Monday, August 16, 2010

My First Vintage Project

After months of playing with, counting, drooling over and literally swimming in vintage patterns, it was time. Time for me to make something for myself. I found an amazing piece of cotton fabric at an estate sale and it just looked like a blouse to me. So I went through my stock and found this pattern (Simplicity 4080) from the early 1960s (Mad Men era). This is old sizing so even though I'm fairly small, I used a size 16.
And so here is the result:

I cheated on two things: one, I used an iron-on nylon knit interfacing which just turned out dreamy on the collar. Two, I used a nylon zipper. (I have plenty of vintage metal ones but they're just really heavy for this light fabric). I did zigzag the seams although the original pattern was cut with pinking shears. This would have been easier. I gotta get my pinking shears sharpened.

I was struck by several things. The fit was so beautiful on this pattern. The neckline in the back even has tiny one/eighth inch darts. Four front darts. Two elbow darts on each sleeve. Sweet! As far as alterations, I did discover that for the next project, if I use a size 16 again, I need to narrow the shoulders a bit (for this blouse I will add some small shoulder pads) and, of course, I did shorten the sleeves by two inches. (You read that right. I am a mutant.) I did decide to put the blouse together according to the original instructions even though I would have done a few things very differently. (The zipper in particular). But their way worked fine. And I even learned something about making thread loops (needed to keep that beautiful roll collar in place) from this pattern. I did wonder what women did about finishing the edges of those slash darts at the waist in the front. They are literally only about one eighth inch at the bottom. I zigzagged them which was a poor alternative.

I was really happy with the way this turned out. Of course, some awesome orange polished cotton capris to finish out the outfit would be good. Now to find the awesome orange polished cotton. I just happen to have a suitable pattern at hand.

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