Haven’t you fantasized about being a 1930’s woman wearing that elegant dress that your favorite Hollywood actress wore during her time? Perhaps you're looking forward to sewing your own dropped-waist dress, just like the ones which were in style during the early ‘1920s. If so, let's take a quick look at the possibility of sewing vintage clothing during the time of Information Technology.
(See our recent article The Wandering Waistline Explained for more the dropped-waist and other vintage styles.)
Patterns for Sewing Vintage Clothing are Readily Available on the Internet:
When we say vintage clothing, we refer to garments that were in style between 20 and 100 years ago that are representative of their era. They are either used, manufactured, handmade or new, which means it comes from dead stock. It's important to take note that the meaning of vintage is fluid and can change every decade and that some vintage dresses eventually become antique.
Well, if you like vintage dresses you're in luck because nowadays, with the use of the internet and its popularity, it's becoming a lot easier to get ahold of vintage sewing patterns. You can now easily browse the internet and find a lot of web sites engaged in the buying and selling of vintage patterns, so you can sew your own vintage dress.
The Difference between Reproduction and Original Vintage Sewing Patterns:
Some vintage sewing patterns are reproductions, while others are considered original. Reproduction vintage patterns are replicas of vintage sewing patterns that usually come with instructions or patterns that are already graded into multiple sizes. These patterns are admittedly easier to handle.
Working with original vintage patterns, on the other hand, can be intimidating because they come in delicate envelopes and on fragile paper. In addition, they are quite different from the patterns that we are accustomed to working with nowadays. Take note, however, that the sewing experience with the original vintage sewing pattern can be a delightful experience. Working with the intricate details and flattering designs of the previous years is definitely a sewing experience that you won't easily forget.
Introduction to Vintage Sewing Terminology:
To become familiar with the world of vintage clothing and dresses, in particular, let's learn some vintage vocabulary. Knowing how to speak “vintage” will certainly help you create that elegant dress from the past.
- Continuous lap refers to a strip of fabric that's cut on the straight grain. It is usually used to face the edges of the garment’s slit or opening.
- Toile is a French word that refers to a certain fabric pattern, although it originally refers to a test garment made from muslin.
- Plait is a collection of thin pleats applied around the opening of the neck, at the hem of a dress or at the end of the sleeves.
- Jabot refers to a ruffle attached to the front of a garment and commonly used to provide an accent.
- Slide-fastener is actually the original word for a zipper.
- True bias refers to a fabric cut at a precisely 45-degree angle to the grainline of the fabric.
I hope this article inspires you to sew that vintage dress that you've been fantasizing about. I'm sure that if you set your heart on it, you'll learn more about the ins and outs of sewing vintage clothing. Soon, you'll be able to wear an elegant garment that's like a vision from the past.
Places to Buy Vintage Sewing Patterns
One of the best places to find an inspiring collection of vintage sewing patterns for sale is on Etsy. Here's a short list of some of the best shops for vintage sewing patterns and sewing vintage clothing. Enjoy!