Tuesday, February 5, 2013

In the jar - a vintage skirt

One item down, eleven to go!  Yes, my Sewlutions commitment to make at least one item per month is actually achieving the desired effect.  To get me sewing again.  Made in a navy Bengaline Suiting fabric which I've had in my stash for about six months, my first make for 2013 is finished.  I finished it a week ago and I'm only just getting round to posting about it now.

I really shouldn't do that wash'n'wear look with my hair - terrible!

The pattern; a simple 6 gore vintage skirt pattern that was my mothers.  I'm not sure what the vintage is, but I think it's around late 1940s or 1950s.   I'd love it if anyone can tell me.  It's Australian Home Journal pattern #12158.

Having never used a vintage pattern before I found it to be a very interesting experience.  Never doubting for a moment, I opened the packet and found all four pattern pieces inside and in very good condition.  There were slight tears in the edges of all pieces as you would expect considering its age and a piece of tape mending a little tear in one.  What surprised me was the fact that there were no instructions just the layout diagram on the envelope which as you can see on the left, is very faded.  Now, I know that the free patterns you get with the magazine have the instructions in the magazine but I think this is a purchased one.  Meeh... I don't need instructions, it's a six gore skirt and I've made them before.  It'll be easy.

Luckily I read the packet first as it turned out that seam allowances were NOT included.  The pattern is an unmarked pattern so I'm like, where's the straight grain?  The two center panels are on the fold, not a problem.  Guess I'll just eyeball the other two pieces.  I think I got it right because the skirt hangs well as you can see.

I chose this pattern because it has no waistband and being short in the waist this is my best option for skirts.  My biggest problem with no waistband and no instructions was how should I finish the waist.  I remembered that mum had often used petersham (the real stuff, not the grosgrain ribbon often used nowadays) when I was young, so I decided to try that.  Well, that was stupid!!  With the zipper in the side, I had been taught the correct way to insert it was to do a lapped zip.  So I did.  Turns out it's almost impossible to finish the petersham on the inside at the zip opening and anyway it was sooo... scratchy I ripped it out removed it and made a facing, which by the way is not finished well inside at the zipper either, but at least it doesn't scratch me.

Knowing that vintage patterns are less roomy than modern ones I didn't trim the seam allowances in case it was a bit tight leaving me with plenty of room to let it out.  The sizing on the pattern fitted me perfectly and being the lazy person I am I left those seam allowances in :)  The only alteration I made was to shorten the length by approximately 10cm then I took a 2cm hem which wasn't allowed for.   Because of the new length I styled it with a modern t-shirt and cardigan instead of going for a vintage look.  If I make this skirt again I will insert an invisible zipper and make a longer length to style it in a more vintage way.

Skirt; Australian Home Journal # 12158
T-shirt; Target - years ago
Cardigan; Target also years old.


  1. Looks like the perfect basic in a terrific useful colour. Way to go, Shelly, checking out a vintage pattern!

  2. That is so classic. In years to come it will still be in style. Very nice.

  3. Thanks, it's a classic piece that will be worn often for a long time. I hope! :)

  4. Looks fabulous! Well done on such a lovely and wearable make xx


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