More Faking Vintage Looks with Modern Patterns, and first official Intergalactic Sewing Blog!

It’s been awhile since I’ve written about using modern, commercially available patterns to create vintage looks. Some new releases have inspired me, though!

Vogue 9126, for example, is a 40s style that’s wearable in modern life.


I like to mix vintage in my day-to-day look, as my “true vintage” days are behind me. This would be a fun dress for a mother (or in my case, stepmother) of the bride to wear to a hipster wedding. Comfortable, easy to dance in, and SLEEVES! We like sleeves!

This Vogue Badgley Mischka pattern is modern, but has a 60s element to the neckline. It’s a “crushed boatneck” with a little fold in the shoulder seam to give it some drape.


I like this pattern as a dress, and the bodice would be easy to hack into a top. I made a top with a neckline like this several years ago, and you can read all about it here: Crushed Boatneck Frankenpattern


I’ve made three versions of that top, and have worn them to death.

I like this new “Retro” pattern from Butterick, as well, with a boatneck, cut-in sleeves, binding on the neck and sleeve edges, and a bias cummerbund to hide a multitude of desserts. It looks like it’s flattering and easy to wear.

Butterick 6242

And how about these cute sailor pants from Sandra Betzina? I wore the real thing from the Army/Navy store in the 70s, but now, I’d go for something like this, made from a stretch woven. We all need a little lycra in our lives, don’t we?


Earlier in the year, Simplicity released this playsuit pattern that I ended up buying. Even though the bra top and skirt are not for me at this age, I really like the way the sleeves are cut into the blouse. I’m not much of a blouse-wearer, but this one looks stylish and easy to wear.


(I still haven’t made it though…)

And how adorable is this pattern from Simplicity?


Even though my granddaughters would not wear this unless it was pink, sparkly and had a giant picture of Elsa from “Frozen” on it, it’s fun to think about them in it.

Come to think of it, I have seen a version of this design made up…


Yep, the little girl on the right is me! My sister Janet is on the left, and my sister Diane is in the middle. Diane, a choreographer and dance instructor, is also a world-class knitter. (I remember she taught me the “popcorn stitch” as a kid.) She’s the one that whips up fun, gourmet party food in about a half an hour and throws warm, relaxed family gatherings. A few months ago, she sent me our grandmother’s button box, full of vintage buttons!


The photo of we three sisters is from 1961, at which point, when you wore a dress, it was going to have a “stick-out slip” under it (AKA a crinoline). I remember being in first grade in a dress like this (because you weren’t allowed to wear pants), with an itchy crinoline, sitting on the freezing, gritty linoleum floor for 45 minutes watching a tiny black and white TV, waiting for one of the Apollo rockets to launch. It would always get delayed, and it was so boring! And cold! And dirty!

I was in northern Michigan, which is cold and snowy, so we would either have snowpants under the crinolines when we went outside, or we stuffed the whole thing, slip and skirt, inside the snowpants.

So if you’re wondering why baby boomer-aged women in the U.S. run around in yoga jeans, black sneakers, knit Breton tops, and giant sweaters long enough to sit on, that pretty much sums it up.

I’m glad that the Big 4 pattern companies are offering a variety of vintage styles, and not just the big “I Love Lucy” full skirts that have been popular for awhile. I have to give a shoutout to Vogue-Butterick-McCalls for reaching out to sewing enthusiasts and doing market research about what types of patterns we’re looking for. Their new collections are quite appealing.

And here’s my all-time favorite of the Big 4 vintage style patterns…

(Are you expecting this?)


McCalls 7154 has been the talk of the town on vintage blogs and boards, and it is gorgeous. I can’t pull it off at this age, but Lisa of Paprika Patterns  is giving it a go now. We’ll see how it turns out!

No, my favorite of the Big 4 vintage-style patterns is this:


Isn’t McCalls 7206 the most fabulous young guy hipster/old guy hipster pattern!?! You can make it solid, in two colors, or in three colors. It could be made into a bowling shirt, a Hawaiian shirt, or you could embroider it for a Cuban guayabera… And those seams are like princess seams. Someone needs to hack this for a girl!

The indy patternmakers have been busy as well.

Decades of Style has a new line of easy vintage patterns. I know some of you readers are just learning to sew or returning to sewing after a long time, and these look like fun projects.

Here’s the “Given A Chance” Dress pattern:


It really has that “let’s have highballs on the patio” look to it, doesn’t it?

Eva Dress is another reliable pattern re-release company, and they’ve just put out this pattern for 1935 Beach Pajamas…something I wish I could wear to the beach now:


I like the retro patterns from both Decades of Style and Eva Dress, because they spend time testing their patterns and rewriting the instructions to make them clear for modern sewing enthusiasts. Having worked with original vintage patterns myself, it can be like reading hieroglyphics!

I’d also like to mention that the blogger Shelley, of New Vintage Lady, offers some extremely cool plus-size vintage pattern repros on Etsy.


She’s an animator, and her indy comic called “Vintageville,” sold through her Etsy shop, is so unique and worth a look.

If you’re in the mood to make a Chanel jacket (or French jacket or cardigan jacket), Susan Khalje’s new jacket pattern is available on her website, with or without her Couture French Jacket course. The pattern makes the two jackets pictured here:


70 years later, they’re still in style.

And just a reminder that my two free vintage-style patterns, for the 50s Buttonhole Scarf and the Claire McCardell-Inspired Wrap, are still available on Just download and go!


As for being the first officially-sanctioned Intergalactic Sewing Blog, well, it’s true!

I know that you (and perhaps Karl) may be skeptical, but I have proof.

My last post was about finishing a Claire McCardell UFO (AKA an “Unfinished Object”) from my stash pile, just in time for International UFO Day, which of course we all celebrate by wearing hats with antennae and exchanging gifts of small porous rocks.

A couple of days later, I was looking at my Twitter feed and saw this:


My post had been picked up by an international UFO sighting website (which is mostly in Japanese), and clearly broadcast throughout the Universe and beyond! Who cares about some NASA pictures from Pluto! Pluto’s not even a planet anymore. This is the real deal.

So even though some of you may think that your blog posts have communed with the heavens, I’m the first one to have proof.

Be that as it may, you won’t be seeing me in any of those manned flights to Mars that are coming up. How would I take all of my sewing stuff?

Hope your sewing’s entering a new dimension!

24 thoughts on “More Faking Vintage Looks with Modern Patterns, and first official Intergalactic Sewing Blog!

  1. That mens McCalls shirt is awesome! I must add it to my pile of patterns. (Only it will go in to the make now pile)… I would LOVE the beach pajamas. I have toyed with making myself some… What a cutie you were. I remember sitting on cold linoleum floors in a dress too! And the sailor pants! Yesterday we were watching The Pirate Movie and my 15 year old niece said she wanted to dress like Frederick… and he had a pair of those pants on! 🙂

  2. Where in northern Michigan are you from? I was born in Charlevoix and have come full circle since retiring with many,many places in between (one of them being Boston). Always happy to see Jet Set in my reader, love your blog.

  3. I spent a cold 1965 in kindergarten near Sioux St. Marie. I don’t remember cold linoleum, but I remember the janitor lighting a fire in the trash can for us to warm up to before doors opened in the mornings. It was a dress every day. I agree, the men’s shirt is the one that made me want to go shopping right now.

    • Can you imagine if someone lit a fire outside of a school nowadays! Not wax poetic about the “good old days,” but we did learn perseverance in the great white north. Maybe that’s why we’re all wearing “play clothes” now.

  4. So delightful to read you again! I keep meaning to make a Nat Nast style shirt (I’m flat enough it would work with little alteration) but other stuff just piles up in front of it. I’d be going with silk twill for weight and drape, much like the originals. They are obscenely soft….

    • I think silk twill is a great idea for this pattern. For my shape, I’d make it sleeveless, take up the armhole, and make it more fitted under the bust. It has a lot of possibilities.

  5. I thought the same thing when I saw Betzina’s pants pattern. Woolen navy pants were my dress up pants in college, bought at the local Goodwill. Hard to pee in a hurry, though.

    • I remember that about those pants, which is definitely something to consider at this age. It might be better to make them out of something really stretchy that can be slid out of in a hurry! The things we didn’t think we’d have to worry about in college…

  6. Oh goodness! Such lovely patterns and beautifully made versions (by you). I have a very similar photo of my 2 younger sisters and I in handmade outfits (I made my own, mom made the others). But you know what really jumped out at me? You have your grandmother’s button box!! What a treasure.

  7. What an interesting post (even if you are from another planet). Yes, we all need Lycra in our lives. I really enjoyed your helpful review here and like you I took an immediate fancy to the Simplicity 1166. Interesting about your stick out skirts. I don’t think we had them here. Neither did we have to tuck them into our snow pants….

    • 1166 reminds me of the Ralph Lauren dirndl skirts I wore in the 80s. They were comfortable and fun, if not terribly sexy.
      Well, back to sewing vintage outfits for my new alien friends! (I told them that the minimalist look has to go…)

  8. The men’s shirt pattern is terrific. Cuban guayabera shirt with embroidery and some hemstitching would look very cool with a panama hat and slim, pencil leg trousers and tommy bahama shoes, with no socks of course. I must say I should create the whole look for myself. I was going to take on a Neapolitan Style Menswear tailored jacket, but I think I need to look at this for the summer before venturing to the jacket.

    Still slogging thru my bedroom home dec project, pj’s for myself and white bathrobes/housecoats.

    By the way, I am bonding with my Bernina Artista and adding more accessories. On other notes I purchase a copy of David Page Coffin’s new shirt workshop book. Its a nice book but I really wish he would show construction of each shirt block he discusses.

  9. Your post solved my dilemma of what to make for an upcoming black-tie wedding in Miami. I love vintage, but more from the 20’s and 30’s. Vogue 1460 is very similar to an Eva Dress pattern from the 30’s and that was the answer.
    Growing up in northwestern PA, we also had some brutal winters and “dresses only” allowed at school. I remember well stuffing my full skirt into snowpants. Thanks for the memories.

    • Hi Mary! You’re right, it really is more of a late 30s-early 40s silhouette than wartime 40s. Similar in line to the Duchess of Windsor’s ’37 Mainboucher wedding dress, I think. I’ll be watching your blog to see how it looks!
      I do wish people would dress up more, as we did in the 60s, but school in a crinoline was just cruel. I think that clothes like that, along with the picky hair rollers we used to sleep in, brought on the women’s movement as much as “equal pay for equal work.”

  10. Pingback: Oscars Report: Karl’s Feud With Meryl (and Georgia O’Keeffe, sewing peep) | Jet Set Sewing

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