Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sew Expensive... A McCall 1987 hat pattern and what makes a buyer tick!

Many of you might come to expect by now that vintage hat patterns are worth a pretty penny. We've watched Millinery for Every Woman and McCall 1974 sell for quite a bit in past editions of Sew Expensive. We know that sometimes the artwork and sometimes the short window that the design was in style can increase a pattern's value.
And today's pattern is no exception to the rule. The artwork is beautiful, the pattern is flattering, and the hat in question was only in style for a short while in the early 1930's.

A few nights ago, I watched the lovely McCall 1987 sell for a predictable, and yet still shocking $223.37.

We've often discussed why patterns sell for more, but why hat patterns, specifically?

In general, accessory patterns don't survive as often as dress patterns. Maybe it's the small pieces, maybe fewer were originally printed, maybe both. But the fact remains that if you find one of these, it might be the only one you find in 20 or 30 years! Version B in this pattern is an especially rare design to see a pattern for. I know it's not in style right now, but don't you just want to wear that hat?

Not too long ago, our last Sew Expensive post got a very exciting comment left on it. A lady named Jan most graciously took the time to comment on the post to explain why she was willing to pay so much for (and she did in fact win!) this, and other patterns. Jan was sweet enough to allow me to share with you her comments, and so I present to you, my dear readers, the mind set behind some of our most Sew Expensive patterns!
Pictorial Review 9072 sold at auction or just over $200.

"I had the winning bid on this pattern, and just snagged it by a few dollars margin, and although I really wanted it (see below), assumed it would go for more than my max.

I am also guilty of paying a huge sum for a 30s Vogue Couturier on Feb 24, 2014, for which I paid $643.33:

The original Ebay auction for Vogue 120.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A few things... including a free pattern, of course.

Hello my lovelies. It has been an incredibly busy month! I've been working full steam on folding and packaging paper versions of some of my patterns, working on pattern drafting projects, and some other stuff...
I've had a bit of trouble getting motivated lately. I haven't mentioned it much, but I have an as-yet undiagnosed chronic pain thing, and it can be kind of a bummer. I'm allergic to just about every pain pill my doctors have prescribed, so I mostly just grin and bear it, and try to get on with my day when its bad, but that can be really exhausting. It's been about 3 years since it started and I'm going in for some more tests soon to try and figure things out. I'm a bit hopeful for a diagnosis and a plan, so I can get back to feeling more like myself!

But on good days, boy have I been working on some goodies! Mrs. Depew Vintage recently released a reproduction pattern of the lovely negligee robe I sewed back in January, and it's now available in both paper and digital forms.

1920's Kimono Negligee Reproduction Pattern

I also updated our cart software and relaunched The updates allow for multiple items to be purchased, coupon codes, and free pattern downloads.

Which of course, brings me to the freebie! Today I have for you a lovely little Make Do and Mend style pattern for a set of Collar, Cuffs and Jabot to update old frocks!

1940's Collar, Cuffs and Jabot Pattern

The pattern comes from a 1940's catalog featuring L-85 friendly fashions. L-85 restrictions refer to a fabric and resource conservation effort during the war.
The idea behind this pattern was to use fabric scraps to update an old dress. This was a popular fix during the war to conserve fabric while still staying stylish. 
The pattern is a free download for A Few Threads Loose readers only!  Simply click on the "add to cart" button and at checkout, add this coupon code: ITTYBITTYFREEBIE.
You won't have to add any payment info after that, there's no requirement to buy anything else, and the free pattern will be sent to your email address.

I hope you get some use from the pattern. I had a lovely little 1940's rayon dress but sadly the collar was moth-eaten in a most blatant spot. I'm going to sew up a quick collar for the dress and then it will be good as new!

Happy sewing,

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sew Expensive... Wedding Gown Pattern Pictorial 9072

Hello lovely readers! Today for you I have another lovely pattern that sold for a big, beautiful pile of cash!
I was watching Pictorial Review 9072 obsessively, hoping against hope that no one else would have noticed this beautiful little gem pop up on Ebay last week. My hopes were in vain... the high bid was around $55 and holding steady, and at the last minute (the excitement, and oh, the disappointment!) the price jumped all the way up to $205.48!

I lost. Sad face ensues...

But on the bright side, I didn't spend over $200 on a pattern I didn't actually need! I'm already married so I don't need version 1, and as for version 2... well, at the last Air Force Ball I attended, my poor husband asked very sweetly, "Please, can we never go to one of these ever again?"
Poor man, hates crowds... and dressing up. So I really have no need of an evening gown either.
But oh, isn't it pretty?

If you're in the market for a 1930's gown pattern, then I suggest that you check out Advance 967 by FancyWork on Etsy... an original at a great price, and in a great size!

Image courtesy of FancyWork.
Happy sewing,

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Dressmaking: Modish Draperies, Flounces and Panels from 1928

Today, my dear readers, I have a real treat. From Fashion Service of 1928, I bring you lessons in draping flounces and panels! This is a fantastic technique that you can use in both historical dressmaking as well as modern. It's a wonderful way to personalize a basic pattern with your own flare. In the examples that follow, picture playing with contrasting fabrics, the combination of prints and solids, or added panels of lace for a more luxurious look.

Without further ado, here is the original article:

The ease with which the modish draperies of the season may be achieved is here illustrated. On a foundation dress that may be new or one of a previous season that you wish to refurbish, straight lengths of material are draped in smart but simple ways to produce the soft, fluttering effects so prominent in the feminine mode that sponsors the "dressmaker" type of dress.

To drape effectively, use soft muslin for trial material and plenty of pins. Follow the diagrams accurately and always mark the center front and center back. When the drape runs over the waist line, cut out slightly as shown.
Finish the edges of the dress fabric with picoting, binding, facing. or tiny rolled hems, as the effect may require, having first determined the size in muslin.

Rippling Cascade Panel - Picture adding this in a bright, contrasting color...

Handkerchief Drapes - Imagine these in alternating colors...

Hip Flounces - These would be a good way to add a bit of length to a dress that's a bit too short!

Minaret Flounces - You could add these if you have a narrow figure to add the illusion of fuller hips.

Diagonal Side Drape - Did you get a wine stain on the skirt of your dress? A diagonal drape is a great way to save the dress if the stain won't come out!

We briefly explored draping in my most recent pattern drafting class and I became quite interested in the topic. I found that since the class didn't expound as much as I would have liked (due to time constraints) that my collection of Fashion Service magazines were actually a rather useful supplement.

I had one very fun draping assignment in the class - draping around a motif shape - that led to some fun experimenting that I would love to explore further some day... maybe for the next Air Force ball (she said wistfully, knowing that her husband has begged not to be dragged to any more of them...).

Oh, and in other news, I'm delighted to announce that one of my longest running patterns, Depew #3007 Draped French Blouse, is now available in multiple sizes (including 34"-41" bust sizes) in both paper and digital forms!

Available in both digital and paper versions at

How about you? Have you ever done any draping? Do you have any favorite draping books or resources that I might enjoy obsessing over?

Happy sewing,

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

McCall 5044 - A 1920's Robe in Luxury Cottons

Hello my dear readers, I'm back!
I'm sorry it's been such a long time since my last post! I have been so busy that something had to give temporarily and I'm afraid that something was writing. However, I have been doing some projects in the meantime and have finally got the time to share with you. My only New Year's resolution this year was to work a little bit less and to sew a little bit more and so far, it's rather nice!

McCall 5044 Ladies' and Misses' Negligee

My most recent project was McCall 5044. I found this pattern a while back on Ebay and imagine my delight when I searched my magazine collection and found it featured in a December, 1927 edition of Fashion Service Magazine!

 I fully intended to sew this lovely negligee in silk but I wanted to make a wearable muslin first, and I decided to use some really beautiful cottons from my stash.
The main body fabric is from the Olivia Collection by Anna Griffin.

The instructions were a bit vague (quite common for 1920's McCall's) so I had some room to customize the pattern. I made version A and lined the interior with a soft cotton so all seams are neatly concealed. I also lengthened the sleeve bands a bit to allow for my rather long arms.

Instead of sewing fabric carriers I followed this incredibly nifty Youtube tutorial and made thread carriers for the sash. It was so much fun to try something new, and to avoid stitching those darn cloth carriers made my day!

I also searched high and low and found a lovely art deco rose motif online, adapted it a bit, and embroidered it with my initials on the sleeve.

I know, I went a bit overboard for a wearable muslin but every step of sewing up this negligee was more fun than the last and I just couldn't help myself. It went together so easily and I can't wait to make another one in some sumptuous silk.

I will also be making a multi-sized reproduction of the pattern soon as my next development project for Mrs. Depew Vintage so stay tuned for more!

How about you? Did you do any recent sewing or make any sewing related New Year's resolutions?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

All of your pattern shopping Black Friday Sales in one place!

Hello readers!
I'm in a pie-baking frenzy today in anticipation of Thanksgiving tomorrow. This will be my first big holiday without my Mama this year and I'm trying to stay busy and not dwell on it. Shopping is turning out to be a great distraction. I'm already in Christmas shopping mode and I know that as the holiday ends tomorrow and many of you unwind and relax from a big meal and lots of company, your minds will turn to shopping too.

The Etsy pattern sellers always put on a really great show this time of year and many offer some amazing Black Friday deals. If you have some pattern buying in mind, here are all of the pattern sellers Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sales all in one place - starting with mine which begins today!

Use Coupon Code SEWFATTYSEW at Mrs. Depew Vintage for 20% 0ff!
Other shops having sales (most will end after Cyber Monday):

Decades of Charm: 25% off.

Retro Monkeys: 25% off.

Monkey and Friends: 20% off.

FancyWork: 20% off with Coupon Code: Fri28

Pattern Shop: who knows?

Vintage Needle Finds: Discount with coupon code: VN2014

Stitching by Numbers: 20% off with coupon code: BF20

AdeleBeeAnn Patterns: 20% off with coupon code: HolidayBlitz

RedCurlz: 25% off with coupon code: blackfriday14

Violet Crown Emporium: 20% off with coupon code: BFBLITZ

So Vintage Patterns: 15% off with coupon code: SAVE15

We Are Vintage Sewing: 20% off with coupon code: BLITZ20

Sew As It Was Patterns: 20% off with coupon code: BFBLITZ

MaisonMignot: 20% off

Sandritocat: 20% off

Roses Pattern Treasury: 15% off

Pattern Memories: 25% off with coupon code: PMSALE
Grey Dog Vintage: 20% off

Sydcam123: 20% off with coupon code: BF2014

PattysPastTimes: 20% off with coupon code: HOLIDAYBLITZ 

Neverwares: 15% off with coupon code: MYSTYLE 

Purple Plaid Penguin: 20% off with coupon code: BF20Sale  

She'll Make You Flip: 25% off with coupon code: BLITZ25

PengyPatterns: 20% off with coupon code: PP20OFF  

VintagePatternsCo1: 25% off with coupon code: VPCBlackFriday

EJ Vintage Avenue: 20% off with coupon code: EJvintage

ClairebearToo: 20% off

Pretty Pattern Shop: 20% off with coupon code: BFBLITZ

Come See Come Sew: 25% off with coupon code: HOLIDAY14 ($20 minimum purchase.)

Midvale Cottage: 20% off

Nostalgia Vintage 2: 20% off

Beary Amazing Emporium: 25% off 

Fab Patterns 1015: 20% off

Anne 8865: 25% off 

PatternAndStitch: 20% off with coupon code: BLITZEN

Happy Sewing - Happy Shopping!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Make your own... Lingerie and Loungewear from 1949.

Hello lovely readers! Today I was browsing my collection of vintage editions of Le Petit Echo de la Mode and I stumbled upon this lovely fashion spread from 1949 featuring trousseau lingerie and lounge wear.

These designs were once available as mail order sewing patterns (oh, to have such a magazine delivered to your mailbox!). I realized though, as I drooled over these patterns, that I have quite a few similar designs in my shop.

So, I thought I'd share today, how to get the 1949 looks pictured in the magazine using patterns from Mrs. Depew Vintage!

1. Bra in Satin - Easily copied using Depew #2015.
2. Panties with gathered waist - Use Depew #7311A and add allowance to the waist for gathers.
3. Corselet - Use Depew #2003 and add a top-stitch motif to the center front.
4. Basic straight slip - Use Depew #604.
5. Rayon bra with lace trim - Use Depew #352.
6. Corselet with wide lace ruffle - Use Depew #2002 and finish the lower edge with 6" or wider lace trim.
7. Tap pants with gathered side panels - use Depew # 612 and add side panels as cut-outs to the side legs.
8. Slip with ruffle - Use Depew #7314, cut it shorter at the hem and change the neckline as needed.

9. Slip with ruffle and tap pants with ruffled leg. Slip - Use Depew #7314. Tap pants - Use Depew #7314B.
10. Dressing gown - Use Depew #5003.
11. Pajama set - Use Depew #354 or Depew #601.
12. Pink dressing gown - Use Depew #5004 and replace cuffs with lace.  Blue nightgown with lace trim - Use Depew #171.

In other sewing news, I was really excited to learn yesterday that Collete Patterns will be releasing a digital sewing magazine starting in December! Seamwork will feature articles, sewing tutorials, and downloadable easy-to-sew sewing patterns. I really enjoy reading the Coletterie blog and I know that the magazine is going to be even better!

Image courtesy of Seamwork and Collete Patterns.

To get updates on Seamwork's progress, writers, and patterns, and to be entered to win a full year's worth of patterns in the process, sign up here!

Happy sewing, my darlings...