Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge 2015

Hello everyone, I hope you're feeling well and not too tired - it's only Wednesday, and barely that!   Let's talk vintage sewing patterns and the vintage sewing pattern pledge (hosted chez A Stitching Odyssey and Kestrel Makes) for a bit, shall we?

I'm guessing just about everyone loves vintage sewing patterns - is that right? Basically if you like ANY style of line drawings there seems to be a decade to suit you, and if you're prepared to trawl shabby second hand shops and the myriad online shops, OR harass old ladies into giving you their patterns, you can quickly build yourself an impressive collection that represents all your wardrobe daydreams. In 2013 and 2014 I did just that, without any of the harassment. Well, to be honest, it may have started earlier than 2013, but that's when I recall buying into the grading myth, and that's when I went a bit nuts with buying vintage sewing patterns (and luckily I have mostly now stopped, as prices have really risen!).

This dress was made from one of the rare vintage patterns I own that actually fits me! Very bizarre - I would have thought my proportions were a bit different to the norms of that era, but using a stretch fabric probably helped massively with the fit...

Mad Jaywalking (proper vintage sewing)

Do you know what I mean by "the grading myth"? 

Do you remember when there were all those blog posts around talking about grading vintage patterns? I don't remember where they started, but the message seemed to be "Yes, you SHALL have that tiny sized pattern you covet because darling, you too can grade that pattern to your regular human size in two flicks of a fairy's ponytail!" I say that with a slightly sarcastic tone (could you tell?) because although I believe that grading IS a theoretical possibility for most of us, it's not that easy to get around to it - grading takes extra effort, especially when you need to add a couple of fit adjustments into the mix! 

This retro pattern was a quick and easy sew - my daughter even helped make the dress! 

NYE Little Dress (the retro end of vintage sewing)

Anyway, my realisation that despite having a glorious collection of vintage sewing patterns, the ones I wanted to sew were too small, is what stopped me from joining in with Marie's vintage sewing pattern pledge last year - I was pretty sure I wasn't going to get around to the full grading, adjusting, muslining effort for even one of my beauties...

Isn't this next pattern a cracker! The line drawings look quite dated to me, and YET the boxy top, loose pants and long gathered skirt actually seem fashionable!  

Boxy Hibiscus Top (more retro sewing)

And then a few weeks or so back I opened up the post by Kestrel Makes on the subject of this year's vintage sewing pattern pledge, kind of expecting to hear about beautiful 30s or 60s patterns. But right near the top of the post she said "Patterns up until the 1990s are eligible..."

Woah! That's the 1990s, not the 1890s! So - that means - what? It means the vintage sewing pattern pledge this year isn't just for OMG gorgeous bias cut dresses and stylish sailor garb, designer Vogue frocks, and cheeky 60s mod cool; it's ALSO 70s freedom, 80s over-the-top-ness and 90s minimalism!

I'm sure you can imagine what I did next. I counted up my "vintage" sewing from 2014 - and for a wonder, I'd made 4 or 5 garments from patterns from the 1990s or earlier! So I'm in - no excuses left:

During 2015, I, Gabrielle Corbett of Up Sew Late, will sew up at least four of my vintage (up to and including 1990s) or reproduction sewing patterns. 

I'd like to make this little Weigel's dress again, with a nicer quality of both fabric and stitching! I love the version on the right with the button-on bib, but I didn't have enough fabric for the bib first time around. 

Vintage Weigel's Dress (more proper vintage sewing)
This pledge is a really low key one - no penalties for failure, and it's not just for the "cool" kids either. I'm looking forward to discovering some new-to-me sewists and interesting patterns - are you joining up this year?

See you soon
- Gabrielle xx


  1. Bwahahahahahahaha! You had me giggling at the "two flicks of a fairy's ponytail". Grading!? For goodness sake that pattern better be completely and utterly un-replicatable by any other pattern baby because grading is WORK! And good lord when did the 90's become vintage? I am not joining this one - even though I have made quite a few vintage patterns up (including those culottes), I'm absolutely smitten with Japanese patterns at the moment. I dream Japanese patterns. Is that weird? I'm off to fondle my books...

  2. SeamsOddLouise.Blogspot.com18 February 2015 at 22:28

    Ha ha, laughing at SewJillian fondling her pattern books! Years are racing by too fast, 90s as vintage? Feels like only yesterday.

  3. I know, the 90s as vintage is shocking! Even the 80s - they still feel too recent to me!

    Oh I can understand your Japanese obsession, and those shapes suit you so well... How about vintage Japanese patterns though???

    Enjoy your book fondling Jillian :).

  4. I know, the 90s do NOT feel vintage at all, do they - I am prepared to go along with the 80s as retro (even though they feel very recent to me too!) but really, the 90s WAS yesterday!

    I can just imagine Jillian with her Japanese books - and I am picturing her doing that BWAHAHAHA laugh as she plots her next cunning sewing project :).

  5. I'm terrible 'Muriel' as not only do I spend hours fondling my Japanese pattern books like Jillian, but I spend equally as many hours going ooohhh, 80's culottes! 70's shirt dresses, boxy tops, yes, yes, yes!! ;) I still can't believe that the fashions I wore as an adult are vintage (when did we get so old)...
    I'm in the Vintage pledge, again, although I still have 3 months left on my 2014 pledge to grade & redraft that 30's dress with the missing bodice pieces, yeah.... right... ;)


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