Monday, June 30, 2014

Curvy Month Pattern: High Fashion, circa 1950s

Welcome to Curvy Month! A month of free vintage knitting patterns in larger sizes, for the curvy knitter.

To start us off, here is a very fashionable jumper with a killer fifties fit from 'Twinprufe High Fashion for Larger Sizes'.

free vintage knitting patterns 1950s xl 38 40 42

The jumper has the fabulous addition of taffeta ribbon to the neckline (ooh la la) but you could achieve the same effect with some nicely hemmed, stiff fabric.

In three sizes, 38", 40" and 42", and knitted using fingering weight yarn on 2mm and 3mm needles.
(to open a larger copy, right click the image and select 'open in a new tab')

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Tutorial 1: Changing the 'Smooth Sailing' Blouse - Puffy Sleeves

My favourite, go-to shirt pattern has to be 'Smooth Sailing' from Wearing History.

I have used the pattern a whopping ten times - so often, that I don't even blog about them anymore! It always works, looks flattering and doesn't take a lot of fabric.

But how about some changes for something interesting? Over the few weeks, I'll share some easy pattern variations I've made - including a 1940's pocket design and full length bishop sleeves.

But first - changing an existing sleeve to a full Puffy Sleeve is very easy - and I'll show you my quick and dirty way to do it!

The Smooth Sailing (SS) sleeve is gathered (puffed) at the top, and fitted around the bicep. My variation is slightly different by also being puffed around the bicep, and gathered into a sleeve band.

I'm actually following the steps here, View C from Dress Design, Draping and Flat Pattern Making by Hillhouse and Mansfield (circa 1948) - right click to embiggen in a new tab:

(I'm going to assume that you already know how to sew and are comfortable with basic pattern adjustments).

The SS sleeve already has the puffiness allowance at the top, so we only need to add it to the bottom.

Step 1: trace out a copy of the SS sleeve onto something that you can cut - I like plain interfacing as it doesn't tear. Make sure you transfer all markings.
 Mark five lines top to bottom, fairly evenly apart (you don't have to be 100% accurate as the puff allows some fudging).

Step 2: Cut the lines from the bottom of the sleeve, to the top. Don't cut through the last 2mm as you still want them to be barely attached.

Spread the slashes apart your desired distance. In my sleeves, I did 3/4 of an inch per slash, but the choice is yours.

Step 3: Trace around the outside of the pattern, and transfer the original pattern markings/notches.

Step 4: Now you need to add a puff allowance to the bottom. If you don't add this to the centre bottom of the sleeve, they won't puff properly. 

Mark a spot along the bottom in the exact centre at least 1.5 inches away from the original sleeve edge (The Design and Draping book suggests 2 inches). Carefully draw a curved line from one edge, down to the new spot, and back up to the other side.
Fold pattern down the middle to find the new straight grain line.

Step 4: Measure around your bicep for the sleeve band - make sure you add at least half an inch ease.

The band will be cut on the bias then folded down the middle, so make sure you factor that in.

I.e. I wanted a band that was 2cm high. So my finished depth was 2cm + 2cm + seam allowance on both edges = finished depth of 7cm.
My band length was 35cm + seam allowance = 38cm long.

Step 5 : Your new puff sleeve pattern is complete!

To finish the lower edge of the sleeve:
- sew the band's shorter edges together.
- sew side seams of the sleeve
- gather the lower edge of the sleeve, starting and finishing about an inch away from the side seam
- sew the band to the gathered edge (right sides together), adjusting gathers to fit nicely
- fold the seam allowance down on the other long edge, and stitch onto the wrong side of the sleeve (I like stitch-in-a-ditch here)


1940's rayon I've been saving for this style of blouse

I hope that made sense, and if you have any questions let me know!

Coming up - Tutorial 2: An Interesting Pocket Design.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Curvy Month Ahoy!

Hello lovelies!
It's nearly July - and that means Curvy Month is coming!

For all you curvy, vintage-loving knitters out there - 10 free vintage knitting patterns, in bust size 36 inches or greater.

As always, I'll have patterns from the 1930s-1950s - so mark your calendars and oil up your knitting needles!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Outfit: Tea and Taffeta

It's been a while since I've done an outfit post, so here goes...

1950s maxan taffeta dress miss l fire rosita plus size vintage red xl evening bakelite lucite sydney the rocks

Last weekend we went to High Tea, and it was finally cool enough to wear a thick taffeta afternoon dress without overheating! It's also a rare chance to dress up in something fabulous during the day.

Our favourite place for High Tea is The Tea Cosy - right in the middle of the oldest part of Sydney, called The Rocks.

The Rocks is the site of the first European settlement in Australia, and you can feel the years of history in the surroundings. If you stick to the back streets, there's hardly any tourists and much more interesting things to see (in my opinion).

The 1950s dress I chose is from Mode'O'Day, and has fabulous dolman sleeves, with a front split  to reveal a satin underskirt.

I'd been chasing a dress made from this iconic striped taffeta for what felt like ages, and finally found one in my size on Etsy (and in my price range). It must have been a popular fabric, as I've found another dress exactly the same here. And here's some similar dresses in the same fabric here and here.

It was definitely worth the chase, as I feel so glamorous wearing it!

1950's taffeta dress - Trove Vintage
1940 lucite 'B' brooch - Etsy
Red heels - Miss L Fire Rosita
Red wicker handbag - Chicago
Jewellery - various

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Free Knitting Pattern: Marilla, a 1950s cardigan with a twist

I know that it's warming up in the Northern Hemisphere, but it's finally starting to cool down here in the antipodes...

To celebrate, today's free vintage knitting pattern comes from Patons No.406, and is knit using Patons Totem - a snuggly, DK weight yarn.

The cardigan is a great combination of bobbles, rib, lace and look at the twist at the neckline. Nothing boring here!
Sized for 33-34in and 36-37in busts.

Hope you enjoy it!

free vintage knitting patterns 1950s cardigan patons 406

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