Whether you’re a Fifties vixen, a Sixties siren or a sucker for the Seventies, Simplicity’s extensive portfolio of original, re-published and vintage style sewing patterns provide all the inspiration you need to take the plunge and create a unique vintage inspired outfit.

Here, Simplicity provide essential advice on how to recreate retro styles using sewing patterns, offering top tips to help you indulge your creative side with a rundown of things to consider before picking up a needle!

Simplicity50sRetro3780Customise with vintage accessories.
Sewing can be a daunting task to jump head first into. Ease yourself in gently by customising a previously dull outfit with vintage pieces. With customisation becoming increasingly popular, adding anything from a Thirties art deco brooch to beautifully aged brass buttons is the perfect way to update an outfit and successfully start a craft hobby using basic sewing skills.

Be prepared
It may be a cliché but being prepared is the best way of avoiding stress when following any sewing pattern. With vintage patterns often taking more time than a modern pattern, choosing the correct amount of fabric and having all the equipment to hand is essential.

Pick a fabulous fabric
Making your own clothing allows you to choose whichever style, fabric and fit you like best. With vintage fashion celebrating a variety of bold prints from the checks and stripes of the Sixties to the bold prints of the Seventies, choose a fabric that is unique, allowing you to stand out from the crowd. Consider giving fabric a new lease of life, with vintage curtains becoming an excellent source of material for an eye catching dress.

Sim3688Sizing is key
When sewing a vintage style of clothing, always bear in mind sizing.  Remember that women’s sizes and shapes have altered over the years, with original vintage sewing patterns producing varying dress sizes.

The great news is that if you choose a vintage style pattern from the Simplicity, New Look or Burda range then you can treat them exactly the same as any other modern-day patterns. Although based on authentic vintage designs, all vintage inspired patterns have been resized to fit our modern figures, ensuring both ease of use and accuracy.

When following any sewing pattern for dresses and jackets, always go by the bust measurement. If you are a cup size C or above, take high bust measurements above the bust and use that as your bust measurement. Then adjust the pattern to allow for your fuller bust size, making it much simpler than adjusting the shoulders and back measurements.

Choose the perfect sewing pattern
When possible use a vintage design sewing pattern with multi-sized options. These patterns are a fabulous choice if you are not a standard size – as indeed, very few people are. With the majority of women classed as a ‘pear’ body shape, multi-size patterns mean you can cut from one size to another easily to find the perfect fit!

Vintage fashion covers all styles- from Seventies trouser suits to Fifties pencil skirts. When making skirts or trousers, choose the pattern size by the waist measurement. Alternatively if your hips are two sizes or more larger than the waist, choose your pattern by the hip size and simply adjust at the waist.

Tissue fitting: toile cuts toil!
A good way to test the pattern size before cutting into lovely new fabric is to tissue fit. Cut out the pattern pieces – leaving excess tissue around the edges and then pin a back to a front piece at shoulders and side, remembering to pin on the sewing line not the cutting line. Check that the centre front and centre back placement marks are correct on you. If not, you can cut up the tissue and add extra, or indeed take a little out. If your chosen fabric is very special, it is also a good idea to make a ‘toile’ – this is a sample garment made from cheap calico or sheeting.

Be inspired
Vintage fashion offers a wealth of inspiration for budding crafters. From the classic prom dresses of the Fifties to the short hem lines of the swinging Sixties, there is a style to suit every shape and size. And with a growing number of people taking to sewing, there’s a large community of blogs and bloggers to get you inspired. Take a look at the Simplicity blog for sewing and pattern news and to help you pick up some handy hints along the way.

2 Responses

  1. Leslie Thomas

    lovely. I am entirely charmed with the photo of the woman next to the huge sewing machine (or the model of the model or the model of the s. machine or whatev’s 🙂 )

    1: it’s kind of funny, that the pattern and suit in the autumn colors is said to reference the 1940s which it does. However it is nearly PRECISELY also the same suit (all three pieces, lined yet) that my mother made for ME, in ivory (near the time of Sat Night Fever dance scenes) so it’s actually a good image of some 1970s (like Ralph Lauren 1970s) which had some retro stuff anyhow!!!

    2: Your advice about putting together a paper sample assembled pattern makes sense for somebody who is dedicated and or wants to make sure they get all the kinks out before using the nifty specialized fabric. But I wouldn’t manage to do all that prep-work. I’m not so dedicated so I’ll just look at the pretty pictures instead !! yay for those who are so willing tho.