1940s | Vintage Sewing

Winter Greens

By on July 10, 2012

It’s been a  while since I’ve posted here, I keep forgetting you guys are over here on WordPress. Here’s a project I finished a couple of months ago…

Once winter began here in Australia, I became obsessed with finding the perfect shade of ‘winter green’. Sadly, most of our fabric stores seem to have pretty much left out this colour altogether.

While on my quest to find the my ideal winter green, I came across some winter-weight ponti de roma in a lovely shade of emerald green and quickly snapped up a couple of metres for a dress. I already had the perfect pattern in mind – Butterick 4379s.

Butterick 4379-S

I usually need to shorten my vintage patterns in the bodice by 1 inch, so the ‘shorter length’ wasn’t going to be a problem. I’ve been doing a lot of pin-easing of late and have become quite good at it; it’s a very time consuming technique but the finish it gives is totally worth the effort.



For a refreshing change, Butterick 4379-S lived up to its promise of being ‘quick & easy’ and the ponti de roma was lovely to sew. Overall, it was a fairly fuss-free dress and it’s so comfy and warm; I think it’s safe to say I’ve another successful addition to my winter wardrobe.

More pics & construction details on my blog.

– Tamara

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Vintage Sewing

Let Purple Reign!

By on May 11, 2012

It looks like Eileen and I could be the start of a come-back for the pinafore dress!

Hollywood 1632

While on my little shopping spree at Easter I picked up a funky, purple and grey plaid to make this adorable 1930s pinafore and have been dying to cut out it ever since. Originally, I’d only planned to make the pinafore, I’ve plenty of things to wear with it, but the blouse looked so simple I figured, why not? Famous last words. Of course there were a couple of small issues, the sleeves gave a trouble, but I worked around it and am really pleased with the result.

More details & pics on my blog.

– Tamara

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Simply Stylish

By on April 26, 2012

Since my last post here at Sew Retro, the weather in OZ has turned decidedly chilly, making it perfect for staying inside and sewing. It also means it’s time to get started on my winter wardrobe. I have a sewing wish lish, but first I was dying to make this 1950s skirt with stylish side pleat detail.

Butterick 6188
Butterick 6188


I’m gonna be warm this winter!!

More details on my blog

– Tamara

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Katherine's picks | Vintage Sewing

Out of the Ordinary

By on April 17, 2012

Before I post some pics of my most recent project, I’d like to send out a big ‘Thank You’ to Lladybird, a contributor here at We Sew Retro, for the inspiration.

Back in March, she posted a top she had made from a full length silk skirt and I thought to myself: what a great idea! I’m always on the hunt for interesting fabric so I decided to see what the op shop had to offer.  It was slim pickin’ I’m afraid, but as I was about to leave I spied this fairly ordinary looking top (dress?).


It’s made of a lovely, soft spun rayon and only cost me $1.50! There’s a seam below the bust and I figured once I unpicked it there’d be enough fabric in the bottom half to make a top of some sort. I didn’t really have anything specific in mind and this 1950s ‘one yard’ blouse from my pattern collection looked promising.

Simplicity 3169

I originally chose Style 1 with the faux button front and peter pan collar but found I didn’t quite have enough fabric so a little improvisation was in order. Here’s what I came up with…


More details on my lovely new outfit can be found on my blog.

– Tamara


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The Blue Fans

By on April 3, 2012

Although summer is officially over here in Australia, we’re still having lovely weather. With any luck I’ll get another chance to wear the Blue Fans dress before the sun disappears.

Hollywood 1606 - 1940s sun dress


 The front shows off the fan print beautifully, but the back is where it’s at…


I can’t tell you how much I love this dress! It’s so comfortable and the bow on the back really puts a spring in my step. It was originally nearly 2 inches longer –  you can find pics on my blog – but the shorter version is so much sassier!

– Tamara


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1940s | Dresses | Mail Order Patterns

I Want Candy!

By on March 7, 2012

Greetings! My first post on the new site is my most recently completed project: a 1940s Mail Order pattern.

It was very simple to put together, I only really glanced at the instructions and it was finished in a weekend. It did take me a bit to figure out the bodice piece though – it’s only one piece and a very odd shape.

I’ve been looking for a dress I can wear all day, ever day and I think this one could be it!

More details on my blog: http://anewballofstring.blogspot.com.au/



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Vintage Sewing

A Tribute to the Spitfire Women of the ATA

By on September 23, 2011
Earlier this year I saw a BBC documentary film called ‘Spitfire Women’. I had no inkling these women even existed and was quite enamoured with their story. One comment from the documentary really stuck with me: The Spitfire was a plane you wore, a real lady’s plane. My aim was to find a garment which embodied this statement, so I searched my 40s patterns for something pretty, feminine and practical and came up with Simplicity 4139.

This pattern appears to have been pretty popular in its day, there are a lot of them still in circulation and I’ve seen it on eBay regularly. I chose View 1 for its sexy deep V neckline; the long, floaty sleeves; and, more importantly, it has only one button. My god I hate buttonholes!
More details on the Spitfire Women and blouse construction can be found on my blog: A New Ball of String.

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