Vintage Sewing

Long time lurker and request for help

November 24, 2010

Hi there all.

My name’s Pippa, and I’ve been lurking around here for quite a long time. I’m interested in vintage sewing, specifically the 1960s and 70s, and I’ve sewn from a couple of vintage patterns. The instructions tend to be a bit sparse for a beginner like myself, but with the aid of a few trusty sewing books, I muddle my way through.

The secondary reason for my post today is my university’s Christmas ball (the dress code is knee-length formal). I want to make my dress, but I don’t know which of my (many) patterns to choose. I’ve picked out the five most suitable from my collection, and I’d like you to tell me which one you think would be best. A hint at colour or fabric selection would also be very welcome :). This is me:

And these are the patterns:

Thanks a lot!
  1. I'm also a longtime lurker, and this is my first comment, so that's exciting! Anyway, I think the first one, with the bolero in a hunter green maybe silk blend (heavier silks or silks blended with cotton or rayon are easier to work with). Or the last one (patter A I guess) in a black and white damask is what I would go for. Good luck!

  2. If resizing is at all an issue I would go for 1875, as it would be the easiest to fit for a beginning sewist. If you have a good book with instructions for getting a good fit with princess seams or french darts I'd choose one of the first two dresses. I love the little jacket on the first dress (though the dress itself is quite plain, so I wouldn't choose it to be worn on its own). The second option is very cute on its own, though.
    I think any of the dresses would look good in a rich jewel tone or maybe a bold print (that'd certainly stand out at a holiday party!).

  3. I vote for the first one with the caplet. It is definitely the most formal. Can't wait to see your finished dress!

  4. Thanks everyone so far! I wasn't planning on making the bolero for pattern 1 – just the dress. At the moment I'm leaning most towards 2 and 5 (where I'd just be making the shorter dress).

    J.A. Gough:
    I have FFRP, and Nancy Zieman's book is winging its way to me now, so I'm not too worried about fitting. All the patterns are within two inches of my measurements anyway, so none of them should be terribly challenging.

  5. I'd defo go with number 2 in a lightweight satin brocade,or as Jacki said, silk dupioni.Maybe worn with a skinny patent belt. Be sure to post the finished result!
    Miss P

  6. I love that top Vogue – #1! Will have to look out for that pattern. The jacket is gorgeous!

    I have the last one, and am hoping to make the fabulous red coat in the middle some day…

  7. Hi Pippa,

    I like the last one, but I am biased…wink, wink.

    Seriously, it would be lovely on you in a rich jewel tone and you would have the option of making the coat to match for a later event.

    Good Luck and enjoy your Christmas ball.

  8. I second number 1 is dupioni or brocade or similar glam fabric. I also though no. 4 view 1 looks straight forward and would look good in velvet or satin.

  9. Go with number 1 in a wool crepe. Wool is the easiest fabric to sew on and wil drape nicely for the bolero…do make that-it is very stylish. Although number 5 in a silk shantung duipioni would be a killer too…with the coat of course!

  10. I can't help but notice that the patterns are in various sizes. I would choose one that is the closest to your actual body size by comparing the measurements on the pattern with your own measurements. I have myself suffered the heartache of labouring over a garment only to discover that "size 14" pattern circa 1978 =/= size 14 RTW circa 2010.
    Measure twice, cut once, as they say.
    Good luck and keep us posted.

  11. I've just recently found this blog. I love vintage. But deep down in your heart there is probably why you put the first one shown,first. That's my pick, a bit of formality but not too much. The little jacket is just the the right touch to make it different and special.

  12. It's hard to tell which one you should make as I don't know your body shape. The first one looks like it is a bias princess seam which is universally flattering with the bolero or not. You can add embellishment to the neckline if you want. I also like the last one as you can make a matching jacket or use one you already have and dress it up/down. I also like the short sleeved one before the last as the skirt seems flattering to many body types. The others depend more upon the body shape (if pear shaped the second one would not be good, if hour glass the third would be lovely but not if you have a thick middle).

    Colors– rich tones, you have lovely coloring– green, deep sapphire blue, etc.

    Fabric– can't tell by the pics the best fabrics suggested. The first you can always use silk/rayon/cotton blends. The last– it looks like a doubleknit or a nice jersey (can be silk or wool blends)
    I certainly think even a stretch woven could work on either dress as well. We have such great fabrics available now. One thing you can do is look at a similar style in a modern pattern and see what their fabric recommendations are since many fabrics today were not available back then. Our polys and blends are certainly better than they were in the 60-70's. Sometimes you find the gorgeous fabric before the pattern and have to choose in that order.

  13. I love dress number 2 with a (contrasting) bolero from 1. (If the dance is in the winter, it might be a bit chilly.)

    You could make the dress in a silk and line the jacket with the same material. Think red silk dress with a black jacket? Or maybe a light blue with a navy jacket/shoes/accessories?

    Everyone has great ideas, so I'm not adding much here. All the patterns are yum yum yum.

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