Tag Archive | vintage fashion

Vintage ’40s in Blue and Red

Although this dress is obviously influenced by years past, Bunny Bear Patterns describes her design, “Soda Pop,” as vintage 1940s.  I’m no expert, but I see this more like the 1950s or even the 1960s. The clothes from all these years make me happy, so I guess the point is moot. Here is the dress:


The bodice fit is this pattern’s best feature. I love the darts in the front and back; few doll clothes patterns include darts. This pattern has no neck facing; it is impossible for me to make my work neat without a facing, or better yet, without a lining for the bodice. I lined the bodice and hand-stitched the hem of the cap sleeve and the lining for it.

For some reason, white collars have almost become a trademark of my doll dresses. I often spend time perusing fabric stores for white print on white so that I can easily mix the white collar or white blouse with a bolder print. This closeup view features this collar in all its glory. Hopefully, you can see the white design on the white background that is machine embroidered. I was a bit nervous about getting this collar even. A mistake is always more obvious with a white collar against a darker colored dress. This collar is just about perfect.

Here are some thoughts about sewing collars, lapels, pockets, ties, or any shape that is sewn together and turned right-side out. This is a bamboo point turner like the one I’ve used for several years. When I started sewing with more delicate fabrics, I added more point turners to my sewing tools. Amazon has a variety of them. In the past, I was so hung up about getting my collars or other items perfectly pointed that I’d accidentally stretch the fabric while trying to shape the corner. I’m learning to hold back. This particular collar was a challenge because the embroidered fabric added bulk to the seam. I trimmed the seam very close to the point before turning the collar. Then I was careful when I turned the collar. My “point” is “round” at the end, but it looks pointed from a distance.

point turner

This pattern suggests using 1/4-inch ribbon. I couldn’t grasp the idea of sewing two rows of stitch on delicate ribbon so I used 1/4-inch double-folded red bias tape. I’m getting pretty good at sewing on bias tape. In case you didn’t know, one side of double-folded bias tape is slightly wider than the other side.


If you sew on the narrow side, you will be certain to catch both sides without falling off the under side edge. Further more, if you try different presser feet, you can find one that makes sewing very close to the edge easy. I didn’t go off track once with this sewing project. My stitching is not perfect, but it is close to it.


I’d planned to attach two bows to this finished dress, as the pattern suggests. I’d purchased ribbon that matched the bias tape thinking the similar colors would fool the eye. But I realized that my ribbon was 3/8-inch wide, 1/8-inch too wide. It didn’t look right. I decided to fall back on my favorite rose that I learned to make with McCall’s 6875.

This dress is unequivocally one of my favorite projects EVER. I give the pattern designer much credit for this sweet dress. However, I think the pattern requires lots of experience because the photos aren’t as clear as they could be. I can usually get by relying on the instructions, but I’ve sewn many dresses and only need guidance on the details. I think the pattern would be better if the bodice were lined, like I lined mine. The neck should at least have a facing. Otherwise, there’s just a small clipped 1/4-inch seam on the other side of the neckline.


You might be able to see how straight my stitching is in the photo above, especially with the red thread on the white lining. I’m not bragging about my talent; I’m showing you a skill I have learned, not based on talent; it’s based on trial and error and figuring out what to focus on in order to sew in a straight line. In this case, the edge of my presser foot lined up close to the edge of the bias tape. I still have trouble controlling the presser foot when I’m sewing over something too thick for the feed dog to work properly. In that case, I’m liable to go off the edge or get stuck.

A little word about using Velcro. I’ve tried pinning it on, and/or basting it, but pushing straight pins through the Velcro and the layers of the garment is difficult, even risky. I’d always stab myself. Now, I use one straight pin for general placement only, and then I hold the strip of Velcro in place with my fingers as I stitch it. I start sewing somewhere in the middle of the long side of the strip, instead of the end; this way the Velcro doesn’t shift out-of-place while I’m stitching over the bumpy beginning of the strip.


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soda pop clip art

Pink on Pink Ruffled Dress

I love this colorful dress, but while sewing it, I realized that I don’t enjoy gathering skirts that much. I will continue to make skirts that are gathered but this one has two rows of gathers, one on top of the other.


For this reason, this dress was a challenge that required much patience. I tried to line up both tiers and gather them together, but—as you may guess—the ruffles lost their personality when lined up together. On the other hand, as careful as I was, after I’d attached the top ruffle to the bodice, I noticed that the bottom ruffle had unraveled away from the body (bodice), and there was no quick fix. I had to take everything apart and regather both tiers.

This pattern by Eden Ava Couture is influenced by vintage 1930s fashion. However, once I cut out the dress, I decided to use a different collar. I took the removable collar from a different Eden Ava Couture dress that I previously made, added it to this dress and sewed three buttons to the color.

I also trimmed the bottom of the drop-waisted bodice; I didn’t like the way it was cut. Let me say that I like the style of Eden Ava Couture patterns, and I admire anyone who is brave enough to create a pattern and offer it for sale. It’s like publishing a book. Credit goes to those who do. So far, my patterns are not ready for sale, so I don’t want to slam Eden Ava. You can go to Pixie Fair patterns and find other Eden Ava patterns and judge for yourself. I love the Vintage Silhouette Dress with the removable collar.

Here’s another look at this dress with a hat.


I added the same hat that I often make. I can practically make this while I’m blindfolded.

Don’t you think these pink clogs are cute? They have a little push-in button that hooks the back strap to the shoe, making it easy to get dressed.

I always line my doll clothes whenever possible. Here’s a view of the inside of this dress and the Velcro fastener on the back.


I think that this 1/2-inch double-folded bias tape on the edge of each ruffle creates a nice effect. In this case, I was able to use some printed (pink checked) bias tape that I found in my personal collection of ribbon and tape.


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DO_Swirly Stem3

Vintage Silhouette Dress

This Silhouette Dress, by Eden Ava Couture, was inspired by a 1956 dress by the Advance Pattern Company. I dressed my 1930s doll Kit in this dress because I think it looks more like a dress from the Depression Era.


The seams are difficult to see in this photo but the skirt has seven sections, making it almost circular, and giving this empire dress a beautiful shape. This is one of the few doll dresses I’ve made that has plenty of room for the back closure, but the roominess does not take away the shape.

The white pique collar is removable. I have a glorious stash of buttons, so I added these as an afterthought. The collar snaps in back.

I serged most of my seams. Unfortunately, most Velcro will snag the serged edges. Although I used Velcro here that is “snagless,” it still snags a bit. My goal is to use strictly zippers and buttons eventually. See the inside below:


A couple of comments about this pattern: I love it, and I will use it, over and over again. However, I think my dress turned out nicer than the dress on the pattern cover (see link above). Maybe I ironed mine better; maybe my choice of fabric was better. I added a row of top-stitching to the empire seam to make it lie flat. I also used a different sleeve pattern. I didn’t care for the way the pattern was cut, and I have several patterns for vintage dresses so I simply swapped the full sleeve out. I am happy with the results.

I almost always include a Beret with my vintage dresses. This Beret pattern is mine. This dress has the look of a 1930s dress when Berets were very popular (think of Bonnie Parker).

I added this bracelet from my favorite Etsy store, 2SistersSewCrafty, even though it’s a bit fancy for Kit.


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flower and ivy



Vintage Cherry Print Peplum

I’m back from break—with lots of beautiful new fabric for my 18-inch dolls.

I’m happy with this peplum top. The pattern is designed by Liberty Jane and available at Pixie Faire. This top was fun to make. It calls for a zipper but I didn’t have one that matched so I used Velcro. My plan is to eventually transition to buttons and zippers as much as I can to remove the bulk from the back of the garment. Although Velcro may seem convenient, it can be cumbersome; it is thick and difficult to penetrate with a needle or pins, especially if you want to baste the Velcro in place. Few patterns have a back seam that is wide enough for buttons and button holes. Adding a back zipper only requires 3/8 inches added to the seam (from 1/4 to 5/8).

This is my third time at making the “Phoebe” hat by Bonjour Teaspoon at Pixie Faire. This hat is a bit tight and is not forgiving if you bypass the 1/4-inch seam. If I make the hat a fourth time, I will increase the length of the side brim slightly.

I opted to reveal the red underneath side of this reversible hat in this photo so that my model isn’t swallowed up by red cherries that would match her top. Too matchy-matchy for the photo, but the outside of the hat does indeed match the peplum top.


Here’s another view of the hat below. I think I prefer this side—but not with the matching top. I removed the peplum top and left my model in a bra top to showcase the top of these red dotted Swiss peddle pushers and waistband. I love using elastic just in the back. The front waistband gives the pants shape.

This stunning bracelet comes from 2SistersSewCrafty. I just bought a couple of holiday pieces but couldn’t wait to show them.

I’m the “Carrie Bradshaw” of doll shoes. I can’t resist a good pair, and I have a sizable collection. However, what shoes would you choose for my model? Red? I have some cute red sandals, but when I place them on her feet, she becomes a red blob. Pink? The pink background of the hat and top isn’t enough to carry pink shoes. White? Not so much. If my model wears shoes, she’ll wear beige.


Here’s an inside view of this well-designed pattern that I will use again. Since I like to line all my tops, using a pattern with lining instructions is a big plus for me.


Since Marshmallowjane is fortunate to have several “models” for doll clothes,  we choose the model that is best for the garment. In this case the Madame Alexander doll doesn’t have visible neck and shoulder joints. This doll’s waist is slightly smaller than the waist of American Girl dolls. Her long dark hair shows off her hat, and the hat shows off her beautiful face.


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sewing machine


Vintage in Lavender

My original plan was to make doll clothes that mimic current fashion for little girls. I had little interest in old-fashioned dresses that (to me) look like prairie dresses. I’d wanted to focus on separates, and I especially wanted my doll clothes to be chic and trendy.

I have discovered that some current fashion does not suit an 18-inch doll’s body because American Girl and Madame Alexander have a shape that is boxy. I’ve always preferred these dolls over “Barbie” probably because I was just outgrowing (phase one of) my dolls when Barbie arrived upon the scene. I want a flat chest on my doll. I prefer a boyish figure for my doll.

I have found one characteristic of the 18-inch doll that creates a challenge for dressing her. This doll has a chunky/boxy back from the waist to the butt. She has no small of the back. Pants and skirts and clothes that reveal this boxy shape aren’t that fun for me to make. This is one reason that I prefer making dresses for American Girl.

Also, I love vintage clothes, particularly from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. The follow is a Heritage Doll Fashion that is sold by Pixie Faire.


As much as I like this dress pattern, the polka dot trims don’t stand out as much as I would like because the floral fabric is busy. Yet this same floral fabric warms my heart; it reminds me of a house dress my mother wore when I was a child. Here’s another view of the dress that shows a slightly better view of the waist placket.


This dress pattern is fairly straight-forward to follow. The biggest challenge is getting all the seams the same size (1/4 inch) so that the collar, sleeve cuffs, pocket trim, and plackets look perfectly even. I did not choose to use the front placket or the tied bow in the back of the dress.

I did not follow the directions for the side plackets or the pocket trims. I chose my method. Instead of pressing a 1/4-inch hem on every side of the placket, I cut two plackets (four all together) and sewed them right sides together, leaving a small opening so that I could turn the plackets right side out and press. My method is more accurate and neater (and therefore easier).

I enjoyed using this Heritage pattern. I also made another Heritage pattern that I call Vintage Blue and Beige.

I’m using my favorite doll jeweler called 2SistersSewCrafty at Etsy.


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flower with fairy