Archives for category: 1950’s

…the last few weeks. I’ve been completely MIA at my own blog because I was sewing like a mad fiend for the Pattern Review “Sewing For Children” contest. I’ve got three pieces left to make before the end of the month and then I’ll heave a sigh of relief. In the mean time, I’ll share with you what I’ve made thus far. Some of it is good. I can’t seem to find any bad, but there is ONE fugly. But more on that later.
Let’s begin!

Advance 8932
a jumper and blouse pattern.

This is a size 8 or 10, if I recall correctly and hails from the late 50s. I only made the jumper since my childrens’ school requires *polo* shirts. Even for girls. Which is better than the button down oxfords *I* had to wear. But I digress. The fabric is a polyester spandexy suiting from Joann’s. It was red tag fabric that I picked up for ~$2/yard. WINNING!!!

You can see the pattern envelope here, if you like.

Simplicity 8769
PantDress without skirt

From there, I branched out into some super 70s awesomeness, also known as the “pantdress”. Simplicity 8769 from 1970 was the pattern du jour. I used quilting cotton for the outer, juvenile apparel for the skirt and a vintage bedsheet purloined from my nana’s closet (with her permission, I promise!) for the lining. I wanted to fully line it because who wants raw edges in their hoo-ha?

I used the owl fabric for the reverse of the reversible skirt. Buttons were from my stash as was the zipper. W00T! for using up stuff in my stash!

Moving right along… We’ve hit the 60s and the 70s, lets aim for another decade…

Simplicity 4870

Helloooooo 1940s. Now there are some little girls who can’t carry off all these frills and ruffles. And to be honest, they CAN look a little dated. Luckily for my little peanut, that’s not the case.

For this seafoam green number, I used another one of nana’s purloined vintage sheets for the dress and lining. The trim is vintage deadstock lace! How awesome is that? Vintage pattern? Check! Vintage fabric? Check! Vintage trim? Check! Vintage button for the neck closing? Check!

This dress also came with the matching doll dress pattern as well. I took some liberties with the doll dress because I’d pretty much run out of ruffled part (the top of the sheet) and I’m a lazy cuss. I’m NOT going to put as much effort into a doll dress as I am a dress for an actual child. So I cheated a bit.

Simplicity 9529

Since we’re like, totally sewing our way through the decades, like fer sure, let’s swing by the 80s. They called and they want Simplicity 9529 back. This was a fun pattern to sew. It was all like, totally, a flashback for me. I think I owned an outfit very similar to this as a kid.

The skirt portion and jacket are fully lined with the raspberry fabric to keep the totally rad purple Star Trek TNG fabric from scratching the skin. And yes, I DID have to refrain from singing Raspberry Beret whilst I was working on this one. The skirt and bodice are all sewn together to give the impression of a skirt/blouse. The belt is detachable (and currently lost!?!). This beauty is dry clean only. Someone smack me back into sanity so I don’t ever do that again for a 9 year old. But really the fabric was JUST too awesome AND I bought it specifically for my purple lover AND it was all red tag fabric, so what’s a girl to do? I just wanted to have fun with it…

Simplicity 2007

I feel like I’m missing a decade in here or something. Let’s see, 80s…. Check. 70s…. Check. 60s…. Check. 40s…. Check. That’s IT! I’m missing the 50s. Okay. Here we go kiddies, let’s take a trip back to the Nifty Fifties!

This here is probably my second favoritest kids’ outfit I’ve ever made in the history of ever. Check OUT the mad plaid matching skillz! Now I know that some people think matching plaid is of the debbil, but for me, it’s like…. I don’t know how to describe it. It just is one of the most soothing things to do. Which means I’m officially nuts. Or something.

This is my daughter’s favoritest – even more than the purple – outfit I’ve made for her. What I love is that when sewing vintage patterns for her, she’s a straight 7/8 and not a 10/12 like the RTW stuff you find in stores. She’s freakishly short for her age (just like her mama!) so I’ve pretty much given up on RTW for this kid anyhow.

I especially love the side invisible zip and the back bow detail on this one. You just don’t see stuff like this at the local Big Box Mart.

And now, for the pe-ayce de ray-zis-tahnce…

McCall’s 4672

McCall’s 4672, overalls and jacket. I’m giving you the big version of the picture so you can really take in the details:

Self-covered “stealth” buttons that are matched to the pattern of the fabric so you just don’t see them.
“Stealth” pocket on the jacket.
Chinese dragon that goes across the front from one leg to the other.
Fu Dogs that face each other on the jacket front.

Longevity symbol
overalls without jacket

How cool is THAT? Now that you’ve seen the good… Brace yourself for the fugly. Because, friends, it just ain’t a pretty sight.

Toddler Maternity Pattern?

Yeah. Not quite the result I was looking for. This one did not pass go, did not get entered into the contest. Why? Well, despite the awesome fabric, it just wasn’t *right*. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. And this was a BIG lose. Laura Petrie might have been able to carry this one off. Or even Lucy Ricardo as maternity wear. But even with dupioni silk(!) and awesome stretch check fabric that feels like taffeta, this outfit wouldn’t make the grade. And the shame of it all is that THIS pattern is one that I really, really, really wanted to make up. I’m not even sure I’d resell it, it’s so bad. Plus it’s missing a couple of pieces.

***And might I say I REALLY hate Blogger’s method for inserting photos into posts.

This is a late 50s Advance pattern featuring a stand-up collar and a very gathered back bodice. I think the back is my favorite part!

 I did the hem and sleeves by hand and made fabric-covered buttons. This was my first real attempt at matching plaid, so that turned out fairly well.

I cut the waist on the bias, but I followed the directions for the rest. More pictures on my blog, with the dog photobombing each and every one! Thanks for looking!

My name is Eva and I’ve been sewing on and off since I was fourteen back in 1982. The real obsession started around ten years later when I joined the SCA an started making medieval, and later other historical, clothing. Then I started making more and more of my everyday clothes, especially skirts and a few years ago I got into retro fashion and sewing. I started with 50s styles, but later got more and more into the 40s, which is what I mostly make now.
However, this blouse is made from a mid-50s pattern, Vi Mönster 3601, which is a Swedish brand. I plan to make the dress too later.

It is size 46, which is equal to size 18 and despite that I am a size 20 the only changes I had to make was taking in the shoulders two centimetres on each side. My shoulders are a size 10. Thanks to the ease built into the pattern it fit well except fot the too wide shoulders. I made a small mistake when cutting out the pieces, so the stripes on the yokes are not identical but I couldn’t be bothered to unpick everything when I noticed.

One of the things I like best with the pattern is the collar, which is just a straight band in the back in the back, but has points in the front.

I found the fabric at a thrift store and my guess is that it is from the 1950s 0r 60s and that it was intended as for example lining in suitcases – it was only one meter wide and waxed or treated with something else that made it slightly shiny and stiff. That disappeared when I washed it however.
You can see more of my 20th century retro clothing here at my website and the historical costumes here. I also have a blog in swedish, which has quite a lot of photos of retro clothes I’ve made.

My latest addition to my vintage WOW collection is a 1950’s Spadea patterns catalog. We’re talking 54 pages of AMAZING fashion drawings and sketches of the most gorgeous clothing ever.

 Spadea 705-D by designer Ceil Chapman, and Spadea 1096-D by Anne Fogarty.

 Spadea 1194 and Spadea 1137 by Ceil Chapman.

 Spadea 1159 by designer Jo Copeland.

And a whole lot more. Nice eye candy, right?
You can see more on my blog A Few Threads Loose.

Hello Ladies!

After I discovered how to alter Butterick’s Retro Walkaway dress pattern (4790), I had so much fun wearing the resulting dress that looked just like the 1952 pattern cover!  If you have ever had disappointing results from this pattern, I wrote an article on how to adjust the pattern here.  The first version I sewed was from an orange faille fabric, but this time around I decided to use a crisp cotton print from Maywood Fabrics’ “Roses” collection. 

As you can see, I added a vinyl belt around the waist to help cinch everything in more, and I also used a corset and crinoline skirt for that classy 1950s silhouette.  Over the belt I tied a grosgrain ribbon sash, and I almost think that this way the dress looks more 1960 than 1952! 

Along with the outfit are vintage white gloves that I found at an estate sale earlier this year.  I believe they would have been worn in the 1940s, but they are in near-perfect condition! 

I absolutely love wearing this summery vintage dress, with the big swishy skirt and the fitted bodice!  Back in the 50s it was almost as if they were dressing up for a party every day!  I’m not sure how often I will find an excuse to wear this dress, but I sure have had a fun time sewing it!  And since I had well over 100 pictures taken of my walkaway dress, I’ve shared more photos here

If anyone would be interested in doing a walkway dress sew along, please leave a comment after my blog post to let me know.  While most reviews of this pattern online are negative, it need not be the case any longer since it’s so simple to alter the pattern to the original style! 

Happy sewing!


This 1950s top, Simplicity 1625, is another UFO which has been hanging around for far too long. It was originally made to wear to a work Christmas party (2009). I loved the material too much to abandon it so some ‘quick fixing’ allowed me to wear it but essentially it was unfinished, yet another UFO to add to the collection.

Well, not anymore! There were a few small, but fiddly things left to finish which I stitched up in the last day or two. So, after 2+ years in the making, may I present ‘The Midnight Blues’ top, so called due to the many hours I spent trying to finish it the first time round.

More details & photos on my blog.

– Tamara

I made this dress a few weeks back from some incredible vintage fabric I’d had stashed for longer than I can remember. I’m so grateful to my former-self that I didn’t go crazy with the scissors, as I’m so happy with how this dress turned out, I can’t imagine I would have done it justice previously.

I’m obsessed with late 1950’s/early 1960’s styles, but despite my ever-expanding collection of vintage patterns, nothing quite seemed to fit the bill. So I hashed together the pattern for this by adapting and frankensteining elements of some newer patterns, which thankfully worked well with a bit of tweeking.

I decided upon wide shoulder straps so I could wear a normal bra without the straps on show and ruining the effect. I also added a contrast red ruffle detail to make the whole thing pop a little bit more.

Check that fabric!!!! Don’t you just want to be hanging out at that little bar there?! I know I do. Hanging out in an inferior bar in this dress will have to suffice instead.

For full details on this creations, check out my blog post.

Many thanks for all the inspiration you all give me, happy (retro) sewing!

Zoe xxx