Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Vintage 2.012

“Vintage” style is so prevalent in mainstream trends at the moment, that at first I found it difficult to decide how to update a “Vintage Vogue” pattern to bring it in to the modern era. That quandary made the premise of the Sew Today competition all the more intriguing to me.  After all, the fact that these vintage patterns have been reissued alone shows that they are still relevant and appealing to women in today’s era.  

The task was seemingly simple: take a Vintage Vogue pattern and update it by any means you wish.  No limits on how it was to be updated: embellishment, alteration, appliqué, accessories, you name it.  Funny how having a lot of choice sometimes makes things more difficult...  

I knew I wanted to enter this competition as soon as I saw it, as it represented a real challenge to me.  I often do not give myself free reign to create, but like it when I summons the courage to do so!  Plus, the drawing in the magazine spread of the updated pattern was so appealing – I wanted to create something that stylish!  At first, looking through the patterns was scary – they all seemed so perfect as they were, so why should I change them and how would changes make them more modern, let alone not better?

I decided to focus on a current trend and let that help put some parameters on my design.  A walk through any shop on the high street, or a glance at any magazine will attest to the fixation that Brits have with letting their hair down over summer, preferably at a festival of some sort; especially so this year, what with the Jubilee, Wimbledon, Olympics, Paralympics and plethora of music festivals.  One trend that seems to be transcending all of these events is the jumpsuit.  For something that is pretty impractical to wear, this trend has had some serious staying power! 

Armed with this idea, I set about assessing patterns for their suitability, and honed in on these three (L-R:  Vintage Vogue 1044, 8812, 2960).

Lunchtimes at work were happily spent amending line drawings to show what each dress might look like as a jumpsuit.  Ultimately, I decided on 2960 in the end as the portrait neckline is flattering and flirty (and great for catching a tan) whereas I felt the other two would result in jumpsuits more suited to children (just in an adult size!).

This pattern is fun to sew.  The bodice panels are designed to fit the body really well, and the waist isn’t as nipped in as the drawing would suggest.  The pattern includes bound buttonholes with thorough instructions, and period appropriate seam finishes.
I altered the pattern by:
  • Inserting a full lining – my fashion material was quite thin and I wanted something to give it more heft and to stop it being see-through.  Using a white lining also meant that the colours in the plaid and the strawberries were more vibrant.
  • Hand finishing my buttonholes – humouring the “shabby chic” feel of the material by adding a layer of handcraft to my project
  • Binding the edge of the facings – lemon yellow satin bias binding around the bottom of the facings to continue the “shabby chic” idea (lemon and white is a lovely colour combination)
  • Dropping the waist to hip height – not so many of our clothes focus on the waist these days, so dropping the waist to hip-height helped to bring the pattern into 2012
  • Replacing the skirt with a pair of shorts – full, mid calf skirts are not worn by many women in 2012; but short shorts are!   I included pleats in mine for wearing ease and pockets for usefulness.
  • Hemming the shorts with lace – the final step in pulling the “shabby chic” ensemble together
Swapping out a skirt for shorts is fairly easy.  The main things to consider are: height of the shorts and circumference of the shorts compared to the bodice.  The shorts must be sufficiently long in the torso to ensure they fit and are comfortable (you don’t want to be giving yourself a wedgie after all) and the circumferences of the shorts and bodice need to match at the waist to make sure they fit together properly.
So how does it look?  Here you go! 

I tell you what; this process has taught me how hard it must be to be a model - I felt like SUCH a dork having these photos taken and actually called it quits before we were finished!

Pictures from: Vogue, and photos from Mr. CT!


  1. I love it! I normally am mildly romperphobic, but this has such an adorable retro feel- very sweet!
    Most of my 'photo shoots' end with me chanting, 'please be done, I feel done' to the husband!

  2. glad I'm not alone on the photo front - it's probably the only thing my husband and I exchange heated words over!

  3. I've really enjoyed reading about how youve created ths take on the vintage styling...don't worry about the photo shoots, over time you'll discover how to make it most comfy or you...in the meantime what a great play suit....so impressed by your creativity. Good luck with the competition :-)

    1. Thanks Scruffy! Maybe I should take a leaf out of your book for the photos - yours always make me smile. Glad you enjoyed the story too :-)


Thank you for stopping by!