Fabric Inspiration: Wool

After the (modest) success of remaking my wool skirt into a cape, I’m hankering after making more things from wool……perfect time of the year, right!?

In looking for photos as research for this post, it occurs to me that wool is a really versatile fabric. You can make all of the below things from wool – skirts (pencil, pleated and circle), dresses (wiggle, fit and flare, and maxi) and, of course, coats and jackets.

I like this skirt because of the fabric – I like the black lines that perfectly line up with the pleats.
Wool Circle Skirt(image source)I can’t resist anything blue pretty much, so I love this one!

Blue Wool Pleated Skirt(image source)

This skirt is from the 60s (which I think is why I was drawn to it) so it shows that wool is also hard-wearing, and lasts a long time. As long as the moths don’t get it!

1960s Olive Green Wool Pleated Skirt(image source)

I like how this one has the pleats starting lower down so it’s smoother over the hips, which I assume is slimming.

Jade Wool Pleated Skirt(image source)

When I was first thinking of a post about wool, I assumed it would all be black, brown and other dark colours, but I was wrong! Electric blue, olive, turquoise and pink. Lovely.

Pink Wool Pleated Skirt(image source)

The pencil skirt is a classic garment to make with wool. I particularly like this grey one – I think it’s the styling (and the model’s legs) that makes it particularly awesome! If only I could wear heels for more than 5 minutes at a time……

Grey Wool Pencil Skirt(image source)

Wool Pencil Skirt(image source)

We can add mustard yellow to the colours of wool available!

Mustard Yellow Wool Pencil Skirt(image source)

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know I like masculine, boxy styles (as well as 60s styles), so I love this grey wool coat/jacket.

Grey Boxy Wool Jacket
(image source)

More mustard yellow!

Mustard Yellow Wool Coat
(image source)

Coral is definitely a colour that is one of my new favourite colours, and it seems to be in several high street shops at the moment, so it’s obviously one of the colours randomly picked for this season. Anyway, I like the combination of a sort of girly colour and a masculine shape of coat.

Coral Wool Boxy Coat
(image source)

The wiggle dress is a classic to be made of wool – they make me think of Joan from Mad Men.

Grey Wool Wiggle Dress(image source)

Blue Wool Wiggle Dress(image source)

Since I like the 60s, I do enjoy a black dress with a white collar and cuffs. The babydoll style is obviously a classic of the 60s and it’s starting to grow on me.

Black Wool Babydoll Dress
(image source)

Ah, Pierre Cardin. Lovely!

1960s Pierre Cardin Wool Dress(image source)

I love this lime green cocoon-y dress with the blossom embroidery. It looks so Springy! It’s making me want the weather to finally warm up.

Lime Cocoon Wool Dress with Blossom(image source)

I like this wool, the black with speckles on. And the shape makes the wool look really modern.

Black Sparkly Wool Dress(image source)

Who knew you could make a maxi dress from wool!

Green Wool Maxi Dress
(image source)

This is a great green too, and I actually like the bow – normally I don’t like things that are too fussy, but I’ll make an exception for this one!

1950s Green Dress with Bow(image source)

When I do next sew with wool, I really have to make a coat for The Boyfriend. I promised to in January, but then we decided to move and now it’s almost Spring so it seems like a silly time of year to make a Winter coat! Have you sewn with wool? Outerwear or ‘inner’ wear?




Fabric Inspiration - Lace Tartan Skirt to Cape Pink-Francoise-thumb 2



My #VintagePledge


I’m sure if you follow sewing blogs – and like vintage style/ sewing patterns – then I’m sure you’ve heard of A Stitching Odyssey’s Vintage Pledge. If not, it started in 2014 as a way to encourage people to make things from the vintage patterns I’m sure many of us collect/ hoard. It’s running throughout the whole of 2016, with a focus of activity and prizes in July. I’ve followed the activity for the last 2 years and this time I finally decided to join in.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know I have some mostly 60s and 70s patterns from my Grandma and some from a friend of a friend who was clearing out her mum’s things.

I have already made one of my Grandma’s patterns, with limited success for Spring for Cotton – it did end up really a bit short, but I’m sure when the weather warms up I’ll be pulling it out of my closet with glee!



I, Amelia of thriftmakesew,wordpress.com pledge to make 3 outfits/ garments from my vintage pattern stash, at least one of which will be from an older, unprinted pattern.

Since I’m making this pledge, I thought I’d have a look through my pattern stash and see what I might want to make.

From the beginning, this pattern was probably my favourite one from my Grandma. I have a Christening for my niece and nephew coming up in April so I might make the matching dress and coat combo for that.


I kind of fancy making an old school 70s-style shirt dress. It would be good for when the weather warms up, and I could layer it with tights and a jumper/cardigan when it’s not so warm (i.e. 80% of the time in England!)

Sometimes I feel like going full-on 60s all the time in my clothing but other times I feel like I don’t want to stand out that much! But on the days when I do feel like going full-on retro, I may need an authentic 1960s blouse…..


Out of my other stash of vintage patterns, I think this one might be my favourite. Not sure when I’d have occasion to wear a full-length coat, though!


I managed to pick up this Simplicity pattern from a now local second-hand bookshop – I could definitely love a place where the bookshops have patterns! There are also several vintage shops, which I’ve noticed also have vintage patterns quite often. Fingers crossed I can find one of the Chester Weinberg ones! I really like the little double-breasted jacket, so I might give it a go. I like the square collar on the dress too, and I don’t think I’ve got any other dress patterns like that (though I’d have to check to be sure!).

Simplicity 2841 from Inprint

And finally, I feel like I need to make the 80s-tastic hooded top from the middle pattern! These three were given to me by one of my friends from my job I just left, so I feel like I should make at least one of them! I may not wear it out of the house, but it would be good for lolz!

80s-tastic patterns

Have you made a #VintagePledge? What patterns are you planning to make? Are you as scared as I am that they will be way harder to make then modern patterns!?

Turquoise Coco Top

I made another Coco! This time it’s a top. I haven’t ended up getting too much wear out of my dress version yet as the fabric is quite thin and it feels like it’s been Winter for about 3 years! Interestingly, there is a link between the dress and the top besides the fact that they’re the same pattern (duh!). As you may remember, I made the dress for Karen from Did You Make That’s Made Up Initiative. I went to the meet up that included the prize drawer, wearing my dress (obvs) and some people had brought some patterns and fabric to give away/ trade. I picked up this amazing turquoise jersey as a remnant that someone didn’t want. And it made the perfect Coco top!


This is an accidental copy of the top on the pattern cover. I love 60s style fashion so I love, love, love the funnel neck on this top version! I had cut out the small pocket,  but decided not to put it on as I thought it would look a bit too busy.


As with the dress, I made the size 2 with no changes. It does sit a little strangely on my upper chest – anyone have any ideas why and how I can fix it?


I didn’t bother with the side splits – mostly because I forgot to mark it on the pattern and the fabric, so I just sewed the whole side seam to the hem.


The back looks okay – it’s snug across my bum so looks a bit pool-y in my lower back, where it’s not so tight! I know I keep saying it, but I really, really need to start altering patterns to fit my narrow back. Should this be a sway back adjustment or a narrow back adjustment do you think?


I don’t really have too much else to say – this is a really quick make. I cut it out one day and sewed it in pretty much an afternoon. I think I definitely see more 60s-style Cocos in my future!

Turqoise-Coco-Top-6  Turqoise-Coco-Top-8

Designer Inspiration: Chester Weinberg

The other day I was scrolling through instagram, which is one of my favourite pastimes if I have 10 minutes to kill, and I came across this sewing pattern (I’m sorry but I can’t remember whose feed it was on):

Chester Weinberg 1856(image source)

I immediately thought this was a fab 60s dress! (The photo might be slightly less fabulous, however!). I had never heard of Chester Weinberg so I did some googling, and it turns out he was quite a famous fashion designer in the 60s and 70s – he was up there with Oscar de la Renta! “With his daring yet elegant clothes and outsize personality, Weinberg was the undisputed darling of the fashion press, and he was equally beloved by the industry, winning a Coty Award in 1970—the fashion equivalent of an Oscar. He worked with a who’s-who of models, photographers, and editors, and dressed socialites and celebrities including Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, and Nancy Reagan. As an instructor at Parsons School of Design, he mentored the likes of Donna Karan, Isaac Mizrahi, and Marc Jacobs.”1

Chester Weinberg 1(image source)

“Despite all this, his name today is familiar only to a handful of museum curators and vintage fashion aficionados. This is largely because, on April 24, 1985, Weinberg became the first fashion designer to succumb to AIDS. The tragedy of his premature demise—he was 54—was compounded by its terrible timing. Although he’d been working steadily, Weinberg was no longer famous, and his passing went unremarked by the public. Within the industry, his death was willfully ignored.”1

Chester Weinberg 2(image source)

I love these 2 coats – the green of the one above is just amazing and the blue below seems like one of those typically 60s colours. And look at the collar! I think I need a 60s coat in my future…..

Chester Weinberg 5(image source)

This might be my favourite of all the Chester Weinberg clothes I found. I’m trying to think of ways to recreate it. Any ideas of patterns I could use as a starting point?

Chester Weinberg 4(image source)

“The look of a Weinberg is familiar even to those who have never heard of him, for his designs were some of the defining looks of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Black-scarfed models in swirling, long black dresses topped by smock jackets in Jackson Pollock-like yellow silk or apple green mohair, a vivid wool gabardine suit with an empire waist, cinched by a wide contrasting belt, a gray geometric print dress, all are images of “mod.” At the same time, Weinberg’s designs were classically simple and elegant, with details like ribbons, princess seams, inverted pleating, and his signature ruffles. From a navy blue, silk dress with an empire waist to a wool crêpe chemise dress with black lace over a lining of light cocoa, vintage Weinberg is still fashionable.”1

You can see examples of the prints he used below.

I actually really like this fabric – and the style of the dress. I like the detail of the piping around the waist seam, so cute!

Chester Weinberg 3(image source)

This print is definitely right up my street! I like the high neckline and the high waistline.

Chester Weinberg 6(image source)

Chester Weinberg 7(image source)

Chester Weinberg 8(image source)

I can’t decide if I like this coat or think it’s awful……. I think I like the style but the fabric is….not my taste.

Chester Weinberg 9(image source)

“After his company folded, Weinberg designed dresses and sportswear for a company backed by Jones Apparel Group, cashmere sweaters for Ballantyne of Scotland, furs, costumes for the Twyla Tharp ballet As Time Goes By, and patterns for Vogue and Butterick.”1

Obviously I realised he designed sewing patterns, since that’s where I heard of his first, but I still think it’s awesome that a major fashion designed of the time make sewing patterns so people could make his fashions themselves at home. Maybe this is because it was way more common for people to still be sewing all their own clothes in the 60s than it is now. Are there any designers of a similar fame lever doing the same now?

Here is a selection of my favourites of his patterns – all the ones I found were Vogue, so I’d be interested to see any Butterick ones if you know of any. I think I may have to collect all of these – and then go full-on 60s with my clothes!

Chester Weinberg 1783(image source)

Chester Weinberg 1927(image source)


Chester Weinberg 2201(image source)

Chester Weinberg 2154(image source)

Chester Weinberg 2202(image source)


Chester Weinberg 1783(image source)

This coat pattern might be my favourite – I’m clearly in a coat mood at the moment! If you need me I’ll be on ebay…….

Chester Weinberg 1784(image source)





Style Crush: Jean Seberg

In a week when I posted about my Breton-inspired Deer and Doe Plantain t-shirt and The Foldline blogged about the history of the Breton top, I thought I would write a post in homage to one of the early adopters of the Breton top as a fashion item (rather than an part of naval uniform): Jean Seberg.

circa 1965: Promotional portrait of American actor Jean Seberg (1938 - 1979) sitting barefoot and cross-legged on a stool, wearing rolled blue jeans and a French-striped sailor jersey pulled off one shoulder. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
(image source)

I didn’t really know much about Jean Seberg before I decided to write this post and I’ve only seen her on one film — The Mouse That Roared (not one of her classic French New Wave movies!). She does were a Breton top in it though!

Jean Seberg mouse that roared(image source)

Jean Seberg was born in Iowa and made her first film, Saint Joan, in 1957, having been picked from a huge open casting. She got fairly terrible reviews in this, and her next film, Bonjour Tristesse, and it was really The Mouse That Roared that was her first success, in 1959. It was her next film, Breathless (in French À bout de souffle) directed by Jean-Luc Godard, which was her first critical success and marked her as a good actress and the herione of French New Wave cinema.

DIRECTINPUT~ This image has been directly inputted by the user. The photo desk has not viewed this image or cleared rights to the image. Fall Fashion trends(image source)
Bonjour Tristesse

She was one of the earlier wearers of the pixie crop and as I was researching photos for this post, I definitely found myself looking at her hair as much as at her clothes! She also wore more minimal, natural make-up than was usual at the time. I love her relaxed style. Although I’m quite vain, I think I’m also quite low maintenance at heart. I’m also lazy, so having short hair I can wash and leave is great for me!

Jean Seberg chunky jumper(image source)

Jean Seberg Coat(image source)

I love the chunky jumper and cigarette trousers combo, and this slouchy coat is amazing! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll probably have picked up on the fact that I’m drawn to the 60s the most as a decade for fashion and style.

Jean Seberg even looked great a bit later in the 60s, which slightly grown out hair.

Jean Seberg yellow top
(image source)

Jean Seberg longer hair
(image source)

I love the yellow of the dress (assuming it is a dress) above – I wish I could see more of it. It’s amazing to see how many of the vintage sewing patterns I have have similar tops to the one she’s wearing above – maybe I’ll recreate it one day!

Her life wasn’t all making films, however. She gave financial support to several groups in the late 60s which the US government did not like: the NAACP, and the Black Panther Party were the most famous. The FBI, therefore, decided to harass, defame, intimidate and discredit Seberg. The idea was to discredit her with the public and the film industry so her voice would have less weight and fewer opportunities to be heard. In 1970 she was expecting a baby with her then husband, Romain Gary, but the FBI released a story saying the father was Raymond Hewitt, a member of the Black Panther Party. Seberg went into premature labour and the baby died 2 days later. She blamed the stress of the gossip columns printing the FBI’s story for the premature birth and death of her child. At the funeral she had an open casket for the child so people could look and see that she was white. The FBI was regularly wire-tapping her phone, stalking her and breaking into her homes. Apparently Richard Nixon was kept personally up to date by J Edgar Hoover on the surveillance of Jean Seberg. It seems to shocking now that the government would harass an actress for her political views, but I bet it’s still happening and people are still getting black-listed, just as they did during the McCarthy era ‘witch-hunts’. It makes you realise how powerful artistic expression can be – that the government felt it had to stifle people. And some governments still do I’m sure.

Sorry, I’ve gone off on rather a tangent there, but Jean Seberg had quite a hard life I think. She ended up committing suicide in her car (though there is a theory that someone else was there, but they don’t know who) in 1979 at the age of 40. It feels a bit weird to now say ‘but look at all the great clothes she wore’……

I’m not sure what else to write now, so I will just put some pictures of Jean Seberg for your 60s-loving pleasure.

Jean Seberg Painting(image source)

Jean Seberg evening dress(image source)

Jean Seberg stripey dress Breathless(image source)

Jean Seberg Breton colour(image source)

I’ll end this with picture of her looking effortlessly cool, and very French, smoking a cigarette. Is it wrong that I always think smoking looks kind of cool? But, like. smoking from the 60s looks cool – now not so much.

Jean Seberg cigarette(image source)