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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 just finished sewing a winter wool jumper dress from 1970s-era McCall’s 4968. I’m very happy with it: it is comfortable, unusual, and very warm. My Grandpa and Grandma both made admiring comments about it when I wore it for the first time last Sunday. The thrifted worsted wool was easy to work with so long as I was careful to press it well, grade all the seams, and edge-stitch all the darts, seams, and edges on the right side to keep them flat and crisp.
Please come visit the sewing blog that I share with my husband for more details and other recent vintage sewing projects: Mr and Mrs Rat.
One thing I’ve wanted to make for a couple of years now is a 1930s warm winter coat. In the past I never quite had the right coat to go with my 1930s clothing and this year I was on a mission to resolve that problem. After purchasing a beautiful original 1930s halo hat in dark teal felt wool, I knew this was the colour my coat had to be. It was neutral enough to go with most things, but wasn’t the same old black, grey or navy that most coats seem to be in.
I set on a mission to find the perfect matching shade of dark teal in a heavy wool fabric and after several months I finally stumbled across a gorgeous one from Dragonfly Fabrics. It has an amazing diagonal textured design to it, which creates a lovely interest to the fabric.
The pattern I used was a self-draft pattern from an original 1930s tailoring booklet, which allowed me to create one exactly to my size in an authentic 1930s design. I did make an adjustment to the front curved seam though, as the original line didn’t really suit me across the chest. This was simple enough to do and I actually think the final seam looks much better.
I also decided to make the top line of the cuff curve with the front seam of the coat to make it look like the line was carrying on. Thankfully this worked spot on when I sewed it all up, something I wasn’t entirely convinced would happen!
You can read so much more about this coat and how I made it by heading to my blog. You’ll also find loads of photos, including ones of the incredible Autumn inspired lining and all of the matching garments that create the entire ensemble.
This outfit all began the fabric. The print (Asian Art Deco?) from this quilting cotton was irresistible and there was just enough of it (left to purchase) to scrape out a blouse. It seemed so suited for something 1930’s, but is a quilting cotton, so not terribly drapey. I already had a very long length of wool crepe that coordinated, so I knew I could make something to go with the finished piece.
I went in search for the perfect 1930’s blouse pattern, to start, which proved to be a little easier said than done, as I had trouble finding a blouse pattern that suited the fabric. I did settle on a gorgeous 1930’s dress pattern with a fabulous neck bow, that could be converted into a blouse and skirt. Next up, I searched for a coat pattern and ended up finding all my patterns in the same place. Yay!
The Dress Pattern (above) that I chose to adapt to a blouse and skirt, appealed to me, at first, because of the bow, but also because of the angled shaping of the front opening and V-shape at the center front on the skirt. Because of the minimal length of fabric, I knew the fuller sleeve was not an option. The short puff sleeve seemed more flattering as well, so I did end up using it in the end.
The Coat pattern was an easy choice. I love that it had some flair to both the sleeves and the bottom edge. It seemed a very easy and less formal design that would pair nicely with the finished skirt and blouse.
Each piece turned out very well and I’m excited to wear them all to a Caroling party next weekend. The Red is VERY festive, don’t you think?
If you would like to see more of how I adapted the dress pattern into a skirt and blouse, some great sewing techniques for the coat and all my resources for the entire ensemble, please visit my blog.
This project was a nice excuse to work on bound buttonholes.
Even though on the exterior there are only four visible bound buttonholes, there are actually a total of eight! The removable collar is stitched up in the same way as the bodice collar, with bound buttonholes matching up on the interior with button links.
Do I love the dress? Yes! But there are some caveats!
I go into them more in depth over on my website, but essentially it comes down to that open collar design feature.
Sewing with the Folkwear #209 pattern was a really easy, fun, and elegant way to jump into the turn-of-the-century! My skirt is made with a thick linen-rayon material, and I’m wearing it with an old authentic original early 1900s cotton and lace blouse. More at my blog’s post here!
We are nearing the end of the year and I’ve totally forgotten to share my third #VintagePledge of 2017, which I made earlier this autumn.
Vintage Simplicity 5890
I really loved the look of version 1
This pattern is one that I got in a vintage pattern haul way back in September.
I really like the look of the aline version of this dress and just happened to have the same color fabric as shown in the cover illustration.
Another #VintagePledge2017 make
While the dress was fairly simple I did have to do some resizing which I ended up not doing exactly right.
The dress fits but the front bodice darts don’t line up with front skirt seams, which is so irritating.
I’m really irritated about my mistake
The mistakes I made aren’t drastic and most people won’t even notice.
Still, it was enough to discourage me and bury the dress in the back of my closet.
In the end this dress is pretty nice
I recently pulled out the dress and despite the mistakes, I found that it was totally wearable and the color is perfect for winter.
Pictured here is a 1940’s (or late 1930’s) outfit that I sewed up using the Wearing History Smooth Sailing Sport Togs Shirt and Trousers pattern. After surfing all my hearted patterns on Etsy, I just kept coming across this pattern and thinking about it. Then I started seeing other versions of the same pattern popping up on some of the people I follow on Instagram. The trousers looked good on everyone, so I decided to give it a spin.
Smooth Sailing Sport Togs Blouse by Wearing History Patterns
This pattern is available in paper form or as a digitally downloadable file. I chose the downloadable file because it was less expensive and I would get it delivered right away. The later being more important. That’s funny, actually, because I did not end up sewing it right away. Ha! assembling the pages to create the pattern was clearly explained and took me about 45 minutes to complete (both top and pants).
Smooth Sailing Sport Togs Blouse and Trousers by Wearing History Patterns
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!!! This pattern is great. I would and will make this again, maybe adding pockets to the pants and also adjusting the fit in the armholes.
For more photos and my complete pattern review, visit the post on my blog.
In the 1970’s my aunt Sharon made our family an Advent Calendar. It’s crafted almost entirely of acrylic felt and quite a testament to the crafting movement of the era. I’m very sentimental about it, even though we were not particularly religious, growing up. I just remember waking up each day, excited to put another ornament on the tree. Thankfully, my mom kept it around for the years after I left home and then gave it to me later on. We carry on this tradition at home today and my 14 year old daughter feels as sentimental about it as I do.
This is the newly finished Advent Calendar that is now hanging in my Shop!
A few months ago, one of my dear Bridal clients (from when I did that) dropped by to donate some sewing materials her son acquired from an estate sale. Inside were these tiny little ornaments, exquisitely and painstakingly beaded. I knew they would come into some use, when I saw that they were all Christmas themed. So that is what led me to re-make this wonderful holiday craft.
This is the Vintage Advent Calendar made in the 1970’s
Here are some of the vintage ornaments my aunt made to go into the original Advent Calendar – Some have survived better than others….
Visit my blog for a complete tutorial and the material’s list. Until next time, Happy Sewing!
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