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 Knitting – 1950s Sweater with Variable Neckline

Another finished vintage sweater! This one in record time too. (Only 8 months as opposed to 4 years. Huge improvement.) I purchased the pattern last year from Nostalgia Rules on Etsy as soon as I saw it. It was so unique and I loved the collar with matching cuffs. I don’t have much black in my wardrobe so I decided to make it up in the suggested color way using Knit Picks Palette fingering weight yarn in Black and White. vintage knitting - 1950s variable sweater

I rescaled the pattern a bit in the bust as my waist measurement matched the smallest size but my bust required a larger size. After I made the front and back my arm scythes were much larger than planned so I had to adjust the sleeve cap pattern to fit a bit better. I still had to do some stretching during blocking but they fit pretty well in the end. 

One thing that I did not think too much about when I chose this pattern was just how many individual pieces were involved and how much seaming they were going to require. Always that awful, dreadful seaming in vintage knits! There’s ten pieces to this sweater: front, back, sleeves (x2), sleeve cuffs (x2), collar, collar tab, right dickie, and of course the left dickie. This is another reason I’m really proud of myself for finishing this all in less than a year while working on so many other things at the same time. Usually if there’s that much seaming it sits for at least a year before I even start to do any sewing.

Here is the finished sweater complete with black rhinestone buttons! vintage knitting - 1950s variable sweater vintage knitting - 1950s variable sweater vintage knitting - 1950s variable sweater vintage knitting - 1950s variable sweater vintage knitting - 1950s variable sweater vintage knitting - 1950s variable sweater

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