We all love vintage patterns. We also love modern wrinkle free knit fabrics. We want the vintage look but the feel, ease and care of a modern dress. So how can we marry these two with ease?

Since vintage patterns were made before modern knit fabrics and knits have a different set of rules than woven fabrics it complicates simply using a different fabric than what is suggested. First off, knits are usually sized right at your bodies measurements with little ease. I usually use the vintage pattern and simply size it down and omit the things I do not need. Also, today we rarely use tailor tacks, lace hem tape and neck/arm floppy facings that do not stay put. They do not use these things in the fashion industry so why would we still be using them in handmade clothing?

I wanted to take a different approach to my project and try something totally new. I decided to use a modern pattern and only the collar from the 1960s pattern.

They are pretty much the same sheath dress minus all the work of the vintage pattern. The vintage pattern has four elbow darts and a couple back shoulder darts I would not need.

To proceed with my project as planned I would need to alter the neckline or collar.

Since the necklines were almost exact with the exception of the notches and the shoulders were just a 1/2″ taller on the new pattern I decided it would be easier to alter the collar.

It was as easy as measuring the difference in the shoulder.

I used tracing paper to remake the pattern piece adding the 1/2″ to each side.

I decided to keep the notches in the same place as the vintage collar and redraft them on the new pattern. I think you could have gone either way here and I’m not sure why I chose to do it that way.

I also made an extra line where the shoulder seams meet on the collar pattern just for confidence that I was doing it correctly.

Last, I walked the collar around the neckline for a third check to be certain I was not wasting my time before sewing. If my neckline had been much different for the original dress I would have needed to make an entire new pattern of the base of the dress using the vintage pattern neckline.

After cutting the neckline out of my knit fabric and adding interfacing to it for stabilizing I was ready to sew my dress.

Behind the scenes~

A couple of fun photo edits by story board artist J. Todd Anderson. Thank you J.Todd and happy halloween!

I also have been trying to think about what to do with all of those formalwear dress scraps.  Yesterday I tried three things that did not work out. I was thinking scarves, necklaces and such. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Thank you for reading,

Tracy McElfresh

Dream it! Sew it!



Tracy McElfresh
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