Vintage nightie collection, Simplicity 6047

9 Nov

Ok so I have a bit of a thing for the babydoll with bloomers style of nightie. This make, however, is simply a top.

I was inspired greatly by Amanda of Bimble and Pimble‘s Alice top make. So pretty, yet so cool and comfortable. I made three tops from vintage nightie patterns as a result, two more yet to be blogged about.) It’s become one of my favourite tops.

As you can see I cut the neckline out a bit for coolness, making sure the lines of the neck opening worked well with the shape of the yoke.

I kept the very puffed sleeves, of course – as explained before, it’s an Anne of Green Gables thang :-) The first time I wore it I kept seeing the huge puffs out of the corner of my eye and felt quite self concious. But I decided not to adjust them because, well, puffed sleeves! Now after the nth time wearing it I adore them.

MOMSPatterns Vintage Sewing Patterns - Simplicity 6047 Vintage 70's Sewing Pattern SWELL Mod Babydoll Pajamas, Puff Sleeve Micro Mini Dress Blouse, Panties, Nightgown, Maxi Gown Size 10:

I couldn’t get a shot that showed the very pretty yellow trim around the edges of the yoke, but rest assured, it’s there :-)

I’m stoked by the back. I am definitely improving at adjusting for my short back. (More than just a sway back. I’m very short, or maybe just flat, in my middle back.)

The skirt is my basic skirt pattern I’ve made a million times before, this time in denim based on a skirt I found in an op shop from Glassons years ago. Such a classic style, like the original, I’m wearing it frequently. Long splits at each side make it beautifully cool, even for denim.

One last photo, showing the top with a sash at the waist, my favourite way of wearing it. And sleepwalking is my favourite way of taking mirror-photos ;-P

Like my garden? I’m so happy with the lime in the left of the outdoor pictures. It is giving a steady crop of little Tahitian limes. Half a lime in a glass of cool water. Mmmm!


Vintage nightie collection No.1

1 Nov

Last year I joined the Vintage Pattern Pledge, which got me finally using some of my coveted but never sewn vintage patterns. It was so much fun this year I just kept sewing up vintage patterns. Most of them so far this year have been nighties. Well, variations on a vintage nightie them.

Apart from the appeal of living in one’s jammies or nighties, the general lack of figure-huggingness makes up into clothing just perfect for the heat and humidity that characterises my home, Darwin.

Style 3010 vintage nightie pattern dress

Teal butterflies! What more can a girl want? Well, enough fabric left on the roll to make a dress. Lacking that I just bought what was left, and realised when I shopped my stash it went beautifully with this turquoise linen. I was a bit worried the linen would be hot but it’s loose weave so it’s actually quite breezy.

I used Style 3010

style 3010 sewing pattern - Google Search

It’s a bit of a coffin-nightie. The back is a basic shift dress, not empire line like the front. Not sure if the designer thought it would be more comfortable in bed? The back of the negligee was empire-line however, so I used that instead. The sleeve has a smooth head but I always need to increase in the bicep, which usually ends up accidentally increasing the sleeve head. Rather than adjust it back out, I usually just gather it up. It’s an Anne of Green Gables thang ;-P

Style 3010 vintage nightie pattern dress

The skirt’s a bit wider than the pattern too. I’m not as skinny in the hips compared to waist and bust as the pattern seemed to think a woman ought to be, so I just used double the width of the fabric. I think it came out looking close to the original style.

My only real issue with this is the bust dart. Creating my usual FBA, I decided to split the dart into two. I had considered rotating some of the extra out at the side-front of the bodice. That’s very easy in an empire top but the pattern had hardly any of the bust shaping there and I wanted to stay true to the style out of curiousity more than anything.

The two darts were very hard to get sitting just right. In the end I went for ‘the best I can achieve while keeping my sanity’. The sides just kept puffing out. Faffing with it after it was finished revealed it’s due to being a bit big across the front, rather than having two darts being the problem. But hey, it’s a nightie-dress. Loose is good! And I’ve learnt something for next time.

Here’s my favourite picture. No I wasn’t doing ballet (not then anyway ;-P), I was picking a black thread off the skirt I’d noticed as my picture was being taken!

Style 3010 vintage nightie pattern dress

A christmas vintage nightie

20 Oct

My sister in law Sandra has long been a fan of my vintage nighties. I’m planning on making her a christmas present of  a pretty floral vintage nightie of her own. And as she wants to learn to sew better, but hasn’t had much chance to learn, as part of her present I’ll give her the nightie pattern and a tutorial on how to sew one herself.

My main issue is fit – she lives some thousands of kilometres away. Badly organised of us, isn’t it :-( Sandra’s sending me a top that fits her to help me get the size right. I’ve been trying to figure out a pattern for her – my go-to vintage nightie pattern is originally a vintage (ie tiny!) size 10. I’ve upsized it to fit me, but I don’t feel confident it can upsize further (She’s a tad bigger than me) while keeping the integrity of the pattern. You know how it is! Patterns can be sized up or down approximately 2 sizes, but usually not more before the fit gets so warped you have to start over again with a bigger or smaller draft.

I’ve been looking for a solution… and I found this in a local charity-run op-shop.
Isn’t it deliciously hideous???

Simplicity 7944 womens nightgown and robe by RavensNestPatterns, $8.00:

It’ll probably be too big (given it’s modern sizing, thus huge …) But between it, my go-to pattern, and her nicely-fitting top, I feel confident I can create a decent nightie pattern. Here’s my tiny-sized vintage go-to nightie pattern, isn’t it pretty?

It makes up like this:

And this:

I reckon I know how to turn Hideous into Pretty. There are two big differences between the patterns:

1)Hideous has a very full, straight skirt, Pretty has a gently-gathered, moderately-full at the top, a-line skirt.

2)Hideous has a yoke that comes across from the front of the armscye, Pretty’s yoke goes just underneath the armscye. I know from a pattern similar to Hideous but much prettier (also, sadly a tiny size) shown below, a yoke finishing at the mid-armscye can look Pretty, and is also roomy for sleeping in. My go-to yoke under the arm pattern can be restricting across the upper bust when wriggling in your sleep like I do. Mid-armscye yokes have their merits.

Hmm…. I notice this pattern’s skirt is also a moderately-full A-line.

A minor difference between Hideous and Pretty, is how the gathers are arranged. Hideous is gathered evenly across the yoke. Pretty has them gathered where the fullness is actually needed – above each bust. The back gathers are concentrated in the centre, which also looks pretty.

Then there’s the pattern art. Pretty’s pattern art uses Very Pretty Fabrics. Hideous’s pattern art uses, well, hideous fabric. I can’t imagine that blue fabric being anything other than ugly, staticy harsh nylon stable knit of the type my Granny would be very familiar with. Ugh.

But that needn’t bother anyone as, of course, Sandra’s nightie is going to be made in Very Pretty Fabric!

Oh, and the Hideous pattern cost 20c. The woman at the counter tried to charge me only 10c.I said ‘Oh it said patterns were 20c.’
‘Oh! … Well I’d better charge you 20c then!’
‘Yes I think you ought to!’


ETA: My beloved partner proofreader seemed to think the Hideous pattern wasn’t all that Hideous, really. Well, each to their own, I think it’s Hideous :-P

A fascination with vintage nighties

13 Oct

A sewing friend’s 10 yr old daughter is interested in learning to sew. They’ve decided to start with bags and move on to a nightie.


Of course, I have to do what I can to help my friend inspire her daughter to sew! Thus, I’ve been er *cough* researching nighties all afternoon. My tastes tend towards vintagey, old-fashionedy stuff, so that’s what I was *coughs* researching… I’m sure a 10 yr old will find them as fascinating as I do, right? Right!

There are a number of basic types of nightie patterns – I tried to find versions with appealing pattern envelope art but if necessary, ignore the art and just look at the lines of the garment. All these are for sale on Etsy, at varying prices.
Yoked – straight-ish, v-necked or roundish
Simplicity 8198 Misses Nightgown and Robe Pattern, Two Lengths, Size 14

McCalls 3155 1980s Misses Pullover Tent Dress Muu Muu Pattern Scoop Sweetheart Neck Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern Size XL B 44 46 UNCUT

Simplicity 5030 1970s Misses Baby Doll Pajamas Nightgown Pattern Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern Size Medium Bust 34 36 OR Small Bust 31 32

Simplicity 6047 misses size 14 bust 36" waist 28" Nightgown shortie PJ pajamas loungewear vintage Sewing Pattern
So many fancy variations on the yoke theme.

Kwik Sew 994 1970s Misses Evening Length Nightgown Pattern Raglan Sleeve Womens Sewing Pattern Size xs s m l Bust 31 - 41 UNCUT
1920s Women"s Nightgown Dress Lingerie Sewing Pattern Minerva 5783 Bust 34
7237 Simplicity petite 6 Miss Pattern Misses Nightgown in Two Lengths Panties Vintage 1975 Uncut

OOP Folkwear Sewing Pattern 224 Beautiful Dreamer Womens NIghtgown Size 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 Bust 30 1/2 to 42 UnCut 1900s Nightgowns
Vintage nightdress pajamas & sleepsuit sewing pattern - Style 3388 - size 10 - 12 - 14 - 16 ( 32.5" - 34" - 36" - 38" bust) - 1981 - unused
Kwik Sew 876 1970s Misses Kimono Sleeve Peignoir and Nightgown Pattern Womens Vintage Sewing Patterns Size S M L XL Bust 32 - 45 UNCUT


This gorgeous crochet-yoked nightie was from a magazine pattern illustration. You can find crochet yoke patterns here:
EARLY 1900"s COTTON NIGHTGOWN dress under layer L

Then there’s the straight thru, one-piece types.
1969 Sew-Knit-N-Stretch 214 Ladies Nightgown Sizes S-M-L Kerstin Martensson Baby Doll Nightgown Sewing Pattern Misses PJ Pattern u

This one is one-piece straight through but some views have elastic to pull it in under waist to create an empire look.
Size 8&10 Vintage 60s Misses" Baby Doll Nightgown In 2 Lengths Jiffy Simplicity Sewing Pattern 8252 Sizes 8 10

So uninspiring! Kwik Sew art just doesn’t do it for me…
Kwik Sew 2239 Misses Tank Style Nightgown and Camisole PatternLingerie Womens Sewing Pattern Size XS S M L XL Bust 31 - 45 UNCUT

I’m in love with this one and may have to either buy it or work out how to draft it myself.
Kwik Sew 993 1980s Misses Evening Length V Neck Nightgown Pattern Lettuce Edging Womens Sewing Pattern Size xs s m l Bust 31 - 41 UNCUT

Empire line is another classic nightie style, but its success as a wearable garment, I’ve always felt, depends on having perky boobs, which I don’t. Probably not so much of an issue for my friend’s 10yr old :-P Here are some pretty variations!
Kwik Sew 717 1970s Misses LINGERIE Pattern Full Slip Pattern Lettuce Edging Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern Size s m l xl Bust 32 - 43 UNCUT
Simplicity 1136 1940s Ladies Lingerie Pattern Misses Nightgown Negligee Pattern Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern Size 12 Bust 30
Vogue 8887 / Vintage 70s Sewing Pattern / Nightgown Empire Gown Babydoll Pajamas Panties / Size 12 Bust 34
Never Used Pattern Pieces 1940s Butterfly Nightgown Anne Cabot"s Needlecraft Corner 5138 All 3 Sizes Possible

Some are (often strange) conglomerations of many style details.
1940s yoke and cut on sleeve fancy thingie. Or is it a raglan-sleeve straight-through nightie?
Vintage 50s Nightgown Pattern New York 1210 Size 17 Bust 35 UNCUT
1980s glam girl!

Sexy ROBE & NIGHTGOWN, UNCUT, F/F, Size 16-18, Bust 38"- 40", Butterick 4669.
1942 Simplicity 4456 Size Bust 34 Hip 37 Casablanca-Style Womens Nightgown Sewing Pattern Vintage Sewing Pattern Supply Lana Turner Gown

Then there are the ‘wtf you’re planning to sleep in that?’ nightie styles. (I think the above might qualify for this category too.)
VTG McCall"s 4731 Misses V Plunge Nightgown and Pinafore Look Nightgown Pattern, Size Petite, UNCUT

Yes this WAS designed as a nightie!

Vintage Simplicity 4980 1950s nightgown pattern Bust 30 shelf bust tie shoulder fitted waist Full skirt Grecian peasant dress

So was this!
Kwik Sew 1813 1980s Misses Lace NIGHTGOWN Pattern Drop Waist Overlay Skirt Womens Vintage Sewing Pattern Size xs s m l Bust 31 - 41 UNCUT


A few clothes from way back when…

30 Sep

Going through my photos the other day, I found some from the first digital camera I ever had. I’d gone through the clothes I owned and photographed them with it. So easy! So cheap compared to film cameras! Such lousy quality compared to digital cameras nowadays!


Just for fun here are some of them…


Top: op-shop

Skirt: bottom part of a Donna Karen Vogue 1634 from an op-shop

I’ve still got this skirt, though these photos were taken ten years ago. Every so often I put it away, sick of it. I mean it IS lasting forever! (Linen-rayon blend from Spotlight, for the curious.) Then every so often I dig it out again and wear it. It’s hanging in my wardrobe as I type, last worn two weeks ago.

It started life as the actual dress. The pattern calls for a knit, but my fabric was a woven with a bit of stretch, which worked just fine. However the dress never seemed to get worn in spite of the beautiful fabric (that pattern is embroidered on). Too short? not right in the shoulders? I could never work it out. It worked much better as a skirt. Please also adore my black tango dancing shoes. So beautiful.

I loved it as a skirt so much I made another one, out of a ‘shot’ cotton fabric also from Spotlight (Most of my fabric was in those days. Buying fabric online was still in its infancy, so it was either Spotlight or nabbed when fabric-shopping on a trip down south.) I love love love shot fabric. It gives even the most humble of cottons a luxurious sheen as you move. For the record I made another skirt in this pattern out of a forest green rayon faille, that was just as well-loved and beautiful as these two skirts.

The last bellydancing performance I did, I made this outfit up for myself. All stuff from Spotlight :-P I think I’m trying to rearrange my hold on the veil, using my mouth, hence the slightly odd pose! I know the skirt was circular and the veil semicircular, the hip scarf had a nice curved hem edged with a silver fringe, but I’ve no idea what pattern I used for the t-shirt!

Another garment that got a facelift. I found this gorgeous blue china style of fabric on trip to Melboure. I made it into these long trousers in the pattern shown below it, one of my TNT patterns from waaaay back (early 1990s and still using it!) I promptly got ill and shrank out of them :-( It sat around forever teasing me with its prettiness and too-hot-to-wearedness (due to the full length of the trousers. I never learn…). Last year sometime I refitted them and turned them into shorts I now wear often. (The top is an op-shop top. Looks like I was falling out of it :-D)

I think this was the first, or perhaps second pinafore dress I made out of the pattern shown below. It’s quick, it’s easy, it looks great and if I wear it with a sleeveless top, it’s surprisingly cool. I have lost count of how many I’ve made now. Over 5 at least! This one was in a beautiful linen.

There are so many more clothes I have pictures of. It’s been a nice trip down memory lane. I’ll do another post like this sometime …

Eulogy for a sewing companion

17 Sep

4 weeks ago today I lost my beloved HattieCattie. For almost 15 1/2 yrs she ruled my life with an iron paw only sometimes wrapped in velvet. I loved her so much.

From the very first day she graced my life, she was as fascinated and involved in sewing as I am. Countless hours sewing with her help, countless kilometres of seams supervised by her soon-competent eye. So many flimsy paper patterns strategically ripped and chewed to reflect her discerning style.

I had so much planned to write about her. How startlingly, unexpectedly graceful she grew from such a scruffy scrap of kittenhood. Explain how her (often scary, frequently blood-drawing) iron paw never once made me love her less. How I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through the worst of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder without her purrs and love. But I can’t write … the words are starting to swim on the screen.

HattieCattie, I love you so so so much.

Folkwear’s Russian Settler’s dress: Sarafan

22 Mar

A bit late for last year’s Vintage Pattern Pledge, but hey, it’s done! And please to also admire my lovely overgrown garden :-) It’s about 3 times bigger out there now, the middle of the wet, than it was when these piccies were taken towards the beginning of the wet season. This picture was taken on a dark cloudy day in murky light, but the camera picked up all that glare. Inneresting…

Oh wait, this is a sewing blog? Not gardening? oh ok then…

I used this lovely pattern from Folkwear:


The construction is supposed to be very straightforward. Two rectangles of fabric, the front one with a bit of shaping at the top for the waist. I added in a dart at bust-level to accommodate my D-cup bust, however I could have gotten away without it.

I accidentally adding some shaping round the waist and hips, where the pattern is literally straight down. I cut it a bit wrong then to fix it I needed to add to the hips. I wish I’d been able to make it without that hip shaping. I figure why bother making something different to your usual fare then accidentally make it half-similar after all. Ah well…

The pleats were also straightforward, till I misread the tape measure (dyslexia, honest!) and thus miscounted. Lots of faffing round and eyeballing it eventually got it Good Enough. In the notes on the history of the Russian Settler’s sarafan it says the women making them would do the pleats completely by eyeballing it, creating a mass of tiny pleats. Wow. I’m impressed!

I brought the ribbons up from where they were indicated on the pattern and still they held the pleats down to my waist. I was after more of an empire-line skirt. More swishy. Butterflies need to swirl!

Sarafans usually have two straps from the front, joining as one in the centre-back. I made two so I could wear it with a bra, without a top on underneath the dress.

Preparing the pleats – a task impossible without the help of a sewing-cat …

All pleated fairly evenly. Finally!

Getting distracted by a ta-ta lizard on the screen door

The pattern said traditionally the hem is finished with rows of ribbons and matching lace. I envisioned it with a good few inches of lace, but the only matching lace was very narrow, though prettily gathered. So I used the same fabric as the chest bands and shoulder straps as a ruffle to add to the effect. I may or may not be a total sucker for ruffles of any sort :-P

This photo makes me laugh, I look like I’m Receiving The Light! However I wanted to show how flat the front is on this style of dress. I wanted something different to my usual fitted silhouette and I got it :-) I love how the fabric released from the pleats curls over the hips and flares nicely.

Lovely, isn’t it?

It just had one major flaw. So major in fact that I’ve cut the top band off and will remake it as a Tina Givens-style lagenlook-y dress (Well that’s the plan, at least.)

In butterfly purple and grey   A sort of modern does 1920s dress. Greta dress by Tina Givens

The flaw? Look at the hemline in the above photo, the front is higher than the back. It wasn’t sewn that way, but there’s twice as much fabric in the back as front, so gravity pulls the whole dress backwards after only a few minutes of wear (or adjustment). The front chest band rides up nearly to the neck. It was SO uncomfortable. I tried some lingerie straps to help anchor it, they didn’t work at all. I considered a waist stay but the loose nature of the dress made that inappropriate. It’s actually a similar issue to the realities of the Walkaway Dress that so many people found. The heavy back pulls the whole thing out of alignment.


And it was such a pretty pretty dress *mourns*

To be fair to the pattern there’s one version with equal amounts of fabric front and back. I’m sure that would have worked out just fine.

I am sure I can create something equally lovely, maybe even with better swirl for the butterflies on the fabric to swirl beautifully. But I’m still very very sad about this not working :-(

Mind you, there’s a definite satisfaction in just having made the dress, and all those pleats! And I have the photos to prove it :-P