Category Archives: vintage

Repurposed vintage towels

up cycled vintage towelsvintage towels DIYDuring a major cleaning phase, a friend passed along a whole stack of very stylish vintage towels she had been collecting over the years. I thought long and hard about what could be done with these towels, to maximum effect.  The size of vintage towels is a tricky business. Too small to wrap around most people and comfortably cover all after a bath or shower. Too big to be used as a hand towel. They could be individually spread out throughout the bathrooms in the house for display only, hung up or stacked on shelves.

Then, it hit me- the easiest upcycle job ever- they would make perfect oversized beach towels!
repurposed vintage towelsBasically the easiest project ever- after you’ve collected the materials. Line the towels up in the color and pattern combos you prefer. Look closely before you sew them together, there is definitely a front and a back on most towels.

Most of the towels lined up to be close enough in size to sew right together. Trim and hem the vintage towels that are too long to fit next to the other towels.

repurposed vintage towels
The repurposed vintage towels have definitely become a family favorite. Excellent for laying on  in the sun. Perfect for covering up when you’ve had enough sun for the day.
repurposed vintage towelsSo now you’ve got a great reason to go thrifting! Stand out in all the right ways at the beach, lake, concert in the park or picnic with your up-cycle savvy vintage towel brilliance. And it’s absolutely the easiest DIY sewing project you’ll ever tackle.

vintage costume patterns and ideas

As I have been organizing my collection of sewing patterns, I came across quite a few vintage costume patterns I’ve managed to collect over the years.  If you’ve got an eye for detail, here are a few 1970’s and 1980’s treasures to feast upon this Halloween week:clown costume 1975I made a clown costume a few years ago, by sewing together a bunch of bright silky scarves my mother-in-law had given me. It turned out great, and made loose enough, warm clothes can be worn underneath the costume for those in colder climates. Some good (slightly creepy) but simple clown makeup shown above as well.

vintage cheerleader costumeThe classic cheerleader, baton twirler, Jan and Marsha Brady short skirt or dress pattern. Ice skates, roller skates… oh the memories come flooding back from the days I dreamed of being all of the above.

hippie shirt patternOh yes, the hippie shirt. Jazzed up in so many different ways, don’t overlook the turtleneck option, subtle collegiate.

ballerina costume pattern 1975Classic ballerina, sparkly ribbons and rainbows, for Halloween or everyday.

kids cowboy costumeBasic cowboy and indian looks. I have a very easy indian vest tutorial that looks like the cowboy one above and indian headband tutorial for those in the market.

poodle skirt with tractors The poodle skirt, with tractors. Which means that you can really put whatever picture you wish on the bottom and it’ll work… especially if your waist looks as small as the gals in the pattern picture.  (google search:  “where can I find a corset”)

barbie doll clothes patternSo many possibilities here… for barbies. It’s so not fair, Barbies have it all (a dream house, Corvette, closets full of clothes, great hair….) including their own line of patterns.

1980's gunnie sax patternI think I had this outfit, or at least I wished I did in my 80’s childhood. Just go back and watch Say AnythingSixteen Candles or any teen beat 80’s movie to see this ensemble in action. Denim, lace and ruffles all readily available at any local thrift shop.

princess/angel/witch costumesThe easily transferrable princess, witch, angel, nightgown robe garment. With the right fabric and add-ons this costume can be reinvented every year. Just a few last minute ideas thrown your way. I hope your costumes are coming together this year- ready in time for the big day!

a collection of vintage sewing patterns

sewing patterns 1942- todaySewing patterns are one thing I feel no shame in collecting or hoarding, depending on your point of view. It’s kind of like collecting books, creating a pattern library in an admirable, archivist kind of way. -sigh- I could look through them all day. Oh the history of fashion and unlike a picture on Pinterest, all the tools to make the clothes again are right there, in your hands. Here are a few beauties from my collection of vintage sewing patterns:

1960's American Weekly dress patternIt’s no wonder this was a popular pattern back in the day, with a promise of the tiny waist size pictured, who could resist this pattern?
1960's dress and hat patternA style that’s a bit more forgiving in the waist-size department. I’ve been annoyed to find no dates of publication on any of the vintage Vogue patterns- your guess is a good as mine. But thanks to Mad Men, and the dated and very similar McCall’s pattern below, I’m putting this one at 1963.

1961 vintage dress and hat patternLove everything about this one- and the heat transfer page, with the fruits and flowers all ready to do their thing with a little bit of heat.
heat transfer pattern pageThe heat transfer page is kind of like a treasure map you have to decode in the mirror or with an iron.

1965 mens bathing suit patternMen’s bathing suit and jacket pattern from 1965. Love the possibilities- pocket or no, stripes or plaid, sunglasses on or off (mostly off).

bathing suit pattern 1963Swimming suit pattern, from 1963, with all the extras- shirt, scarf and top AND trimmed in rick rack. So glad the high waisted swimming suit bottoms are making an appearance again.
bathing suit 1963 pattern back

Next, I’ll show off some great Halloween costume patterns- or what can now be considered a ‘costume’… perhaps a little something from the 70’s and 80’s.  For a few more vintage sewing patterns look here.