As I become more and more addicted to sewing, I am increasingly drawn to vintage patterns. Not just for the style, but because the techniques used, instructions, and printed tissue are more interesting to me. I almost always learn a tip or trick from vintage patterns, and I feel like the designs are not watered down, they are interesting and sometimes weird! They also reinforce the idea that nothing is new in fashion; with a few tweaks or a change in fabric, they are surprisingly timeless.
I’ve had this pattern in my stash for a while, and I was planning on making the nightgown in white cotton lawn. But the more I looked at the illustration, the more I became captivated by the short yellow robe. I could wear that as a dress, right? My mom bought me this 100% linen from Joann’s (it’s on sale here!), even after telling me she would prefer I picked any other color. Sorry, Mom! I wanted Carrot! I have no idea why. Just really into orange lately.
This dress goes together very quickly, and it is easy to fit, because it’s meant to be an easy-to-fit robe, worn over your nightgown, in the comfort of your own home. But I encourage you to make it in a fabric that you can wear out and about! Also, if you are new to sewing, I personally would not guide you towards indie or current Big 4 basics, I would tell you to start with something like this. The instructions are succinct and use correct sewing terminology. Steps such as understitching and clipping seams are explained in one clear sentence and are accompanied by a two color illustration. This pattern includes the options of sew-in or fusible interfacing, and optional underlining for sheer fabrics (all clearly explained).
The devil is in the details, and I love special details! I found mini pom pom trim in the exact same shade of orange at Mood - sorry to tell you that I bought the last 5 yards and used all of it! The beads are pale pink, iridescent shell from Pacific Trim. Natural or cream looked stark, but pink was totally harmonious. These buttons were a little pricey, but they have the heft and clink of glass, and pass through the buttonholes so smoothly. For the elastic, I used some I picked up at Tokyu Hands in Japan, just makes me smile to know I have a souvenir tucked in there.
I also successfully used my Narrow Hem foot (Bernina “old style” #64) for the first time. It really takes some practice, but once you get going, it’s a breeze. I need to work on getting started, and going over seams. Those are the hardest parts.
Without further ado, below are my modifications to this pattern. You could sew this straight out of the envelope and make a beautiful dress, but I always like to put my own twist.
• Lengthened bodice 1.5". I am 5'8" and usually lengthen bodices 1" no matter what. I added the extra 1/2” because I prefer the waist a little closer to my actual waist.
• I cut the back skirt by placing the center back 1.5" away from the fold (instead of on the fold) - this added 3" to the width of the piece. I don't think I needed to do this, but better safe than sorry.
• Cut skirt at the "short" length - it's not that short, hits just below my knee unhemmed.
• I made the skirt with the pockets, but they were so small, I sewed them shut and removed them. If I made this again, I would keep them but enlarge them significantly.
• Assembled on sewing machine and then serged the seam allowances together, clipping them down in the process.
• Added mini pom pom trim. I used a zig zag stitch to help keep the trim flat.
• Added a 5.5" ruffle to the hem. I did this to use up every single scrap of this fabric.
Let me know if you try this pattern! Or any vintage sleepwear pattern. I think you’ll enjoy sewing it! XO, Martha