Simplicity 1587

Simplicty 1587

This is my best attempt at a 1940s look. My hair didn’t want to cooperate and curl properly, and the closest thing I have to a hat is this fascinator-headband-thing, but over all it ain’t bad.

I haven’t historically been interested in 40s fashion but I think this dress my be changing my mind…

Simplicity 1587

The Pattern: One of Simplicity’s 1940s retro patterns which I’ve had in my stash for a long time.

Simplicty 1587

The Fabric: A black on beige polka dot rayon challis from Joann Fabrics. Rayon always makes me think of the 40s.

Simplicty 1587

The Changes: Not much at all, just adjusting the size in the hips.

The Results: I do like the dress but I have a few complaints. It’s too big in the bodice (especially in the back) but at the same time there’s not much ease in the sleeve.

And since the sleeve cap is so tall and narrow, whenever I move my arms the fabric pulls across my upper chest (I think the model on the envelope is experiencing the same problem).

Simplicty 1587

Also, the gathers seem rather minimal. There’s hardly any on the bust seam line at all. It almost looks like I just sewed that seam sloppily instead of having intentional gathers. Why did I even bother sewing all those stitches??

Simplicty 1587

But mainly I don’t love how all the neat seam lines get lost in the polka dots. I think that would happen with almost any print, though.

Simplicty 1587

I enjoyed the ruching on the sleeves and the fit of the waist yoke and the swishy skirt but I doubt I’d make this pattern again. I have a few other 40s patterns, though, that I would like to try out if I find the right fabric for them.

Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe: Vintage 70s McCalls 5526


I just got back from visiting family. My boyfriend’s sister just moved into a new house. Their neighbor has this cool weeping willow tree that extends over to their backyard.


The Goal: This is one of the shirts I panned to make (only one more shirt left!) for my Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe. I had been putting it off because I couldn’t find just the right fabric and I also didn’t want to deal with the hassle of grading.


The Pattern: It’s an old McCalls from 1977. Part of the Marlo’s Corner collection. Marlo Thomas was the star of the late 60s sitcom, That Girl. And no, I’ve never seen it, but the theme song is pretty cute. It was sort of a more fun version of the Mary Tyler Moore show, you know, less work, more shenanigans. She sort of reminds me of a 60s Zooey Dechanel.

Marlo joined forces with McCalls in the 70s to produce something like 30 patterns. This pattern is a sportswear set with two top versions, shorts, culottes (how 70s!) and wide leg pants with side pockets. I reeeaaaaalllllllyyy liked version C of the top and was on the hunt for this pattern for months.

Unfortunately the pattern was in a size 8 and I needed a 12. I used the slash and spread method (Elegant Musings has a tutorial) because I figured that would be the easiest way to work with the yokes and I wanted to keep the center front piece unchanged. One thing I forgot, though, was to lengthen it. I only needed to lengthen the yokes because the sleeve openings are a little tight. I narrowed my seam allowances and it worked out ok.


The Fabric: Some unknown (possibly poly/rayon) twill I got in Dallas. One thing that’s bad about this fabric is that it wrinkles easily but it holds its shape well.


The Changes: Other than sizing, not much. I twin needle top stitched almost ever seam. Also the front slit was a little low so I slip stitched the slit back up a couple inches.


The Results: It’s cute! I got lots of compliments on it already and best of all – it’s useful! It’s off-white so it goes with most everything which is something I really need with shirts. And I’m almost done with my main goals in my Shorts and Shirts Summer Wardrobe – just in time for fa–more summer. It’s 93 degrees today.

Eva Dress Croquette Blouse, or, way too many sewing challenges


Eva Dress, the company that reproduces vintage and antique sewing patterns hosted their contest again this year and I entered!

I sewed this 1920s blouse for Category 4 – vintage patterns as modern wear.


Now, I don’t expect to win. I realize I didn’t choose the most challenging pattern but I really loved this pattern and how well it works for a modern style.


I may not have used the most difficult pattern but I used a super difficult fabric – white stonewashed charmuese (which is also difficult to photograph).


The contest has four categories and so many of the projects are absolutely stunning! You can read more about the rules for voting on the Eva Dress blog and you can view all the entries here. If you want to vote for me I’ll be very happy but, please, vote for who you think deserves to win, whether it’s me or someone else.


And on the topic of sewing challenges- this month has been full of them. Not all are contests like this but I’m doing a Sew Weekly challenge, Tilly’s One Week, One Pattern challenge (I’m drafting my own top pattern), then there’s Pattern Review’s Swim Wear contest and Julia’s Mad Men Challenge. All this before the end of March! And later this month through April five bloggers are hosting That’s Sew Cinematic – a challenge to sew something inspired by the silver screen. Uh, can anyone say “striped dress from Breathless“!?! Yes, please!

I don’t think I can do it all and I think Mad Men is going to have to take a back seat, unfortunately.

Ugh, it’s a lot on my plate for one month. Are you doing any challenges this spring??

Pattern Organization, or, why I am banned from Ebay

Hello, my name is Dixie and I am an addict – a buying-vintage-pattern-lots-on-ebay addict and I need to stop. Two boxes totaling about 130 patterns showed up on my door step at the same time. I was quite pleased as you can see above.

The good thing about all these patterns? I really can’t buy any more lots because inevitably half of the patterns will just be repeats of what I already have. I seriously think I have nearly the entire misses catalogue of Simplicity patterns from the 1970s.

The bad thing is where do I put them all? And how to I organize them so I know what I have??

Since I do everything on the computer anyway I decided to make a digital catalogue of all my vintage patterns and keep the physical patterns in boxes. My modern pattern collection is small enough that I can usually remember what I have and they sit on an easy access shelf.

Like my modern patterns I organized my vintages first by company (alphabetical), then by date, then by number within each year. If I just went by number I’d have a problem as Simplicity for example begins the 1970s in the 8 and 9000s and also ends the decade in those high numbers but 1971 and 1979 had very different styles!

I’m not a preservationist but if a pattern is looking pretty worse for the wear I will put it in a ziplock baggy. They all go in boxes so at least the envelopes won’t fade from sunlight.

(click on pics for a bigger version)

For the digital archiving I took photos of every envelope cover (in groups of nine, so no, I didn’t take 130 individual pictures!) and over a couple weeks in my spare time I cropped each individual envelope pic, sized them smaller (400 pixels wide) and saved them at a reasonable file size (preferably under 55kb). I did this in Photoshop but you could use any ol’ photo editor.

I put all these pics in a folder and tagged each photo. I have Windows Vista (aka the Devil’s OS) so this is what my set up looks like. I tagged them by company, decade (and when I have more time I’ll probably add specific year), garment type and special collections of patterns (like Mario’s Corner from the 70s). You could also tag by size, designate if it is for misses or juniors or kids, whether or not you have more than one copy (I have a couple doubles), knits or wovens, or any designation you want!

I can even add star ratings for patterns that I really want to make sooner than others.

You can then organize the pics by one or more tags. So if I’m looking specifically for a pants pattern I can check that tag and only those that meet the requirements show up in my folder. Very convenient!

Because I usually start a project by picking a pattern first then fabric this system works for me. But I know of another woman who keeps all her pattern envelopes in categories in a big binder and all of the pieces and instructions are filed by number in ziplock bags in boxes. Sort of like a visual dewey decimal system. She can take the binder with her to the store if she’s looking for inspiration.

If you like having your pattern collection catalogue on hand all the time Sophia Sews has a great list of sewing apps for smartphones. A number of them are pattern (and/or fabric stash) organizers. A woman from my sewing group suggested which costs about $45 a year. They don’t have an app yet but you can always log on from any computer or on your phone.

 ***How do you organize your patterns? I’d love any tips! Also, are you an Ebay addict as well??? I know there are more out there!!