A weekend of sewing and crochet projects

This weekend just gone I had a very rare treat of not having anything planned, apart from getting my hair cut. Therefore, I actually got some time to sit down in front of the sewing machine, something that doesn’t seem to be happening very often these days. I’d already cut out the dress that I was planning to work on, so was all ready to get going with it.

1930s dress pattern

The pattern I was using (above) was a copied version of an original 1930s dress and jacket that I bought from My Vintage Wish on Etsy. The dress comes in two options of long or short sleeves, but I chose to go without sleeves entirely. This meant making the armholes a little smaller, which was easy enough to do. However, as I was dying to get on with this I’d chosen not to make a mock up, something I will generally always do. I won’t say this was a mistake but if I was doing it again I’d probably do a mock-up first.

1930s dust bowl dress

Having now made it up to it’s basic shape I can see that this is actually an early 1930s style, probably around 1931 or 32. The reason I know this is because it’s hardly got any shaping to it and this is only created by adding a belt. However, there’s two issues with that. One, this sort of shape doesn’t suit me and I end up looking like I’m drowning in fabric. And two, the fabric I used is quilting cotton, which is quite stiff and therefore doesn’t look good when the bulk of it is pulled in together. Rats!!

So, my solution is to make it much more fitted, more like a later 1930s dress. This means I’m going to have to take it in on the sides by about 2″ each side and add darts. I hate adding darts after I’ve made something! Oh, and there’s no way in hell that I’m unpicking that yoke because it was a real pain in the backside to top-stitch it in place and get the ric-rac to stay where I’d tacked it.

1930s dress yoke back

The shoulders are also a big problem as they need raising. This is more my body frame than an issue with the pattern as I’ve had to do this a lot with other garments in the past. However, this dress does need a lot taking out of it, which will be a pain to get right when I’m pinning it on myself. I’m going to have to carefully shape the neckline again, as well as opening the armholes out again, back to what they were originally. Okay, maybe I should’ve made a mock-up!

But I won’t be beaten, I will sort this all out if it kills me! Besides I loooooovvvveeeee this fabric and I refuse to let it end up being something I never wear. I’m hoping to get back to it this coming weekend, if I can fit it in. I’m still planning to make the belt because belts are my thing and I just can’t go without them. I’m probably going to make it in the patterned fabric rather than the plain, although I’m not 100% decided yet. But I do have a gorgeous original 1930s green buckle that goes perfectly with it that will be used either way.

1930s Parisian jumper progress

The other project I was desperate to get on with is my emerald green 1930s crochet jumper. This seems to be taking me forever and I really want to get it done so I can wear it. I’ve had a few issues with it, mainly to do with fit and rather odd sleeve instructions.

My first big problem happened once the front and back were completed. I pinned them together to try it on and see how it looked and it was too short! In a huff I stuffed it into a bag completely unsure of how I was going to rectify it. And there it sat for a good few weeks whilst I got on and crocheted my first ever glove, which was far easier than I expected. I haven’t actually tackled the second one yet but I will get back to it soon.

This gave me some breathing space from the jumper and I was able to come up with a cunning plan of how to sort it out. I won’t go into it here, I’ll leave that for the outfit post, but thankfully it worked out and now it fits perfectly.

1930s crochet collar

After I’d sorted that out I got on with the collar, which I absolutely adore! It’s fantastic as it’s completely separate from the jumper and can be worn with the buttons at the front or with them at the back. It’s very close to being completed, all I need to do now is add button loops and, after I’ve blocked it, sew on the buttons.

I can see me getting a lot of wear out of it too as I can put it on top of other jumpers as well as blouses and dresses. It will definitely need to be made up again in other colours too. It would be stunning in the pattern’s suggestion of red and white, but I can also see it with white as the main colour and navy as the stripe. Oooo yes!

Crochet covered buttons

And talking of buttons, these took me so long to do! Each one is a cheap silver coloured metal button that I covered in white fabric, so the silver didn’t show through. I then crocheted a small round pocket for each one and slipped it over the top of the fabric. It was definitely worth doing though as they look so much like the original buttons on the pattern.

Then it was on to the sleeves. The instructions literally made no sense. It said to start with a chain of 84 stitches, then rows 2 to 21 were to decrease by 1 each end. This would leave 44 stitches across at row 21. Then rows 22 to 43 were to decrease by 3 each end. So, that would mean by row 29 I’d have no stitches left! What?!! I’ve read it and re-read it over and over again but this is what it says.

So, I scrapped that entirely and created my own sleeve pattern. I did this using a sleeve sewing pattern I’d drafted for my burgundy blouse as a template and just decreased where necessary to create the shape. I’m yet to sew the finished one in but it seems to fit fine when I hold it in place.

I’m so close to finishing it now, I can taste it! I’m really looking forward to wearing it when it is done, I just know it’s going to become another firm favourite. But before I show it to you, I do really need to photograph the 1940s jumper I crocheted before this one. It’s been finished for ages, but I’m not overly happy with it and rarely wear it. I promise will get it up on to the blog as soon as I can though as it is one of my entires for this year’s Vintage Pledge, as are the two above.


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. I’m not so keen on shaping with a belt but this dress has a lot of potential with more shaping. The yoke is lovely.
    I love your crochet jumper

    • Thank you Norma! Yes, some people don’t ‘do’ belts, my mum included, but I cannot be without them. (I even have an entire drawer dedicated to them!) I’m very much a 1950s hourglass shape, i.e. my bust and hips are similar size and my waist is 10″ smaller. The issue with not wearing a belt means that I literally just look like a tree trunk! Never a good look 🙂 xx

  2. What’s the sweater pattern look like? I’ve done a fair amount of pattern editing, but I need to see the pic or the original instructions or both. Are you on ravelry?

  3. Very interesting about the crochet pattern. Unfortunately, in my experience, it is very common indeed to find errors in crochet patterns old and new. It’s a shame because a pattern that ought to have been fine for a relative novice suddenly becomes inaccessible to all but the most experienced ‘hooker’ who can figure out where the pattern writer went wrong. There may well, of course, have been a published erratum that’s now lost. However, seems you are a dauntless and talented maker. I am looking forward to seeing the finished item – it looks beautiful. 🙂

    • There were a couple of minor errors in the front and back pattern but easy to fix. The sleeve one is a complete riddle though. Thank you for the encouragement, you comment made my day! xx

  4. The dress is going to look lovely, once you’ve turned it around. I am very much in love with the collar of that sweater. Can’t wait to see the finished version on you! xxx

    • Thank you Ann! Yes, that collar is really quite special. I can see me making a lot of those. xx

  5. That green……WOW!! I can’t wait to see the finished products they are both going to fantastic 🙂 Good job this far!

    • It’s an amazing colour isn’t it? I wanted something that really caught the eye and stood out. xx

    • Oh, I’m glad someone mentioned the bows, they’re so cute aren’t they? I think I’ll be using the pattern for those again. xx

  6. I can see why you’re determined to get the dress to work; the fabric is lovely, and I really like the yoke, trim and bows. I’m sure you’ll get it all fixed. xx

    • It will not beat me, I promise. I’m a stubborn old goat when it comes to crafting! xx

  7. Nice to hear about these projects, and that someone as talented as you comes across the odd speed bump!! I really hope you get it sorted the way you want it though it does sound like a bit of a faff. The fabric is very pretty though and worth wrestling with I’m sure. Those covered buttons are adorable, how sweet. I’ve had a few projects in the background too, but a quiet weekend is needed to finish them! x

    • Yes, I get them all the time, although it is annoying when it happens with two projects at the same time! xx

  8. The print of the fabric is really cute! I so wish more companies would print these deco style prints onto apparel weight cotton instead of just quilting cotton. I want to phone them all up and remind them some of us still sew clothes!

    The jumper looks like it is going to be gorgeous, I can’t wait to see it finished!

    • I wish someone would print these sorts on more dressmaking fabrics, especially ones that are more authentic to the pattern. I just couldn’t resist this one though, it’s very me! xx

  9. How nice to have a lovely craft filled weekend, even if the sewing didn’t completely go to plan. I love the dress fabric and the contrast yoke and bows. Love that bit of ric rac too. I don’t wear belts very often but when I went to London a couple of weeks ago I went in Vivien of Holloway and was persuaded of the transformative effect of belts. I tried a lovely dress but I thought it looked kind of funny on me until the wonderful sales woman ran up and got a belt on me before I knew it. The dress looked completely different. I didn’t get it but only because I fell for a pair of shorts instead! Also, loving the emerald jumper and that separate collar. Can see that made up in other colours to make lots of outfits.

    • Hoorah for becoming a belt convert! I’ve worn them for as long as I can remember and can hardly ever go without one. I even have an entire drawer full of them, although I do tend to stick to the same ones all the time (just like shoes!). xx

  10. I was reading this entry when I noticed the “size 18 with 36 bust and 39 hip” comment of the image. I am just trying my first vintage pattern to make a 1930s dress and I am beginning to realize that the sizes on the pattern does not mean a thing for our modern sizes. The size 8 is way to small for me and I had to size all the way up to a 14 which was still too small, but at least I can adjust. Lovely dress, I hope to graduate to one like this some day.

    • Oh yes, vintage sizing is totally different to modern sizing and not only that, each pattern company used their own sizes. Sizing across fashion was standardised in the 1950s and has been improved on since then, so anything pre-1950s should always be done on the measurements, not the size number. Also, modern clothing is cut differently to vintage clothing, so there can often be a bit of messing about with fit to get it to a shape that’s comfortable for you. Thankfully I suit a more vintage cut, so I often don’t have to do much fiddling. However, this does mean that modern day reproduction patterns are not good for me as they are modernised for today’s figures and then the cut is all wrong for my body!

      Just for your reference as it may help, I’m 36″ bust, 29″ waist and 39″ hip, so a modern day size 10/12, but I usually use 1930s patterns that are bust size 32″ or 34″. I occasionally have to add a little extra to the hip but generally these seem to fit me the best. xx

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