1940s | 1960s | Blouses | Jackets | Skirts

Separates turned Suit

By on September 22, 2016
Akram's Ideas: Vintage Inspired Suit in Green

Back in spring I had planned to participate in the Vintage Suit-Sew-Along. While I never did get around to making a vintage suit per-say; I did manage to make this great vintage inspired suit.

Akram's Ideas: Vintage Inspired Suit in Green
This suit is amazing!

My lovely green suit is made up completely of separates. I actually started this project with the blouse using Simplicity 1364.

Akram's Ideas: Vintage Inspired Suit in Green
Yes, I know another Simplicity 1364 top

I wanted to make a skirt to go with the blouse and the Delphine skirt from the book “Love at First Stitch” By Tilly Walnes. This is my go to skirt pattern.

Akram's Ideas: Vintage Inspired Suit in Green
The Delphine skirt is so easy to make

Once I had the blouse and skirt I thought this outfit was the start of the prefect vintage style suit. All it needed was a jacket to top it off.

Since I had limited fabric I deiced to make the bolero using Butterick 6354 pattern.

Akram's Ideas: Vintage Inspired Suit in Green
This bolero really finished the outfit

This was the perfect paring of separates into the most amazing suit. I love this suit from the color the print. It may just be my favorite outfit I’ve made.

Akram's Ideas: Vintage Inspired Suit in Green
I love everything about this suit

 

To read more about my process for making my lovely green suit check out my blog Akram’s Ideas (http://akramsideas.com/vintage-inspired-suit-green)

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1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Vintage Pattern Review: Simplicity 8183

By on July 30, 2016

I bought this SUPER cute 1960’s backless dress pattern on Etsy a few months ago. I already had the PERFECT fabric to make it with, a blue cotton floral with a it of stretch. It almost has a Hawaiian feel to it, doesn’t it?

This pattern definitely satisfied my sewing fix as it was very fast and easy to sew. I made no changes to the pattern (save the measurements…a size 10? I wish!), and I used two vintage pearly flat fisheye buttons at the back.

I really like this design because of the peek-a-boo back. It’s low, but not TOO low, so it’s perfect for concealing my “love handles”. I think it turned out great!
Thanks for looking!

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1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Simplicity 7702 – 60s shift dress

By on March 22, 2015

My first shift dress. I usually go for more tailored looks but when I saw the fabric half price in Jon Lewis I couldn’t resist. It was really nice to work with an easier pattern with only a few pieces and I am finally please to report that set in sleeves aren’t causing me too much grief these days.

Really happy with my first sew of the year. Hope you guys like it 🙂

Simplicity 7702

Simplicity 7702

Simplicity 7702

 

More details over at my blog.

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1970s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

A-line mod flannel dress – McCalls 2481

By on March 7, 2014

I’m always cold in the Bay Area, so instead of wishing the weather to be warmer by wearing lightweight cotton dresses, I have decided to be more practical and start making things in flannel and wool. This dress is a wearable muslin I made from an inexpensive cotton flannel that I had in my fabric stash. After wearing it a few times, I am afraid to wash it since it already has several nicks where the thread has pulled through the other side. I wore it on a chilly night in San Francisco, and I was still cold even in a heavy parka. But cotton flannel is still heading in the right direction, so I think that the next few things I make will be flannel. This wearable muslin has served its purpose of being a practice garment for fitting, and I will certainly wear it again, if it does not disintegrate when I hand wash it.

McCall's 2481 vintage sewing pattern, front
Front, vintage McCall’s 2481 in cotton flannel.

There was a time when the majority of my dresses were A-line and modish, and I am thinking of making more of these. This dress has some of my favorite features: a scooped boat neck and A-line. It is one of the fastest things I have sewn recently, and the simplest pattern. What do you think? Maybe the sleeveless jumper with the cut-out in a solid color flannel, to be worn with a long sleeve high neck shirt under it?  Or two-toned color blocks made by the princess seams, the sides a darker color?

McCall's 2481 vintage sewing pattern
Vintage McCall’s 2481 sewing pattern from 1970.

The Fit

I would fit this dress slightly differently next time, and make it a little larger all around. I made the dress without any alterations to the pattern, since the standard body measurements were correct for me. I didn’t even bother to shorten the back waist length by the usual inch, since the fit looks so tubular. I did this partially since I have made several A-line dresses in the past and they turned out bell-shaped, gigantic and tent-like – see the photos of Style 3070, at the end of this post.

Actually, the fit is pretty good, and if I made McCall’s 2481 again, I would make it slightly bigger all around, especially in the hip and skirt by two or three inches. By adding just a few inches, I’d be careful to maintain the A-line, without going in to a flared skirt. I would also shorten the back waist length by an inch and a half. The center front seam contributes slightly to the bust shaping, which is a nice touch that is visible in the small plaid. When the darts come out of princess seams, it can be a hassle to alter, so I was relieved that they fit right exactly as the pattern had them. Another interesting feature is that when the dress is viewed from the front the skirt appears pretty straight up and down, but view it from the side and the fullness of the skirt is all in the back. I sometimes have to alter patterns for a sway back, but this pattern can easily accommodate a sway back, even as snug as this size is on me.

I’m thinking that my next version of this dress will be two-toned, in one way or another. I’m leaning towards dark blue and green.

McCall's 2481 vintage sewing pattern
Side, vintage McCall’s 2481 in cotton flannel. It was bright, and I’ll try not to squint next time.
Vintage McCall's 2481 sewing pattern, sewn in cotton flannel.
Back, vintage McCall’s 2481 in cotton flannel.

Style 3070

A while back, I made the A-line dress below. I’m showing it here as an example of how illustrations and standard body measurements are often horribly, horribly wrong. This is one of the patterns I mentioned above with sizing so far off that is more of a tent dress than an A-line dress.

Style 3070 vintage sewing pattern, 1970.
Style 3070 vintage sewing pattern, also from 1970.

The sizing runs large – there is at least 3 to 4 inches of ease beyond normal! This is not a slim cut dress. The illustration looks like a slim cut dress, but it is not. My bust measures three inches larger than standard body measurement for the size, and there is still plenty of ease in the bust. If my bust had been the actual measurement quoted for the size, presumably the dress would have been about six or seven inches too big in that area. My waist and hip are the exact measure of the size, but the dress is tent-like in these areas – easily four or five inches too big, if not more. The illustration looks like it has relaxed semi-cap sleeves, but the actual sleeves are certainly not cap sleeves at all, and they bunch up under the arms like t-shirt sleeves. It might not be obvious in the images, but this dress is huge. It could be a maternity dress.

style 3070 vintage sewing pattern, example of bad fit
Aarg! Bad fit and grading problems! Front view, Style 3070 vintage sewing pattern, from 1970.

I’m glad that I made it out of a cloth that I have no problem giving away. I altered it to fit me, wore it a few times, then took it back out to the original pattern sizing so that I could give it to someone who it would fit.

Since I had recently made several A-line dresses similarly oversized like this, I decided not to alter the McCall’s 2481 for the plaid flannel. The sizing looked about right on the standard body measurements and also when I measured the pattern pieces. And it was about right, so next time I’ll just make it slightly larger all around.

Sizing done wrong

Something must have gone wrong in the drafting of Style 3070, or some bad math involved in the pattern grading. Or maybe this pattern company always has this type of fit. For example, Burda sewing patterns are horrifically oversized and misshapen on me, even if the measurements are correct. In fact most contemporary sewing patterns have atrocious fit on me, and they are terrible, horrible nightmares to fix. The biggest problem is the wrong armscye fit, but there is also the too-big shoulders, arms, back and waist. And, hip too small. What is left? The bust measurement is correct, but the fit all wrong, bunching above and below the bust. I’m much better off with vintage patterns or drafting my own.

To see more that I have made, and for more opinion on pattern sizing and grading, please check out my blog, WesternSpinster.

Style 3070. It might not be obvious in these images, but this dress is huge. It could be a maternity dress, there is so much extra cloth in the front.
Back view, Style 3070 vintage sewing pattern, from 1970.

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1960s | Dresses | Modern Patterns

Tuffin Dress

By on September 15, 2013

I have been reading the Foale and Tuffin biography recently and as an insight to the name of this dress, I have named it after Sally Tuffin. Dress designer of the pair of “two cocky, feisty bolshy, arty, clever-clogs young women”

For those of you who might not be familiar with them, Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin met at the Royal College of arts in 1955 and eventually went on to design wholesale together for various retail stores including Woollands 21 shop, before opening their own store. They were featured early in their careers in Vogue in 1962 and travelled with Mary Quant and few other British designers to America for the ‘Youth quake’ tour in 1965. They made clothes worn by Cathy McGowan, Modelled by Jenny Boyd and with Mary Quant and Barbara Hulanicki, form my own version of the “holy trinity”

The pattern of this dress is the Burda Mondrian Dress. The dress pattern is very interesting – a creative version of a drop-waist dress, with a nod to 1965. The Burda version is colour-blocked with a different colour for each piece. 

As shown in the illustration, this dress is supposed to have a belt and pleated skirt. But through mainly happy accidents, my version ended up like so…

The instructions don’t give you a pattern piece for the skirt, so I just measured out a piece as it said. Maybe I was supposed to double it or something because the skirt just ended up a plain skirt without the pleats. I decided I liked the straight skirt as a pleated skirt could become the victim of a gust of wind and show everyone that which they are not supposed to see!

I did actually make the belt, but it didn’t sit as nicely as I’d hoped and the only buckle I could find was quite heavy and just made the fabric sag down at the front so I took it off.

I think I’d rather it in this minimalist version – just the red and white without the fussy decorations.

The fabric I used was a Ponte de Roma – a stable double knit which is light enough for summer and wrinkle resistant. I added white bias to the arms and left-hand closure.

The dress is actually a wraparound dress – and closes at the left shoulder, kind of like a dentists jacket. I used a few different sized press studs to close the dress. The while buttons are purely decorative but pop against the red

And because I couldn’t help myself, this dress just calls for some abstract model poses don’t you think?

Thanks for taking a look dears!

Cat xo

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1960s | Coats | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Finally Finished – Mod-ish Denim Military Jacket

By on July 8, 2013

So here’s a modern take on a military-esque jacket with a mod twist that I just finished:

Back in 2008, I made a group of 5 jacket patterns with my original intent to sell them on Etsy and this was one of the jackets I made almost completely with the exception of buttonholes and sewn on buttons. I had a point in my life where I decided that I wasn’t any good at all with fashion design and I should quit. So…. I kinda did. This was one of the last things I didn’t finish until this past week. (I think maybe I was afraid of the buttonholer?) I tried it on a few months ago and my boyfriend asked me where I bought it. Umm….     So after that, he encouraged me to finish it.

(Note: I want to use a “click to read more” sort of link right here, but I’m having trouble with the code. This may get edited later!)

The jacket is  far cooler than I ever thought it was!

It’s all-denim and I used all green top-stitching thread.

Back view.

Ta daaaaa!

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1960s | Dresses | Modern Patterns | Vintage Sewing

Mini Mod Dress Re-make

By on May 24, 2013

I originally started off with this pattern some time ago – a vintage 1970′s (Simplicity 6883) shirtdress, with big promises of making me ‘look slimmer’…

But once I had cut the pattern out and tacked it together, it was doing nothing for me (this is the second time I have tried this pattern, so maybe it is time to accept defeat.)

 

The fabric is a vintage 60′s lightweight polyester jersey, and it’s pretty bold, yet strangely alluring. I didn’t want to scrap it, so I folded it up with thoughts of returning to it at some point.

 

That point finally came when I spied this pattern in a half price sale recently. (New Look 6176)

Now granted it is not the most inspiring of patterns, but I like a nice simple shift dress, especially when teamed with a bright print. So the next step was to see whether the pieces I had already cut out would fit the new pattern. JUST! I had to make a few tweaks, the main one being the fact that the first pattern buttoned up, so there were 2 front pieces, which looked too mismatched to just whack a seam up the front. But a handy piece of toning bias tape worked well with the Mod vibe, and actually ended up looking pretty smart.

The pattern has separate neck and cuff panels, so I dug out some black cord to offset the pattern, with the finishing touch of 3 little vintage black bobble buttons at the front. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out, although there were a couple of small fitting issues (the neckline was a bit too wide for my fairly narrow shoulders, and the cord is a tad heavy so it ends up gaping slightly when I bend over!) but given the fact this started out as a completely different dress, I think it turned out to be quite a cute little Mod number! I already have plans for a longer sleeve version, and maybe I’ll try out some pockets too!

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