1940s | Mail Order Patterns | Vintage Sewing

mail order maid of honour

March 18, 2013

Greetings vintage enamoured kindreds,
I was well pleased to (literally) stumble upon this most excellent blog and after a short perusal was grinning broadly. Knowing there is a significant community of vintage sewing addicts is a wonderful discovery.

This being my first post, perhaps I ought give a description of myself:
I’m a fervent DIY type who makes as much of everything as reasonably and physically possible; my interests belong to a couple of generations ago (I’ve long felt that being born into this one was somewhat of an unfortunate mistake) – I knit obsessively in the winter months, sew during the rest of the year. My grandmother taught me the necessary basics of deciphering patterns in grade 10 and from that point hence, fabric stores have become dangerous places. I have always loved vintage styles, but for more practical reasons vintage sewing patterns provide sizes I can actually wear.
I strive to live simply but happily on 1.3 acres in a 128 year old farmhouse with my mathematician husband where I make lots of mess making various creations, vegetable gardening, preserving, root cellaring, obsessively learning about and carrying out home improvements, and trying not to feel guilty about my two rounds of education leaving me unemployed.
Like many others out there, I catalogue my creative adventures through a blog: jurisdiction of nifty.

This particular project was an important and interesting one – my greatest friend got married last summer in a vintage themed style. I was tingling with anticipation to find a suitable dress pattern and eventually came across this promising specimen. It was the first time I’d seen or used a mail order pattern ( Sue Burnett – 8299 )  and though the instructions were incredibly thin, managed to make it through.

it begins

Though vintage sizing usually works out well for me with minimal customizing, this pattern required judicious taking in of seams and the addition of darts in order to make it fit.

front darts
thinning the front

It took several tries to get these back darts sorted – much basting and hand sewing.

basting back darts
creating back darts...

I had to fashion shoulder pads at the last minute as well as the shoulders were too droopy.

I made a back buckled belt, shortened the skirt length by about half and in the end was pleased with how the dress turned out:

finished back
the back
front detail
yoke detail
front view

I look forward to sharing future endeavours as sewing season approaches!
Thanks for existing We Sew Retro (:

  1. Despite your challenges with this dress, it turned out beautifully and literally fits you like a glove! Love it! Oh and welcome to We Sew Retro ;o)

    1. Thank you, it’s kind of you to say! It took me an age to find buttons that went well with that material, but when I saw those ones my heart skipped and I bought them out.

  2. What a beautiful job you did on the alterations. It is a pleasure to see the care put in a handmade garment. Lovely.

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