Category Archives: Vintage Patterns

Vintage Delights

Phyllis recently received a treasure-trove of vintage patterns that belonged to her grandmother and mother (many of which she is currently selling through her Etsy Shop). Imagine my delight when she hand-picked two beauties just for me!

Phyllis knows that I love an interesting sleeve and often buy patterns for that reason alone. This first one (from 1970) is gorgeous (and unusual!) but very, very easy to duplicate. It’s simply a full sleeve with half stitched to the cuff and the rest left free. I may use this on my Milly blouse.



This Spadea stunner is still as stylish today as when it was released in 1973. I’ll probably make this up as is but a bit shorter. Notice that the sleeve and yoke are one piece! I scanned the line drawing of the sleeve pattern to better illustrate this. This is a perfect example of the types of details you can find in vintage patterns that are so rare today.



If you enjoy vintage patterns as much as I do, be sure to go and check out Phyllis’ Etsy shop. If you see something you like I would move quickly as I’ve already missed out on two that I had my eye on. Thank you again, Phyllis!



Filed under Vintage Patterns

The Year of the Jacket 2010 – in Review

I will probably finish one more jacket yet before the end of the year but I thought it would be fun to look back at what I have already completed. I know some people were concerned about joining the Stitcher’s Guild sew-along for 2011 because they thought they’d have to make 12 tailored, lined jackets – not so! While I love making them, they are not really wearable here during the warmer months. A jacket can be as complicated as a notch-collared style with welts and hand padstitching or as simple as a linen shirt jacket or jean jacket. There are no rules so join in – the more the merrier!


#1 McCall’s 5984


#2 McCall’s 5984


#3 Simplicity 2443


#4 Simplicity 2443 (modified)

#5 Simplicity 7715 (vintage)

#6 Simplicity 2443 (modified)


#7 McCall’s 5860


#8 McCall’s 5635 (modified)


#9 Simplicity 5440 (vintage, modified)

#10 Hot Patterns Riviera Blvd. Jacket


#11 Simplicity 4109


#12 Simplicity 2508

#13 Burda Style 10/2009 #109
duffle coat


Filed under Burda WOF, Hot Patterns, McCall's, Simplicity, Vintage Patterns, Year of the Jacket

Isabel Marant Jacket – Final

Once I got the pockets in, everything went so quickly! I felt like I was trudging along for awhile there and then, bam!, I was finished. The original jacket had that horrible, puckery, pouffy mess around the neckline (you can zoom in at Net-a-Porter to see what I mean) so I knew I’d have to come up with something else. I decided that a simple 5/32″ piping would be the best way to go and I’m pleased with the result. Actually, I’m pleased as punch with the entire jacket!



When I got to the point of choosing a lining, I was going to go with plain old black and then I found this piece of crepe de chine in my lining stash. Realize that, by this time, I was so deep into this project that I could no longer see the forest for the trees and couldn’t decide if this was crazy good or just plain old crazy. So, I consulted with Ann and Phyllis and it was decided that, yes, it was crazy but we liked crazy.


This is proof that, sometimes, you just have take risks (remember, it’s only fabric). Yes, it’s totally crazy and unexpected but I like it. Besides, a little Michelangelo is good for the soul.


I modified the front facing to end at the raglan sleeve seam for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t want a back neck facing and, second, metallic brocade is scratchy so I wanted as little of it as possible on the inside of the garment. I used plain black China silk to line the sleeves. I thought cutting up the lining fabric motifs for the sleeves would spoil the effect.



Filed under Simplicity, Vintage Patterns, Year of the Jacket

Isabel Marant Jacket – Part I

Finally! I have had all the “ingredients” assembled for awhile so I was anxious to get started. In case you’ve forgotten, here is the inspiration jacket:



I used this vintage pattern, Simplicity 5440, as my starting point.


I love working with vintage patterns because you get details and drafting that you can’t find in most modern patterns. Check out this sleeve hem (and, remember, this is an elasticated, casual sleeve!):


After tissue-fitting the pattern, I made my adjustment (sleeve length only) and cut the main pieces out in flannel. The original jacket is puffy (the description says quilted) so I wanted the same feeling without it being quilted. Back in the 1990s when we made tailored jackets out of blouseweight fabrics, I always used flannel as an underlining. It served two purposes: 1) it beefed up the fabric without making it stiff and 2) solved the (at the time) problem of successfully fusing to a silky fabric. This is just cheap flannel from JoAnn’s that I prewashed/dried several times. I have to say, I was looking for a thinner/cheaper flannel and this one is actually a pretty decent quality. Go figure.


I used the flannel to work out my neckline changes as shown here:


Then I used the flannel pieces as my pattern. This is actually a really good way to “test” a pattern before committing to your good fabric. I simply serged the flannel underlining to all of the brocade sections and then treated them as one layer for the remainder of the construction. The serging is necessary because brocade ravels every time you look at it funny.

First up, the single welt pockets. I always use this welt pocket pattern that I got from Judy Barlup when I attended a sit-and-sew class with her a number of years ago. It’s nice not having so much bulk at the sides. I drew the lines to help me center it on a motif.


Here’s what the welts look like once they are sewn:


and turned/pressed:



I drew two lines 1/2″ apart on a piece of stiff non-woven sew-in interfacing and marked the ends of the welt. I basted this into position on the welt stitching line (the lower line). Make sure you go past the ends of the pocket, this makes positioning the welt from the right side easier.


Then, I positioned the welt on the right side of the garment and stitched on the same line (from the wrong side), this time being sure to stop at the ends of the welt.


Next, I laid the pocket pieces (plain old Symphony broadcloth) over the welt and,


stitched over the previous stitching again and stitched on the 2nd line, stopping my stitching about 1/2″ from the ends.


Now for the scary part: cutting into your jacket front, yikes! Using a very sharp pair of scissors, trim right into the corners, being careful not to cut the welt or the pocket bags. I use the fingers of my left hand to keep everything out of the way.


Turn everything to the inside, flip up your welt and you’re almost finished!


Here’s what the inside looks like. I trimmed away some of the excess interfacing and stitched down the little triangles (you can see them at the top of the pocket) before sewing the pocket closed. I made the bags larger than I thought I needed and trimmed them down once I attached the zipper.


The body of the jacket with the completed welts. Note that I decided not to make the chest pockets. I didn’t think they really added anything to the jacket so why bother?



Filed under Simplicity, Vintage Patterns, Year of the Jacket

Milly Blouse – Part VII

Or, When Disaster Strikes. I was just working away on the blouse yesterday, anxious to finish it. Because this fabric mars or stains every time you look at it funny, I was constantly washing my hands and cleaning my work area so as not to damage the blouse. Frankly, a week of that was enough for me so I was happy to see the finish line.

Now, normally, I am a very solitary sewer. I hole myself up in my sewing room and completely lose myself in the project at hand. Enter sewing room visitors in the way of my honey (who usually just silently pokes his head in), Winnie Whiskers and No No Bad Dog. NNBD has already learned that Winnie’s claws are painful so he generally ignores her. If she makes her Yoda face and growls, he runs away or hides behind the nearest human. Well, not yesterday. The dog was barking, the cat was hissing, you get the idea. During all of this chaos, I was attempting to restitch and smooth out the outer band seam (that little hitchydoo in the photo) and inadvertently caught the outer band in my stitching. No big deal except that you cannot, never ever, get pin holes out of silk charmeuse. No can do. So, I’m already upset but think that maybe I will do some channel stitching on the band and cuffs to cover up this mistake. And that’s when I see the stain. Yes, a stain! Don’t ask me how this happened when I must have washed my hands a dozen times yesterday. The cleaners could probably deal with the stain but then I still have the matter of the holes.


Needless to say, I am really upset and at a standstill. I have enough fabric for new bands but the seam has already been trimmed and graded. The very thought of ripping it all out when I have miniscule seam allowances in some areas gives me nightmares. What I’d like to do is toss the whole thing out and start with a fresh piece of charmeuse (because I really want this blouse!) but I don’t think I have any more solid pieces in my stash. Grrrr. I think I will set everything aside and work on a quickie project today just to clear my mind and put me in a better mood. Worst case scenario is that I’ll buy some new charmeuse but I’m too mad to think about that right now.

ETA: Apparently, my stash knows no bounds because I discovered not one, but two, pieces of solid silk charmeuse. I had forgotten about these but discovered them as I was looking through my fabric catalogue. I have 5 yards of the red (which is a very pretty lipstick red) and ten yards of the pale taupe (my silver sample is in the center). Which one I choose will depend on what I can get in the way of chiffon. Okay, deep breath. I will do some fun sewing today and then tackle this project anew as soon as I have a few uninterrupted sewing days in a row. And buy a baby gate to keep the dog out of my room.



Filed under Aren't you glad you sew?, Butterick, Vintage Patterns

Milly Blouse – Part VI

I am whittling away at the blouse. The cuffs are on and I will work on the neckband today. This morning I felt like doing something fun so I played around a bit with the front ruffle. I want the ruffle to be removable for cleaning so I’m planning on backing it with a piece of ribbon and using small snaps to attach it to the placket. Keep in mind that these are just test samples so they’re not very tidy!

I started with a 2″ wide piece of bias chiffon. I’m using polyester because a) it has much more body than silk and b) should I ever have to wash it, the pleats will hold their shape. I used two layers of chiffon for the first sample (on the left) and found it too poofy. The second sample is one layer only (on the right) and is exactly what I was looking for. Polyester chiffon doesn’t fray out at the edges as easily as silk so I just ran my fingernails over the edges to roughen them up a bit. I’m really happy with the effect!


Here’s the ruffle with the crystal beads that I originally purchased. Meh, just not enough sparkle for me. I mean, it’s okay but it doesn’t wow me. I’ll reserve these beads for something else.


These crystals, on the other hand, are perfect! I was only able to get 16 from this particular seller but I found a few more on Etsy this week. Even if I don’t need them it’ll be good to have a few spares in case I ever lose one. I don’t know how long this ruffle will be yet, I’ll decide that after I finish the blouse. Have I mentioned lately how much I love sewing? Love, love, LOVE.



Filed under Aren't you glad you sew?, Butterick, Vintage Patterns

Milly Blouse – Part V

I completed the front closure today, finally. If you remember, the original blouse has a hidden button placket. This detail is quite easy to add to any existing pattern. In my case, all I had to do was add two more button extensions and a seam allowance to turn under. I only interfaced the bottom extension to give some support to the buttonholes. You can see how I did that here on the pattern (I had to rotate the pattern because WordPress always cuts off a little on the right side):


Here is the placket open, showing the buttonholes. It’s easiest to make the buttonholes at this point, before the neckband has been attached. I’m using grey MOP shirt buttons but any flat, plain button will do. On the cuffs I am planning to use these big rhinestone buttons.



Placket closed.


Here’s what it looks like from the inside.



Filed under Aren't you glad you sew?, Butterick, Vintage Patterns