Vintage Sewing

Vintage Vogue 1940s

By on October 5, 2013

I made this dress from the Vintage Vogue pattern V8812. I made it with lavender gingham check. This is the fourth dress I’ve made so far, I started sewing about three months ago and I basically haven’t stopped since. I really loved the bodice of this dress but it was a challenge because it was the first time I had done any gathering, but I think it turned out well. I also really liked this dress because of the buttons up that back instead of a zipper. I had a lot of trouble putting those button holes in because that was a first as well, but they turned out alright. Thanks for looking, hope you like it!

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Fall for Cotton: a vintage sew-challenge

By on September 30, 2013


I decided to join Lucky Lucille and By Gum, By Golly present… Fall For Cotton: a vintage sewing challenge for the cotton lover!

The challenge was pretty simple: You needed to use a vintage pattern and 100% cotton fabric. That suited me wonderful since I love to sew cotton.

I like sewing challenges. I can be pretty apathetic and slow to sew things for myself, so it’s good to get a kick in the rear and a deadline to deal with.

The pattern I used was the Misses’ Dress fra Vogue ( Vouge v2960 ) from 1954

I needed a new dress for work (I work in a comic shop) so I used this Superhero Action Words Adventure facbric.

I’m very happy with the result





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Yellow Roses

By on September 15, 2013

I needed a dress for Melbourne cup last year so I did a pattern mash up to get exactly what I wanted. Betty Draper eat your heart out! 😉


I bought up some lovely printed cotton from Spotlight, one of their vintage reproduction fabrics with yellow roses on it. I bought about 5 metres of it because it was on sale, I loved it, and any 1950′s style dress takes up a hell of a lot of fabric. I had an idea of what I wanted to make up but I didn’t actually have a pattern that matched it directly, so it was mash up time! I used the bodice of Simplicity 1873 but grafted it so it had a higher neck and a lower back finish. I then used a gathered skirt pattern from Vogue 8723. I also took a sleeve pattern from unfortunately I dont know where. My memory has quickly faded. Most shirt sleeves from a shirt pattern would do the trick. I bought white cotton voille to line the bodice and kept the sleeves unlined.

It was quite easy to pull the different pattern pieces together. What made it easy was that it had a gathered skirt which can adjust to how you want it to the bodice. There’s no matching seams, darts or pleats. I did add about an inch to the skirt bottom so it fell under the knee. Adding the sleeves was a little trickier so that required a couple of fittings as I went along. I opted to have the zipper go down the side seam rather than back as I was a bit concerned that having lowered the back it might end up gaping at the top of a zipper. By having it on the side it is well hidden.

More pics on my blog:


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1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

BBQ Season

By on May 10, 2013

I just adore the summer! And when I saw this cute retro 50s inspired BBQ print fabric, I just had to have it!

Fabric: quilting cotton ($5/yd)
Pattern: Vintage Vogue 2960
Year: 1954
Notions: black piping, covered buttons
Hours to complete: 12
First worn: May 2012
Total cost: $30

I’ve seen quite a few versions of this dress around but most are on less chesty gals. If you need an FBA, you’ll definitely want to do a muslin since the underbust seam makes the fitting a bit more difficult. This was my first time sewing with a vintage Vogue reprint and it was much less intimidating than I thought it would be.

Loads more photos, and detailed construction notes over on the blog.

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1960s | Vintage Sewing

That’s a {Violet} Wrap {Dress}

By on May 7, 2013

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This pattern has been sitting in my pattern stash for at least a year (probably longer). I fell in love with the violet dress on the front as soon as I saw it, but the only problem was that I just couldn’t seem to find the right coloured fabric! It needed to be a violet wrap dress. No other colour would do. Needless to say, I found the right fabric a few weeks ago, but guess what? It’s actually cotton quilt backing! I know, I’m such a rebel.

The best thing about buying quilt backing for a project? You get twice the amount of fabric for the same price because it’s folded over double on the bolt. You really can’t lose folks.

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While the dress itself was relatively simple to make up, I spent so much time on hand sewing I could cry. I really really didn’t want to lose the clean lines down the front of the dress by top stitching my facings in place by machine, and so I did it all by hand. If I didn’t know how to do an invisible hand stitch before, I sure do now. But just look at that hand stitching! Oh wait, you can’t…

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I also added some purple hem lace to the front line of the skirt. This was actually lace left over from our wedding and I still have a bunch of it in all sorts of happy colours. I really love the result and think my next few garments will probably all have lace detailing of some kind on them.

Last but not least, I swapped out the arm facings for bias binding. I have a tutorial on how to make your own bias binding here and will have a tutorial on replacing arm facings with bias binding on my blog on Friday!

A little bit more on my blog here 🙂

xx Jen

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Skirts | Vintage Sewing

rayon seam binding & a question

By on April 8, 2013
'easy' skirt, finally completed!

Gosh, it’ been a while since I contributed, but everyone’s doing such gorgeous things that lurking’s been awesome!  A recent contributor reminded me I hadn’t shared last fall’s tussle adventure with rayon seam binding. Hope it’s useful!

I began with lovely soft-as-butter green rayon, and used a favorite pattern, the

straight skirt. Problems began with the first scissor cut, which I didn’t realize at the time was with a pair of waaay past their sell-by-date scissors.

I’d thought this would be a quick project because it’s an easy pattern I’d done several times, but the project dragged… er, blossomed.

Eventually everything did come together, but am more proud of the inside than the outside.   Lol!

some of the rayon seam binding going on

Now to that question ~ Planning to be in the DC area 1st & 2nd weekends in May and would love to get together with any We Sew Retro folks in the area or visiting.  Am certain there’s something at the Smithsonian we might plan to see & meet there.  Please send message either here or on my blog, with any additional suggestions, and we’ll go from there. Hope we can get something organized.

Thanks for everyone’s great ‘sew & show’ posts!


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My Most Favourite Vintage Dress xXx

By on March 18, 2013

Hi there, my name is Hannah Smith and this is my first post on We Sew Retro!

I am very excited. 

I will start by sharing a little about myself. I taught myself to sew about 4 years ago and haven’t looked back since. It has become rather an obsession, as I am sure many of you can relate to. My love of sewing has inspired me to branch out into many more crafts, such as jewellery making, crochet, baking, the list could go on and on. My passion for all things creative has led me to set up my own little blog Made with Hugs and Kisses and I am astounded by the amazing and supportive people I have met through it.

Anyway, lately I have developed an interest in all things vintage. I never really realised it at first but almost all of my creations have elements of vintage fashion, most typically the 50’s. I have discovered some great local vintage fairs over the last few months and my collection of vintage patterns and fabric has rapidly grown.

With this in mind I have been thinking of sharing some of my vintage sewing adventures here for some time but I was waiting until I had the perfect first post.

Well this dress is my most favourite creation and it is completely vintage inspired!

I used a vintage Vogue pattern 5028 which I have dated back to 1960.

It is the adorable ruched sleeves that made me fall in love with this pattern, they are so flattering and easy to sew.

As you can tell, I haven’t used the original skirt part of the pattern, instead I added a gathered rectangle skirt I drafted myself.

The dress fastens with a side zipper

As for the fabric, would you believe this was sourced from curtains that my Nan gave to me!

Like I mentioned, this is my most favourite vintage dress that I have created. It fits so well, is really comfortable and the style really suits the fabric. I can see me using this pattern a lot more in the future. Perhaps with some different skirt styles.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Do you have a favourite vintage creation?

Speak soon

And thank you We Sew Retro!


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