WeSewRetro | For those who adore vintage patterns, vintage fabric, and vintage..
We Sew Retro is a community of ladies and gents who adore vintage patterns, vintage fabric, and vintage style. We love sharing our vintage and retro projects for inspiration and encouragement with vintage sewing fanatics worldwide.
I am a long time lurker, who has finally remembered to take pictures of something so I can post it. I owe a great debt of gratitude to SeamRacer! She posted her gorgeous gown after I had bought the pattern, but sat on it wishing it had better instructions. After I saw hers I contacted her and she loaded me up with tips, tricks, and a lapped seam recommendation. So here it is, a vintage housecoat/dressing gown. I will be wearing mine around the house in the evening after getting the kids to bed. I always planned on wearing it over a nightgown, but I have it fully lined just the same. I am one of those perpetually freezing people who need layers and layers. Even the sleeves are fully lined. The original did not come with seam allowances, and I added none. I should probably have cut down the original a tad bit, as I needed to take it in quite a lot. I did all the fitting on the matte satin lining, and tried not to fiddle too much with the outside fabric. It is an icy mint green with silvery flowers. It is a rayon jacquard from Denver Fabrics. I used lapped seams on the waist area and they turned out very well. I made my waistband ties fairly thick and pretty long. I wanted them to make a statement if they were going to be there anyway. I have a self covered button as you can see, but it is simply stitched on over a snap closure. I did not want to put a button hole right on the front of that jacquard, very ravel-prone. Over all I am really thrilled with this and I know it will get a lifetime of wear.
Over the Summer (on the same day) my friend Annalee and another friend, Kelley, dropped off bags of goodies on my front porch. Annalee gifted me this gorgeous orange chiffon dress, rolled up in a bag and falling apart. And Kelley gave me this glorious belt with Diamante buckle (along with other wonderful things as well). And last year, my neighbor and friend, Joyce, gifted me a large collection of vintage pieces from her family including this divine black velvet coat (it only needed cleaning). Also among those treasures – another black velvet coat and a peach and black 40’s dress. Both of those were re-worked and given new life. You can read about them here:
The condition of this Orange dress was actually not too bad. The thread was disintegrating and the side seams had come apart completely. There was even scotch tape (why Annalee?) holding them together. And the garment was stained in several places with a burn hole right in the center front. I can totally understand why someone would think this dress unwearable but also so pleased that it came to me for rescue.
I repaired the dress from the bottom up, sewing up the side seams, reinforcing some sensitive areas, restitching the covered buttons to secure them in place. And I covered up all the holes and most of the stains in a strategic way.
To find out more about how I did all this, the slip I sewed for underneath the gown, my hair flowers and more, please visit the blog post here.
Every year the Art Deco Society of California puts on the The Gatsby Summer Afternoon. This Gatsby Event is the highlight of my year, as far as vintage events go, and this year was no exception. The weather was perfect (high 70 degrees and breezy), the picnics were exquisite and the company eclectic and entertaining.
For this year’s ensemble, I chose to replicate a look that my grandmother wore (see photo above) in one of her modeling photos. I’ve admired this dress for years and have not quite had the nerve to re-create it until now. That front neck detail with the capelet and ruching really had me flummoxed.
When I mentioned, on Instagram that this was my plan, Deirdre from Vintage Pattern Lending Library suggested I use one of her patterns to start and then she sent it to me! How lucky am I? Thank you Deirdre! The pattern was a perfect jumping off point and it really took the pressure off to have a pattern to start from.
I’m pretty pleased with the overall look, considering, in the end, I only had about a week to pull it off. I completed the ensemble with me-made purse, hat and jewelry. There are a few changes I would make, given the time and inclination (neckline wider and capelet longer in the back). Overall, though, I’m pretty happy with the whole look.
To read the complete post, see pattern adaptations and more pictures from the event, please visit my blog.
My most recent outfit is all homemade out of 1970s sewing patterns: the skirt (Simplicity 7880) and blouse (Simplicity 8611) both in a size 8, and the vest (Simplicity 5204) in a teen-sized 11/12. If you want to see more photos and read more details about my sewing process and thrifted accessories, please visit the blog that I share with my sewing husband: Mr and Mrs Rat.
I wore this Blue Velvet Coat to the Miss Fisher Convention this year in Portland, Oregon. In this photo shoot (Thanks Mom!) I paired the jacket with a true vintage 1920’s silk lace and chiffon dress, along with some rhinestone / crystal accessories and coordinating shoes and bag.I think it all works together quite nicely.
When making this Coat, I really wanted a long attached neck scarf like Phryne Fisher (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) wears on many of her coats. As I was cutting out this silk velvet, I really had to squeeze every inch of what I had. So, that meant that I had to piece the scarf. It left a seam on one side in the front that I really didn’t like and the naps were different. This was a dilemma at a late hour. Luckily, I had two beaded appliques that worked perfectly. I bought 3 of them, and glad I did.
I’m really pleased with how the side gusset turned out. At first, they seemed a little small, but after inserting them in the side, they give the coat, just enough swing. Also, there was not enough fabric to make them any bigger, so I certainly can’t complain.
There really isn’t anything cuter than a baby rocking a vintage style. For all my friends who are having children, I have gotten into the habit of giving them handmade clothing for their showers. Here are a couple I have completed.
Made from quilters cotton at about $25AUD/m this dress and panties took almost the whole meter but I think has a really pretty vintage look. I love nappy covers. Generally I could use less fabric on a pattern like this but the striping ment that I had to lay peices in a certain direction. The ribbon used was left over from a previous project.
This little beach set turned out amazingly. I love the bright cheerfulness of it. The fabric is just a Spotlight cotton spot and the buttons are also spotlight. I lined the whole thing in cotton lawn to seal and finish off all the edges. The hat is a basic tulip hat trimmed with the same button and a small piece of cross grain ribbon that I already had in my stash.
This tuinc and pants set I think worked out really well. The splash of blue is just enough to break up the starkness of the black and white prominent in the bunny print. From memory the bunny fabric was also about $25/m and the blue cotton $10/m but the 3mth size took hardly any of that fabric to make. The top is fully lined in a cotton lawn and I use flat buttons on the back to avoid having anything stick in uncomfortably on a baby who can’t move much.
On my make nine this year I decided to add a few vintage patterns one of which was Simplicity 2154.
I had mad this pattern years ago but didn’t feel like I had the fit right and I never got around to making the bow blouse.
Anyways, I decided that this year I would give it another go.
A Spring Look
I whipped up Simplicity 2154 at the end of April and choose to use spring colors to make the set. I was really inspired by the floral jersey I had in my stash. This fabric almost looks like upholstery fabric but it’s really soft and I thought the floral colors were perfect for spring.
This fabric just screamed spring
I chose a coordinating solid for the blouse and the skirt. Starting with the skirt I went with a medium tan polyester fabric that had a bit of stretch to it.
The pretty bow blouse, which I was most excited to make, I used a pink cotton lawn fabric. The fabric has little white lines on it but they can only be seen up close. The lines give the pink a softer baby pink look.
While this project was pretty stright forward I did make a few changes to the overall construction.
Minor changes and now the fit is spot on.
First I found way too much room in the skirt so I ended up forgoing the side zip and added a back elastic waistband.
The Internet was filled with reviews on the bow blouse and how many found that the side zip was unnecessary. I decided to listen to the reviews and leave out the zip as well. Turns out it didn’t really need it and works perfectly as a pullover top.
The perfect pretty bow blouse for a vintage wardrobe
In the title of this post, I mentioned a mini-wardrobe, which is exactly what I made using Simplicity 2154 as the base. As it turned out I had some leftover floral jersey from the cardigan and quite a bit of the pink cotton from the top. Using this leftover fabric I made a few more pieces that I could mix and match with the individual pieces of Simplicity 2154.
It feels like forever since I last posted on We Sew Retro. Mainly because I haven’t really been sewing vintage patterns the last few months.
However, while going through my UFO pile back in May I came across Simplicity 3580 a vintage shirtwaist dress from the 1960’s.
Can’t believe this has been in my UFO pile for 2 years
I started this pattern nearly two years ago now, and never quite came back around to finishing it.
At the time I’d gained some weight and we were in the middle of a move.
Completing a UFO
I was happily surprised when I pulled it out to find that the bodice fit me (yeah weightloss and healthy eating) and that the only thing left on this project was the skirt and the buttons.
I’m so happy with how Simplicity 3580 turned out
Needless to say in one afternoon I managed to complete this project.
I’m so glad I came back to this dress. It is exactly the type of vintage dresses I love. I love shirtdresses of any kind, I love the drape of the sleeves I love the cuff detail and the soft pleats on the skirt.
I finished my jean shorts, and a button down shirt to go with it using 1950s vintage sewing patterns; Vogue 7331 and McCall’s 4022. These are really practical and wearable, I’ve already worn the shorts a hand full of times.
My shirt is made from a swallow print navy cotton fabric with black buttons. I’m pretty happy with the way this turned out, this was my first attempt at making a shirt, the instructions for this were really basic although YouTube videos were helpful in how to construct a shirt.
These are my second pair of shorts made from McCall’s 4022 and I see making more from this pattern. I love them – the pockets are huge! They’ve really comfy in a blue denim. I also had a go at top stitching at the pockets and around the waistband – it could be neater but it really adds a pretty detail.
Hi Everyone! I’m Natalie and I live in the UK, I’ve been learning to sew for just over a year now. I’ve been an avid reader of this blog for some months and have found this to be truly inspiring to give using vintage patterns a go. I’m so glad to share my first project using a vintage pattern, hopefully the first of many projects.
I fell in love with McCall’s 4022 shorts pattern from 1957. It just looks so Audrey Hepburn. And for a quid at the local charity shop was an absolute bargain. I wasn’t originally planning to make them up but I’m glad I did, these fit so much better than ready to wear and weren’t as difficult as I imagined. I made the shorts up to wear for a walking holiday as the weather has turned surprisingly really warm here.
I only made some basic adjustments to the pattern. Luckily this was the correct hip measurement, but the waist needed to be enlarged, and a section removed from the back and front to shorten the crotch. Though if I make them again, I plan to remove even more from the crotch length in the front. On the whole, I’m really happy with the way these turned out and they are super comfy, as well as being wearably retro; though it’s a bit strange only having a pocket on the left side!
I feel my shorts did end up looking like the pattern envelop and I love the buttoned tabs on the sides. I plan to make this up again in a blue denim – I think they would be versatile.