1950s | Dresses | Pattern Drafting | Vintage Sewing

Butterick 6299 just in time for Autumn

By on March 18, 2017

It’s getting cooler here in Aotearoa New Zealand, while all you sewers in the north are getting set for summer, I’m glad things are cooling off now!

I have just finished this dress, it’s made with some lovely fabric my nana gave me, and I used a stunning Butterick pattern which was new to me this year, along with a couple of other lovely vintage patterns.

These ones!

The pattern is a size and a bit too small for me, so I graded it up, and voila! New dress! In my blog post about the making of this dress…

…I share how I graded it up, it’s pretty easy, you just need a basic pattern (or pattern block) that fits well.

The crossover bodice was a bit fiddly, and adding the bias trim gave me more bulk to deal with, but in the end, I am happy with it.

From the back…

And the bias trim….

The bias binding colour was perfect, but just enough to do the neckline and sleeve cuffs. So happy!

Happy Spring or Autumn Retro Sewists!

The blog link about this dress is here, and now I’m off to make another jumpsuit!

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1960s

McCalls 6569: Gold Satin Evening Dress

By on February 11, 2017

This year I made a decision, a decision not be to scared by fabric. For a couple of years now I’ve had some gold satin I brought back from Vegas in my stash and I’ve been so scared to use it having never worked with anything like that. This year it’s my tenth (?!) wedding anniversary and I thought it would make the loveliest dress for our celebratory meal out.

I picked McCalls 6569 for the pattern; a gorgeous sixties evening dress.

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The first thing I did was post in the We Sew Retro Sew & Tell facebook group to ask for tips, it’s one thing I LOVE about the sewing community, you have a wealth of experience and advice online in a group like that and people are only willing to help and wish you luck. So armed with my new found advice I bit the bullet and cracked on. As you may have noticed if you read my blog, I don’t often make muslins of my clothes but as I was working with an unforgiving fabric I thought I probably should get it right the first time, as a seam ripper might not be the best friend it previously had been to me. I measured up, perfect in the bust but 2 inches bigger on the waist and 4 on the hips (not live I’ve had a baby in the last year or anything….). It was going to need a little adjustment.

To read more about the adjustment process and how I sewed my muslin up pop over to my blog.
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So on to the dress….

I spent a whole night cutting out and marking up the pattern pieces (including the adjusted pieces – see my other blog). My, my, what a pain in the arse. It turns out satin is the most slippery material known to man (slight exaggeration, but it did feel like that at the time).

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The following day I sewed the bodice together which went very well but then it was time for the lining. I should say at this point I have never lined anything in my life but as I was sewing with satin I thought it would probably be a good idea just to bit the bullet and do it.

I then spent a long night sewing the lining to the skirt pieces following this, and here was where I made one of my major mistakes. I have no idea how I marked the fabric up wrong but somehow I managed to.

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When it came to the later stage of sewing it together it meant that I had a row of stitching down the back of the skirt next to the centre seam which I then had to unpick.

With a day to go to my anniversary (and after a lengthy trip to the dentist for two fillings) I spent a full day sewing the skirt pieces together. I attached the skirt to the bodice with relative ease and inserted the zip. Mistake number two: I was silly enough to not check that the fabric was taught when I basted the zip in, meaning that when I went to sew it I, again, had a big chuck of stitches to unpick which left a rather messy side zip insertion.

Thankfully it’s a side zip so really no one’s going to see it unless the come up really close to have a look . I finished sewing the lining pieces together at the waist and was quite impressed with how it looked inside out.

At this point I thought I should just leave the hemming to my anniversary and cut my losses before I cried.

So the day of my 10th wedding anniversary (last Friday) I sewed right up to the last minute but I did finally finish my dress with a couple of hours to spare, and I did get all dressed up and we did go out for the first time on our own in seven months. And here I am in my dress!

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Overall I am extremely happy with how it turned out. What do you think?

To see more photos of my mistakes and successes and to read more about it, please have a look at my blog 🙂

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1960s | Coats | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Les Fleurs Swing Dress (Simplicity 6820, 1966)

By on January 31, 2017

I posted my leopard print version of this pattern last week and today I’m back with a dark floral variation–specifically the gorgeous Les Fleurs in navy from Cotton and Steel’s collab with Rifle Paper Company. I lovvvve this fabric, and I wanted to use it with few seam lines, so Simplicity 6820 seemed perfect. I’m wearing it with my pink bow coat made last year from Simplicity reprint 1197–a perfect match!

See more on my blog here!

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1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Leopard Swing Dress (Simplicity 6820, 1966)

By on January 24, 2017

A few months ago I decided I really wanted an easy, floaty dress that would be less structured than the shift or full-skirted dresses that I normally like, and picked up Simplicity 6820 on etsy. It’s a “Jiffy” tent or trapeze dress from 1966 and it is basically a raglan sleeve mumu! It’s the perfect easy pattern for a bold print since it has few seam lines. This is the first of three versions I’ve made since purchasing the pattern, so I think it was a good buy!

Read more on my blog (and see another leopard print garment too!) here.

xo allie

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1930s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

1930s Dress Made Using Original Vintage Fabric

By on

1930s ruffles dress front

Every now and again you come across a truly beautiful piece of original vintage fabric. You carefully unfold it, hoping and praying that it’s in good condition. You check it over thoroughly, measure it and finally take the very brave step of washing it. At this point you’re on tenterhooks, will it fall apart the second the water hits it? It survives the wash, it dries well and then you press it, checking thoroughly once again for any holes, tears or marks. And finally, you realise you have one incredible pristine piece of 1930s/1940s fabric that’s long enough to make an entire dress. You, or indeed me at this point, then do one hell of a happy dance!

1930s ruffles dress

As you can imagine, I was terrified to cut into the fabric, but I truly believed that this fabric had found its way to me for a reason. I’m very much someone who believes in buying vintage and using it. Every piece of vintage clothing I buy gets worn, I don’t store things away in a dark cupboard but, rather, enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed. That was how I felt about this fabric. It needed to be made into something and not waste away unloved and unappreciated. And it deserved to be made into something authentic.

1930s dress back

I used an original 1930s sewing pattern and original 1930s sewing techniques from both the pattern and a 1930s dressmaking book. The trimmings, such as the rayon hemming tape, were also vintage. The only modern parts of the dress are the white crepe I used for the yoke section and the metal button blanks for the self-cover buttons. That’s why I call this my brand new almost-vintage dress!

You can see more detail photos and find out more about the fabric, pattern and techniques I used on my blog here.

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1960s | Dresses

Navy Midi Dress

By on January 10, 2017

This is my third (and probably NOT final!) version of Simplicity 4475, a simple raglan-sleeved dress from the early 60s. I love this pattern so much! This time I made it in a lightweight, flowy, wool/viscose blend with a modern midi length.

Since I made this back in August, I’ve worn it to parties, evenings out, work… it’s very versatile due to its solid navy color and can easily be dressed up or down. More details on my blog here! (And see my other versions of this pattern here and here.)

xo allie

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