Browsing Ebay a few weeks ago, I was taken aback when I found this:
Tiny hand for scale
The side tabs have seen better days. And it is EXTREMELY loved. But honestly, it took my breath away. I am an avid fan of the Vintage Pattern Wikia, but there is something about seeing all the patterns in person. The book is huge. Well, standard size for a pattern catalog today, but for some reason I was expecting a compact pocket book of patterns... not the brilliant 1298 page encyclopedia I received.
The tiniest details on some of the garments are amazing...
Awesome subtle neckline detail
Fuller skirts are not really my style put some of these are too amazing to pass up...
I love the tiny cutout at the shoulder
A skirt compromise!
Cute 1940's detail remnants on early '50s blouse:
My favorite detail of 1950's patterns has to be the extensive use of buttons on every type of outfit:
One of the many pages of casual to semi-formal separates:
The lingerie is incredible. They even have a couple bra patterns!
A section for Menswear! I have recently started researching men's tailoring... it is a whole other world.
A pattern for sleeve variations. It would be awesome to get a basic pattern down and just play around with different sleeve options. 8 versions of the same dress... excessive? Nah.
In addition to pattern artwork, there are also pictures of actual people in some the garments.
More buttons <3
Over the past 10 years, I have accumulated a small mountain of vintage sewing patterns that I have yet to use. I love them all, but I will spend days pouring over dressmaking books, being distracted trying figuring out how the patterns were drafted, filling up page after page in notebooks with notes and totally forgetting all about the actual sewing! The process has turned me in to a bit of a pattern drafting nerd.
I have learned that for me, with modern as well as vintage patterns, an FBA, swayback, taking in the waist and/or grading the hips have just become a normal part of the sewing routine. It is not anything I have a problem with… but it got me thinking,
Why not draft my own?
Using this pattern catalog and the aforementioned incredible Vintage Pattern Wikia for inspiration, I am going to try my hand at pattern drafting.
I made my own sloper using Burda’s Theater Dress bodice and sleeves as well as By Hand London’s Charlotte skirt. I could have used a pre-made sloper or "basic" pattern (there are a couple on Etsy if you are interested) but honestly, I was super excited to get started and I already had these! The Burda bodice is a standard two dart front, one dart back, adjusted for an FBA and (surprisingly!) lengthened. I always assumed that since I was busty and short, that I just had a short waist. Turns out, the correct size for my shoulders and high bust line, I needed to add a whole inch to the front and back bodices.
Me, measuring myself for the bodice while trying to hold a measuring tape at my underbust as well as at my waist. Harder than it looks.
To get an accurate measurement for the bodice length, I tied a ribbon around my waist (so I knew exactly where to measure) and measured down from my shoulder over my bust to my natural waistline. From there I worked with the pattern to figure out the correct length and width.
On the left: My final pattern (in clear) on top of the Burda standard bodice. On the right: All my adjustments!
I used Christine Haye's tutorial for adjusting for a fuller bust and it was great. Very clear with excellent instruction. However, I have always found with any standard fba adjustment there always ends up being too much extra room right under the bustline.
Pinning out the excess fabric. You can kinda see the black thread where the original darts were
A very rough version of the original dart (in blue) and the extra amount I took out form each side (red.)
Adjusted bodice with the underbust taken in.
After making up a muslin, I pinned out the excess fabric and re-sewed the darts. I ended up taking in an additional 1/4 inch from each side seam. It fit better, but not perfect. The above is a picture of the bodice in a standard every day bra. Lesson 1 learned: Make a muslin using the bra you plan to wear the bodice with. With my longline bra, the fit is better. I swear.
All in all I am EXCITED. I already went through the pattern catalog once. It took over an hour and I was going fast. I cannot wait to get into it and dissect everything... as well as finally get to sewing!
Now... to go invest in about 500 yards of muslin...