McCalls

A Little Bird Told Me

by Joni on June 21, 2014 · 5 comments

in 1950s,Dresses

I’ve done coordinating dresses for my daughters before, but never outright matching. Browsing vintage patterns online I came across McCall’s 4346 (copyright 1957, the same year my mother was born), and knew that I had to do it for both of my girls. It took a little while to find usable copies in sizes 6 and 12 – these were supposed to be Easter dresses (don’t judge me) – but I finally pulled it off.

I was considering making both of their dresses in solid blue with a red bow just like the blondie on the pattern envelope there. But once I laid eyes on this Michael Miller print,  I couldn’t stop picturing my girlies in it. I mean, come on! It’s birds hanging dishes on a clothesline!

Other than my buttonholer’s continued refusal to cooperate, these dresses came together amazingly fast. I love how the simple lines work with an obnoxious novelty print (I’m already thinking about Christmas dresses). And here are my girlies all decked out with their new crinoline petticoats and big smiles!

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The fabulous Bobbie Barret was the inspiration for my entry into Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Dress Challenge 3. I chose Butterick 9497, with this lovely purple fabric from an op shop. I decided to make a hat to accessorise, as ‘business’ Bobbie is rarely seen without a perfectly styled hat, fortunately I had the body of a hat I had played around with just waiting to be embellished.

I have had some fun in this dress already, my daughter and I dressed up to watch Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face at a lovely old cinema on the weekend. By special request I had to whip up a dress for her in matching fabric, she also embellished her own hat, the base of which I had at hand. Here we are, it was VERY exciting.

This is the original pattern – I have many more photos over on my blog – this dress really was ‘quick and easy’ and I love it more than I thought, I do plan to make the full skirted version, perhaps for spring.

It has been ages since I have posted here, but I have been doing a lot of vintage sewing! Many separates, that get worn daily – including finishing off other people’s sewing projects, like this lovely gabardine skirt, which came to me through a friend, in a suitcase with fabrics and patterns, mostly 1970s.

I also have accepted a really exciting project, through some very talented women who have set themselves up to run workshops in millinery, corset making and vintage sewing (cool!). I was invited to document and blog a vintage sewing project with their vintage specialist – who in completing her MA designed and made a range of luxurious woollen coats using vintage techniques and based on coat designs from the 40s to the 60s. A couple of her coats are inspired by none other than Balenciaga, I had the pleasure of trying them on when we met on the weekend.

The collaboration was an opportunity for me to find a project that I would find challenging, one using techniques or skills that are new to me. So I brought a selection of patterns and fabrics, we talked and dreamed up several exciting projects, we had to chose one, and this is what we will create. The fabric and pattern are both 1950s, the pattern is unused and the fabric was a gift from a dear friend. I have many more photos on my blog including the projects that didn’t make it – this time. I was excited as I have a few (ahem, well perhaps more than a ‘few’) vintage fabrics that I hesitate to cut into, so it is good to go into a project with someone who has more experience – we both want to do justice to the lovely fabric and the gorgeous pattern. So, watch this space!

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As mentioned in my recent Autumn Apron post, here is a post dedicated to my Thanksgiving dress.  I used McCalls 6473 from 1962 – it’s been in the pattern stash for years and I’d always been curious to try it.

McCalls 6473

I used a piece of burnt orange/rust silk dupioni that was also from stash that I’ve been itching to use because I think it’s just so beautiful.  It’s also a really smooth dupioni, it would even be quite smooth for a shantung.

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Even though I ran into a couple of little hiccups (detailed in my blog post) and might do a couple of things differently if I make this again (I’m feeling pretty keen right now to try it in wool for winter!) I really enjoyed making this and am very pleased with how it turned out.  I’m really liking the crossover detail on the front – and the opportunity it provides to use BIG buttons! lol  I think in my next version I’ll tweak the pattern a bit so as to accommodate even BIGGER buttons, heehee!

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I did actually cook a whole Thanksgiving dinner while wearing this dress, and everything was fine thanks to my trust new apron.  I love when I can make a special dress/outfit for holidays, it just makes me feel all the more festive, somehow.

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More photos and info on my blog.  I hope you’ll stop by!

 

 

 

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As soon as I received this groovy 1960s psychedelic nylon in a package from a dear blogging friend I knew it would be the perfect for making up into a festival playsuit (or “pantdress”, as it’s called on the pattern envelope).

The 1967 pattern is a MacCall’s 8978- a gift from another generous blogging friend.  It fastens at the back with a metal zip I’d rescued from a ruined dress I’d bought from a jumble sale.

Although I did make the pockets I wasn’t keen on how they looked once they were attached so I promptly unpicked them and relegated them to the patchwork pile.

The playsuit got it’s first outing at Glastonbury 2013 on the only wet night, worn under a 1960s white fake fur coat with my trusty vintage high heeled wellies.

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