50s Sewing Pattern Inspiration

50s dress pattern with full or slim skirt options. Available from TheVintageDesignShop.

I simply love vintage patterns. I especially love the vintage fashion illustration of 50s dress fashions. I’m going to share a few patterns for you to consider trying out! I have some really great patterns in the shop – on sale too I might add.  And I’ll also a couple modern patterns to consider below. I still need to finish my spring jacket (so close!)  so I’m cut off from any new projects for the time being.

50s vintage princess dress pattern. Available from TheVintageDesignShop.

50s sheath dress pattern. Available from TheVintageDesignShop.

50s princess dress pattern. Available from TheVintageDesignShop.

50s dress or separates pattern. Available from TheVintageDesignShop.

If you’d like to try a modern pattern with a retro style, there are some fine choices out there. Here’s a couple of my favourites by Vogue (they’re also having a sale, too):

Lovely 50s full skirted dress pattern. Available from Vogue Patterns.

Vogue evening gown. Available from Vogue Patterns.

Happy sewing!

x Rena

Vintage Victorian Steampunk Fashion

Steampunk style.

The Victorians had it going on in fashion and science – and the Steampunk trend is a nod to their prowess. The peak of the Victorian times is debatedly the Crystal Palace Great Exhibition back in 1851 in London, England displaying the most cutting edge innovations in science and technology arising from the Industrial Revoloution. The Victorians were true innovators in science in their day. Did you know that I’m a scientist too? And I also have a love of Victorians and Steampunk.  The Steampunk movement pays homage to the Victorian love of mechanical workings, Victorian fashion, and a twist of future-inspired fantasy.


The original Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London.

As you’re probably starting to realize by now, I have an eclectic fashion sense. I admire the Steampunk movement for its rock and roll approach to interpreting what Victorian fashion would look like in the future. Steampunk fashion is nothing if not playful and also tinged with romance, something which I confess to being a bit of a sucker for.


Steampunk dress available from melaniegail.


Steampunk dress available from KMKdesignsllc.

Let’s not forget the Steampunk men’s apparel either!


Steampunk men’s vest by KMKdesignsllc.


Steampunk tuxedo available from MacheteNSons.

Genuine Victorian clothes are difficult to come by these days, although not impossible if you keep a keen eye on the internets. Here’s a couple of beautiful things for you to consider.


Gorgeous Victorian jacket from dakotasvintage.


Victorian walking dress from PomPomClothing.


Elegant Victorian Dress from stairwaytovintage.

If you’re handy around a sewing machine, there are some excellent patterns to try out to get that Victorian Steampunk look you’re after. Why not consider:

Misses Steampunk dress, Simplicity 2207.

Or if you’re a knitter, you can always put your needles toward making your own Victorian cape based on an 1850s knitting pattern.


Victorian knitted cape, pattern available from knittydebbie.

The Vintage Babes of Spring Fashion

Spring is almost in the air. If you ask me, today feels more like a March day than 1st May. Maybe the skies will perk up later here in Vancouver. Nonetheless, I want to share with you some goodies to get into the spring spirit. What better way than to enjoy the vintage babes of spring and some fashion ideas?

Here’s some pretty-pretty for you:

She’s ready for some spring fashion. Source: flickr.

Twiggy on Vogue May cover 1967. Source: Kute Clothes Blog.


Feel spring fresh in this classic frock from TheVintageDesignShop.

Jacket pattern available from burdastyle. Read about my related adventure here.

Spring green vintage dress available from DalenaVintage on Etsy.

If you’re into sewing, you may want to consider these vintage patterns for some spring flair:


Original 60s vintage sewing pattern available from TheVintageDesignShop.


Original 60s sheath dress pattern available from TheVintageDesignShop.

Happy May Day everyone!

x Rena

Hello Project Runway? Behind Most Jackets Lies a Zipper (or Three) in Wait

My new Burda pattern before all the taping began. If you look carefully, you can find instructions in Russian.

I need a spring jacket in a desperate way. People are starting to give me that peculiar sort of stare lately as I stubbornly continue to wear my beloved black heavy wool DKNY coat day in and day out. 18 C you say? No problem! I’m usually cold anyway, I’m quick to assure you. But even I am starting to admit that we’re halfway through spring with the dawning of May. And I may, reluctantly, soon have to admit defeat.

The quest for a spring jacket is no ordinary thing. It needs to be the jacket, the go-to statement jacket, casually cool and elegant and topping everything from perfectly broken in jeans to classic vintage dresses. It’s a commitment. And I have a knack for finding jackets that I would absolutely love… starting from $300. Ha.

Seeing as my budget isn’t about to burst forth in blossom anytime soon like the cherry trees in Vancouver these days, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Sure, you’d think that someone like me with a shop like TheVintageDesignShop selling vintage patterns has the prowess of a lioness around a sewing machine, but think twice my friends. I can generously allow that at best I’m an intermediate-level sewer. I can do the basics, but I’ve been reluctant to go to that next level… until now.

have to have that spring jacket. I can see it now perfectly in my mind’s eye: bomber style in a black as night cotton twill with a visible asymmetrical silver zipper on the front, two zipper pockets, and an over-sized collar and/or hood. Preferably with hood. Oh yes. I can practically taste it.

So, with some determination I scoured the internet for suitable patterns. Vogue 8600 was a contender. But those Rick Owens bomber jackets kept haunting me. I continued to hunt. Eventually, I found a Burda pattern that with a couple of modifications should do the trick. It was either that or sketch a jacket from scratch, which even with my idealism I thought twice about, considering I’ve never made a jacket before.

I settled on the Burda pattern with a couple of modifications. Did I mention that the mods are the collar and two zipper pockets? And may I point out that this brings the total number of zippers in this jacket to three? And… I have a fear of zippers. Sure, I can tackle them on pillowcases, but front and centre on what is going to be the go-to jacket? Oh boy, have I bit off something to chew. I headed off to the fabric store with great optimism and scouted out some finds, including a fantastic fuchsia polka dot cotton that will serve as the jacket lining (though not for the hood, if I get that far).

My new fabrics and notions for the spring jacket. Note zippers in question to right. My concession to spring is the fuchsia fabric lining.

The Burda pattern in question, looking deceptively straight forward.

The very first step, after cutting out the pattern pieces which I will get to tomorrow, is tackling the zipper pockets. I suspect I will spend no small amount of time staring at this bomber jacket zipper tutorial.Nothing like facing fear down straight in the face. Sometimes, we just need to suffer for our art or take risks in fashion.

x Rena