My Vogue vintage 1950 jacket

Hi, can you believe it’s December already? This year went by super fast. At the end of November, I finished this cropped jacket from a Vogue vintage reissue pattern (V2934), which was originally released in 1950. (This version is now out of print. I got it on sale at Joann’s a few years ago.)

Vogue 2934 - 1950 vintage reissue -

I really like cropped jackets. I have a RTW black cropped jacket made from a double-knit that I’ve worn so much it’s starting to look a little shabby. So I thought this pattern could be a nice replacement but I wanted a jacket that could be easily dressed up or down. So rather than make it out of the suggested fabrics, such as satin, velvet, tweed, ottoman – I decided to make mine out of black sweatshirt fabric. I didn’t make a mock-up because this isn’t a fitted jacket and I wasn’t using expensive fabric. 😉

This jacket has 3/4 dolman sleeves, a flared back, and deep cuffs – very 1950s. It also has a lining and calls for hair canvas interfacing.  I made version A, which has a single button and bound buttonhole. I cut size L (16-18) as is, except for the following changes:

  • Added 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) to sleeve length
  • No lining
  • No interfacing except for a small piece of black fusible knit to the bound buttonhole area
  • Finished the raw facing edges and seams with bias tape

I decided I didn’t need any interfacing because sweatshirt fabric is a bit heavier than the recommended fabrics. I didn’t line it because I wanted to be able to feel the soft, fuzzy side of the sweatshirt fabric. (Note on the fabric: I machine washed and dried the fabric twice – per Sandra Betzina’s advice in her book More Fabric Savvy. She said sweatshirt fabric shrinks a lot so wash/dry it twice before sewing.)

There is a facing for this jacket. The lining would have covered all the raw edges but I didn’t line it so I finished most of my raw edges with bias tape. I made this bias tape for a jacket I made in 2011. It’s a very lightweight wool with a tiny hounds-tooth pattern. It has a nice drape to it. I had just enough to bind the center back seams, front and back facings, and the front hems. I finished the hem of the back with store-bought black bias tape from my stash.

Back facing - finished edges - V2934 -
Inside: back facing and center back seam

Here’s the inside of the front right side of the jacket. I had just enough bias tape to finish the edges of the front hem, which I slip stitched by hand.

Vogue 2934 - vintage reissue - facing -

I finished with cuffs with black bias tape and hand sewed it to the sleeve. Here’s a close-up view of the inside of the cuff.

Cuffs - V2934 - vintage Vogue reissue -

The pre-made bias tape is a little stiff so I thought it would be good for the flared back. Here’s another view of the back …

V2934 - back view - vintage Vogue 1950 reissue -

… and another shot that shows that flare. (I think I was looking back at the camera to see if the timer went off. )

V2934 - left view - vintage Vogue 1950 reissue -

In case you were wondering, a dolman sleeve is when the sleeve is cut in one piece along with the body of the garment. In other words the sleeve isn’t a separate piece. Here’s what the sleeves look like:

V2934 - dolman sleeves -

One thing I didn’t take into consideration is how much this flared style affects what you wear with it. This jacket looks best with something fitted, which means I can’t wear my Chardon skirts with it. Darn. The pleats pouf out around the hem of the jacket – not very flattering.

In these photos, I’m wearing my A-Frame Skirt, a Blueprints for Sewing pattern, which I blogged about here, and a vintage beret I bought from All Things Vintage in Oakland. This boutique in Oakland has a lovely selection of vintage clothes and hats.

Vogue 1950 vintage reissue - V2934 - front view -

I covered the button with the sweatshirt fabric. I just stretched it over the button and snapped the back on. Here’s a close-up shot of the collar and button. I didn’t realize that I put the buttonhole on the wrong side until after I made it. Oops.

Covered button - V2934 -

This was a fairly simple jacket to make – just six pattern pieces if you don’t line it (front, back, buttonhole, front facing, back facing, and cuff). I made it a little more complicated because I had to think about how I would finish the seams.

In case you’re wondering, here’s my list of materials:

  • 2  yards of sweatshirt fabric (60 wide)
  • bias tape
  • covered button
  • fusible knit interfacing for bound buttonhole
  • thread

I got the fabric on sale at Discount Fabrics in San Francisco. I probably got it for less than $10. I made most of the bias tape and the other materials were already in my stash. So this was a very inexpensive jacket to make.

I think I’ll get a lot of wear from this jacket (even if I can’t wear it with a Chardon skirt). I can pair it with jeans or dress it up with an A-line skirt. I like that it’s made from humble sweatshirt fabric. 😉

Do you ever pick unlikely fabrics for clothes you’ve made?

Happy Sewing!

Fall for Cotton – A Vintage Sewing Challenge


At the end of August I decided to participate in the Fall for Cotton – A Vintage Sewing Challenge launched by Lucky Lucille and By Gum By Golly. I bought several vintage patterns last month, so I figured, why not?

Purple fabric swatch (2)The important thing is that the fabric be 100 percent cotton. When I was visiting family on the East Coast a couple weeks ago, I did a little shopping in the Fabric Row area of Philadelphia. I wandered into a shop that was selling fabric for $5/yard. I nearly walked out when I found out it was all home dec/upholstery fabric but the owner said that many people bought his fabric to make clothes.

Then I spied a bolt of fabric with a nice shade of plum-purple and asked if it was cotton and he said yes. It felt like cotton so I decided to get 4 yards of it. I wasn’t really sure how much I would need because I didn’t have my vintage patterns with me and of course I forgot to take photos of them before I left California. I did a burn test when I got home but it kinda fizzled out – probably treated to be fire-resistant. It’s really hard to photograph this fabric. The color isn’t as red as this – it’s a little more on the violet side.

Vintage sewing patternWhen I got home, I flipped through my patterns to see if any of them used medium or heavyweight fabric. This one mentioned corduroy of one of its suggested fabrics so I think I’ll make this suit – or maybe just the jacket.

I feel like I’m a little behind because I haven’t cut anything out yet and I’m still wondering if this fabric will work because it is rather sturdy. I’ve put it through one wash and dry cycle but maybe it needs a few more, as Brooke of Custom Style suggested to me the other day. Also in the last Twitter #fabricchat (every Friday at 1 pm PT, 4 pm ET), folks told me that washing would help soften it. So I will definitely wash it some more. I did another burn test over the weekend and the fabric took flame rather quickly. So washing it also removed the fire retardant. 😉

Have you worked with upholstery fabric to make a garment? What did you make and how did it turn out? Did you wear it in public?


My Vintage Weekend – Part 2

Andy Warhol tomato soup cans
Andy Warhol tomato soup cans

Yesterday I wrote about the vintage sewing patterns I got last Saturday at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse in Oakland (“My Vintage Weekend”). The following day I went to the Alameda Flea Market (officially called the Alameda Point Antiques Faire), which takes place on the first Sunday of every month in Alameda, just a couple miles from downtown Oakland. So here are a couple highlights from the Sunday of my vintage weekend.

This monthly event is enormous. It could take you an hour or more to walk to the vendors in the very back, and that’s if you don’t really stop and browse. There are literally hundreds of booths. Items are supposed to be at least 20 years old but there is plenty of newer stuff there as well.

Parking is free but there is an admission fee to get in. Rates vary according to the time you arrive: $15 from 6 am to 7:30 am; $10 from 7:30-9 am; $5 from 9 am to 3 pm, free after 3. Kids under 15 years old are free.

I wandered around with designer, jewelry maker, and consultant Kat McEachern. We’re both members of the Makeshift Society,  and she kindly offered to drive. She picked me up at 7 am and by the time we parked and purchased our entrance tickets it was 7:30.

It was pretty chilly that morning because it was rather cloudy.

The soup cans and the lovely hat are the photos I took before my phone ran out of power. Using photo apps drained it. Next time I’ll bring my digital camera!

There were many folks selling vintage clothes and hats – prices varied greatly – from $250 frocks from the 1950s to $30 hats from the 1940s.

We also spotted people selling blankets and quilts as well as a variety of collectibles and furniture (mirrors and coffee tables and chairs).

We saw people selling crystals and fascinating looking fossils. Kat bought some crystals and other items to make into jewelry.

The last two photos are a couple of the things I bought. I have a ton of hats so I’m always on the lookout for hat boxes. So when I spied this one, I just had to get it. The next time I go, I’ll spend more time among the clothes and hats. I was very tempted to get a hat but I have so many I decided I would hold off this time around and just focus on a hat box.

I saw the fabric below at the same booth that was selling the Andy Warhol soup cans. I really liked it so I bought it.

Do you go to flea markets? Do you have a game plan before you go or do you just browse and make spontaneous purchases? Did you find any great deals?

Vintage hat trimmed with ostrich feathers
Vintage hat trimmed with ostrich feathers

















Black vintage hat with dramatic feathers
Black vintage hat with dramatic feathers

















More vintage hats!
More vintage hats!

















Cowboy boots!
Cowboy boots!

















Hand stitching detail on a vintage quilt
Hand stitching detail on a vintage quilt

















Vintage hat box with a mirror and inside pocket. I got it for $15.
Vintage hat box with a mirror and inside pocket. I got it for $15.

















Home dec fabric
Home dec fabric I got for $5. Tote bag!



My Vintage Weekend

Last weekend was my vintage weekend. On Saturday I stopped by the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, which was having a sale of vintage clothes, shoes, and other accessories. This place  occasionally gets vintage goods from its estate services.  The next day I went to the Alameda Flea Market a.k.a. the Alameda Point Antiques Faire (its official name), where hundreds of vendors convene on the first Sunday of the month, selling a huge array of vintage (and not so vintage), upcycled, and funky items, everything from furniture and toys to clothes and jewelry. I’ll write about that fun experience tomorrow.

The Depot is a nonprofit organization loaded with donated art and craft supplies, vintage goods, fabric, furniture, and more, which it sells. Its mission is “to divert waste materials from landfills by collecting and redistributing discarded goods as low-cost supplies for art, education, and social services.”

I looked at the clothes at the Depot but they were either too small or the styles weren’t what I was interested in. But I was thrilled to find some vintage patterns for $1 each. I spent many minutes looking through two small boxes of patterns from the 1950s and 1960s.

Here’s what I bought. All the patterns included the original instructions but I haven’t checked yet to see if any pattern pieces are missing. They patterns are for bust size 30, 32 or 34, smaller than my 36 but I’m hoping it won’t be too difficult to grade up. I’ve only graded up one size when I made a dress from a vintage Vogue pattern.

I might start with the blouse below (Vogue 9961). I’ve been assured by Melizza (@mujerboricua) via Twitter, that it’s “totally doable.” She had a vintage pattern that she graded up from a size 40 bust to 44. She told me that she used the book Fit for Real People as a guide and she kindly offered to lend it to me if I’m ever in the Peninsula.

This Vogue 7034  dress pattern is size 14, which back then, as you can see, meant a 32 bust and a 35 hip. No vanity sizing back then!

1950 Vogue dress pattern
Vogue 7034 dress pattern from 1950




















Vogue 1955 coat pattern
Vogue 1544 coat pattern from 1955 (apologies for blurry image!). One of the recommended fabrics is “wool hopsacking,” a loosely woven wool.




















Vogue 1960 blouse pattern
Vogue 9961 blouse pattern from 1960. For this pattern, a size 12 meant a 32 bust, 25 waist, and a 34 hip. This top has a waistband.





















Vogue 5380 dresses - no copyright date listed
Vogue 5380 dresses – no copyright date listed



Vogue 6419 dress (no date but looks very '60s)
Vogue 6419 dress (no date but looks very ’60s)























Vogue 7282 dress pattern (no copyright date, 1960s)
This Vogue 7282 dress pattern says “new sizing” on the front. Here a size 12 was 34 bust, 25 1/2 waist and 36 hip. No copyright date but looks ’60s 


Vogue dress pattern 5968, 1960s (no date)
Vogue dress pattern 5968. I like the buttons on this dress.


I love vintage patterns of the 1950s and ’60s. I’ve also bought some Vogue reissued dress patterns from the 1950s. Have you made any clothes from vintage patterns? Did you have to grade the pattern? How did it turn out?


Shopping for Hats

Vintage white straw and black velvet pillbox hatI’ve often asked where I get my hats. Well, some of my hats I’ve had for more than 15 (or even more than 20!) years. But I do buy several new hats every year. So here’s a list of some places where I’ve gone shopping for some of my more recent hats, vintage and contemporary – along with photos of what I bought there.

I got this mannequin head (I call her Natasha) so I could take pictures of my hats – I didn’t want to be the model for every hat. Frankly, I don’t have much patience to pose in front of the camera for more than 10 minutes (kudos to those who can!).

All Things Vintage – This little shop in Oakland, California (3506 Woodruff St.) sells clothes, accessories, and an amazing array of vintage hats in mint condition. On my first visit there this summer, I tried on numerous hats before I finally narrowed down my selection to a black straw hat with a veil (the one I’m wearing on my About page) and a small velvet hat with a gold pin. Both of the hats were in perfect condition and each one was less than $30 – an excellent price for a vintage hat. On my second visit a couple of months later I couldn’t resist getting this white straw hat with a black velvet accent (above right). I’ve worn both of them a couple of times. I’ll be going back to check out their wool hats soon.

Molded woven hat with brown ribbon
Hats of the Fillmore

Hats of the Fillmore – This San Francisco shop (1539 Fillmore St.) sells a range of reasonably priced contemporary hats for men and women. When I popped into this store last year, I couldn’t resist getting this cute straw hat with grosgrain ribbon (left).

Vintage wool beret from the Vintage Hat Shop
The Vintage Hat Shop

The Vintage Hat Shop – I discovered this Etsy store when I started following it on Twitter (@yesterdayshat) and saw the owner Cindy’s tweets describing the vintage hats she had for sale. I had never purchased a hat online before but I decided to take a chance and get this grey felt beret with a big button on it (see photo below). It was only $18 and I didn’t have to wait very long for it to arrive – just a couple of days.  The hat was carefully wrapped in tissue paper tied with a bow and came with a nice handwritten note. The beret was in excellent condition (yay!). I’m sure it’ll be hard to resist buying more hats from this place.

Urban Outfiters – Yep, this national chain often carries some hip hats – though some of them can be rather cheaply constructed. So you may have to sift through a bunch to find the best one. I’ve had good luck with the wool felt hats though. My most recent purchase was this so-called “5-way” (or was it 6-way?) black wool hat – you can flip the brim all the way up or down or just turn up one side – just the front or the back. I bought a few different ribbons from Britex Fabrics to wear with this chapeau.

Vintage wool shaped hat - reminds me of a Shar-pei dog.

Goodwill in San Francisco– Earlier this year when I was in the Haight, killing some time by window shopping before Amy Chua‘s reading at Booksmith and I spotted this unusual wool hat in the window. It reminded me of a Shar-pei – you know, the dog with all the wrinkles? I haven’t worn it yet but I think it’ll look pretty snazzy with a black jacket and some pants that match the hat’s taupe color.

Shopping for hats in the San Francisco Bay Area -