1960s | Vintage Sewing

An Easy 1960s Nightgown (+ tutorial!)

By on December 15, 2015

1969 nightgown | allie J. | alliemjackson.com

Hello! Today I have a project from a few months ago that I never shared. It’s a bit unseasonal for us northern-hemisphere ladies but hopefully our AUS friends will feel right at home ūüôā

I used McCall’s 2137 as the base for this nightgown. However, that pattern has some construction quirks, so I decided to modify the pattern to suit my own needs. Overall though, I think this is a very sweet little nightgown, breezy enough for even the hottest nights of summer.

You can see more about this project on my blog, allie J.

And bonus!! I wrote a tutorial simplifying this already-easy pattern so you can make one yourself with no pattern required! You can find that here. Hope you like it! ūüôā

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Vintage Sewing

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgowns

By on August 10, 2015

Last year you could get the Unofficial Downton Abbey Sews Magazine from the Sew Daily Shop. It is actually still available and if you are a fan of the show or the time period there are some pretty nice patterns in there.  When I spotted the nightgown it reminded me of the summery cotton nighties my mom would buy me and I knew I HAD to make a few. 2 of my girls agreed they would wear them so I decided to make one for each of them.

The pattern has 3 pieces- a front, back and a sleeve. I traced it long but made these first two short. Mostly because I used STASH fabric and had the exact amount for short ones. As a matter of fact I can proudly say I bought NOTHING for these two nighties. (OK. Technically I bought it over a decade ago but that doesn’t count, right?)

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

The fabric in this one is a quilting cotton I bought at Joanns well over 15 years ago. I made a little girl dress out of it and this was the leftovers. I know I know. That is a lot of leftover but hey! It has come to some good use now!

The lace is a crocheted cotton lace I found in my collection  of lace, ribbons and trims box. I could not even tell you how long I have had it- I do not even remember buying it! It was pure white and this pretty floral fabric was not white so I tea-dyed it.

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

Here is the second nightie I made.

Downton Abbey Inspired Nightgown

This one is a little fuller than the first one I made. I wanted to try it with the same amount of fullness that was at the bottom of the long nightie pattern so folded the pattern pieces strategically to get that extra fullness. I like it!

I used the un-tea-dyed half of the pure white lace to trim this one. You will notice the lace is set up higher than the other one I made. My mistake and I did not want to take it out. But it works right?

If you would like to read more you can visit my blog!

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1960s | Vintage Sewing

Retro Nightie for Meeeeeeeeeeeeee!

By on August 16, 2014

Selfish sewing is the best kind of sewing.

I purchased a pile of vintage knit fabric at auction a couple months back. Some was, of course, quite hideous, while some was kitschy retro cute. I do recognize that this is in the eye of the beholder, though.

For a quick, easy project, I grabbed a medium weight spongy retro knit and stitched up this nightgown using Simplicity 7096.

Well, I mostly just used the yoke pieces, as I cut the yardage to a length I thought would be comfortable (somewhere between views 2 and 3), and cut equal front and back panels from the width. The fabric was pretty wide, so I got both the front and back from one length. Then I used the pattern as a template for the underarm.

This was stitched entirely by machine using the “burrito method” I learned from Janet Pray’s¬†Sew Better, Sew Faster¬†Craftsy Class. There’s not too much to say about construction. For a sweet touch, I included some leftover ric rac trim across the yoke and pressed and stitched it down in a bow motif. I added one of the vintage buttons from my stash, and the gown was done. Now all I need are some fuzzy slippers and hair curlers!

I also recently figured out an easy method for assembling some of the PDF patterns I have been working with lately. To try my tip or just to say “hi,” feel free to stop by my blog Farmhouse Garden.

Ta ta for now!

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1940s | Vintage Sewing

1940s jammies

By on February 9, 2014

I have finally taken a few photos of the other two projects I finished in the last couple of months. They’ve been worn and washed, and worn and washed repeatedly, so they are not quite as neat and tidy as they looked when I first completed them, but they have already been well loved in their short lives, so what does that matter?


The first is a nightgown I made from McCall 5441, the same pattern I used for my black silk nightgown (blogged¬†here). I cut it a tad larger to accommodate nighttime nursing sessions, and it has worked out perfectly. I wanted something longer to keep me warm at night, since it’s been so cold here, and most of my other nightgowns are short, slip-like things. I do tend to get overheated though if I’m too covered up, so the sleeveless style of this nightgown was perfect (despite the fact that when one generally thinks of flannel nightgowns they include sleeves and lace). I’m so happy with how this one turned out! It’s so comfy, and I’ve been guilty of throwing a sweater over it and wearing it around the house all day a few times when the boy and I were stuck in the house due to weather.





The second project is a pair of 1940s pajamas that I made using two different patterns. The pajama pattern that I wanted to use is Simplicity 4528, but the copy that I have is a few sizes too big.


Image courtesy Vintage Patterns Wiki

¬†I didn’t have anything else similar to use, so I decided just to grade the jacket down and use the trusty ¬†Simplicity 3688¬†trousers so I wouldn’t have to bother altering those at all. I put in a snap placket (like the pajama pattern called for) instead of a zipper, with a button at the waist. I obviously omitted the belt and contrast revers as well. The double welt pocket is not one of my crowning achievements, but they were pajamas for myself, and I didn’t feel like redoing it so I just decided not to worry about it. It was late, and I was tired when I put it in so my chances of getting it perfect were low to begin with. I do get too hot at night to actually sleep in these, but they are wonderful for wearing around the house during my couple of hands-free hours after the baby goes to sleep. I’ll probably make myself another pair at some point down the road (and try to get the pocket right that time). They’re really warm and cozy!






We’ve had some really nasty weather the last few weeks, but I’ve been able to get some work done on a few fun things which has helped. Our little boy is getting so big, and he’s a little more able to entertain himself now that he’s mobile, which makes it easier for me to get things done (including housework and grading). At 8.5 months he he’s just figured out how to walk while pushing one of our dining room chairs around on the wooden floors. It won’t bee too much longer before he’s walking all by himself! Next year I’ll at least be able to take him out to play in all this snow we’ve had.


Hope everyone is having a good weekend and staying warm!



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1950s | Buttons | Lingerie

Vintage Pajama Party!

By on May 6, 2013

As a three-time cancer survivor, my mom has had more than her share of challenges. ¬†This year, I’m especially happy to give her a pair of hand-made pajamas – her favorite garment – for Mothers’ Day. ¬†Since she grew up in the 1950’s, this terrific vintage pattern was the perfect find:

1950's Pajama Pattern - Simplicity 1325

I chose View 3, with shorts, because she lives in the South. ¬†Instead of the two hip pockets though, I did just the single upper pocket from View 1. ¬†Here’s the result:

Pajama top

The fabric is a crisp cotton in yellow (her favorite color) with ribbons and pale pink roses. ¬†I trimmed the sleeves and pocket with lace. ¬†I love the boxy shape of the top. ¬†The bottoms have a cute front pleat, which truly gives them 1950’s flair!

Pleat detail on pajama shorts


Pajama shorts

I accomplished a few sewing ‘firsts’ with this project: ¬†first collar, first set-in sleeves and first project finished with my new machine ( a Husqvarna Emerald 116, which I’m absolutely loving!). ¬†This machine makes near-perfect button holes, automatically:

Woohoo, a buttonhole!

And here is perhaps my favorite detail, the pink vintage buttons:

Pretty buttons

Altogether, a fun and worthy project. ¬†I know my mom will love them! ¬†And I’m looking forward to making a few more pair, for summer and winter.

Has anyone else made vintage pajamas or lingerie? ¬†I’d love to hear your advice. ¬†Thanks for reading!

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Vintage Sewing

1940s lingerie

By on August 6, 2012

It’s been a very long time since I posted anything on here (or on my own blog for that matter) but I have several projects from the last few months that I’m working on getting photographed and posted.

One of my favorite (and most recent) projects from the past few months is this 1943 nightgown in black silk, trimmed with silk ribbon bows.

I bought this fabric some time ago with plans to make a pair of 1920s/30s combinations, but the company I ordered it from accidentally sent me twice the yardage that I ordered (at no extra charge) so I had to reassess my plans for it. At some point in the last couple of years I came across an original copy of McCall’s 5441. The yardage required was just under what I had of this printed silk, so I decided to make myself a snazzy nightgown for lounging around the house while I grade papers and do laundry, because even those mundane activities deserve a little bit of fabulous, right?

Couldn’t help sneaking a my darling Bruce into the picture as well.

It was a very quick pattern to put together. I had the whole thing finished in a day, more or less. It did take me much longer to decide which color ribbon to use to trim the shoulders, but I got it figured out the next day with a little input from my main squeeze. He turned out to be a pretty good color chooser.











Please excuse all the wrinkles. Having just moved everything has been in and out of boxes and bags and I haven’t had a chance to iron anything as I’m still trying to just get things organized. I decided it was more important to get pictures taken than to make sure everything was wrinkle and crease free. The nightgown is ankle length, with a rolled hem at the bottom and the armholes. The neckline is faced front and back and hand stitched. I will admit, I didn’t get the shoulder straps lined up perfectly with the inverted pleats on the bodice fronts, so the bows were partly to camouflage my minor mistakes, but everything is better with bows anyway. It took me forever to decide what color ribbons to use, but my sweet Mr. S. decided the lavender and copper were the best of the bunch and asked why I couldn’t use both. Good question. Both it is then. I think he did well.

Other than the gentle shaping in the pattern pieces themselves, the inverted pleats at top and bottom in the bodice fronts and the self-fabric waist ties are the only real shaping to the nightgown, which keep it looking just tailored enough while still being very comfortable. The silk itself is a dream where comfort is concerned as well. It’s so soft and feels light as air since it’s such thin fabric.

As far as the pattern itself goes, as I said it was a very easy pattern to put together, and while you may or may not be able to get hold of an original copy, Evadress has it available as a¬†reprint in multiple sizes. I haven’t used the jacket pattern yet, but I’m sure it’s not too much more complicated than the gown. Being silk, it took a lot of pinning, but the pieces fit beautifully and the construction was very straightforward. The waist seam is top-stitched, I hemmed the armholes and bottom with my rolled hemmer on my Featherweight, and did all other finishing by hand. As the copy I have is a size 12 (just a tad too small for me) I added a little at the side seams, but this was done very easily without requiring any alterations to the pattern pieces themselves. I think this pattern would work up really well in a very light cotton as well, for something a little more practical perhaps.

The nightgown didn’t use up all of my fabric, however, so I had to find something else to make and decided to try out the¬†Pauline bra¬†pattern I’d had sitting around for months. I was, as usual, impatient and didn’t make a muslin, but it turned out pretty well for a first run through.

I ended up with a little bit of wrinkling in the left side of the bias band, but other than that I didn’t really have any issues. The top edges are faced with a bias strip and hand stitched, and I made a matching bow from the silk ribbon I used on the nightgown to trim the center front. I used the findings I had cut from an old bra to finish the closure and straps. I really could have taken a tad out of the center back to accommodate the bra hooks, but it still fits pretty well, while perhaps not quite as snugly as I would like. This may also simply be a function of the fact that I generally wear much more structured bras. It’s really comfortable all in all though, and great for hanging around the house when I don’t want all the extra elastic and wires. I generally wear a 32C and this fit pretty well straight from the pattern, which says it is for a 34 inch bust.

I still have some of this silk left, even after the nightgown and bra, so I’m going to make myself a pair of silk knickers (with bows also of course) to use up the last of the scraps. Hopefully I’ll have those together in the next couple of weeks so I can get them on here as well.


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