Hacking into Vintage

Sometimes all I want to do is use a tried and true (TNT) pattern and whip something up that I know will fit. That’s the beauty of TNT patterns. Once you have a couple you can play with combining them and cutting them up to make hacks of them. I have been shying away from overly fitted garments while I’m still in the middle of losing weight. I’m slowing down so I don’t think it would be horrible if I started to do fittings now but I’ve lost a lot of work since March. Lots of FBAs thrown out because mah bewbs were just not gonna fill in.

I went perusing Vintage Martini’s patterns for inspiration and I saw this one with a dickie and thought I could make it with the Hummingbird top and then add a skirt instead of the peplum. How cute would that be! The pockets on this dress are my kind of pockets! I now have pockets drafted for a Sewcial Bee contest. So I’m getting closer to making this!

Then I saw this shirtdress and remembered that I really want to remake Gertie’s shirtdress, though I really like the idea of attaching the pencil skirt that comes in her book.

I’m also wondering about making a Hummingbird skirt in ponte and attach it to the top to make a dress that doesn’t need a zipper. I’m looking at you, Gillian. You inspire these zipperless wonders.

But let’s look at more pockets!


I like the drawstring pockets on the one below as well as the hidden pockets on the skirt on the left.



I wonder how welt pockets would look and work on a circle or half circle skirt. What are those patch pockets all about? I can’t tell what’s going on.

Patterns, in general, aren’t exciting me as much as they used to and I wonder if it’s because I can see how to hack what I have into what I want. What do you think? Do you think you have enough patterns in your stash to hack garments for a while? I do like buying patterns, if anything to be inspired. A fresh new pattern can get my sewjo back much like a beautiful cut of fabric.

27 thoughts on “Hacking into Vintage

  1. theseedsof3 says:

    I love pockets! I am seriously in love with the hidden pockets you have up there. I may need to try something like that. Maybe use the Hummingbird front, draft in invisible pockets and draft out the existing pockets (as awesome as they are). As for the Hummingbird top with dickey hacked into a dress – just did it! Blog post coming soon…..

  2. Michelle says:

    AHHH! Crotch pockets (Simplicity 4695)! I can’t say I understand this placement at all. I’ve come across numerous vintage patterns that have the exact same pocket placement, and I’d go as far as to say, it was a “thing”, especially in the 60s. It’s just so… awkward. That aside, I’m an enormous fan of the pocket, generally. I think vintage designers had a lot of fun with design elements. They took a lot more care to add interesting details at the neckline,using ornamental pockets, and playing with the lines of the body. However, I love the fit and ease factored into modern patterns. I think combining elements from the two is a brilliant way to marry these things and create a garment that will be worn regularly. I’ve never tried to hack any of my patterns with a contemporary one, but I can definitely see it working.

    • Leila says:

      sometimes they’re placed in such a weird way….I think I like them hidden but then when I hear them called crotch pockets I definitely don’t wanna touch ’em.

  3. sewexhausted says:

    I have always been a “pocket cheater…” Even though I like them a lot of times I was leaving them out. (LAZY) Lately I am loving the pockets and wanting to always include them- or ADD them just from seeing yours! I am appreciating all of the hard work you are doing for me. 😉 … Vintage patterns- LOVE LOVE them and have ones from the 20’s to the 90’s. (Are 90’s Vintage now?) As a matter of fact I think I need to get one out too. I am thinking a Vintage Month would be lots of fun! ~Laurie

    • Leila says:

      I thought I was a pocket cheater but then I realized I just don’t like side seam pockets all that much. I don’t know why. Maybe I just don’t know how to put them in nicely enough. Anyway, I’m all for these kinds of pockets. 🙂 Vintage Month sounds like fun!

  4. EmSewCrazy says:

    I love vintage patterns. (and I’m not just saying that because they’re my job) There is often incredible detail found in them that is missing in most big company patterns today. Mall clothes bore me now.

    I too am a hacker. It’s easier to adjust a pattern you know fits than try out a whole new one sometimes. That being said, I just tried a vintage blouse pattern and had it flop. I’m doing surgery on it and think I’ll come out with a wearable garment in the end.

    • Leila says:

      Fit is such an issue for me that I totally agree that it’s easier to hack something that fits already than try something new. I hope your blouse comes out how you like it!

  5. sweary sewer says:

    i love the yoke detailing on the first pattern.

    do you do your own drafting? sounds like you have your own ideas and don’t need patterns any more. 🙂

    • Leila says:

      I’ve done some drafting but not a ton. Not enough to not want a pattern but I do like cutting up patterns I know fit me to make something new. That’s fun for me.

  6. Michelle says:

    I notice that the sizes if your patterns are a variety. I am a 14-16 and have a bunch of vintage 10-12 patterns. Was going to pass them along as I am a new sewist. My question is as I get more experienced could i eventually make use of the 8-12 patterns? I would keep then if that is the case!

  7. Brooke says:

    You know I love vintage patterns and it’s always the amazing details that suck me in! Those pockets that confuse you are two buttons (near the top edge) holding the pocket closed and the pocket is bunching a little between them. It’s just something a different than a drawstring. (It’s a little clearer on the pocket on the model’s left).

    Just a warning: VintageMartini.com just listed at least 600 new patterns today!

  8. Chuleenan says:

    I love pockets on vintage patterns! I ordered four patterns from VintageMartini.com earlier this week b/c I saw @sewbrook’s instagram photo. 😉 They should be coming any day now!

    Re: patterns to hack – I have a bunch of skirt patterns plus several sewing books with patterns so I probably don’t need to buy any new patterns for a while. The exception for me would be vintage patterns.

  9. Gillian says:

    Make a zipperless wonder! DO IT! I wore a Hummingbird today with tights for the first time, and was so happy in it all day. The tights totally made up for the shortness of the skirt! (Until I had to pretend to be a dog… as you do, of course! :P)

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