Posts Tagged 'vintage dress'

Vintage Vogue 8875 – Cherry Blossom Dress

I mentioned a while back that I wanted to make up Vintage Vogue 8875 in a silky poly floral fabric I had been saving for a special project, and I decided to jump right into it and make myself a new dress for my cousin’s wedding. The wedding was set to be a very classy affair in black and white — much fancier than the usual Southern Baptist weddings I’ve attended where people sip punch made from ginger ale, pineapple juice, and orange sherbet while nibbling on a cake baked by the bride’s aunt.

In other words, MUCH fancier than my own wedding.

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Busting through the FBA Hurdle! And Some Exciting Vintage Pattern Finds!

Excitement! Enthusiasm! Exclamation points galore!

Thanks to my amazing teacher Claire Kennedy, I can do an FBA for myself!

It turns out I was doing the FBA correctly, as I thought, but I needed to do a second FBA to the piece, moving it only 3/4″ instead of a full inch, and add a second dart in order to make it fit. I was soooo close and definitely on the right track, so that was a relief to know. She also very confidently and sincerely stated that I can do this, which meant a lot to me. We talked a bit about adjusting princess seams, and while those are a little intimidating, I think I can handle it.

My “homework” is to do a double FBA to the blouse I’ve been working on and make a muslin. I think I can make it fit this time!

In other news, I’ve just acquired some more vintage patterns…all for free. It’s kind of a funny story. The other day at a fabric store, I was considering getting a reprinted Vintage Vogue pattern and a sweet elderly lady commented on it. We started talking about vintage patterns and she mentioned that she had a bunch of them at home. She said she wanted to get rid of them, and I asked her how much she wanted for them. She said I could have them for free because she was thinking of just taking them to a thrift store.

Yes, I nearly passed out.

She gave me her contact information, and I went over to her house last night to check out the patterns. She had three file cabinet drawers full of patterns! Many of them were from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s — styles that I don’t particularly like — but I rounded up two grocery sacks full of patterns from the 1950s and 1960s! Almost all of them are too small for me, but I don’t mind. I can grade them up or set them aside for my daughter when she’s older, especially the ones that are too “youthful” for me anyway.

Here’s a sampling of what I found.


And this is the grand prize of the entire haul.


I did a happy little dance right in the middle of this lady’s sewing room when I found this one! I’ve been wanting a dress like this for quite some time. It’s very 1950s — a la I Love Lucy — and the lines are quite flattering. According to the back of the envelope, you can make it up in almost any kind of fabric: cotton, shantung, rayon, crepe, linen, gabardine, and much more. So, it’s a very versatile pattern. Dress it up for a go-to-town or church look. Dress it down for a summer picnic or relaxing at home. It’s in my size and it should fit well once I do an FBA. Look at the buttons all the way down the front! Look at the little pockets! Wouldn’t they be lovely with contrast piping? Look at that collar! And the little cuffs on the sleeves! I can just picture this one in a pretty little print with solid color piping on the pockets (and maybe the cuffs and collar as well) and a matching bakelite buckle and button set. Add shoes, a purse, gloves, and a broad-brimmed straw hat and the look will be complete!

Vintage Focus: 1960s Red Paisley Wiggle Dress

I thought I’d step back from sewing today and launch a new series called Vintage Focus. Each post will focus on a wonderful piece of vintage clothing from my collection. I’ll share commentary and up-close photos of the item’s construction that show external features (embellishments, collars, and buttons) and interior details (darts and seam finishes).

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When Vintage Patterns Go Wrong

Time to chalk up another learning experience.

I’ve been working on a muslin of this adorable 1940s Mary Dunbar toddler dress. I love the sweet little scallops! I could just see it made up with a pink and white stripe fabric for the main body and a light breezy floral print for the scalloped sections with coordinating buttons down the back. I almost used this pattern last year, but I decided that the scallops looked too intimidating and I put it back into my pattern drawer. This year, armed with new knowledge about sewing curves, I decided to give it a try.

1940s Mary Dunbar 2013-02-24 003

Unfortunately, this pattern is more flawed than any pattern I have ever used — and believe me, I have used some really crazy patterns.

Continue reading ‘When Vintage Patterns Go Wrong’

The Zombie Vamp Dress!

It’s been a while since I updated this blog because things have been pretty hectic around here. We bought a house and I’ve been busy with the buying process, fixing up the house, packing, moving, and unpacking, and during the downtime I’ve been working on lots of sewing projects. My big project for the past month has been a Halloween costume for my husband: a Jedi robe, tunic, and obi. It’s almost done, and I only need to hem the robe and put a casing around the seam where the hood meets the collar, so it should be ready in time for a Halloween party this weekend. I’ve had to put it on hold, however, because I have another project that has crept up on me!

A couple of years ago, I tried to make a 1940s cocktail dress out of cranberry red satin. My skill levels were just not up to the task — back then, “easing in” sent me into a fit of rage — and my awful Singer tried to mangle the satin. I stuffed the half-finished dress into a plastic bag and threw it into the back of my sewing cabinet in disgust. I decided that if I ever improved my skills, I’d try it again.

Back to the present: I have a special event coming up this week that has an “old Hollywood glamor” theme. After being unable to find a vintage dress for it, I decided to bring the 1940s cocktail dress back from the grave. Spooky, I know. I’ve nicknamed it “the zombie vamp dress.”

So far, it’s going pretty well. My Janome lets the satin glide right through and joining the concave and convex curves while easing in the excess isn’t difficult for me anymore. What’s infuriating is that I can see all the idiot newbie mistakes I made back then: not cutting points for aligning pieces, not sewing all the way to the end of of a seam, and not backstitching with the machine at the beginning and end of every line of stitching!

Bonus challenge: I need to finish it in a day and a half, and it’s about halfway done so far but the really hard part (lining the bodice) is coming up next!