Moving Back



This fairly new blog is just too much for me right now, especially as I already have a sewing blog. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop blogging about vintage patterns, both those that I have in my shop, and those I make. It just means that I’m going to just do those posts in my original sewing blog, It’s a Sewing Life.

If you happen to stumble on this blog, head on over to It’s a Sewing Life, and join in there. Today, you’ll see my latest creation using the vintage pattern, Polynesian Pattern #116. Here’s a sneak peak:

The Hapi Coat

Hope to see you over there,




Simplicity 7807: So Familiar


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I came across another pattern that I have more than a passing familiarity with, and that is Simplicity 7807.

This pattern is from 1976, and this time it was my mother that did the sewing. In fact, any time I needed a formal dress for an event, she was my go-to seamstress. I became very spoiled in having just the dress I wanted, and no one else had one like it. Isn’t that one of the best reasons for sewing?

By the way, this is not my original pattern, but one I purchased at an estate sale. It’s a size 10 (bust 32.5), and I also have a copy in size 12 (bust 34). Click on the picture to head to the Etsy shop.

I think this is the first time I wore it:

Cindy, Sally and me (in the black velvet)

Aren’t those corsages so 1976 or 1977? Huge! You can’t really see the details too well, but as luck would have it (ok, I’m a packrat), I still have the dress. Of course it is just a size or 2 (or 10) too small, so you’ll just have to see it on a hanger. The main velvet is just a solid black, but the bodice is a velvet with tiny sequin-like things glued on. It’s not quite the same black but it works.




It looks better on a real body than a hanger, but I think you can get the idea.


Finally, I wore it on December 8, 1979 to a sorority Christmas formal. Don’t I have a great memory? Actually, the date is on the picture.

Me and Roland at a Christmas Formal

That handsome guy? That’s my husband of 28 years! Oh, and that shiny bit just below the empire waist? An unfortunate ironing accident. Oddly enough, it only shows up in pictures, but you can’t see it in person.

Bottom line, is that this is a simple, empire waisted formal gown with spaghetti straps. Perfect for adding your own creative touch, plus the pattern also has a great jacket to top your gown.

Fantasy Design: Jumpsuit Mania


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Jumpsuit Mania
Have you noticed that jumpsuits are back in style? These in the above collection are all high end designer jumpsuits ranging in price from $250 to over $1000! You can make your own though, with a vintage pattern, for a lot less money! Taking a look at the jumpsuit patterns I have in the shop, with just a few modifications, you could have a jumpsuit just as fabulous as those above!
Would you be surprised to learn that all my jumpsuit patterns are from the 1970s?!
A lot of today’s jumpsuits are strapless or sleeveless, but there’s no reason the following patterns could be sleeveless, too.
Simplicity 7310 would be a great choice to knock off the Bottega Veneta cargo jumpsuit ($2400) that actually looks like separates. Add a seam at the waist, give the bodice a bit of length to make it blouse-y and leave off the sleeves, and you’d be on your way.
Simplicity 7171 would work, too, if you wanted a button front, doing the same kinds of modifications.
What about the $350 True Religion Expedition jumpsuit? Tighten up the sleeves and legs of McCall’s 2296, and make the collar a little less pointy, and you’ve got the basis for that great denim jumpsuit. This pattern already has a seam in the back at hip level for better fitting, so you could modify the front to match, or leave it, as is, and use top stitching for a faux hipline seam in front. No pockets on this pattern, but that’s easy to draw.
Do you like a flowy kind of jumpsuit better? What about the $1559 Chloe V-neck jumpsuit (the black one in the upper right)? McCall’s 3378 could be the basis of this one, leaving open the front seam and add a facing to it, and modifying the collar. The sleeves are already very similar, and a narrowing of those wide legs and you are on your way!
My favorite of the lot is the red Valentino Cross-Back jumpsuit, but at $2290, it just isn’t in the budget! But start with the Simplicity 9113, and you’re on your way. Close up the front slash, and do some creative pattern drawing for the cross back to start with. I’d add a waistline seam and make the upper bodice a bit blousier, and narrow the legs a bit and you’ve got it! Hmmm, maybe I’ll add that one to my own project pile!
The last jumpsuit pattern I have is Simplicity 7423, and it is such a basic zip front jumpsuit with raglan sleeves and a stand up collar, that it could be the basis for lots of different designs. Leaving off the sleeves entirely and modifying the neckline would even give you an sexy halter-style jumpsuit!
The key here is to look at these vintage patterns in a new light, just as the designers have done when they’re taking an old idea and making it for the 21st century!
Finally, be sure to follow me on twitter, facebook, or click the follow by email button to see what the fantasy design will be every week! Once I hit 50 followers by email or on facebook, I’ll be hosting my first giveaway!

Real Sewing: Butterick 6288


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Are you a liner? By that, I mean, do you line everything you sew? Since kicking my garment sewing back into gear last year, I’ve noticed that so many sewing bloggers do. Don’t get me wrong. I line dresses and skirts, too, but not automatically. For one, I find it kind of tedious, and not always necessary. Plus, that means, in addition to your fashion fabric, you’ve got to have a lining that at least sort of “goes with” the outer fabric. And… I’m usually in a hurry and just want the garment finished!

It doesn’t seem that long ago to me, that dresses and skirts were not routinely lined, and instead, you wore a slip. I have several half slips that I always wore, and at least one full slip, but it seems the slip has gone out of style. Yet a slip can be so practical.

So, I made this early 1970s lingerie pattern by Butterick, and want give it a proper “pattern review” here. I made the length of view A, with the simple design of view C. (This pattern is still available, click on the picture to head to the shop.)

Pattern Description: Full slip in three lengths has self or lace top and trim. Bra has inset at lower front edge. Petticoat in three lengths has elasticized waistline, and lace trim. Briefs are elasticized at waist and leg edges.

Pattern Sizing: Size 14, Bust 36

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? I made view A in the style of view C (without lace or trim) and it does look just like the drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked everything about the pattern.

Fabric Used: tricot from, and for the straps, supplies from Bra Components.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: No alterations at all, even though my waist and hip measurements are quite a bit larger (5+ inches) than the pattern measurements. It’s a perfect fit. Design-wise, I serged the hem (which was not exactly the look I was going for, I would add trim or just fold it up and use a twin needle or coverstitch machine next time). I did underline with some jersey scraps that I had, so the bra top does have 3 layers. Also, in the instructions, the straps are to be sewn onto the outside of the bra edge, and I wanted the ends to be inside the seam allowances, so basted them on before the lining was sewn on for a cleaner look.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will sew it again, possibly making it a little longer.

Conclusion: I think having a collection of slips is a great addition to anyone’s wardrobe.

Fantasy Design: Vogue Paris Original 2576 by Lanvin


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I’m reaching back into the pages of my shop, and pulling out a Paris Original by Lanvin, for Vogue. This is a 1970s look, that I think would look fabulous today, but you have to be able to overlook the design that is illustrated on the pattern envelope. I wouldn’t choose either color combination today.

Instead of 3 different looks for this one, I just went with one fabulous one, and you can tell me if I hit the mark or not. I’m also trying something new with a Polyvore display of accessories. (Unfortunately, not everything is importable into Polyvore.)

First, I’ll show you the fabrics I’ve picked out, and this time I went back to Gorgeous Fabrics to do my “shopping”. Also, Vogue calls this an “at-home” dress, but I went all out and dressed it up for a glamorous holiday ball.

According to the pattern suggestions, soft fabrics such as jersey, crepe, lightweight wool, knits and other synthetic mixtures are recommended, so I focused on jersey.

Holographic Jersey

The contrast is this stunning black and white animal print knit jersey with little holographic “sequins” that catch the light. This fabric would be in place of the red in the picture on the envelope.

Matte Jersey in Black

I would pair the dramatic animal print with this solid poly matte jersey. It’s a great basic fabric that won’t distract or clash with the fabulous-ness of the print.

To take the dress to the next level, I’ve chosen these accessories. You might notice that the necklace is remarkably similar to the one in the pattern’s picture. It will be against the black fabric, so the sparkle will give the neckline some attention. Alternatively, you might want to go with a “white” necklace… how about some diamonds?

The only change I would make to the dress itself, is to abandon the self fabric belt, and go with a stunning, sparkly one. The clutch is from Lanvin, in a nod to the Fashion House that originally designed the dress in connection with Vogue Patterns. Don’t you love the shoes?!!

Black and White Glamour

Fantasy Design: Simplicity 7379


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I’m changing the name of Most Viewed Monday to Fantasy Design (could change it again, you never know). This week’s fantasy sew is a pattern from the mid 1980s, Simplicity 7379.

I’m kind of excited to “pretend sew” this one, as the ’80s are not really known for great fashion from the big hair, linebacker shoulder pads, and hammer pants. But this one has some potential. I would make view 3, the sleeveles version, and the biggest change I would make would be to make it floor length. Can’t you just see a glamorous gown for those holiday parties?

The skirt also has a similar silhouette to the Sewaholic Crescent skirt which is so flattering to so many. The plain, princess seamed bodice offers the opportunity to have a fabulous necklace, and then a gorgeous belt to finish off the look.

I did my “shopping” for this at Emma One Sock. (Note that I have no affliation with any vendor mentioned.) Emma One Sock has beautiful, high end fabrics, perfect for a special occasion dress.


Starting with a cotton/viscose woven in black and white, with kind of a digital-look floral design, this fabric is $18 a yard. It is 60″ wide, so according to the envelope I’ll need about 4 yards. (I’ve added about 1/2 yard to give me the added length.) This will cost me $72 (fabric only). It would be beautiful with a bright patent belt.



Wool blend jacquard

Next is a gorgeous wool blend dressweight jacquard. It has a bit of sparkle, and, according to the description, a bit of crispness, which would give a satisfying swish as you walked across the floor and made your grand entrance. Metallic accessories would be gorgeous! At $25 a yard, we’re moving into the plus $100 range.


Silk Charmeuse


Finally, silk. You wouldn’t want to consider a formal gown, without exploring some silk options. Any solid color would certainly be wonderful, but I’m going with a print. I’m not sure it’s my favorite, but it would be unique and memorable. This one is a silk charmeuse from an Italian designer, and is $32 a yard. I do love a formal dress in navy!


What about you? Would you want to revisit the 1980s?

Vogue 2006: Some Real Sewing


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At the beginning of last year, I decided to start sewing clothing for myself again. I’ve been sewing on and off for all of my adult life, but hadn’t made clothes just for me for about 20 years, so I was definitely out of practice on that front. But reading sewing blogs piqued my interest, and a sale at the Blue Gardenia brought 3 wonderful vintage patterns my way. My first effort was a 1960s vintage Vogue.

And just how did I choose this one? Like you should, right? Because I thought if I made it I would certainly look like the gorgeous girl in the picture. Well, it didn’t turn out quite like that. In fact, this is how it turned out.

Maybe I needed a hat?

After hanging in my closet almost a year, I made a few changes. Those hideous pockets came off. The saddle stitching that ran down the side seams pulled at the seams, so I took that out. And after sending a few other fixing “options” to my chief fashion consultant (my 24 year old daughter) including turning it into a top, I ended up just shortening it a few inches.

Now it looks like this:

That's Better!

Along with the changes I made to the actual dress, wearing it with a belt makes it feel more modern, and more flattering to my pear shaped bod. I also have a belt that is the same teal color that I’ve worn with it, and because it is a double knit, underlined with tricot, it is warm enough to wear with tights when the weather is cooler. In fact, it’s actually too warm to wear when it is super hot here in Atlanta.

For more reading on the making of this dress:

All About the Fit

Pin Fitting

Determining the Length (or where is Twiggy when you need her?)


Simplicity 6280: I made this then!


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Part of the fun of searching for vintage patterns, is re-finding patterns I made back when they originally came out. I started sewing in late 1972, so there are a lot out there to find! Even more fun, is finding pictures of me in these “me made” things, so this will be a sporadic feature. My mom also made many formal dresses for me and my sister, so if I find the patterns plus pictures, I’ll feature those as well.

Today’s fun memory is Simplicity 6280, that was originally published in 1974. I made two of the tops (the longer version) complete with rick rack trim, one for me, and one for my BFF Cindy.

Simplicity 6280 from 1974

I apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures. You can’t actually too much detail. And the pictures are old, the photographers very young at the time.

Me (on left) and Cindy


Writing Home

Happy memories!



Most Viewed Monday: Simplicity 1430



This week’s selection was a clear most viewed from the listings from October 31 to November 6, and I’m excited to be choosing fabrics for a blouse pattern from 1945, Simplicity 1430.

Simplicity 1430 from 1945

You can see that the first two views with the bow basically differ in only sleeve style, and blouses with bows are very popular right now. My fantasy design today is for view 3 though, and this blouse is actually in my sewing queue right now, so it may go from fantasy to reality sometime in the next couple of months. Watch this space!

No fabrics are suggested so I’m going to jump right in, heading over to shop at

The Casual Cotton Blouse:

Metropolis 7.3 oz Denim


I thought it might be fun to go with a lightweight denim with stripes, which is kind of the exact opposite of what you might originally think to make this top with. The heft of a denim will make the details really stand out sharply.



Interlock Knit:

Liberty of London Light Interlock Knit Amberetta Pink

These Liberty of London interlock knits look so luscious, and I would love to try this top with a knit. Stabilizing the facings where the buttons and buttonholes are in the back, plus around the neckline detail will be super important here so things don’t look too limp. A great interfacing is pro-tricot deluxe, and Fashion Sewing Supply is a good source.



Luxurious Party:

Navy Rayon Velvet

A navy rayon velvet would look beautiful with a pair of flowy cocktail trousers. Add some vintage sparkly jewelry and you are ready for a holiday party.





I plan to make this top for myself out of some silk that I’ve had in my stash forever! Style-wise, I won’t make any changes at all, but it is a small pattern (bust 30), and I will have to grade up. A lot. I’ll definitely post the details here.

But what do you think of these alternative choices? I’m really tempted by the denim one for summer. Let’s get sewing!


Most Viewed Monday: Butterick 2955


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Thanks for everyone who voted on the poll! Looks like Butterick 2955 is the winner, and even though it doesn’t have quite as many views as the McCall’s 1940s blouse, I’m going with the dress. [full disclosure: I have no connection with any company listed]. So, here we go:

Butterick 2955

Butterick suggests tissue wools, checks, failles, crepes, linens, piques or denims.

This early 60s pattern looks like a pretty basic dress, but I want to jazz it up just a bit. I’d go with view A (flowers in the middle), and a waistline seam makes it easy to make it a little more formal, with a silk top, and suiting skirt. Add a cardigan or jacket, and you have a great look for work. Remeber, click on any fabric, and go straight to the listing. Today, I’m shopping at For all the looks, I would head to A Fashionable Stitch, and pick out some perfect belt making supplies.

The Faux Blouse and Skirt:

A cotton/silk poplin in crimson. I bought this recently, and it is gorgeous!!

Paired with an acrylic suiting in red, black and white. You can easily buy swatches at, so if you’re concerned about the feel, weight, color, etc. of anything, I would really recommend thi

The “Suit” Dress:

They call the color of this wool crepe, cement, and it is a great basic, a foundation for great accessories. With the button front design it would not be completely straightforward, but I would definitely try to line this version.



The Party Dress:

Finally, teal is one of the trendy colors this fall, so for a suitable for parties dress, I would do the sleeveless view C, but use the collar on view B for more drama. The fabric I would use for this is a 100% polyester shantung sateen in teal.

No design changes for me on this one. This pattern is a size 16-1/2, and matches my measurements pretty closely for a vintage pattern. I would definitely make a muslin, and might shorten it.

Which look do you like the best? Let’s get sewing!