Bay Area Sewists – Meetup 4 and 5!

Bay Area Sewists - May 2014 Meetup - Pattern swap -

On May 17 Bay Area Sewists had our fourth meetup – a pattern swap – at Berkeley Public Library. Plenty of members brought scores of patterns – many more than I photographed here. But hey, I was took busy looking at patterns so I forgot to take photos at the beginning when the tables were really loaded with patterns. We had something of everything – dresses, suits, pajamas, vintage, kids, and crafts.

Bay Area Sewists Meet up - May 2014 pattern swap

Bay Area Sewists Meet up - May 2014 pattern swap

Bay Area Sewists Meet up - May 2014 pattern swap

And our May pattern drawing was for Lolita Patterns Olive blouse, which was won by Sarah! Congratulations to Sarah!

Bay Area Sewists - Lolita Patterns giveaway winner -

This past weekend we held our first fitting meetup at Lacis in Berkeley.They have a great classroom upstairs with plenty of space for sewing machines and layout measuring. You can see just one part of the space in this group shot. This shot just shows one part of the middle of the room. Unfortunately, we didn’t take this photo until later in the day so some folks had already left. But I can assure you we all had a really good time!

Bay Area Sewists - June 2014 meetup -

We had a measuring area. I printed out some body measurements worksheet – a very handy PDF that I found on, which you can download it here. It’s a two-page sheet and tells you where to measure on various points on your body and has space for you to enter each of those measurements. Folks paired off with one person measuring the other. It was great to get accurate measurements of everything from full back, neck to waist, waist to knee and ankle, and so many other numbers!

Bay Area Sewists - fitting meetup - June 2014 -

I brought the muslin of the dress I first tried to make for Sewing Indie Month – the Beatrice Dress by Sew Chic Patterns. This vintage-inspired pattern has a great neckline. At this point, I had already done a small bust and a wide shoulder adjustment. BUT the bodice was a little tight right around the fleshy area between my bewb and armpit. (You can read more about that in this post.) I got some advice from members Annamarie and Loran of Loran’s World and soon realized that I needed to drop the armhole about a half-inch and then add a little more width to the sleeve. And here’s Annamarie…

Annamarie at Bay Area Sewists meetup June 2014
(photo by Bay Area Sewists member Angie of Bonne Chance)

Pattern adjustments

And here’s Loran used a couple safety pins on my shoulder seam, which she suggested needed to come in a little more to avoid a potential wrinkle above the bust. Loran is a fitting expert. Many of us were asking her advice. She mentioned that safety pins and quilting pins were really useful for fittings. And she brought a box of quilting pints and many safety pins of all sizes.

Loran at Bay Area Sewists fitting meetup - June 2014
(photo by Angie)

And here’s Loran helping Shawn with her dress bodice.

Loran helping to fit bodice

Perhaps it’s only fitting (pun intended!) that Loran won the By Hand London Flora Dress pattern drawing! Congratulations to Loran!

Loran won the Flora pattern

We also had a real treat when Bay Area Sewists member Romy arrived with a HUGE box of vintage patterns that she didn’t want anymore. Apparently she had been given boxes of patterns and she didn’t want to keep them all. We were all giddy like kids in candy store and just swarmed the box, pulling them out to peruse the many offerings. Thank you Romy!!!

Box of vintage patterns donated

Of course the majority of them were bust size 32 and 34 but I did find a couple that were bust 36 and 37. I couldn’t resist bringing home eight of these patterns, including some that would need to be graded up. Here’s part of my vintage booty!

vintage patterns - from Bay Area Sewists meetup

Our next meetup is a fabric swap in Berkeley. If you live in the Bay Area, come and join us! It’s fee to join and once you join, you can RSVP for the fabric swap here.

Do you collect vintage patterns? Do you get patterns that match your bust size or do you grade up?

Follow on Bloglovin follow us in feedly


My Fall for Cotton 1940s Girl Friday Blouse Is Finished!

1940s Girl Friday blouse - Decades of Style pattern, Fall for Cotton, photo by Chuleenan Svetvilas

I finished my Fall for Cotton project – the 1940s Girl Friday Blouse from Decades of Style – with not a minute to spare. Really. I was still working on it yesterday and realized I had to hustle if I wanted to get photos done before sunset. It was after 6 pm and I still had to hem and iron it! And this sort of explains my expression in this photo. I couldn’t find my cream-colored strappy sandals right and the clock was ticking so I just threw on some makeup, grabbed my vintage wool hat and tripod and walked a few blocks to to this side street for my impromptu photo shoot with me and my digital camera. Yeah, no photographer so it was weird just staring into the lens. In the back of my mind, I kept wondering, “Is this really in focus?” and “Crap, I’m losing light!” and “How long is 10 seconds?” I’m just doing this on my lunch break so the nitty gritty details on making this blouse will have to wait for another post this week. In the meantime, I’ll subject you to more photos of my blouse, which took far longer than I thought it would to make. There really aren’t very many pattern pieces but I must have spent more than 30 hours making it! Hand embroidery on the collar, side invisible zipper on the left, seam tape on the hem, hand stitching the bottom two collars together and hand stitching the hem. You can read about some details in the post My Fall for Cotton Project – Sewalong Update. And I wore the wrong bra with the blouse – you can see it in the back view photo. A darker bra wouldn’t have been visible. The fabric is a vintage lightweight Swiss dot cotton voile.

1940s Girl Friday blouse - Decades of Style pattern 1940s Girl Friday blouse - Decades of Style pattern 1940s Girl Friday blouse - Decades of Style pattern 1940s Girl Friday blouse - Decades of Style pattern 1940s Girl Friday blouse - Decades of Style pattern 1940s Girl Friday blouse - Decades of Style pattern

If you’ve made any Decades of Style patterns, I’d love to know what your experience was like. I found the pattern to give rather minimal instructions in some areas. So this would NOT be a good pattern for a beginner. I’m glad I finally finished this blouse and I don’t think I would have if I didn’t have a deadline. So thank you Rochelle of Lucky Lucille and Tasha of By Gum By Golly for the Fall for Cotton Sewing Challenge!
Follow on Bloglovin follow us in feedly

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

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?