Wednesday, December 23, 2009

How NOT to make a Vintage outfit

Merry Christmas Eve,

I'm now in a mad rush to get some boxers done but wanted to post on a project that had me severely frustrated.  I bought this vintage pattern.

Unfortunately, I ignored what Gertie and Selfish Seamstress recommended.  That is to say, I used cotton type of fabric (Michael Miller) (I even bought it at a garment making store - vintage garment making).    But it turned out extremely hard to get perfect; has no drape; has no stretch - and looks costumey.

My problem is I buy upscale clothes (in my own mind) - but I sew so downscale - at this point in my sewing craft.  I wear alot of suits and menswear fabrics that are dresses, skirts. And a lot of cashmere - the perfect office sweater.    But, I'm having a hard time sewing something quality enough to really love.   But, hey I'm working on it.

I even ordered additional fabric to make sleeves - but it looked hideous with sleeves - and very uncomfortable.  I even made a muslin.  If I did it again - I would avoid my newbie mistake - using a bad fabric.   I did this project because I loved some vintage clothes when I was five or so that my mother dressed me in.

Another silly mistake - I changed the neckline to a "V" and learned that there is a big difference between "pressing" and "ironing"  -  I cut my own binding originally but it ended up being ironed the neckline was impossibly stretched out.  Yuck.  So, to save the project I used store bought binding in a matching brown.

I originally chose to add an outside zipper - because I've seen them everywhere - I used this article from Sew Stylish Spring 2009 and did the type that lies outside the fabric - but even this looks "hinky."

Well, I finished it - that's about all I can say - one day it may make a great apron.  Or I'm trying to lose weight - maybe I can wear it as outerwear . .I did put in an outerwear two way zipper . . .

I've posted some detail photos below.  One thing I did right in this project was to use french seams.  They look fantastic thanks to Amanda's Tutorial.

Here I put a bow to hide some booboos I made putting the binding on . . .

And below - I had a horrible time (ended up ripping it out multiple times) the v under the bodice - extremely hard to get straight with cotton  - any tips?

This picture below is not my inspiration (I can't find the real inspiration picture) but does illustrate my mother's propensity to dress me in crafty cotton in the early 70s:


  1. LOVE that pattern! I can see why you were drawn to it. I have to echo Gertie and Elaine. No quilting cotton for apparel (unless you are under 10 years old - then it's OK). This would be super fabulous in a firm knit like Ponte. It would drape nicely and you could probably skip the zipper entirely, or just put in a short one. On the plus side, you did a great job on the binding and the "V" is beautiful. Sharp points are hard!!

  2. Thanks! Yes, so true- lesson learned. Knit would have been fabulous - and not too big! I really didn't want to finish (especially after ripping out sleeves three times) but I did - and I'm glad - I'm wearing this into work today (but no one is there:)). Thankfully. Thanks for the tips!!

  3. Lucky me! I wore it to work and a co-worker fell in love with it and I ended up giving it to her - win-win!!

  4. I love the pattern and considering all the things you don't like about it, you have to admit it must be pretty good or your co worker wouldn't have wanted it. We are sometimes our own worse critics and we see the mistakes that no one else ever will. Good luck next time.

  5. Thanks Julia - So true, I'm especially critical of myself!! Well, it's really big on my co-worker - it's possible she may give it back - it's tailored for me! If she does I will wear it with shorts in the summer and layered over a tank. Note to self: Full back zippers can be iffy.

  6. BTW, I will probably make it again - just using a stretch fabric or a fabric with a nice drape with a retro print.

  7. I'm sorry your top didn't work out like you hoped. :-( I confess I do sometimes use craft-y cottons, but only for A-line skirts or the occasional dress. The patterns are so cute and hard to resist!

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. :-)