Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Guest Post : Top 5 Vintage Sewing Patterns

So recently I was contacted by Nick from Mela Mela Vintage (in the UK) about writing a guest post of their shop's top 5 vintage patterns.  Of course I said yes - I thought we'd all be curious to see what their favourite patterns were!!

But before we get to that - Mela Mela Vintage also sells clothes, accessories and jewellery.  I thought I might pick a couple of favourite things too!

I die that my waist is not 26 inches...

This is tiny, but I'd stop eating for 6 months if I thought that would help me fit into it!

Its also teenie tiny...

I could spend hours trawling their website looking at goodies, but I probably should get on with loading this blog post!  So, without further ramblings from me, here is Nick's Top 5 Vintage Sewing Patterns!

Top 5 Vintage Sewing Patterns

If you want to be a truly authentic vintage bell, then you really have to stitch your own clothes.  Dress making is not just a really fulfilling hobby, but it also means you can create inspired bespoke outfits that will turn heads.  Buying vintage fabric can be expensive, and many fabrics are faded or a little worse for wear.  You're better off buying a vintage look fabric and stitching it up into a lovely vintage outfit.  You can still buy original patterns from bygone eras, which not only can be used to create your own fabulous creations but also come in beautiful retro-look sleeves.  Why not frame the pattern sleeve and knock up a few different vintage dresses?  Once you find a style that you love and that flatters your body shape, you can sew it in a variety of fabrics, alter the skirt lengths and fit and add different buttons and adornments.  Here are five fabulous vintage patterns that you can really get your teeth into:

1. Vintage Pattern by Simplicity - Cocktail Dress

 You can find this pattern here

This is a beautifully flattering pattern, with its empire line and light gathers at the bust.  The darts at the waist will streamline any figure and the to-the-knee length looks demure and sophisticated.  It's ideal for recreating a little black dress, if you feel a little Audrey Hepburn moment coming on.  The optional capped sleeves or three-quarter length sleeves add a whole different dimension, meaning it could be used as a day dress in cotton or poplin or a classy evening dress in duchess satin or silk.

2. Vintage Pattern by McCall's - Dress with Slim of Full Skirt

You can find this pattern here

This pattern is deliciously versatile, offering such a different silhouette by simply altering the skirt.  The belted, gathered waist on both versions of the dress make it very flattering.  It offers a lovely feminine silhouette that simply screams vintage.  The fuller skirt would make a lovely day dress for days out or even weddings and family parties.  The slim skirt would look beautiful in tweed or a woolen fabric and is ideal for the Autumn/Winter months ahead.  The slim skirt would make ideal work wear.  Both styles are unique and memorable.

3. Vintage Pattern by Simplicity - Suit and Blouse

You can find this pattern here

Finding the perfect vintage ladies suit is a challenge indeed, and the simplest solution is to make your own.  This beautiful 60s suit makes wonderful work wear with personality.  Adjust the sleeve length, add buttons or go without or opt for a fitted blouse rather than a jacket, there is plenty of scope for variety.  The lovely scalloped edge of the top and the turtle neck collar are unusual elements that will make you stand out from the crowd.

4. Vintage Pattern by Knip - Dress and Blouse

You can find this pattern here

This lovely shirt dress is delightfully floaty and feminine with its delicate gathers, tailored sleeves and lovely diaphanous bow detail.  This dress needs to be made in a fabric that has plenty of movement such as chiffon, mesh or silk.  Add a belt to emphasise the waist, or wear with the blouse for a totally different look.  This is the type of dress that you will want in every colour, for every occasion.

5. Vintage Pattern by Butterick - One or Two Piece Dress

You can find this pattern here

This fabulous pattern is very unusual and is ideal for those whose love of vintage stems from them wanting to wear something that no-one else is.  Whether you opt for a looser fitting garment with prominent pockets and long sleeves, or a more elegant fitted sleeveless top which features the collar and bow and is worn with a fitted skirt; there is no doubt that this will soon become one of your favourite outfits.  Because this style looks so good when a little loose and relaxed, it is the ideal choice for those who are a little self-concious about their bodies.  The styling will hide a multitude of sins.  This is a very simple pattern to sew and so is ideal for beginners or less advanced seamstresses.

So why not dust off your sewing machine, break out the tailor's chalk and sew up a storm?  There is little more fulfilling than the gentle swell of pride you get when asked where you got your dress from, and can answer that you made it yourself.

This article was written by Nick Williams at Mela Mela Vintage, a boutique in Teddington; Greater London.  At Mela Mela Vintage you will find original vintage dresses and a huge selection of vintage wedding dresses.

Beccie here... lets leave this post with a look at one of those gorgeous vintage wedding dresses...

This bias-cut 1930s gown would have to be my favourite... I know the colour is a little unusual for a wedding gown, but oh my goodness isn't it gorgeous!

Thanks very much to Nick for writing this piece.  There will be updates on the Cherry Gingham Dress and an amazing customer commission coming up soon.



  1. Jeez I love your posts. It is dress heaven here.XO

  2. Love how you are all about sewing and everything, Thats so cool.