses/



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1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Vaguely Nautical

By on July 19, 2012

This is one of two vintage dresses I’ve made for myself this month (the second is awaiting a belt). I had a pair of vintage spectator pumps, and really needed something to wear with them.

This was my first time using a Retro Butterick reprint. You might not be able to tell from the finished dress, but I used #5603.

I’ve been stocking up on Retro Buttericks whenever Hancock’s or JoAnn’s has a 99 cent sale. True vintage Buttericks are some of my favorites to sew with, and I’ve noticed this one cropping up a lot on PatternReview and other sewing blogs. I did add sleeves and 1,000 miles of bias trim (which I made myself… why?) as well as a hidden pocket in the non-zipper side seam. The other thing about this dress is that it’s quite a bit longer than my other vintage dresses. Anything with a full skirt I usually hem so that it hits right below the knee. But I went with a mid-calf length on this one and was quite pleased. (Of course now I am on the hunt for a tea-length petticoat to wear with it!)

I really love how this turned out! I used a fabric called ‘pimalene’ that I found for $2/yard at my local fabric store… think Kaufman Pimatex with a slight stretch. It was a wonderful fabric to sew with.. and I used notions from my stash so the whole dress was less than $10!

One more shot of the dress in action…

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1950s | Dresses

Mad Men Inspired Emerald Cocktail Dress

By on March 27, 2012

Hi everyone – this is my first post on We Sew Retro which was brought on by the excitement of completing my dress for Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Challenge and the thrill of seeing so many other amazing contributions to this SAL.

My inspiration came from these 2 Joan pics – I must admit I drool over pretty much everything Joan wears – you’ve gotta love a woman who’s not afraid to show off her curves – and boy, does she rock those curves!  Anyway, I was immediately drawn to the colour and was amazed I managed to find this emerald satin – perfect!  I used Butterick 5603 with the cross over bodice and instead of a border print used a black lace trim along the top of the bodice and edge of the skirt.


I was tempted to make a straight skirt a la Joan, but this turned out to be beyond my scope of expertise and in the end I’m really pleased I stuck with the full skirt.

TROUBLE SPOT – HELP PLEASE – I had a bit of trouble lining the skirt as I had never done this before and most dress patterns don’t include instructions on how to do this.  I did figure it out but got stuck when it came to the bottom of the zipper.  Luckily it’s inside the dress and no-one will see it but if anyone has any tips on what to do here, I’d hugely appreciate it.

For more pattern info and photos please see my review on Pattern Review.

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