I recently purchased some vintage patterns and I have been itching to get making them. Work has been full on recently and I haven’t sewn for so long I was really suffering withdrawal symptoms! I started making the toile for McCalls 2399 last week and just finished it this evening. This is my first attempt at a vintage pattern and I must say it has given me a greater sense of achievement than any modern pattern I have attempted.
I love the nostalgic aspect – creating something that was worn in the past, in this case 1970’s. I love the old fashioned instructions and I am really up for learning more techniques so I feel that attempting vintage garments will encourage me to focus on my finishing and give me experience in altering patterns. Because, for sure, women were certainly a different shape in years gone by!
Of the patterns that I bought, this one was probably the simplest but I still learnt some new things along the way:
The bust darts were certainly interesting. I certainly haven’t come across these before!
I wasn’t using stretchy fabric so I was very interested in how this would work out! When I pinned it together it did surprisingly stretch to fit… the magic of bias I guess.
Once seamed, I pinked the edges to help it lie flat. The instructions called for clipping seams but pinking seemed easier.
You can see how they worked out here . . .
I will really have to take more time and care in making these darts on the real thing if I want to avoid ‘pointy boob!
This was also the first time I have inserted a side zipper too. And I have to say, not so scary at all. In fact a little easier and more forgiving than the usual back zipper. . . I always seem to place it too far away from the top or too close to the top!
The image on the front of the pattern quite clearly showed a mini length dress – mid thigh to be precise – but even after taking 2 inches off the bottom it was still granny length on me! So I ended up taking another 4 inches off . . . 6 inches in total! I think the models must be at least 7 ft tall!
But here’s a thing. Even though the pattern called for shortening or lengthening at the hem, the whole shape of the dress changes by shortening. It is not so A-line, more straight and shapeless.
So I think I will have to redraft the skirt section of the pattern before I start on the real thing.
Overall I am fairly happy with said toile. I’m glad I saw it through properly to catch any problems along the way before I go chopping into the proper fabric but I am not too hot on the back of the dress. It is kind of shapeless and I am really hoping that with the large print on the fabric I am going to use it will disguise the somewhat sausage shape!
Having said that, I am not going to be too critical as I am probably just too used to fitted dresses. It is actually a very comfortable dress and will be great for wearing about a hot office in the summer.
As for the little tie-front detail, I’ll be damned if I am going to turn these tiny tube laces inside out. I will stick with making them like bias binding and top stitch them, though with smaller stitches and with complimentary thread for the proper version!
Would love to know what you think and any hot tips would be most appreciated!