Category Archives: vintage

vintage apron pattern

full apron with fancy necklaceAhh, an apron for women, that could very well be a summer dress because it wraps all the way around in the back, better than many wrap skirts in fact. But, from the looks of it on Linda (the dress form) it’s perhaps at it’s best advantage as kitchen lingerie. Let’s take a closer look at the vintage apron pattern.

McCalls vintage apron patternI love all the pictures, I always do on patterns. They’re always so promising with Barbie doll proportions portrayed in the drawings, how could you not purchase the dream of the impossibly tiny waist and ridiculously long legs- in any decade?

back McCalls apron patternThe year on the pattern is 1975- bell bottoms, feathered hair and wide collared shirts to remember a few treasured looks from that era. As you can see, it’s billed as “Misses’ Butcher Apron” whatever that means.  I knew it would sew up quickly… I had to try it for myself.

full front apronI altered the neckline a bit. I do not enjoy the feel and pull of a tie-behind-the-neck apron. I changed it to fit more like a collar and not be a nuisance on the back of the neck. There are two darts on either side of the bodice area, to fit the fabric better around the bosom.

full wrap apron backFull coverage across the bottom- from hip to hip in fact (hospital gown designers could take a page from this pattern). Much better suited as a wrap dress than apron, although with the semi-fitted bodice area, showing sexy back- why not consider the look for something sassy to wear in the kitchen? With as much (or as little) as you like underneath…  “Misses’ Butcher Apron” I think not!

vintage wood grain fabricThis floral fabric is lawn cotton, a very lightweight, soft and semi-transparent fabric to add to the apron’s flirty appeal. A swatch of wood grain fabric for pockets, blends but doesn’t overwhelm, keeps it down to business, lest you be misunderstood in any way.  Oh and don’t forget the necklace… and heels.

Do I need to stock my etsy shop with this apron, perhaps for Father’s Day?


a drawstring summer skirt with pockets

These three fabrics happened to be dropped together on my sewing table, the unmatchiness was perfect. I had to sew them together into a garment and make the combo permanent. Just the right combination for a lightweight cotton summer skirt.
vintage cottons
The fabrics: 1. A cotton probably from the early 1970’s from my mother-in-law’s stash.  2. Another cotton from Jan’s stash, she passed on a whole tub full of fabrics from the 70’s- much to my delight.  3. A random, fantastic print from Hancock Fabrics (a very hit or miss fabric store, in my book), from a couple of years ago, this was definitely a hit. I was so excited to find it, I bought the rest of the bolt, only 3 yards or so and this is the very last of my 3 yards.

funky pocket skirtThe finished skirt, is basically what I had in my head. The pattern is very simple, a bit of gathering and hemming and that’s pretty much it.

I’ve decided, you’ve got to have pockets on a skirt to make it even worth wearing. I’ve been told it’s ‘trashy’ to put one’s phone in one’s bra when there isn’t a pocket available… oh really…

drawstring waist skirtA drawstring is a very easy way to finish a skirt. Due to the slippery texture of this particular black cording, and its inability to stay knotted, I will probably be changing it out for something that will not continually come untied- and you thought your phone in your bra was a problem?!

vintage fabrics and trimI added the butterfly ribbon on the bottom to tie it all together, it felt like it needed one more thing and why not give it that Anthropologie look and feel.

funky skirt

butterfly ribbonCheck out the full (some sewing skills necessary) tutorial on how to make an easy summer drawstring skirt here.

Repurposed dress into a skirt and blouse

20130419-093215.jpgI found this great dress at a thrift store while visiting my college roommate Shannon in San Francisco this past December. My plan was to cut it up and make a blouse and skirt- then my daughter put it on- and it fit her perfectly. Unfortunately, she says she won’t wear it and I can’t make her… being 14 is silly.
I believe it was Yogi Bera that said “Youth is wasted on the Young” and I couldn’t agree more in this case.
So I’ll cut it in half after all. No longer in my youth, I can pull the look off in halves but not the whole thing at once without looking ridiculous.

20130419-093230.jpgThere was a zipper down the center back of the dress to contend with in this cut, but thankfully it ended up being inches away from the final cut.

zipper in the backA lovely yellow zipper down the back, adding to the homemade charm of the dress, luckily, just short enough.

repurposed dress into shirt backThe blouse is darling on it’s own, thanks to the tie.

20130419-093705.jpgThe top of the dress, and my new blouse was simple to finish, all it needed was a little ironing and a narrow seam sewn around the bottom.

20130419-093247.jpgThere’s plenty of fabric left for a skirt. I want it to have a tailored look- as opposed to a drawstring or elastic waist so here’s what I came up with:

20130419-093314.jpgLuckily, the seam allowance left behind by the original maker was enough that I could easily add a zipper. I pressed the seam flat then placed the right side of the zipper down the center of the inside out fabric. I moved the sewing machine needle position closer to the center of the zipper (or use a zipper foot) I stitched all the way around.

20130419-093326.jpgThen flip the skirt right side out and with a seam ripper (pictured above) carefully pick out the old seam where the zipper is now situated. (This is my favorite, and the easiest way to add a zipper in any garment.)

20130419-093258.jpgUsing an old favorite skirt pattern (but you could easily make it up) I added 2 darts to the back and  to the front of the skirt.

20130419-093358.jpg Darts are simply make with a pattern or by making up with your own measurements, just make sure to make them equally in length and in width if there are two or more on the garment.

20130419-093416.jpgFinished darts on the front of the skirt. The business was a bit tricky because of the ribbon already in place where darts should have been placed.

20130419-093434.jpgThe darts and zipper, once in place, took off nearly 4 inches of width off. Remeasure the width now to find how much more needs to be taken off to have the skirt fit your waist. In this case I needed to get rid of 4 more inches.

20130419-093447.jpgOn the existing side seams, I marked off 2 inches in either side, this will take away the excess 4 inches and leave the skirt fitting great.

20130419-093503.jpgUse a ruler to mark a gradual taking-in and adjusting of the side seam. My new seam ran the entire length of the skirt (not including the ruffle area at the bottom).

Now to finish the waist:
bias tape waistband

20130419-093533.jpgFor the waistband I chose to use bias tape, which would match well and not require any attempt to find or try and match up similar fabrics.

20130419-093546.jpgTo make the beginning (and end) of the bias tape, which will be right above the zipper in the back, I turned it inside out and sewed it together.

20130419-093600.jpgThen, following the old fold lines, I turned the bias tape back to right side out and used the nice finished end to begin the waistband. Don’t finish the other side until you’ve sewn the bias tape nearly all the way around. In the picture above you can see I also folded over and sewed around the top edge of the skirt fabric to add an extra bit of sturdiness and bulk to the waist.

20130419-093613.jpgTuck the skirt fabric up into the bias tape and start sewing around to enclose the edge.

20130419-093633.jpgWhen you get within a few inches of the end stop and mark the end of the bias tape. Finish this end like you did the other.

20130419-093643.jpgThen put the end of the bias tape into it’s place, making sure the ends of the waistband will line up when the zipper is closed.

20130419-093656.jpgAll finished, a new/old article of clothing I can’t wait to wear when it finally stops snowing. I’m thinking a chambray shirt, and bright colored sandals.