Tag Archives: 1970s

It’s a wrap! (A retro wrap, even)

One thing I’ve been missing a lot this year is sewing from vintage patterns. I got a couple of vintage makes in before the baby bump got too big for those fitted-waist 1940’s and 1950’s styles, and I did have plans for a couple of vintage maternity patterns, but due to lack of energy and running out of time, I never quite got them made up. (Which I’m still a little sad about – now I’ll never know what it’s like to wear one of those 1950’s maternity skirts with the cut-out in front for the bump! Anyone ever tried wearing one and want to let me know if it’s as uncomfortable as it looks??)

Well, my body is still changing too much to bother making any fitted styles just yet, but I dug out a 1970’s wrap skirt pattern to get my vintage fix with (and make something that feels a bit more ‘me’ to wear than the transition-sized skirts I dug out at the local op shop).

Meet my newest creation – a floral wrap skirt!

Retro Wrap Skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I got this pattern a couple of years back – the curved yoke and pockets really appealed to me, and I’ve been meaning to make it ever since. Now it’s finally had it’s day, yay! ๐Ÿ™‚ The pattern is Simplicity 7311 from 1975. It includes both the wrap skirt and a matching blouse, plus a transfer for the embroidery seen on view 2 (the cream one).

Simplicity 7311

The fabric came from Fabric-a-brac – it’s a vintage lightweight cotton, lovely to work with, and I thought the brown floral matched the era of the pattern quite nicely. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I used some pale peach toned narrow scalloped edge lace for trim around the yoke and pockets, sewing it so that just the scallops peek out (kinda like rounded ric-rac. My original idea was actually to use ric-rac, but, well, I couldn’t find my box of ric-rac. Clearly, I have too much stuff in my sewing space. #firstworldproblems) I think the colour of this lace works better than white ric-rac would have anyway, so it must have been meant to be. Hah!

(Hmm, guess I was standing crooked for this photo. The skirt does sit straight, I promise!)

Retro Wrap Skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern came together nice and easily. (But then, it is just a wrap skirt, so I would have been somewhat horrified if there were any complexities involved!) The yoke, back waist band and ties are all sewn on, then a matching set made and attached as a facing, before being slip-stitched down on the inside. Which means you get a nice, clean finish on the curved front yoke.

Retro Wrap Skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Look! Wearing heels! (It’s been a while, haha!)

I was a good little stitcher for once and actually did slip-stitch the facing down. (Confession time – I’m pretty lazy with hand stitching and usually try to come up with a work around. Like top stitching. Yes, I know – horrible habit of mine, and one I’m consciously making the effort to kick!) It took me a good week to get that all stitched down (the little baby doesn’t tend to sleep during the day aside from cat naps most days, so finding moments can be somewhat tricky!), but I’m really happy with the end result so I’m glad I took the time.

Retro Wrap Skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Inside waistband facing

I did get a bit lazy with the pockets though. They’re made by sewing two pocket pieces together, right sides together, then turning through a gap and slip stitching the gap closed. Which makes for a wonderfully neat and tidy pocket piece. Except that you then need to attach it to the skirt. The pattern instructions call for the pockets to be slip-stitched on. Yeah. Well. I don’t trust the quality of my hand stitching enough for that. Plus, I’ll be using these pockets a lot, so they need to be attached pretty firmly. Plus, that’s one heck of a lot of slip-stitching. So, yeah. I got lazy and top stitched them on instead, which I’m refusing to feel guilty about. (I also put a line of top stitching along the pocket opening, so they matched all the way around.)

They’re fantastically deep and large pockets and have already been extremely useful! (Bet you can’t even tell I have my cell phone in one of them in these photos, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Retro Wrap Skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I love these pockets

The back of the skirt is super simple – just a straight waistband that extends into the ties, and straight seams. The instructions call for a simple fold-under-twice-and-stitch-down edge on both the back edges and the hem. There’s a gap in the waist band at one side seam, for one of the ties to pass through, and it’s designed so you wrap them around to the front and tie them over the yoke.

Retro Wrap Skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

One thing I’d do differently next time is extend the width of the back skirt pieces – the cross over portion isn’t quite big enough for the very windy city I live in, so I’ll be wearing a slip under this for those sure-to-happy wardrobe malfunctions due to errant gusts. (Admittedly, they would normally cross over a bit more – I made this up in my “normal” size, rather than my current size, since I still have a lot of baby bump weight to loose and I want to be able to wear this in the future, rather than just as a transition piece. But even taking that into consideration, they don’t cross over quite enough for my liking/feelings of wardrobe safety.

Retro Wrap Skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Aside from the wind risk factor, though, I’m loving this skirt! It’s comfy, has big pockets, and is gonna last in my wardrobe for quite a while. So an all-round win, really. ๐Ÿ™‚

Retro Wrap Skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(The Little Man was running back and forth between my lovely photographer and I, hence the ‘hey there!’ arms)

It got it’s first outing on Christmas Day. We were at my partner’s parents house for lunch and the afternoon, and these photos were taken in their gorgeous garden. (Naturally, there was a photo bomber as well.) So any wrinkles (and chocolate finger marks left by the Little Man) can be excused from the car trip there. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Retro Wrap Skirt | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Little Man photo bomb (naturally)

The “Generations” Dress

The Facts
Fabric: about 2/3rds of a cotton double-sized duvet cover I got in a clothes swap a while back
Pattern: Style 2382
Year: 1978
Notions: about 1 metre of hem binding tape
Time to complete: 3.5 hours
First worn: to work on Monday 6 May
Wear again? yep
Total cost: About $0.30 for the hem binding
Bump: 21 weeks


Check it out – I’m wearing a tent! Eek!!

(Much better with a belt, no?)

I love the fact that this pattern used to belong to my mother. It was published in 1978, so I figure she must have gotten it a bit too late to wear while pregnant with me, but I think she wore dresses from this while she was pregnant with all my siblings. The continuity of that makes me happy – different generations wearing dresses from the same pattern, while pregnant with the following generation. (*soppy moment* *cough, sorry ’bout that, the soppiness came out of nowhere*) Here’s my mum, pregnant with my middle brother, wearing a dress from a similar pattern. (I’m the little girl in the middle of the photo, aged around 4. My grandmother is holding the oldest of my three brothers.)

So, the pattern. This one came together nice and quickly – not surprising, since it consists of a front yoke, back yoke, and skirt panels. No fastenings, nothing tricky, just a few gathers in front and back. 3.5 hours in total, which included hand stitching the shoulder seams of the yoke facing and hand stitching the yoke facing down on the inside. I’m slow at hand stitching – this dress would have taken around 45 minutes less time otherwise. I made up version 3, the overtop without sleeves, only in version 2’s length (since as of yet I haven’t made any maternity trousers or slim skirts. There are plans afoot for both of those in the near future though….). I hemmed it using blue hemming tape, for a pop of colour on the inside. (One day, I will run out of this hemming tape. Then I will be sad.)

The pattern is very easy to put together. I made a couple of adjustments as I went along – aside from adjusting it to my size (taking it down two sizes) I also took it in a bit at the base of the yoke as it was flaring out at the back a bit more than I liked. And I chopped 8cm off the bottom of the dress, after my flatmate asked if I was going to shorten it. (Originally, I wasn’t going to, but she put the idea in my head. I got lazy and couldn’t be bothered pinning it up to see if I wanted to take any length out, and just grabbed the trusty rotary cutter. Sewing people – don’t copy what I do, it can go horribly wrong at times.)

Sure, it’s a bit of a tent. But hey, it’s a maternity dress. They’re kinda meant to be tents, right?!? And tents are most certainly comfortable to wear! I can see this one getting a fair amount of use over the next few months – add some heels (I’m seeing how long I can get away with wearing high heels at work for – too stubborn to give them up just yet) and a cardigan, and it’ll be good to go.

So there we have it folks – the next installment in my creations for the Sew, Baby challenge. This one fits into the ‘vintage’ and ‘dresses’ categories. Like all of the maternity-specific things I’ve made so far. (Note to self: branch out and make some separates soon!) Stay tuned for next week’s Sew, Baby creation – will it be another vintage dress? Or something completely different? Heck, even I’m not sure yet! ๐Ÿ˜‰

(PS please to be excusing the photos. I didn’t quite get this finished before it got dark on Sunday, and it’s dark by the time we get home from work these days, so it was either photos-inside-at-night or wait until next weekend. I am an impatient sort, so photos-inside-at-night it was.)