Category Archives: Vintage patterns

Another 80s jumpsuit

Jumpsuit 2

The Summer of Jumpsuits continues – here’s one from a wee vintage pattern from 1981, Style 3304, that I got on eBay with the aim of recreating some of the camisole jumpsuits I’ve been Pinning like this and this.



Style-3304
Jumpsuit 3

I cut a size 14 but had to take the bodice in a LOT, like 4 inches around the top. I’m not sure how it’d stay up on anyone with the amount of ease built in! The waistline is formed with an elasticated channel made by the seam allowances being pressed down and topstitched. I did consider leaving it loose and unelasticated like my Marigold but decided to add it here for wardrobe variety. I lopped a good 8 inches off the leg length too.

Jumpsuit 4

The back is supposed to have a slit and be fastened with a button loop but I added an invisible zip so that I could make it fit snugger – I can’t stand when camisoles droop or gape. Next time I’ll re-cut the pattern down to a 10, the smallest in the packet.

Jumpsuit 5

This fabric is a rayon crepe from The Fabric Store. Bit of a backstory here: After admiring The Fabric Store’s range from afar for so long, I finally did an order when there was a free shipping code, buying some baby pink merino, some galaxy printed silk and this rayon. On top of the expensive order I then had to pay a hefty customs charge, but luckily I loved all the fabrics enough to make it worthwhile when I got the package in my paws. Threw them all in a cold/handwash machine prewash together – then nearly burst into tears when I pulled them out and found that this rayon had bled navy ink both into itself, meaning some of the white lines are streaked with pale blue, and worse – all over the lovely powder pink merino jersey, leaving unsalvageable indigo tie-dye all over it. The Fabric Store were amazing about it and kindly sent me both replacement pink jersey and a bonus piece of green too. And after running the rayon through the wash a couple more times with colour catcher sheets I felt that I could use it. I cut around the worst parts of the dye leakage and you can’t really tell from far away that anything’s wrong.

Anywaaaay, the rayon crepe was a really nice match for this pattern and while it was a little shifty to deal with I love the result. So, happy ending to that saga. (I should also add in case you were wondering that The Fabric Store are partnering with some bloggers at the moment to send them fabric but that wasn’t the case with me – I paid out of my pocket!).

Jumpsuit 1

I was considering this a wearbale toile both due to the imperfect fabric and testing a new-to-me pattern, but I’m glad I managed to hack around and end up with a pretty well-made and well-fitting garment. It was great to wear to work during the mini-heatwave a couple of weeks ago, and again works equally well for daytime, cycling and going out. I’m going to alter the bodice of the pattern to try and get the fit bang-on because getting a well-fitting camisole top is like the holy grail for my hollow-upper-chested self, then probably hack it into tops and dresses too.

The 80s called, again

Vintage jumpsuit

I promised it wouldn’t be long before I sewed vintage again. On a different tack completely to my ’60s dress, here’s a 1980s romper.
M9077

The pattern is McCall’s 9077 from 1984, a year older than me. My Roberts dungarees are amongst my most loved and worn garments and I was definitely seeking to replicate their comfort and wearbility here. I love all 3 views of this pattern and reckon I’ll be sewing up the shorts and dress version before too long as well.

Vintage jumpsuit

Vintage jumpsuit

I made these up as wearable toile, doing a bit of fit adjustment along the way. The pattern came in a single size, small, but it’s quite oversized and I had to take it in along the torso sides. The bit of stretch in this lightweight denim (a Woolcrest Textiles bargain – my current #1 fabric shop) makes them super comfortable. To finish the edges, the back and straps are self-lined and the front has a facing.
Vintage jumpsuit

One of my favourite features are the huge patch pockets, which wrap around the side seam. Such a neat detail which look cool but are very easy to sew.

Vintage jumpsuit

Something did go a bit wrong while sewing the placket. Those things are just a mystery to me, I swear I just seemed to end up with flaps and angles all up in the wrong places and just couldn’t make it do what the instructions said. I fudged it and wound up with an okay result, but the buttons do not sit correctly at the exact centre front. I can live with it.



I’ll definitely use this pattern again, if only just to have another crack at sewing the placket correctly! I’ve been collecting jumpsuit inspiration and have dreams of a really minimal version in a drapey viscose, like this, or one in linen with a tie belt like this.

The Big Vintage Sew-along: M7086

Vintage McCall's 7086

Happy Fri-yay! And I’m happy to be kicking off the blog tour for the Big Vintage Sewalong today. As you may have seen from the official launch last week, this is a year-long event hosted by Butterick Patterns. They’ve chosen 20 patterns from the Vintage Vogue, Retro Butterick and McCalls Archive lines and are asking sewists to make one of the patterns, proceeds from the sales of which will go to the Eve Appeal cancer charity. They’ve put together this website where you can read a bit more and pick a pattern to get involved. And they’ve asked some bloggers to get involved to share their picks each month, which is what I’m kicking off today!

vintagepatterns

Now, I don’t consider my everyday style particularly vintage-inspired, but I do love vintage patterns. For one they seem to fit me much better than modern patterns, and they often have all sorts of intriguing design features and interesting construction methods that you don’t see so much of in modern patterns. Several of my favourite design details like cut-on sleeves, gathered skirts and button-down fronts also feature heavily in vintage patterns, and I find with small tweaks and careful fabric choice you can make a vintage pattern feel much more contemporary. When choosing my pattern I was really torn between the three above – Vogue 9082, Vogue 9000 and McCall 7086 – because I thought they all had scope for a modern interpretation.

Vintage McCall's 7086

I ended up picking M7086, which was originally released in 1961 as M5898. While the pattern is from the early 60s, I think it has both an 80s flavour in the cut-on, almost batwing sleeves, plus a touch of 50s in the bow and skirt options. Importantly for me, it’s also casual and comfortable enough to be everyday-wearable, hurrah!

Vintage McCall's 7086
Vintage McCall's 7086

I forwent a toile and altered the fit as I went. I needed to remove some width from the back neckline and make the sleeves shorter, but otherwise it’s pretty good. The bodice is only supposed to be semi-fitted and there’s quite a lot of excess fabric under the arms by design, so I didn’t want to over-fit it. I cut the skirt about halfway in between the full and narrow options. I really like how the centre part of the skirt is left ungathered, it creates a pretty and flattering shape.

Vintage McCall's 7086
Vintage McCall's 7086

My fabric choice kind of camouflages the bow: it looks insanely huge on the hanger, but it’s pretty subtle when worn! I stuck with the 80s theme with this new season Liberty tana lawn called Dot. I picked it so the pattern would turn out more modern and less twee, though I do think it would be particularly effective sewn in a paler or solid fabric so you can see the detailing better.

Vintage McCall's 7086
Vintage McCall's 7086

It was a fun and simple to sew overall, although I found I had to apply common sense rather than follow the instructions directly at times. I altered the construction to my preferences a bit too, using a bias strip to finish the neckline and narrowing-hemming the sleeves instead of the suggested facings. I’m proud of the centre back invisible zip – it’s truly invisible!

Vintage McCall's 7086

I’m glad a rare foray into vintage turned out successfully for me. I’m inspired to dig out and sew some of the other vintage patterns I’ve got stashed away next. And remember every month until October there’ll be bloggers sewing up some of the Vintage Sewalong selection, so hopefully there’ll be inspiration abound to pick up one of the patterns and get involved. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing which patterns everyone else picked.

Butterick kindly provided the pattern and fabric allowance for my dress, but I paid it forward and donated to Eve Appeal too of course.

Triple culottes

Vintage culottes

Apparently I only make things in threes now, ha ha. This weekend I busted out three pairs of culottes – all the same pattern but plenty of variation in fabric and detail.

Vintage culottes

This is a vintage pattern that I bought a while ago, I think on Etsy or eBay. It’s from 1984, the year before I was born! Obviously I was mainly drawn to the kicky button-down options, and I finally dug it out after getting culotte envy both from the sewing community and the high street. Some in-print culotte options: Itch to Stitch, Style ArcBurda.

Vintage culottes Vintage culottes

I made this wearable toile first, from a mysterious peachskin/suedette from Myfabrics. I bought it with a voucher and it wasn’t quite what I was expecting – less drapey and quite thick and er, quite bright orange! This is view A of the pattern, which has buttons down the centre front of one of the legs, and halfway between the short and long length options included with each view. I was really happy with the fit with no adjusting – I must have a vintage-style figure because I rarely need to alter old patterns much at all – and they came together really quickly. But to be honest I don’t know if I’d ever be brave enough to wear them – orange suedette mega-shorts make quite a statement. Maybe if I switched out the buttons for some tonal ones? And handed out sunglasses?

Vintage culottes Vintage culottes

Second go, in a really lovely lightweight linen cotton from Minerva Crafts. This is a mash up of views B and C from the pattern – view B’s front pleats and C’s fly front (but I used my own method to do the fly). These are delicious – SO comfortable and way more instantly wearable for me.

Vintage culottesVintage culottes This third pair is my favourite – view B again, with added slash side pockets and a centre back invisible zip instead of the fly. This is an ex-Whistles viscose which you might recognise from a previous make. I liked it so much I bought more during a recent sewcialist trip to Walthamstow (I think Fiona and Portia nabbed some too so look out for it cropping up, heh). It’s amazing to wear but a bit shifty when cutting – it was an effort to get those rows of scribbly dots nicely lined up all around.

Vintage culottes Vintage culottes

Each view was super fast to sew up – like 90 minutes, tops. I typically don’t make many projects with fixed waistband and zips because in my head it seems really time-consuming, but it clearly isn’t really. I’d really like to find some nice drapey solid fabrics (crepe? Sandwashed silk? Any other ideas?) to make more of these because I think I’ll want to wear them all the time.  Cool, comfortable and cycle-friendly – what’s not to love?

Tobacco toggle coat

Tobacco cat

I finished the thorn that’s been in my sewing side the last few months: my new coat. Please don’t look too closely; it is far from my finest work. But I am sharing anyway in the hope that you might learn from my follies.

Tobacco cat

This was a right pickle of a sewing project. I think I rivalled Jenny in the hand-wringing, internet-consulting, and nearly balling the whole thing into the bin on multiple occasions stakes. I’m somewhat amazed I have something remotely wearable to show for my efforts at all. But wearable it is, and Josh took these nice photos on our Saturday stroll so all is not lost.

Tobacco cat

My problems basically stemmed from bad choice of pattern and failing to toile first to realise my mistake. I started out with Vogue 2692 (an OOP 90s pattern, I think) which I thought was a nice simple relaxed shape and quick win of a sew. HA. I should have paid more attention to the fashion sketches on the pattern envelope and single other example of this coat on the internet, which pretty clearly show a loose fit, dropped shoulder and baggy sleeve – not what I was going for at all. Halfway through making it up I was stuck with these ginormous ill-fitting twisted sleeves and an extremely low armsyce already cut out of my lovely wool. Agh.

Tobacco cat

I ended up re-cutting the sleeve and armsyce using a pattern I knew fitted – vintage Simplicity 6682 as used for last year’s biker coat (which I’ve worn plenty this year too, it’s holding up great). Of course I needed to add on more fabric to the low-hanging armsyces to bring them up a bit, so for a dirty fix I sewed on some little underarm ‘gussets’ to raise them. Since the original sleeves were far too wide I could fit the closer-fitting new pattern piece onto them and just cut off the excess. Amazingly that all worked out alright and I could use my spliced-up pattern for the lining, which thankfully I hadn’t cut yet.

Tobacco cat

After all that, at least the fit worked out pretty nice – it was kind of what I had in my head from the start. I think any success of this coat really hangs off my fabric choice, which is an absolutely luscious brushed tobacco wool that I got in Dalston Mill. I’ve been after a brown wool coat for ages so was very excited to find it. It was an absolute dream to work with, feels so warm and snuggly to wear, and I am annoyed at myself for not treating it better.

Tobacco cat

By the point of getting the fit right I’d given up on the original pattern and forged ahead with some made-up-as-I-go-along design choices re pockets and fastenings. I pinched the slanted welt pockets from the Papercut Rigel bomber (which is bang at the top of my to-sew-next list now thanks to Sonja!) and decided to fasten it with handmade toggles right at the end.

Tobacco cat

The guts look quite swish! The lining came from my Mexico trip. I managed to colour-match it to my coat fabric from memory which I’m quite impressed by, and I’m also pleased with the quality for what I paid for it (something like £2.50 a metre) – I’m sure it has a natural fibre content itself as it pressed nicely and didn’t have that polyester burning smell, but it did fray like crazy. The sleeves are in a satin bought locally for easy slipping on and off. I didn’t want to lose any more length from hemming so made a bottom facing from my last scraps of wool, which got attached to the lining before stitching to the outer all around the edges. I bagged out the sleeves per Jen’s tutorial which always works a treat. (Jen, incidentally, is releasing a toggle coat pattern imminently which I am obviously kicking myself for not waiting for!)

Tobacco cat

A few more little details that weren’t so disastrous… I pressed all the seam allowances open and topstitched along both sides of the main seams. I added a facing to the inner hood because I don’t really like the lining coming right up to the edge. And I made the toggle tabs myself after failing to find any readymade ones I liked. They’re just triangles of faux leather sandwiched with suede cording and topstitched around. The toggles themselves are from Liberty, where for some reason they were £3 each as opposed to around £7 everywhere else, and they’re good and chunky.

Tobacco cat

This coat undoubtedly has many, many flaws. It’s lopsided through the shoulders thanks to my merry hacking; the pocket placement is a bit uneven; the sleeves might even be slightly different lengths; there’s no interfacing anywhere so it’s all unstructured and collapse-y; it’s all wonky when fastened. But honestly I still rather like it, and I learned a lot about how not to make a coat. Frankly, I will never be the kind of sewist who gets excited by roll lines, pad-stitching, horsehair canvas and all those fine tailoring and couture techniques. No matter – this coat fits well, fills its function, and will get a lot of love both this winter and hopefully for a few more to come. I’m glad we came out the other end as friends, coat.

#VintagePledge: Butterick 2315

Vintage Pledge dress

A quick note firstly, to say thanks very much for your comments on my silk Anna. It was really interesting to read others’ views on whether perfectionism in construction and finishing are important to other sewists. To be honest, the comments changed my own mind on the matter. I’d like to think that a big pro of sewing my own garments is that I get something with more care and love attached to it than if I bought RTW clothing, and part of that surely must be making sure it’s beautifully made, inside and out. There is also little point in choosing sewing over RTW from a sustainable/ethical standpoint if your garments fall apart quicker than RTW due to poor construction, or never get worn at all. So from here on, I really am going to make more of an effort to take care of the little details. Thanks, guys!

Vintage Pledge dress

So onto a new make, and back in my knit fabric comfort zone I have no problem with making garments well-made and -finished. I have Marie to thank for this frock, since I came across the pattern as part of her wonderful Vintage Pattern Pledge project. I’m not usually a big vintage sewing fan – I prefer a modern silhouette over the 40s/50s look that a lot of sewists love – but when she posted about the project, one of the patterns from her stash caught my eye with its interesting detailing. Luckily the very same pattern – Butterick 2315 – was up for grabs on Etsy close to my size, so a couple of weeks later it was mine. I’m not sure that buying a pattern especially for the pledge is quite in the spirit of the idea, but never mind.

Vintage Pledge dress
Vintage Pledge dress

This pattern has very few pieces and some design details that feel surprisingly modern: the casual loose kimono sleeves, bias-edged neckline, gathered skirt (including options for a straight or full skirt), and the clever front bodice that splits to form the ruched side panels. It seemed a slightly unusual twist on the simple day dresses I like to wear a lot, a bit prettied up but still casual enough for everyday wear.

Vintage Pledge dress
Vintage Pledge dress

Putting it together was simple enough, but I had to make a few adjustments to make it fit properly, perhaps because I used a stretch fabric (my lovely rose print knit from Tel Aviv) instead of the recommended woven. I had tons of loose fabric in the upper back so added princess-type seams to suck in the excess, which melt right into the print. I also had to take a couple of inches off the bottom of the bodice to make it hit my waist at the right point, so unfortunately some of the ruching effect got lost. Making these same adjustments over and over is making me realise that I must be narrow-backed and high-waisted. I need to get into the habit of making these adjustments to my paper patterns before cutting into my fabric!

Vintage Pledge dress

I was very tempted to swap in a skirt with pockets (when aren’t I), but thought I’d stay true to the vintage pattern this time. I cut somewhere in between the straight and gathered skirt for a semi-full shape, and took about 4″ off the hem. I did my usual elastic-gathered waist to keep it all snug.

Vintage Pledge dress

I love this fabric: the colours are my favourite palette, it’s super soft, and a nice thick stable knit, ideal for a spring day dress. I didn’t pattern match as I didn’t have much to spare, but I did centre a rose nicely on the front and back bodice.

Vintage Pledge dress

See what I mean, tidy tidy guts. And I do feel extra great in this dress knowing it’s well-made!

I’m grateful to the Vintage Pattern Pledge for giving me the nudge to try this pattern, and it’s definitely reminded me to keep an eye out for vintage patterns with interesting techniques or style lines that could be made to work in a modern wardrobe. Thanks, Marie – keep an eye out on her blog as her take on the same pattern might pop up there too ;) And check out the Vintage Pledge Pinterest board for lots more vintage makes.