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Vintage Style: Sewing Inspiration

How to create a vintage style with modern patterns

‘But I don’t want to cut it!’ a few customers said to me at the October Knitting & Stitching show when I asked them what they had planned for the piece of vintage fabric they were buying. Often, customers only wanted to admire the piece. I completely understand the dilemma of loving a piece of fabric too much to risk making it into something that isn’t perfect. These beautiful fabrics need to be cut and sewn into a new outfit to be proud of or a soft furnishing to adorn the home. ‘DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT’ in orange text was hung from my stand at the show and it is so true when it comes to sewing. With this in mind, I’ve pulled together some dress pattern ideas to turn these beautiful vintage fabrics into styles that you can’t wait to wear. 

My stand neighbour at the Knitting & Stitching Show, Tilly & The Buttons have gone from strength to strength since being on the first ever Great British Sewing Bee. The Indigo smock pattern would show off this soft draped paisley fabric perfectly. In bright orange and cream, a statement piece with a nod to the 1960’s. Three metres of fabric available, sold as one piece for £35

Another neighbour but this time in East London, Paper Theory. They have managed to combat the impossible task of easy to wear but stylish designs for their patterns. The Zadie jumpsuit would look fab in this graphic poly/viscose fabric from the nineties. Black base with grey, white, mustard and red squares. £30 for 3 metres, there is just enough fabric for a full length jumpsuit.

A customer visited my stand at the K&S Show clutching a Maven French Dart dress pattern. The sample had been made in Barkcloth and we found a piece big enough for her replicate it. A boxy shaped shift dress with a high collar, it looks amazing in this textured fabric. I have two pieces of this blue Barkcloth that can be combined to make the dress. 130cm at £30 each

Back to the Great British Sewing Bee but this time the French syndicate, Cousu Main. Three of their finalists started Patrons Les BG to create patterns for modern menswear. I had lots of fun chatting to them at the K&S Show and bought this shirt pattern. Channel some of Tony Manero’s style and make the shirt with this 1970’s mercerised cotton. £35 for just over 2.5cm

I was glued to the Great British Bake Off but a bit distracted from the cooking by Steph’s shirts. Does she buy them vintage or make her own? Inspired by the loose comfortable fit I bought the Revere Blouse pattern from Til’ The Sun Goes Down. I’ve got a couple of 1980’s fabrics that would look amazing in this style. Including this pastel floral cotton, £21 for just under 2m.