Vintage Crafting Plans for 2017

Following on from my retrospective look back over my makes from 2016, I thought I’d now look forward to my plans for 2017. As you can imagine I have many, many, many vintage crafting ideas for this year but I’m only going to concentrate on the ones that are firm ideas, rather than the wishy-washy ones that constantly float around in my head. I’m also keeping in mind what my Vintage Pledge will be for this year too.

And on that note, the end of year competition for 2016’s Vintage Pledge was announced this past weekend and I won the Best Outerwear category for my 1930s winter jacket!! I’m so unbelievably chuffed, especially as I was up against so many other wonderfully talented seamstresses. You can see the full list of finalists and winners on A Stitching Odyssey’s blog and I promise I will do an outfit post about the winning jacket some time in the future.

So, what are my plans?


Well, my Vintage Pledge is to use fabrics and vintage patterns that I already own as much as possible. I’ve collected many of both over the years and the fabric stash needs to be reduced. It’s got completely out of control now and takes up far too much space in my house. So, this year I need to stay off the fabric shop websites, avoid them on the high street and not be tempted when certain friends of mine tell me that I really should buy some of the fabric they’ve just purchased. I’m not naming any names here, but you know who you are! 🙂

Late 1920s purple skirt

First up is a late 1920s/early 1930s skirt using the left over purple and grey mix fabric from my 1930s lightweight coat. I’ve been thinking about this ever since I finished the coat but never could quite decide on the style of skirt until I found this pattern.

I love the hip detailing and the off centre pleat on the front, however, I may leave out the side pleat but will decide once I’ve made the toile. The back has the option of repeating the front or leaving it quite plain by just continuing the hip seam line straight around. Again, I’m not sure which I’ll do but will experiment to see which looks best.

1930s dogtooth suit

Continuing on the purple theme, this stunning 1930s suit from the Jazz Age exhibition at the Fashion & Textiles Museum is crying out to be made in this vintage purple and ivory dogtooth wool that I bought at a vintage fair in the summer.

I’ve already bought a purple belt buckle and matching buttons which I intend to use, so there won’t be any hunting around for ages for those. I also intend to use the single breasted version of the 1930s pattern I used for my winter jacket and my self-drafted kick pleat skirt pattern. So I’m pretty much sorted, I just need the lining fabric, and that just has to be a rich purple.

1930s style top

The 1970s top I’m wearing in the above image is the inspiration for a 1930s long sleeve top I want to make. It’s fairly similar to The Seamstress of Bloomsbury’s  Clarice Blouse in that it has a row of rouleau loops and buttons down the front but you can’t quite see them in my photo. The 1970s top is gorgeous and has a real 1930s vibe to it, however, it shrank when I hand-washed it (there were lots of bad words!).

As you can see it’s way too tight for me now and the sleeves have got shorter :(. The sleeves were stunning before they shrank. They had a big puffed sleeve head that was then fitted around the bicep. It then billowed out again at the cuff very much like bottom of the sleeves on the House of Foxy blouse I reviewed here.

As I can no longer wear the 1970s blouse I’ve decided to make my own version in a turquoise floral pattern fabric I bought from ClothSpot last year. It’ll match my turquoise kick pleat skirt, as well as go with anything black or brown. I’m going to use my self-drafted blouse pattern as a basis and use a sleeve from an original 1930s pattern as the base for the sleeve.

1940s black tulip print dress

Dresses are definitely something I’d like to concentrate on going forwards and the first on my list is this 1940s dress pattern that I bought from ‘Til The Sun Goes Down. I’m going to make a quite a few changes to it though as the only reason I bought it was for the shoulder detail. I’m going to do short sleeves with a big puff at the sleeve head and tight at the bicep. The skirt will change completely because those hip pockets wouldn’t be terribly forgiving on my hips. I haven’t 100% decided on what to replace it with but I think I’ll probably experiment during the mock up phase.

The fabric I’m going to use is a vintage fabric with a large stylised tulip pattern on it. It’s got a 1940s vibe to it but I think it’s actually a 1970s or 80s fabric. I would describe it as a soft brushed cotton crepe, if there is such a thing! It’s probably a polyester mix though. I’ve got metres and metres of it, so I can really go to town on the skirt if I wish.


In terms of crocheting, I’m currently still ploughing on with my 1930s mustard jumper. It’s slow going but I’ve nearly finished the very odd first sleeve. It’s taken a while to do as it’s quite a fiddly pattern and for some time looked nothing like a sleeve shape! I kept going with it though, double checking I’d read everything correctly and now it’s finally looking like something I recognise. I cannot wait to get it done!

1930s beret in mustard

So after the complicated and long winded jumper is finished I’m going to opt for a much simpler and quicker project of this beautiful 1930s drape beret. I’m going to do it mustard to match the jumper. I should just about have enough left over but I can always pick up another ball if needed. The different colour band around the front will be done in white as I have added a few white bits to the jumper too. The colours looks so sharp together, it’s achingly 1930s!

1930s leisure jumper

I plan to achieve at least two more long sleeve jumpers during the year. I know I’m not the only vintage gal who struggles to find authentic looking longer sleeve knitwear, so I’m really glad I can finally rectify this in my wardrobe. It means i won’t freeze so much in the winter, which is always a bonus!

The first of the two that I have planned is a fairly simple and straightforward 1930s pattern. It’s called the Leisure Hour Sweater and has a bib-like front and back attached to the sleeves with six buttons each side. The sleeve cuffs and waistband are embroidered with contrasting colour thread to add further interest.

I’m going to making my version in a vintage yarn that I picked up at the same time as the tulip fabric. Again, it’s likely to be 1970s/80s judging by the label. Patons still do Diploma but it’s called Diploma Gold now and the label is much more modern looking. It’s a wool/acrylic mix in bottle green and flecks of burgundy and purple in it, so it’ll be perfect for autumn/winter. I’m probably going to use purple buttons and purple embroidery thread to pick out the purple in the yarn. It’ll then go with my new purple skirt perfectly!

1930s burgundy jumper

After that it’s going to be a big project. I plan to use the beautiful 1930s pattern above as a base for this but I’m going to make some changes. The main style will stay the same, I’m definitely keeping those stunning sleeves as they remind me of the ones on my silk polka dot blouse. The two cute bows will disappear but the V neck will remain.

The pattern, however, will change considerably with the top section remaining plain burgundy and then the bottom half of the main body in stripes of burgundy and light camel. The long cuffs will remain plain, as will the top half of the sleeve, then there will be stripes on the bottom half. I will also add three light camel buttons under the V neck.

Bonnie & Clyde

This is my inspiration and ultimately what I hope to achieve. It’s from the Bonnie & Clyde miniseries from 2013, which I have mentioned on the blog before. If you get a chance to watch it, make sure you do, it’s brilliant!

I’m hoping to crochet a matching skirt, scarf and beret too. I know it’s an enormous and very ambitious project for someone who only started crocheting 6 months ago, but I’m determined to do it. It may be done in fits and starts with quicker projects in between but it will be awesome once it’s done. I’ve loved this ensemble since the day I first watched the series and now I could actually end up owning it!

Hat Making

Vintage hat block

And talking of big and ambitious projects, I’m going to finally give hat making a go! I was given this fabulous vintage hat block as a Christmas present (I chose it!) to spur me on. It was made by the company Siegel & Stockman who first invented the tailor’s dummy in 1867 and still produce their world famous papier-mâchĂ© mannequins today. It’s my size, 23″, which is quite hard to find and I totally love it!

I really want to make wool felt hats and block them properly on the hat block. I’ve been doing loads of research and buying lots of books on the subject and it actually looks easier than I thought, but the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. I’m going to go pretty free form to start with, just to get the feel of it. I’m also going to an open day of one of the biggest millinery supplies in the UK next month so will have a chat with the experts there.

Bette Davis Bette Davis

What I really want to achieve eventually is a number of close fitting hats which were popular during the 1930s. It’s something that’s missing from my hat collection. I have plenty of 1920s style cloches and a few bigger 1940s style hats but I want definite 1930s styles.

The one above that Bette Davis is wearing is the sort of skull cap shape I will definitely try. Hers is made in fabric but I’m sure I could do something in wool felt too. I have a 1980s version which is lovely and really suits me, but I want something more authentic. Miss Davis wears this sort of style a lot and as our hair isn’t that dissimilar, so I think it will work for me quite well.

1930s photo booth lady

This incredibly wonderful lady (seriously, how adorable is she?!) from a 1930s photo booth snap is wearing a divine mid-1930s hat that I loooooovvvvvveeeee!!!! It’s got all sorts going on from the tight-fitting crown with three ridges in the top to the upturned brim and bow decoration on one side to the downturned brim on the the other side decorated with a cute brooch. I really, really want to try and replicate this. I’d love to make her dress too!

Carol Lombard in a cloche

And lastly, I’d love to make an early 1930s cloche just like the one Carol Lombard is wearing here. I don’t have a cloche where the brim is turned back off the face so I have no idea whether it will suit me or not. However, I always love them when I see them on other people, so I can but try.

This shape actually looks pretty simple to do, just stretching a wool felt hood over the block and turning the front brim section back. I can then play with pleating the front to get a good shape. The edges on this hat are just cut and left raw, which is exactly the same as a late 1930s hat I already own. I can experiment with adding a brooch or hat flash around the brim too.

Now I know that looks like a lot and yes it does scare me a little but I’m not going to put any pressure on myself to get it all done. What I do achieve will be enough and there’s always next year! So what vintage crafting plans have you got?


Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. A lover of all things old, especially the 1930s, seamstress, crocheter, maker of hats and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.


  1. Looking forward to seeing your makes, most particularly the Bette Davies hat. I love the veil over them and used to wear something similar to church!
    Are you going to do a basic course or diy?

    • I’m just going to go DIY! I know I’ll probably make loads of mistakes but it’s all part of the fun. I love trying new things and challenging myself, so it’s all part of the journey.

  2. I want to know what pattern you use for the fitted top with long sleeves. I would love to make one too!

    • If you mean the one I’m going to sew, this is going to be a combination of two patterns. The main body will be adjusted from a pattern I drafted myself and the sleeve will be taken from an original 1930s pattern.

  3. Bette has glossy eyelids in that clip! I swear they’re following me!!

    What a beautiful selection of projects you have in mind. I think that purple houndstooth suit will be a stunner. Good luck with it all!! I will be avidly following your progress. Xx

    • Hehehe, I hadn’t noticed that! I defintiely couldn’t do it, by eyelids get greasy on their own, just like yours. It’s a silly trend anyway! 🙂 xx

  4. What exciting plans for 2017! So much to fit in. Planning is half the fun too! Dreaming of all the crafting adventures before they are started. Best of luck! I’m looking forward to seeing your progress. And I’m with you for working from stash, it is funny how quickly fabrics and patterns build up!!

    • Yes, I definitely agree, planning and dreaming of all the crafting projects is half the fun. My stash has got way too ridiculous now, I need to be really strict with myself but it’s going to be soooo hard! xx

  5. Golly! SO many plans! I do, too, have a lot of ideas, but putting them down on paper (or in a blog) is intimidating: don’t want to disappoint myself by not getting them done. Again! But you, my dear Cate, get things done! Can’t wait to read about your 2017 journey!!

    • Yes, it is a bit scary writing them down for everyone to read but I’m not going to put pressure on myself this year. I did it way too much last year, working to ridiculous deadlines. This year it’s all about enjoying the process more.

  6. You will certainly have your work cut out achieving all this, Cate, but I’m glad to read you won’t put any pressure on yourself to finish it all. I really love the fabric for that 1930s suit, which I’m sure will be fantastic with the purple buckle and buttons. I’m also looking forward do seeing you hat making efforts! xxx

    • Thanks Ann! Yep, I’m just going to enjoy myself this year, no pressure and no silly deadlines. I do hope I have enough of the purple dogtooth now I’ve put it in black & white! xx

    • Aw, thank you Kate! I do hope I manage to make some of the hats correctly but you will all be the first to see them if I do. xx

  7. Wow Cate , what a fab list , can’t wait to see them get completed over the coming year , will be great to use some of the fabulous fabrics you have stashed away !

    • Yes, it’s about time I started to use the fabrics I already have. Hopefully I will actually have some spare money this year! xx

  8. Ohhhh goody! I can’t wait to see all of this come together over the next year. These are some big projects but I know you will get each and everyone done. Good luck and happy crafting!

    • I hope I get them all done but I’m not going to beat myself up about it if I don’t. There’s always next year! xx

  9. You’ve certainly got your work cut out for you, what a wonderful array of projects! I admire your desire to start proper hat making, my abilities stretch to the little ones that hug the head, which aren’t hat hats, and it’s here I realise that doesn’t make much sense!

    I have a drawer full of unfinished projects and a box full of patterns, which I really want to dig in to this year.

    I look forward to seeing your projects x

    • Don’t worry, I know what you mean! 🙂 I’m just going to see how it goes with hat making, it may work, it may not, but either way it’ll be fun learning. xx

  10. That’s an impressive list, but if anyone can do it, you can. You definitely deserved to be one of the Vintage Pledge winners. I can picture you in all those things, they’re perfectly you.

    After years of shunning 60s knits for being too simple, I think this is the year when I’ll get round to making some. Though really I shouldn’t. I have far too much wool in my stash already, none of it in very ’60s colours’.

    • Yes, it’s hard making sure you use the appropriate colours for the era you’re working on sometimes. However, the whole time I was crocheting my pink jumper I was thinking it wasn’t a very 30s colour but I recently discovered a 1935 clothing catalogue online that quite a few bright pink pieces in it, so I guess it is. xx

  11. Lots of lovely plans. I love the Carole Lombard hat – hope you get round to that.

    • Me too Norma! I may be biting off more than I can chew, but I guess I’ll never know unless I try. xx

  12. Impressive list, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the purple houndstooth!

    • Thanks Miss Magpie! I just hope I have enough fabric for the two pieces! xx

  13. Congratulations on your Vintage Pledge win. Well deserved! Your making wish list for the year is super, I hope that you get lots of it done and enjoy it. I will follow your journey into hats with interest. I liked seeing the fabric swatches and the yarns together with the patterns, it really bought all your ideas to life. Happy making!

    • Aw, thank you Kate-Em! Yes, I thought having the fabric and yarn swatches next to the patterns was probably the best way to visually see it for myself. It’s great to have a reference to come back to in the future too. xx

  14. All of this sounds so wonderful! Your crochet plans make me want to get back to learning how to knit, as I agree good vintage style jumpers are hard to find. I can’t wait to see the purple suit, such a great style! I love reading about other peoples sewing and crafting plans so this was a truly great post to read <3

    • Oh you should get back to learning to knit. I’m am so pleased I finally took the leap with crocheting, I absolutely adore it now and I love that I can finally make my own knitwear. I’m beyond excited about my latest one, it’s really coming together now. xx

  15. I laughed reading this and seeing that last hat – it has a lot in common with the one you won! Now you can try one before you make and see how you like it on! As you say, it isn’t particularly hard to achieve, and getting to play with the folds free form is the best bit. I think you are going to fall pretty hard for hat making now that you have that block!

    • I know, those hats are so similar aren’t they? Well, at least I’m consistent with the things I love! Can’t wait for it to arrive and see how it suits me xx

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