Vintage Sewing

Seeing the light

September 14, 2009

If you sew retro patterns you will have come across what I am about to describe on a regular basis – the treasure you found is not in your size and/or there’s a piece missing. Both happened on this pattern.

First up technically speaking there was not a piece missing. The previous owner had made an attempt to replace the lost piece by drafting a new one: one that didn’t fit the shoulder, the facing, the sleeve hole or the front yoke piece. I had to abandon it and redraft – my new piece is underneath so you can see in places it’s nearly an inch out! Ouch!

It was also technically my size – but of course in 1973 a 14 had smaller waist measurements – a fact I forgot when making my alterations but was rudely reminded of on my first fitting. Thank goodness for side seams that can be let out, and centre fronts that can be turned into vents.

I was also reminded of the fact that back in the early 70’s interfacing was not as lavishly used as it is today and un -interfaced facings are facings that do not stay put. I had to go back and top stitch the collar and front facings to encourage them to sit flat. Mental note to self: interface facings and under collars. Always.

I was tossing up whether to make the matching plaid pants. I went shopping but nothing inspired. Second mental note to self: when you start to look as old as your patterns you’re too old to pull off retro irony.

  1. Hello-

    I know what you mean about being careful about retro irony. I think a lot of of comes down to using the right fabrics and shapes. I like the dress you sewed, but looking at your face and figure type, I think you would look very lovely in more flowing and softer drapey fabrics. I don't mean lacey or girly girly-just more fluid. The top is too uniform like-which looks cute on a 17 year old rock chick but I don't think it is a look for you. I am not sure about the sleeve length on you either. You look as though you have a very shapely figure, I would say play that up, and stay away from crisp uniform looks. I shy away from anything too crisp. I have your hair color and figure type.

  2. I think it's really cute and looks great on you. IT's a fantastic pattern! I have one similar that I haven't tackled yet, but it's on the pile…..

  3. Missing pieces are a nightmare. Regrettably, I sometimes find that this happens even with patterns in my stash (sometimes in the excitement of finishing a garment at the last minute, the subsequent tidying up of sewing paraphernalia is neglected and then, when I seek to replicate the successful garment, a critical piece turns out to have been abducted by aliens.

    I agree the retro look has hidden traps for young (or not so young?)players. Is the golded rule that, if you can rememeber it from the first time round, you should avoid the reprise? that is certainly how I feel about ponchos (and hot pants, and trouser suits……)



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