Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Confession

My upcoming foray into the world of vintage sewing has me wondering what I am "in for" - and so, of course, I am turning to you guys to hear about your experiences, opinions and advice!  :)

Do you sew vintage patterns?  
If no, why not?  
If yes, why?  
What is the oldest pattern you have ever sewn?  
What do you like / dislike about vintage patterns?  
What are the most significant differences between vintage and current patterns (from a sewing perspective, not from a fashion perspective)?  
What are the biggest challenges associated with sewing vintage patterns?  
Any advice for a newbie?  

I can't wait to hear your thoughts!  Thanks in advance!  :)


wendy said...

I love vintage patterns. Don't sew with them quite as often as I would like, but then I don't sew anything recently quite as often as I would like due to, well, work and other commitments and such.

My pattern collection includes a handful of 1950s kids patterns that I've sewn for my nieces. I love the cut-on sleeves that they tend to have which makes dress assembly even faster.

I've found I make about the same pattern adjustments (narrow shoulder, more bodice length) to vintage patterns as I do to modern ones. The directions are often both more spotty and more detailed; they will tell you to include underlinings for instance but then just say "put in a zipper" without going through the steps that some modern patterns do. Which is OK for me, I know how to put a zipper in and I have many sewing reference books I could use. Really I'm usually just sucked in by the pretty illustrations on them. :)

Unknown said...

I used to do some historical costuming work in Hollywood but in those days you pretty much had to generate the patterns yourself. I am blown away by how many patterns are available today. The oldest pattern I worked from was from the turn of the century. The directions are sparse and the pattern markings a bit confusing, but if you take your time and are thoughtful about it they can be easily navigated. The fit is quite different from modern garments. The armholes are much smaller with a lot less ease in the bodice and often the shoulder line is not placed directly along the top as commonly seen today. When you see historical garments in person you cannot help but notice the quality of fabrics is quite fine and very difficult to replicate. If I remember correctly you are planning on sewing for your new doll...has she arrived?

Becky said...

I sewed with a couple of vintage 70s patterns that I found in my mom's stash as a teenager. But aside from that, I pretty much stick with modern patterns. I think the biggest thing with me is that my figure and my style don't quite match up, as far as historical eras go... I'd look best in the more curve-friendly patterns of the 40s and 50s, but those don't really suit my lifestyle or my taste, respectively. I find the 60s and 70s more inspiring since I'm a bit of a hippie at heart, and it's much easier for me to incorporate inspired-by details like the flowy skirts and peasant blouses, and stick with the more modern patterns that I can easily manipulate so they're still flattering on me.

CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

I have a few patterns from the 60's and 70's. They were a goodwill find and Vogue Designer patterns. They aren't my size. I think that's one of the reasons why I haven't made vintage patterns because I haven't seen a pattern that I love in my size. Besides, I have too many modern patterns as it is :)

katherine h said...

I have only sewn one vintage pattern. I think one of the big differences is that they don't have markings on them. Instead they have holes cut out, so you need a key to work out what the holes mean...which ones indicate grain, which are match points, which mark bust point etc.

VernonFashionStudio said...

I have never sewn a vintage pattern and probaly won't. Might be interesting to try one. I do know that they expect the sewer to know how to sew the way they sewed back then, with a minimum of instruction. Order of Construction is very important to know.

Linda T

gwensews said...

I love some of the styling of vintage patterns. I don't sew with them though. Because--at 63 years old, wearing vintage really, really dates me, to the point that I look like I'm wearing clothes that I wore years ago. I love the 40s and 50s styles though, and yes, I especially love the 60s because I was a teenager in that era. I do "lift" some details from vintage and apply them to modern patterns.

patsijean said...

Oh, my...the 1960's and 70's are considered vintage. I turned 30 in 1974. Of course I know this intellectually, but.......... Anyway, I have sewn only two vintage garment, which was Folkwear's Le Smoking Jacket, and their Poet's shirt for my husband. He liked the shirt, but absolutely loves the smoking jacket. He chose a burgundy satin for the body and a silver satin for lining and collar. The experience was quite interesting as I used the Stitch and Flip method of lining the jacket. There was quite a bit of hand stitching which is not easy on a poly. The sleeves and body were interfaced with a medium weight fusible and I added an additional chest piece of fusible. I did not interface the shawl collar, but wish I had. It still looks great and he looks quite handsome in it. I just finished a quickie ascot of tie silk in the same colors.

Sew Ducky said...

Most of the time I sew vintage because, really, fashion is cylindrical. Why waste money on a pattern that I already own just because it's 40, 50 or whatever, newer? I sew a lot of them because I have them, I like the ease on them better and many of them are flat drafted better then some of the newer ones.

Oldest commercial patter was one from 1918, although I have sewn one from 1901 out of a magazine with minimal instructions where I had to make the pattern.

Like/dislike? They're all patterns. Many of the older ones require you to have a better working knowledge of pattern symbols since they aren't detailed on them, and sewing skills but the symbols largely remain the same. I never gave it a lot of thought to it, just because it's what I wanted to make. Sewing wise, vintage is both easier and harder: many times the better drafting leaves you more able to match and meet up the seams (modern patterns seem to me to have a high instance of wonky drafting but you trade off on instructions.

The lack of instructions is one of the hardest things for new sewers, but many also have a hard time looking at them and seeing a modern take to it, and many like the styles but don't want to look like a costume. Since many of the suggestions are victims of the textiles available of the period, changing the fabrics can be a challenge unless you just know what the different fabrics are like.

marysews said...

I get as close to vintage as the Stretch&Sew Patterns I have from the '80s. The closest I ever came to historical costuming is a dress I made for my DD for Halloween one year.