Vintage Sewing – Advance 1881 – 1930s Blouse

I just finished making view 1 of this pattern but I also made view 2 earlier this year. I never found the time to post about it so I’ll add some notes on that one too. Also, I do realize this pattern is for children or teenagers but it was too cute and it has worked out rather well for me regardless.

I think I snagged this pattern on Ebay last winter. So adorable. I loved view 2 and made that first. I assumed right away that the 30″ bust would be insanely tiny for me so I added a few inches and discovered that well, I was way off. Ended up going with the 30″ bust pattern as it was, I guess because the style is very open there was enough room. I used a red cotton lawn from my stash and it turned out better than expected. I struggled a bit with the narrow hemming on the ties and sleeves and ultimately used an overcast stitch on them but they don’t look too terrible even if they’re not very true to the period.

With view 1 I did some measuring and it looked as if it might fit again without adjustments so I went for it with some vintage floral silk I have been hoarding for years. The blouse was pretty quick with only a few pleats at the shoulders and gathering on the sleeves. The sleeve cuffs were very tight so I removed them and added an inch or so to the cuff piece and now they fit nicely. The armholes are a bit high and snug but I think they work well for the style, just tighter than I prefer. In the future I will lower them a bit and extend the sleeve cap to fit. The neckline is also too tight to pull together at the center neck but I like the look of it as an open v-neck. Next time I might eliminate the slashing at the center neck and just add a back zip to keep the Peter Pan collar nice and neat in the front. As cute as the pockets are in the pattern image, they easily  got lost with my busy print so I ended up only adding one but with an obvious “handmade” running stitch to help it stand out.

What I really got fed up with was attempting the recommended bias binding technique at the neckline, it was way too bulky and wouldn’t lay right. I ended up going with the tried and true Hug Snug. I can always count on it to help me out with a troublesome seam! I also left off the tie belt as the top was already snug fitting enough and it would only get in the way when wearing it tucked in, which I plan to do.

All in all it turned out rather well for a quick one day project. I guess I’m on a roll with these last two but I know it’s only a matter of time before disaster if I keep mostly winging it. 😉


Vintage Sewing – 1940s Dress – Simplicity 3196

I bought this pattern a few months back and was waiting on the right fabric to make it up but, as usual, I got impatient last weekend. I had some very soft lightweight rayon crepe in my stash so I pulled out the black and decided to give it a try without any adjustments to the pattern. (Horrifying, I know!) I quickly realized I didn’t have enough of the black so I decided to colorblock with the the blue. I wasn’t sure if the colors worked but went ahead as a) I fully expected this to not work out and b) I was just desperate to sew anything.

The pattern is a vintage size 14, 32″ bust so I anticipated it being too small for me and decided to halve all the seam allowances. I just wasn’t thinking of all the panels and that I only needed an inch or two extra not four! Of course I only realized this after sewing the front and back together so I just took in the side seams a few inches in the end. It is still a little too big but with a belt I think it works fine. It also allowed me to forgo the side zipper and just add the one at the back neckline. I did use an invisible zipper though (shudders) but the vintage gods have yet to strike me down. Yet.

Overall I’m really happy with how this turned out and I love the colors together! I love the sleeves, they’re so drapey with the perfect amount of puff. They’re a little bit droopy at the shoulders but I think it’s because the fabric has no structure and there should be some sort of shoulder padding in there. I added the bow at the last minute and may still tweak that a bit. The mother of pearl belt buckle I had in my stash from when I last visited my family in Michigan. I found a whole stock pile of them at an antique mall.


Vintage Sewing – 1930s Skirt – Advance Pattern 1176

After a year of sitting on this beautiful pattern I finally had the chance to make it this past winter. It is a pretty easy pattern and also very easy to adjust the size as it is a wrap skirt. But just look at that pocket and those buttons! Also, can you imagine buying sewing patterns for 15 cents apiece? I’d buy out entire warehouses. And then require a second apartment in which to hoard all of my super duper affordable sewing patterns. vintage sewing 1930s skirt - advance patterns 1176

Here’s a pic I shared on Instagram almost a year ago of tracing the pattern pieces onto new tissue paper with the help of some special friends, of course. No pins in these pattern pieces! I try to do this with any pre-1960s patterns so as not to damage the pieces any further as they’re already so fragile. This was also my first time working with a pattern entirely void of any printed markings. It was a bit intimidating but this was a great pattern to start out on. - vintage sewing pattern 1930s skirt - advance patterns 1176

Before I even had my fabric figured out I found some vintage art deco metal buttons on Etsy that were begging to be used. They’re so perfect! I don’t think I could have found a better match. Here’s another instagram photo showing the detail on the buttons. vintage sewing 1930s skirt - advance patterns 1176

Since I traced the pattern I’d been agonizing over what color to make this up in when I realized I had a pretty blue cotton twill in my stash that would look perfect as a 1930s sportswear skirt. And it would work with Those Buttons. It wasn’t a long sewing project: a few darts, seams, waistband, pocket, buttonholes, buttons, inner snap, hem. I’m really happy with the result but for some reason this twill loves to wrinkle and stay wrinkled. If anyone has any tips for twill please let me know! I’ve tried ironing, steaming, and wetting and lying flat to dry and still I have creases. But as soon as I sit down it wrinkles again so I suppose it is a fool’s errand no matter what. 🙂

My outfit is officially complete with a pale pink 1940s blouse from Dalena’s Attic on Instagram (Dalena’s Vintage on Etsy). The shade matches the pink of the buttons quite nicely.

It was really quite cold here in New York when I took these photos so I had to stay in the vestibule of my apartment building; my apologies for the super warm tones! My building was built in the 1920s and still has beautiful marble floors in the hall and original tiling. - vintage sewing pattern 1930s skirt - advance patterns 1176 - vintage sewing pattern 1930s skirt - advance patterns 1176 - vintage sewing pattern 1930s skirt - advance patterns 1176 - vintage sewing pattern 1930s skirt - advance patterns 1176

Vintage Sewing – 1960s Blouse – Simplicity 4606 vintage sewing - 1960s blouse - simplicity 4606

Last year my internet friend Alessandra of Gothwave on Etsy offered to mail me a box of vintage sewing patterns and, duh, I accepted. Plenty of great 60s ones and even a few from the 40s. That’s where this pattern came from. The collar immediately sucked me in. I knew right away what fabric I wanted to use, a vintage floral & berry print I picked up from Happy Corner General Store on Etsy. vintage sewing - 1960s blouse - simplicity 4606

I finally had the chance to try it out over Christmas break with my new machine. I measured the pattern pieces and was fairly certain it would fit with maybe a bit of an armhole shift so I just dove right in. No muslin. (Usually that’s the worst idea any one could ever have, ever. Just FYI.) I didn’t end up having to make any alterations. (!!!) And I just happened to have the perfect buttons in my stash. vintage sewing - 1960s blouse - simplicity 4606 vintage sewing - 1960s blouse - simplicity 4606 vintage sewing - 1960s blouse - simplicity 4606

The only real issue I encountered was that my new machine’s buttonhole foot tends to make the holes a bit too big and lots of movement causes them to unfasten. Oops. I didn’t realize this until after I’d already made them all, of course. I guess I will just be making lots of use of double-sided tape. I’d love to try this out in something with lots of drape and make the long sleeve version in the future. Definitely a new go-to blouse.


Vintage Sewing – 1970s Dress Pattern – Simplicity 5244

It’s been a few months since I last posted on the blog but I have so many old and new things to share! Be ready for more frequent posts in the coming weeks. - vintage sewing - simplicity 5244

Simplicity 5244 dress pattern from the early 1970s. I loved the contrasting collar and cuffs and while it was definitely 70s, it had a 20s feel too. I first started working on this pattern almost a year ago. The pattern was a vintage size 8 with a 31.5″ bust so I definitely knew I had to do some slashing and spreading to increase the bodice size. Here’s a couple pics I shared on Instagram at the time while rescaling the bodice portion of the pattern and the final muslin. simplicity pattern 5244 simplicity pattern 5244

I ended up with a fit that was loose enough and when combined with the low neckline, that I could leave off the back zipper altogether. Hooray! One less potentially fiddly thing to worry about.

I chose this pale blue floral print rayon challis with white lawn for the collar and cuffs. I had never worked with challis before this but it is now one of my favorites. So smooth and really quite lovely. I have plenty of leftover fabric that I daydream about using on 1930s beach pajamas someday. simplicity pattern 5244

It took me about a week to get the fit right on the muslin and cut out my fabric but it took me a few months just to start sewing. Once I started though it was smooth sailing. This challis was like sewing a cloud. A cloud you could pin down, I mean. Well, maybe sewing even a pinned down cloud wouldn’t be easy at all but I’m trying to say it was hassle-free and fun to work with. I had some issues with the lawn being very sheer and showing seam allowances but I got over it. I finished all the machine sewing and then put it on a hanger and “forgot” about it for over six months.

It wasn’t until I received a new sewing machine for Christmas that I finally got around to finishing all of the hand sewing on this dress. Funny how that works, isn’t it? I needed to get a new sewing machine to actuate hand sewing! I guess it just really put me in the sewing mood and I was desperate to complete all of my idle works-in-progress. I grabbed a few simple clear plastic buttons from my stash for the cuffs and tacked down the facings. The most difficult part for me is always the hem. Somehow it always ends up shorter on one side than the other and I think I lost a good 4″ before I felt it was close enough to work out and called it finished.

Looking back, I would lengthen the sleeves by 2″ and pay more attention when I sewed and pressed the collar as it’s a bit wonky on the one side but I really do love it and will be wearing it a lot once the weather isn’t so frigid. Sorry for the photo quality, it was an overcast day close to sunset. - vintage sewing - simplicity 5244 - vintage sewing - simplicity pattern 5244 - vintage sewing - simplicity 5244 - vintage sewing - simplicity pattern 5244 - vintage sewing - simplicity 5244




Me Mades: 1960s Sewn Beret & More Knit Hats

Last week I had mentioned that I was working on sewing my first hat and I am proud to say that yes, this happened and no, it wasn’t awful. I used fabric scraps from my stash: vintage pale blue velour, purple satin that was already partially made up into a vest à la Aladdin (not by me), and the only grosgrain ribbon I apparently own in grass green. I used Simplicity 7213 from 1967 for the pattern and found it to be easier than I imagined. I don’t own a tailor’s ham so pressing the rounded seams and darts wasn’t exactly an option but I think it looks alright without that super important part. I also marked everything on the wrong side and when it came time to gather the body of the hat, all the markings were already hidden! Grr. Now I know for next time. I did mention I’m not the best at sewing, right?

The pom pom may be the most depressing part of the whole thing (see my face below for evidence of extreme sadness) because I’ve made them before and this is a pathetic excuse for one. I will not be sharing any closeup shots of that today. Or ever. I think the yarn was wrapped up in the skein funny because one whole side looks sort of wilted though I made it only yesterday.

Overall, I love it! I can’t wait to try another one in more coordinating colors and to take the time to press it properly and mark out my gathers. I’m actually wearing a me-made pumpkin cardigan under my coat but I’ll have to share that another time.

I also made up several different variations of vintage hat patterns that I have already knit and have available on Etsy. I made berets in white, navy, turmeric, and a navy and cream middy cap. I love making these tiny 1930s hats because even though they’re simple berets, they are so versatile in how they can be worn. You can almost make it look like a different hat for every day of the week.

My friend Stacey had requested a navy 1920s-style cloche awhile back and I was finally able to hand it over to her last weekend. I used crochet cotton, doubled and just kind of eyeballed it while working in half double crochet in the round. I wish I had paid more attention to what I did exactly because I would really like to make more of these even if crochet cotton is very slippery and makes the time spent making a hat stretch into sweater territory. But it was worth it!

I think my next knitting endeavor will involve finishing up some vintage knitting projects. I have a 1940s sweater I “finished” several years ago but the collar never looked right after three attempts so it is still sadly hanging unworn in the closet. There’s also a lace 1930s sweater that is sleeveless but finished otherwise. Collars and sleeves are sometimes the most daunting tasks of making a sweater. I know it sounds crazy because they take much less time than the body but they can be finicky and often prevent me from finishing a beautiful piece…for years. I might also try sewing up a 1950s blouse or a 1960s dress if I can convince myself to cut into this beautiful vintage bed sheet. Maybe.


Me Mades: 1960s Billowy Blouse & Criss Cross Ties

I had planned on having this me-made update posted last Thursday but I was having some internet issues so this week it is! I haven’t been knitting very much the last couple of weeks and instead got back into sewing. I decided to tackle this super cute 1960s billowy blouse in a vintage woven cotton floral fabric I found on Instagram over the summer. I haven’t made a button up in almost five years so I was a little stressed at the idea but it turned out to be my most wearable shirt ever.

I used the 1969 Simplicity 8299 sewing pattern I got in a bundle of 30 vintage patterns on Ebay for like $7 (including shipping!) over the summer. Yes, I know, it was the best deal I’ve ever gotten on Ebay and I never will have another like it. I very sadly didn’t have enough of the material to create the matching ascot but I did end up with enough to make a few criss cross ties. I made up a crazy bright 80s floral version of the ascot shown in the pattern photo and I can’t wait to make more of them.

Here’s my version of the blouse. I didn’t end up adding buttons to the collar because I planned to keep it loose so I could wear a tie with it. I used 6 buttons down the front and one snap at the neck and three buttons at each sleeve cuff. The collar was a little wonky so I had to fudge it as best as I could after the fact and that snap really did the trick. I didn’t change the sizing other than decreasing the seam allowance to give me a bit more room around the bust (as I’m a 34 and nowhere near a 30.5) and folding under less than the pattern suggested at the center front. The arm openings are just a teensy bit tight but not a big enough problem for me to bother adjusting. The light was a bit bright as it was nearing sunset so I apologize for the lighting and color in these pics.

I’m just crazy about how the sleeves fall! I’ve never dealt with so much sleeve in my life but it turned out perfect.  Usually I am terrified of sleeve ease and really, gathering of any sort. I feel like a pro now, friends.

Here are my button cuffs that I think are super cute now that the buttonholing is all over. I almost put pearl snaps on instead because the thought of sewing on 12 buttons AND a snap (which is like sewing on TWO buttons, folks!) made me want to immediately run away and throw the blouse and/or myself off the Hell Gate Bridge. I didn’t do that, thankfully. I just forced myself to finish a sewing project in a timely manner for like, the first time ever and I’m really proud of the results.

Here is my whole outfit. Not really sure what is up with that expression of uncertain fear on my face. See those egg shells on the ground? Somebody egged one of our front windows on Halloween night! I thought it was great. Glad kids are still doing all those old-timey pranks. (The building manager hosed it off almost immediately, much to my dismay.)


Outfit Details:

Blouse: Me Made – Simplicity 8299 1960s sewing pattern

Tie: Me Made – My own pattern (Made from an old polyester scarf I saved for 8 years for this very use!)

Skirt: Vintage

Tights: The Sock Man

Shoes: Payless (I found them on double clearance for only $12!)

Ring: Forever 21 (It’s a brass colored owl.)


This past week I’ve been working on a new set of criss cross ties for my Etsy shop and I just posted about half of them last night:

I love wearing these ties and creating crazy colorful outfits. That plaid one in the bottom right corner matches a skirt I made last year! Usually though I like to have a totally unmatched tie. If there’s one thing I’m not afraid of it is lots of colors in one outfit. I’m the one person in the dead of a New York City winter in a bright yellow, ankle-length plaid coat and contrasting tights.

My next project is a vintage pattern tam I’m making using scrap fabric. I’ve made hundreds of knit and crochet hats but I’ve never attempted one out of fabric before so I’m really anxious to see how it works out. This one involves sewing only without any shaping aside from darts and gathers. Have any of you ever created a fabric hat? I may post the results in next week’s post!

❤ chloe