Vintage patterns: 2 new additions

I have just added the following two lovely patterns to my Vintage Pattern Collection page and while at it, couldn’t resist a shout out to the fantabulous Pretty Grievances. I would imagine she hasn’t slipped under your radar but just on the off chance, there you will find some of the most entertaining posts out there! Wednesday Wearables is my most favourite. I’m so glad to have been  Twittering at the right time and place when the lovely Anne announced she was having a clear out. I actually was hopping up and down on my seat and mentally pointing at the sky shouting ‘me, me!’, when this little beauty popped up:

Advance 6702 1950sI don’t think I’d change a thing about this dress. Rather inclined to keep it in blue, too!

As if that wasn’t treat time enough, this Brucey bonus was inside too. I’m assuming 1960s, Just going by the hairstyles. I do love a shirt dress.

Simplicity 4673 1962

And gingham is certainly the way forward with this one. Let’s hope I win Didyoumakethat‘s pink silk taffeta at her Great British Sewing Bee giveaway!! 😉 But get in there quick. You need to enter before 19th April!

So, thank you Anne. I am truly grateful and planning on stealing some sewing real soon xxx

So much style and history… in a Morrison’s bag

I thought you might like a look in more detail at that Ebay haul I won in July.

morrisons bag of patterns

Their arrival was a little ungainly to say the least. Not damaged in any way but clearly hurriedly bundled and tied up in… a Morrison’s bag. Not that there’s anything wrong with Morrison’s. But I did have a moment of OMG have I just bought a sack full of rubbish?! Surely these antique patterns deserved a carriage with a little more style!

I gingerly untied the knotted handles. Actually that’s a lie. I completely tore the bag apart because I couldn’t wait a minute more. Was a bit whiffy to say the least! But I can totally forgive the smell, the packaging and the wait.

I think I am still gobsmacked.

For starters, almost all of them are my bust size which means the only alterations will be to the waist and hip. So much less faffing. Even the few that are too small will be worth the adjustments. And I tell no lies when I say that each and every one was a doozy. Most of them unused and uncut.

The first little beauty that caught my eye was this cut out cover of Home Notes. A delight in itself but what was the chance of the patterns for these beauties being inside?

home notes 1939 coverEvery little lovely chance. I had guessed 1940s by the styling but in fact this unused and perfectly preserved pattern is nicely dated October 7th 1939:

four frocks tissue 1939

Love the bit about: “Other sizes… obtainable FREE on application”. Can you imagine that happening nowadays?

I can’t find dates on most of the patterns but all are truly vintage and very beautiful. This is the first I’ve heard of Economy Design patterns. And I feel pretty damned lucky to have landed these lovelies:

Economy design patterns 161, 197, 198

Economy design patterns 161, 197, 198

Next up is a more familiar name, Simplicity. These stylish little numbers have all their pieces in tact, despite the damage to the envelopes. In fact the one on the right had some very interesting accompanying material!

simplicity patterns 3979, 4494, 8488

Simplicity patterns 3979, 4494, 8488

Whoever Mrs Poole was – the name on most of the mail order pattern envelopes – she was a lady of very fine taste with impeccable organisational skills. In the envelope with Simplicity 8488 (above right) there was this cutting:

simplicity suit cuttingGreat to see these vintage patterns in ‘real life’ photos. And it makes me love the ensemble even more! Also inside the envelope (from Readers Digest) was each copied piece of the pattern, traced and labelled with precision onto a 1960s edition of the Daily Express. This is one of the reasons that all these patterns are in such great condition and seemingly unused. Mrs Poole has dutifully copied them and kept the originals factory folded. This has given me a fine source of entertainment too, reading all the snippets of the papers. This one quite topical: “Billie Holmes, 24 year old Hull engineer, won the first Olympic cycling road race trial yesterday – by ONE inch. And this victory, over 96 miles near Chesham, Buckinghamshire, strengthens his claim for Rome spot……”

1960 olympic reference

Thank you Mrs P.

Leach Way Patterns is a new one on me too. Any one heard of these? The dress pattern was still in it’s original mail order envelope which is date stamped 1949, so I might be inclined to date the coat and the suit around that time too. Needless to say, all three in perfect condition.

Leach way patterns, 12536, 12375, 12963

Leach way patterns 12375, 12536, 12963

Weldons is a name I recognise. I have a couple in my collection already and I love how they are always so incredibly stylish and yet a little bit quirky.

Weldons patterns 143 and 151

Weldons patterns 143 and 151

Now I am assuming ‘Womans Day’ was a womans magazine and this was a supplement… correct me if I’m wrong:

womans day gift book

womans day gift book

But even better still, than this cheeky little gift book, the blouses featured on the cover and in centre spread are an exclusive Norman Hartnell pattern and all the appropriate pieces are present and correct in this gorgeous little pattern envelope:

Normal Hartnell blouse patterns

Normal Hartnell blouse patterns

I love this 40s (?) McCalls suit. It is so reminiscent of the suits my grandma used to wear:

McCall 6780

McCall 6780

And who could resist running up a few slips and bloomers for under their vintage dresses?

Style 4469 slips and bloomers

Style 4469 slips and bloomers

Woman’s Realm was defo one of my mum’s reads. So these conjure up a bit of nostalgia. I love the first dress. It’s numbered WR.1. I wonder if that is the first ever dress pattern issued by Woman’s Realm? The middle one is far too small for me in any case but the wedding dress with a few adjustments, I’m sure would be really flattering. I do like an empire waistline.

Womans realm patterns

Womans Realm patterns

Here’s a classy Dior number from Woman’s Journal:

Womans Journal Dior pattern

Womans Journal Dior pattern

There’s a couple of other great coat patterns too. One from Odhams and the other from Woman’s Own magazine. I am thinking of making a coat. Just thinking, for now!!

Odhams and Woman's Own coat patterns

Odhams and Woman’s Own coat patterns

I think Mrs P was too as there were various cuttings of coat images too:

coat newspaper cuttingIt’s amazing that all the pieces seem to be present for these Du Barry patterns. Whatever their pattern envelopes were made of they certainly disintegrate in a big brittlesome way.  But look how Mrs P (I presume) has lovingly recreated the image herself. Don’t you just love the sharpness of these suits and frocks?

Du Barry patterns

Du Barry patterns

I do like a shirtwaist dress and was delighted to find this one from Woman’s Weekly in the bundle. Woman’s Weekly was another of my mum’s reads. I distinctly remember the pink header and the elongated type on the cover:

Woman's Weekly B170

Woman’s Weekly B170

Here’s a smart little dress suit from The People. One day, one day!:

The People 794

The People 794

There was one little girls pattern included in the bundle. I would love my youngest daughter to wear little vintage dresses but I think there is some chance and no chance of that ever happening 😦

Butterick 9161

Butterick 9161

Most of the other patterns were from Woman magazine. Another of the larger format mags if I rightly remember. And what a fine selection we have here:

Woman patterns

Woman patterns

And imagine how excited I got when this one jumped out at me:

Woman Hardy Amies exclusive pattern

Woman Hardy Amies exclusive pattern

With all supporting cuttings once again:

Hardy Amies cutting

I love the collar and the buttoned hip pockets. Not to mention the self covered buttons all the ways down, ooo… and the self covered belt. How amazing would that be?!
Woman cover

I am soooo making that Hardy Amies number!

And this wrap dress from Woman looks so much more inspirational in the mag too:

Woman 479 wrap dress

Woman 479 wrap dress

wrap dress mag cutting

And, if ever I am going to make a pair of ‘Trews’, it is going to be this pair! I love that they are called ‘trews’. I thought that was a term only used and made up by my mum!

Woman p132 Trews

Woman p132 Trews

Apart from the masses of cuttings that I still have to sift through – believe me, there are stacks of pattern pieces cut out from really old newspapers – the above are without edits, the most amazing collection of patterns ever. Not one duff one among them. Well…. there was this strange one…

Woman p131 hats bed jackets and duck

Woman p131 bed-jacket, bolero, hats and duck

…which has to win the prize of most random pattern ever!!

Vintage pattern treat time!

I know, I know, I know… I have enough patterns to sink a battleship. Well that’s what I’m contantly being told. But it’s not strictly true, is it? I would need quite a few more, actually, to really make that happen! Plus, I haven’t bought any in aaaages!

Truth is, I really (honestly) didn’t have many cool blouse and top patterns. But now I have!!

McCalls 5605 vintage pattern tops

Somplicity 2195 vintage blouse pattern

Simplicity 4606 vintage blouse pattern

I’m hoping these vintage top patterns will transform into a lovely collection of go-to tops for those panic mornings when I’ve come flying out the shower to find an outfit in 5 minutes for work! They all call for polka dots, stripes and gingham and I will find it hard to go outside of those boxes but will have fun trying!

Oh and this little 40s dress was just waiting to be ‘saved’ by me. Would have been plain rude not to!

Advance 3883 40s dress pattern

1940s dress styles are fast becoming my favourite and my best! I love how fitting they are without being too saucy!  I have only made this one to date but it happens to be the most comfortable and flattering dress and always gets lovely compliments. I am currently working on another version in a solid colour and I am also reminded how simple the pattern is too, thank goodness!

What is your favourite era for patterns? Or do you prefer modern ones?

Lady grey retro top

burda top 131 back

I saw the pattern for this top in the May issue of Burda Style (2012) and it made the project list, even usurping the more ‘urgent’ projects! The back as you can see is fabulously buttoned all the way down which I love but have you ever tried buttoning yourself up back to front? I have got better with practice though, and I reckon I could give Houdini a run for his money now!

burda top 131 front

The fabric suggestion was for embroidered batiste. I didn’t have any of that to hand but knew the fabric had to be a little bit interesting to make the front not look so boring! I have a heap load of this white eyelet stuff in my stash. I thought it was cotton but when I did the burn test it proved not! I still thought it would be better dyed. I always feel a bit prim and proper in white! This is the result of using black dye on a not so totally natural white fabric…

eyelet fabric detail

I quite like how it turned out. The dye coverage is uneven, probably only colouring the small amount natural fibre content to get this linen look. And the embroidered detail, which I knew was synthetic, unsurprisingly remained white.

retro top front

I went up a size from my usual, (given the few extra pounds that have decended upon me recently) but to be honest I probably needn’t have done. The style is very boxy even though it has front and bust darts. But it is very cool to wear, perfect for what appears to be our summer (not holding my breath) and perfect for teaming with pencil skirts for work.

retro top front view by wall

So apart from taking it a size smaller the only other alteration I would make is to the neckline. The instructions were to sew the bias binding 1cm past the seamline. This struck me as a bit weird as it would have been easier not to have added a seam allowance in the first place, surely? Anyhows I sewed the bias binding ON the seamline…. afterall isn’t that what a seamline is for? It turned out ok, much like a vintage jewel neckline but I am going to try omitting the seam allowance next time, just to give a little more room to breathe!

Maudella 1223, button wrap skirt

maudella 1223 pattern

This pattern is one of Audrey’s collection which I singled out immediately as a great skirt to dress up or down. I’m assuming it’s 1960s but certainly a classic and timeless style in my book! It has been waiting patiently in line to be made and completely jumped the project queue when I remembered the amazing buttons that Mr Ooobop! found for me in Portobello Market.

maudella 1223 skirt

I didn’t want anything more complicated than black for the skirt and so I set out for a metre of cotton sateen. It has a little bit of stretch in it which makes for a comfy fit. But it is a bit of a collector of cat fluff I’ve since discovered!

The instructions didn’t call for a lining and so I didn’t make one. But that was clearly a bad move. It sticks horribly to my tights and rides up when I’m walking so I am either going to have to go back and line it at a later date or get me a slip! My mum would think this highly amusing as I did my very best to avoid wearing one when I was younger… tantrums and all!

I shortened it by 5 inches which seems to be usual for me when it comes to a vintage patterns. That said, it is still below my knee, a conscious decision, to keep it a vintage length but I’m more used to shorter length skirts and this length takes a bit of getting used to. I will have to wear it with heels so it doesn’t look to ‘grannyish’!

maudella 1223 skirt front

I wasn’t too sure how to measure off the pattern to check for any adjustments needed but given the button wrap around detail, the position of the buttons can be moved to add or take away an inch or two. I must learn to sew buttons on with my machine. This was the only tedious part but other than that I managed to whip it up in a couple of hours. I do regret not binding the hem or the seams. I think it would look much nicer. But I did sew the hem by hand. It would have been sacrilegious to machine hem in any case!

maudella 1223 button detail

I have worn the skirt to work already and got some lovely comments. But I really must decide on lining/slip before I wear it again. Just don’t tell my mum!

Audrey’s collection.

Audreys pattern collection

Audreys pattern collection . . . just over 100!

Last week I had a wonderful message sent via Facebook, from my old neighbour who I haven’t caught up with in such a long time. She asked if I might be interested in a box of old sewing patterns that  a friend of hers was otherwise going to get rid of. Interested was an understatement of course.

So fast forward to last night when I had a wonderful visit from Andrew. He pulled up outside in a 1967 Rover, like something out of the Sweeny! He looked so retro in his fur-collared leather jacket and his half-tinted 70s shades, a man after my own heart for sure, and I tried to be everso polite not to react too hastily about the giant box of patterns on the back seat! It was very difficult though. I really wasn’t expecting him to bring that many! I couldn’t possibly let him drive straight off straight away. I had to ask him in for a cuppa to thank him at the very least.

I’m so glad I did! We got on like a house on fire and talked non-stop ’til the small hours of Sunday morning! He explained how his mother had sadly passed away earlier in the year and how he and his siblings were only just recently able to start sorting through her things.

I’m especially glad I got to know what Andrew’s mother was like. I would so love to have met Audrey. She sounded like an an amazing lady. Creative, innovative, kind, charitable, a master of all things frugal and a damned fine sport! She never stopped creating and making and tending to her garden and all the while looking after everyone else before herself, so it seemed. She never complained and never wanted to impose her illness on anyone. She was a very strong and determined lady but sadly lost the fight to a dreadful illness. Andrew showed me a photo of her taken not long before she died and I could not believe how youthful and beautiful she looked. I don’t think her image will ever leave my mind. I will think of her every time I make a dress from her collection and I certainly will treasure these patterns forever.

So thank you to Jo, my lovely thoughtful neighbour. Thank you to Andrew for being such wonderful company and for coming so out of your way to make the delivery and thank you most of all to Audrey who, though we have never met, will be such a huge inspiration to me and my future sewing projects. I am one very grateful and very lucky lady!

pants the cat sneaks in

Pants, the cat, says thank you too!

Vintage Simplicity 3320 in plaid

simplicity 3320 in plaid

Vintage Simplicity 3320 outside the Lansdowne Place Hotel, Brighton

Well here is the long awaited vintage Simplicity 3320 in plaid! First worn today on the last day of a lovely few days spent with Mr Ooobop! in Brighton.

It’s taken a good few weeks to get this one together. Not because it was complicated but moreso because of all the finishing. The pattern didn’t call for a lining and to be honest I could probably have got clean away without one. But I wanted the dress to ‘slip’ on and not be a sweaty wrestling routine every time I put it on or took it off.

lining slip stitched to zip

Lining slip stitched to zip

So I lined the bodice and the skirt but not the sleeves. I’m not sure lined sleeves are conducive to sweet smelling ‘pits’! The edges of the facings and the vestee are bound with red bias trim as are the hems of the sleeves.

finishing on sleeve

Finishing on sleeve

By the time I got to the hem, I was all bias-trimmed-out and so I just overlocked and hand sewed an invisible hem.

I don’t know what I was thinking of when I opted for plaid… apart from perhaps a huge amount of inspiration from the lovely Vivienne Westwood herself! Matching plaid calls for a lot more patience and skill than I thought. I will have to research this further. But I did manage to vaguely match the side seams at least!

Vaguely matching plaid on side seams

Vaguely matching plaid on side seams!

This dress isn’t perfect by any means but I really loved the process of making it up. One hallelujah moment for me was managing to fit the invisible zip with the seam lining up where the bodice meets the skirt. I always struggle with this on every garment I’ve made and its always been slightly misaligned but this time, once I had sewed the left side of the zip tape, I marked where the seam should line up and when I came to sew the other side of the zip tape it was pretty much spot on. This is probably old news to most of you and clearly I’m a bit slow on the uptake! But I’m so chuffed it worked!

Yellow chalk marks the seam position

Yellow chalk marks the seam position

Et voilà, totally lined up

Et voilà, totally lined up!

I mentioned before about how I was impressed by the shoulder darts on the toile and I still maintain this is a great feature for me. I don’t think I have ever had a dress that fits me so well across the back and shoulders.

Fits nicely on the back and shoulders

Fits nicely on the back and shoulders

Now the collar is an interesting one. The pattern describes it as a detachable one. Mmmm. In the loosest sense I suppose. I used navy cotton velvet and again bound along the inside edge with bias trim, (I used some green satin bias) and then hand stitched to the inside of the v-neck, sandwiched between the vestee and the bodice. I suppose I could unpick it very easily if I wanted to detach it but a bit over and above the call of duty if you ask me!

Vintage simplicity with not so detachable collar!

Vintage simplicity with not so detachable collar!

Well, all in all this was a fantastic dress to work on. It wont be the last time I use this pattern, though I might opt for a block colour next time!

The picture below was shot by Mr Ooobop! and I think its fab. You can just about make out the old burnt out Palace Pier on the horizon!

Brighton sunset shot by the talented Mr Ooobop!

Brighton sunset shot by the talented Mr Ooobop!

Vintage Simplicity 3320: the toile


Simplicity 3320: 1950s dress with 2 skirt variations and detachable collar

I’m not entirely sure what era this dress pattern is, as its listed as 1950s on some sites and 1960s on others. What do you reckon? Not that it really matters. I think its a lovely one in any case and I’ve gone for version 2, Mad Men stylee!

I’m glad I decided to make a toile for this as I really wanted to check out all of the stages properly and for the work involved I want it to work! Everything is going smoothly so far, touch wood. It goes without saying that I’ve had to adjust the waist measurement somewhat . . . oh to have the waist of a small child!

bodice without vestee

bodice without vestee

I didn’t understand the logic behind the construction of the bodice at first. ie: really low v-neck and separate vestee, until I realised the collar was detachable and needs to sit inside, all the way down the neck/front edge. The neckline is faced and the vestee piece is attached to the inside facings with edges bound together.

bodice facings

bodice facings

vestee attached to facings

vestee attached to facings

Of course, the insides will be so much neater when all the edges are bias bound.

I love the shoulder darts on the bodice. Not something that I’ve not come across before on modern pattern pieces, and it’s looking to be a good fit across my back for a change!

shoulder darts

shoulder darts

There are double darts on the skirt back. Not sure why exactly, maybe its just another vintage touch but I think it looks quite classy all the same.

skirt back darts

skirt back darts

The double soft pleats on the skirt front worried me at first. I thought I was going to have to exchange them for darts but decided to leave well alone and retain authenticity as the skirt seems to hang quite nicely and doesn’t poof out at the belly which is always a concern! Apart from that, I have never constructed my own darts before!

full dress toile

full dress toile

Ooops… should have pressed the skirt . . . bit slapdash!

I like the side zipper. I think this is common to vintage dresses. It ultimately means I stand less of a chance of pulling a muscle when I zip up but better still it means the back bodice and back skirt are cut as 1 piece each, quite lucky as I am going to be using plaid. I think that matching up the sides is going to be taxing enough for me!

And as per usual I’ve shortened the length of the skirt, using the proper adjustment line, only this time by an impressive 5 inches . . . and it still retains a vintage length! The vent seems a bit excessive, with an inner pleat that extends to the waist of the skirt, but hey, I wouldn’t have a better solution!

skirt vent

skirt vent

I haven’t totally decided on the fabric for the collar. I bought some navy cotton velvet in anticipation but Mr Ooobop! thinks red. Annoyingly he is right most of the time so I might have to make both.

plaid and velvet

plaid and velvet

Not sure how long it will take me to publish the finished article. It’s not complicated at all, save lots of bias finishing on the inside, just depends on my workload which appears to be growing. Typical when I want to get stuck in to something. Still, not complaining 😉

The London Vintage Fashion, Textiles & Accessories Fair

My good friend Ms Lenith gave me a lovely list of vintage fairs and events that were taking place this weekend, which was lovely of her considering how grumpy she was at having to miss them all! But with everything that I had to do this weekend I  knew I would only be able to make one of them and it had to be local. So today I spent a wonderful morning at the London Vintage Fashion, Textiles and Accessories Fair. I have lived in this area for a good five years now and I have only just wised up to the subtle signage that whispers news of the next treasure trove. They happen every four to five weeks apparently. Well now that I know about them I am a poorer person indeed!

The event is held upstairs in the town hall and my first impression was that it was relatively small, a bit smelly,  and just full of vintage clothes. Not unusual for such a fair one might think but I was determined not to spend hard cash on ready made clothes. I’ve spent a fair bit on vintage patterns recently and I have a fabric stash that would clothe an army (in an interesting way) so I have prohibited myself from buying them in order to force more learning about sewing my own creations. Honestly, some of the dresses were in excess of £150. Lovely as they are, for that price, I’d sooner invest the time in reproducing ones to fit.

I was on a mission to find some vintage habershashery with half an eye out for a new bag. Everything was there. In all its gorgeousness. But mostly at a price! And the fair itself can’t have been that small because I was there for a good two and a half hours!

So here is what I found whilst swanning around the stalls in time to ‘The Girl From Ipanema‘! Praps you might want to listen to it whilst perusing all the lovely things I found . . . !
Oh . . . and see if you can spot the red herring!

Blackmore 9512: 60s dress pattern

Blackmore 9512: 60s dress pattern

Butterick 9635: 50s dress pattern

Butterick 9635: 50s dress pattern

Bestway 40s: suit pattern

Bestway 40s: suit pattern

Very red pvc bag

Very red pvc bag

Silk guipure lace neckpiece

Silk guipure lace neckpiece

Large metal buttons

Large metal buttons (1.5 inches tall and wide)

Little plastic buttons perhaps for a little 60s number?

Little plastic buttons perhaps for a little 60s number?

And lastly is my favourite find of all. It looks a bit deco to me. Though that is a completely uneducated guess. The seller didn’t know it’s story at all. But I think it is screaming to be worn with a little 40s dress which I haven’t made yet!

weighty brass / bronze buckle with enamel(?) mosaic inlay

Weighty brass / bronze buckle with enamel(?) mosaic inlay

The red herring is (of course) the entirely modern red plastic bag. The seller fessed up but I really don’t care! It is going to be the perfect accessory to the 60s shift dress and red shoes that I haven’t made or bought yet!

If you live locally and have never been, this vintage fair is worth a visit. Or do you know of any good ones local to you?