I have never been what you would call a slave to fashion. I have always been the most comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, but recently I started feeling really schlubby (is that a word) in my normal outfit. However, I felt great in skirts or dresses. As I rarely find anything I like in a store, I set out to make some. I have always felt that I was born in the wrong point in history, so I started looking for vintage or vintage-styled patterns. That is when I discovered that Vogue is releasing reprints of historical patterns in _modern_ sizes. http://www.voguepatterns.com/list/vintage_vogue/page-1 No more trying to guess what size you are in a vintage pattern. Also, most of their vintage patterns are from the 1950s, one of my favorite fashion time periods. I purchased several styles that I liked, on sale of course, and have made one of them so far. It is Vintage Vogue pattern V2902, and I LOVE it. I must say that it was a challenge for me to make, since I still consider myself a somewhat novice seamstress, and it was my first fully lined dress, first zipper installed (I always had my mom's help on these before), and it involved a lot of hand sewing, which I don't particularly care for. But, it turned out great and it is so much fun to wear. The dress is cotton chintz (I think, the bolt wasn't labeled) that was about $3/yard and has a bit of stiffness to it, so it stands out nicely without a petticoat, and the lining is muslin. I found out the hard way to prewash your muslin - the bottom of the lining shrunk about 2 inches the first time I washed it.
The second pattern line that I've found and LOVE is Folkwear Patterns. http://folkwear.com/ Again, they are vintage patterns sized to modern standards, and they are printed on butcher paper. So much better than the tissue paper! I have several of their patterns (purchased uncut from eBay), and have made pattern number 235, Sporty Forties' Dress. It also has a sweater pattern to knit, but alas, I only know how to crochet. So far, anyway. This is a lovely shirtwaist dress that uses a minimum amount of fabric (WWII rationing) but still looks great and is a very flattering cut. I made the short-sleeved version out of a light taupey calico with a white print (yes, you can use it for clothes), and found some great shell buttons for about $2 a package of 12. In case you are wondering, I shop at JoAnn's - it is the closest fabric store to me. I also learned a new technique, French seams, from the Folkwear pattern. I'd highly recommend learning this if you worry about fraying seams.
I was asked by my Mom earlier this year as to what I would like for my birthday, and I replied a gift card for JoAnn's so I could get the supplies for a project. Well, Mom really came through and I was able to get material and notions for 3 dresses. Yippee! With what I already have on hand I should have a fine dress wardrobe for many years to come. Have I mentioned that I still wear shirts I had in junior high? I wear stuff until there is no wear left in it, so these dresses will last me a long while. My next dress, which I will be cutting out today, will also be a Sporty Forties' Dress, this time in a really cute pink floral cotton that a friend gave me (she found it for $1 a yard and bought the whole bolt, made herself and her daughter a dress, gave me enough for mine, and still had some left over that she is making into a rag rug - quite a buy!). She is also the one who brought over her dress form so I could take these swell pictures. :) Thanks Glenda! Hopefully I'll have the pink dress done next week, and I'll post pictures then. After that one, I'll be making 2 of the Folkwear pattern # 121, Guatemalan Gabacha, one in a yellow calico and one in a nifty blue floral on a cream background. I also have the fabric to make Vintage Vogue #2903, in a purple cotton print, but I'm going to need an extra set of hands for that one, so I don't know when I'll get to that one. I've definitely got the sewing bug right now!