Vintage Sewing

Introduction & a plea for encouragement!

April 19, 2011

Hello, my name is Joni and I always cut my notches inward.

I live in Indiana with my cute husband, 3 kids, a hundred or so vintage patterns, and more fabric than you can shake a stick at. I grew up watching my mother sew dresses for me and my 4 sisters (we had the best prom dresses of anyone) but somehow managed to avoid learning how to sew myself. Five years ago I finally bought my first sewing machine and a Simplicity pattern and taught myself how. Boy, am I glad I did! I love to sew and I can’t believe I wasted the first 26 years of my life not knowing how. Recently, a dear friend of mine and I launched a doll clothes business together. This is a great way of financially supporting my fabric habit, but it does mean that I don’t have as much time to make people clothes as I used to.

Which is why it’s the Tuesday before Easter and I am just starting my daughters’ Easter dress today. I’m in need of some encouragement so that I don’t give up with the goal in view! Here are the patterns I selected. I made my girls vintage dresses last Easter and they went over so big, I had to repeat the trend.

For my 8-year-old, Betsy:

This will be my first time attempting an invisible zip. I’ve heard that they are easier to insert than regular zippers; however, I’ve learned not to underestimate my ability to mess up the easy things!

For my 3-year-old, Amy:

I’ll be doing the view with the wee little faux apron, of course. The pattern came to me with the transfers for the embroidery (you can’t tell but they are little strawberries! Could you think of anything cuter?) but I don’t embroider as it is too similar to hand sewing, which I loathe. So I need to come up with another way of embellishing the scallops on the apron. Do you think little bows would work?

Now that I’ve put that out there, I have got to get these dresses done by Sunday. I’ll be too embarrassed if I don’t!

  1. invisible zips are very easy and I don't even have the proper foot for my machine.The little girls dresses look wonderful and I look forward to seeing them finished !

  2. YOU CAN DO EET!! I've been known to stay up the night before an event(prom, Halloween, wedding) finishing up projects. You still have tons of time! Also, invisible zips are easy.

  3. I think that bows would be adorable, and both of these dresses are so cute anyway it wouldn't really matter. Don't worry, you can do it!

  4. Invisible zippers are SO easy. Once you get the hang of them, you'll never want to do anything else! And I LOVE LOVE LOVE those dresses. 🙂 You can definitely do this!

  5. You can do it! (Says the woman who is trying to finish a First Communion dress for her granddaughter.) Those are such adorable patterns for little girls!


  6. I know you can do this and you'll love the hidden zippers. I think the bows would look cute, as would cute buttons. This pattern looks just like one I made for my daughter years and years ago. Her dress was solid pink, the apron part was pink eyelet trimmed in pink ribbon and lace, and I used pink heart buttons at the scallops. I kept that dress and my granddaughter wore it last year to a "dress up" party.

  7. Oh, my gosh! I just went over to look at your doll clothes. They are amazing! Anyone who hasn't gone to look yet, really should.

  8. You could also buy little strawberry appliques that just need to be sewn on using your machine and invisible thread. Easy-peasy.

  9. Where in Indiana are you located? I'm north of Indianapolis, and I have a 1945 White sewing machine with the table that I'm trying to find a home for. As in free. It is in great condition, but there is no manual. If you are interested, please let me know. I would love for it to go into the hands of someone who loves making retro clothing and such. (

  10. I cut my notches inward too 🙂 So does the author of my 1938 sewing book. It appears to be a 60's pattern thing, if anyone can support that?

    Dresses are lovely, looking forward to seeing the end result, I have lots of vintage patterns saved for when my daughter is older.

  11. Benita – my mother really thinks I should take that machine off your hands! (I'm north of Indy too – Noblesville to be exact.) Only thing is I don't think I have ANY more room in my already crowded basement. I think my husband will have a heart attack if I bring home any more strays!

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