Simplicity Reissues Rosie the Riveter Pattern

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

It is no secret that workwear has been a trend in the vintage community for the past several years and this has started to translate into some more casual reproduction clothing being made and available for dancers who may not want to roll up into a dance in a 1930’s suit or a 1940’s rayon dress every week.  For women, many of these workwear reproductions translate into WWII era throwbacks, when women joined the workforce in many sectors of employment, including factory workers who would need to wear something more practical than the aforementioned rayon dress.  Vintage style workwear is very easy to integrate into your wardrobe, whether you wear vintage style every day or want a few easy pieces to mix in with your regular daywear.


Simplicity patterns has been periodically trickling out reissues of popular patterns from the past, with reformatted instructions for more ease in sewing, for the past decade, or so.  I remember picking up a couple of dress patterns for my mom to make for me a little over 10 years ago, since her sewing skills are so much better than mine, and was very pleased with the results.  But the vintage reissues are still a very small part of their offerings, so I hadn’t checked in in a while to see what they were up to.

Yesterday, I see in my Facebook feed that Simplicity has caught wind of the workwear trend and reissued their pattern for 1940’s overalls, trousers, and blouses, a practical package deal for anyone, then and now.  Each piece has such lovely details, showing us that practical doesn’t have to mean boring.  The overalls come up over the bust with some shape so that they define the waistline a bit more than your standard pair of overalls.  The trousers are so classic, make them out of just about any fabric for any occasion, and that hooded blouse is just…I’m dying.   The best of all possible basics in one envelope.  My only complaint is that there isn’t an optional short sleeve for the blouse, but that may not bother you if you are a veteran sewer – if I were actually to make this, I would be lazy and not want to have to figure that out, LOL.3322_1024x1024

But wait!  This pattern is already on backorder.  I’m a little surprised, but then not surprised because this is such a great pattern to own.

If you need this pattern in your life right now, never fear – EvaDress Patterns has already been selling a reissue of this pattern (with the original pattern number), picking up the slack from Simplicity being behind the curve on this trend.  It even has the short sleeve options, further picking up the slack from Simplicity. 😉


This post was written by Lindy Shopper.


Fancy legwear has definitely been a trend in the Lindy Hop community for the past few years and it makes sense – we are paying a lot of attention to movement and embellishing that is one way to get someone to look at your legs. I was contacted by the UK legwear retailer, Tightsplease, about reviewing their site and product and I am happy to report that all is well in the UK for quality hosiery.

I tried a pair of the Tightsplease brand’s Jive Stockings, which proved to be highly durable. I didn’t dance in them, but I did brave a Christmas party with a shooting contest, a parade, hot glue gun crafts, small children, and runway walking on a gravel driveway. They’ve made it through the wash on the delicate cycle and are ready to go again. This is saying a lot for these hose because I am the destroyer of all panty hose that are not, essentially, medical grade support hose. I destroyed a different pair last night on the first wear by simply attending a concert and sitting in a chair for 2 hours. Riddle me that.


I was very excited to see that they carry what they are calling Charleston stockings, which look like the silk stockings of old, but probably aren’t silk, based on the price tag. I am hopeful for the latter because silk stockings tend to get droopy around the ankles mid-way through the night and I’d love for modern technology to have improved on that, but maintain that same rich, silky look. Ella wasn’t kidding when she sang about silk shiny stockings – they are really shiny!

The website also lists the denier for most of the hosiery, which I find extremely helpful as the hosiery Godzilla. If there’s two pairs that look the same, you can be sure I’ll go for the one with the higher denier number.

Here are some of my favorites from this lovely site:

Side bow suspender tights - sassy without the garter belt
Side bow suspender tights – sassy without the garter belt
Chicago tights - more shiny stuff!
Chicago tights – more shiny stuff!
Freakin' gorgeous hold ups with peacock feather detail
Freakin’ gorgeous hold ups with peacock feather detail
80 denier tights in 7 colors - hoping 80 denier means Godzilla-proof...
80 denier tights in 7 colors – hoping 80 denier means Godzilla-proof…
Dogstooth tights
Dogstooth tights

Your Homework: Vintage Pattern Wiki

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

A selection from 1937

I hear a lot of questions about how to isolate the decade, or portion of a decade (or in rare instances, the year), in which a particular garment was made. How do you identify the date of a garment based on the details, fabrics, notions, etc. included the garment? My initial answer is to do your homework, but my learning mostly consisted of shopping for vintage with my mother, asking her to identify the decade, and having her point out different identifying details. I can’t loan out my mother to all of you, so you’ll have to learn the old fashioned way: book learning (or in the 21st century, the Internets).

Kim at Time Machine Vintage directed me to the Vintage Pattern Wiki to get some ideas for dresses, but I was delighted to see that you could search their extensive directory by the type of garment and also by year. I see other compilations of patterns for sale that usually group by decade, but I’m just anal retentive enough to want to add more mid-1930’s dresses to my collection, or to want to make sure that late 20’s/early 30’s dress is actually late 1920’s. Regardless of your OCD level or absence thereof, this website is a useful resource for anyone who would like to learn and understand more about the fashions from each of the swing era decades, down to the year. Another great feature of this site is menswear and children’s clothing included in the patterns, which is not something I run across very often.

Enjoy this resource, I’ve already spent portions of two evenings going through the early 1940’s stuff – this could take a while!

Electric Gypsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

While searching for 1930’s reproduction clothing, I stumbled across Electric Gypsy, a UK-based retailer of handmade reproduction clothing from the 1930’s through the 1980’s. For each decade, there are a few choice garments made with a selection of fabric options, and I was excited to see that they went as far back as the 1930’s. Don’t let the psychedelic graphics on the website fool you, there is good swing era-inspired stuff here.

From the website: “At Electric Gypsy we also have our own label of handmade vintage and retro inspired clothing. We use a mixture of original vintage fabrics and kitsch cool new fabrics. Many pieces are one-off or short runs, so you are guaranteed to find something that is unique and original, whether it be a 1960’s inspired shift dress or a 1950’s Rockabilly skirt with a modern twist. Each item is individually handmade by us in the UK. We create our designs by modernising vintage patterns, designing our own patterns from scratch and customising old vintage clothing.”

Here’s what I’m loving:

OMG this kick-pleat 1940's skirt
1940's sweetheart dress
1932 Midnight in Paris dress
1930's cape collar dress
1940's tea dress
1950's diner dress

Beach Pajamas

In this post I’m going to pay homage to La Mode Pyjama, a blog devoted entirely to beach pajamas of the 1920’s and 1930’s. While this blog is not a source for the actual purchase of said pajamas, it does offer wonderful and inspiring photographs and postcards of beachwear from that era, highlighting various styles of beach pajamas. The material here is simply gorgeous – the colors, the shapes, the scenery, it’s like a wonderful time machine to a tropical destination. The beachwear shown here is so creative, ranging from clean and chic to drapey and sophisticated, with each outfit showing different parts and amounts of skin.

Sassy ladies in beach pajamas

The blog is affiliated with the Trojan Academy of Studies Cartophiles, which, according to the blog (as translated by Babelfish/Yahoo, as I don’t speak French) “Its goal is to study the old postcards, i.e. to carry a glance on the technique cartophile, to evaluate their historical interest, to consider their sociological interest. Monthly meetings make it possible to the members to make their presentations. Studies made by the members of the Trojan Academy of studies cartophiles and relating to teaching, the leisures, various local events, of communes and any subject cartophile without exclusiveness in places. The academy publishes postcards of collection (47 achievements) primarily devoted to the local life and booklets taking again the contents of the conferences of its members.” I have an aunt who collects old postcards of Beaufort, North Carolina, my hometown, and it a fascinating study of the past, leisure, and writings from the beach. To focus on a particular fashion trend of the time that is directly associated with the beach is a great way to show how the postcards convey the fun and relaxation to be had (or to envy, if you are the recipient of the postcard) at the beach.

Wearing History Patterns beach pajamas

With beach pajamas you don’t have to sweat how you look on the beach, you simply look fabulous in a floaty, elegant, drapey, one piece pantsuit. Top it off with a big brimmed floppy hat, sandals, and beach tote and you’re ready for a day in the sun without having to worry about your ghostly white legs, bikini line, or any undesirable bits showing in your bikini…no worries means you might actually relax at the beach. I think we’re on to something here.

Where can you find your own pair of beach pajamas? A Google search reveals that you can buy a pair for your American Girl doll, but finding a life sized pair will prove more difficult. Unless you can find a vintage pair somewhere (likelihood: slim), you will probably have to either make your own pair from a pattern, like this one from Wearing History Patterns, or have a pair made for you, like this adorable pair from Etsy seller Time Machine Vintage. I opted for the latter and am so pleased with the results (in green, of course) – beyond comfortable!

Time Machine Vintage's reproduction beach pajamas

While these pajamas were widely photographed at the beach, you certainly shouldn’t relegate your beach pajamas to purely sandy locations – they’ve been spotted “puttering in the garden,” I could see this as a great hostess outfit, and I’ve definitely spotted Heidi Rosenau wearing hers out dancing. If you have a pair, I’d love to see yours out on the dance floor!

New Vintage Lady on Etsy

1930's Cape Sleeve Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

I’ve written in the past about finding vintage clothing in a size larger than tiny, or any size, really, but even for those who find vintage more commonly in their size, it can be a burden of a task to find vintage dresses that fit that also suit your style. While vintage clothing does exist beyond the tiny realm, it is much harder to find, especially when eBay sellers list L/XL as anything from a size 10 upwards – that’s quite a range of sizes to pilfer through! I’ve been touting the benefits of reproductions (ready to wear, made for you, or make yourself), but haven’t found a lot of resources for women who wear over a size 12 or 14.

New Vintage Lady on Etsy has seen this need and done something about it. New Vintage Lady is “proud to stock one of the largest rotations of original plus size vintage patterns and reproductions. I specialize in plus size vintage patterns (but carry items of all sizes!), reproduction patterns 40″ bust and over, clothing, notions, and vintage inspired creations often of my own design.”

I am so in love with New Vintage Lady’s aesthetic – I am actually more enthralled with her own pattern designs than the original patterns she has listed, primarily because she illustrates her own patterns with whimsy, color, imagination, and style. Her patterns are adorable, with thoughtful details like buttons, tucks, contrast panels, belts with buckles, and scalloped edges. She even has hat patterns, and an entire pattern devoted to different types of sleeves that you can add to any dress – imagine that, designers-who-produce-clothing-for-any-mall-retailer – SLEEVES! If anyone has worked with vintage patterns before, you know that the arm holes/sleeves tend to run on the small side, so this add-on pattern is a genius idea.

New Vintage Lady has other great items in her shop, like vintage patterns of all sizes, sewing books, and some vintage and reproduction dresses. Here are some of my favorite items from her shop:

Knot Bodice Day Dress pattern
Knot Bodice Day Dress complete and styled
Kimono Sleeved Flapper Dress pattern
Kimono Sleeved Flapper Dress styled and flat
1940's Sport Dress with deep back, optional sleeves and bolero
The 1940's Sport Dress in eyelet, available for purchase

Reproduction Vintage Men’s Vest

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

My Valentine’s Day debacle could be your new treasure – I bought this great reproduction vest on eBay for my husband, but when I gave it to him on Valentine’s Day it turned out to be too small. I was so disappointed because I had searched a long time to find the perfect vest – something that could be paired with grays, blacks, and any color tie; something that had a subdued pattern; and something that either was vintage or looked vintage that could withstand the wear and tear my husband would put it through (i.e. Lindy Shopper carefully hangs and launders her vintage, while the Boy leaves his clothes in a mound on the floor, which doubles as a cat bed). THIS was that vest.

If this all sounds like your life and fulfills your needs, consider placing a bid on my eBay auction. I love the tiny dot pattern, all the wonderful buttons, and the shape of the front of the vest. This fabric is durable and new, but looks like it could have stepped out of another decade. Estimated at a size 40 chest by the previous seller, and confirmed by the 2 inch gap in the front when the Boy tried it on.

Time Machine Vintage on Etsy

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

The cuteness is overwhelming at Time Machine Vintage’s Etsy store, which offers custom made (or if the sample fits, you can buy the sample) 1930’s through 1950’s dresses made from the seller’s collections of vintage patterns and vintage fabrics. The patterns and fabrics are adorable and whimsical, two things I love to have in a dress.

From the dressmaker extraordinaire: “If you’ve ever tried to find a great vintage cotton day dress in mint condition, you know it is damned near impossible. Women wore them until they fell apart! “Make do and mend” was the buzz phrase of the WWII era and it carried over to post war too. So adding decorative appliques and trims to hide imperfections, stains, rips and holes was the norm. In my creations you’ll often find those great little vintage touches even on fabric that is in perfect condition.

I prefer to use authentic vintage feedsack and cotton fabrics but I often default to vintage reproduction prints since there are so many great ones out there now. If I can, I use recycled metal zippers, antique buttons and vintage trims. Just doing my part to save the earth from all those thrown away metal zippers! So browse my pattern collection and choose a dress sample that has already been put together or convo me with a color choice or choices (or actual fabric you have seen or have in mind) and a pattern selection and I can make a dress or romper just for you in your size!”

Time Machine Vintage Logo

She speaks the truth – finding vintage day dresses is extremely difficult. I generally want day dresses for dancing because they are more breathable and danceable than more formal dresses and fabrics. In looking at Time Machine Vintage’s offerings, just about everything looks like it should be ready to hit the dance floor.

Perhaps the best part of this Etsy store are the prices – items range between $40 and $100 for a custom dress made for your measurements, with most dresses in the $65-$90 price range. The fabric alone would cost you at least $40 if you went to a fabric store today and bought enough yardage to make one of these dresses. These dresses are a steal. Buy them quickly!

My faves:

1940's kitchen dress - love the pockets and the rickrack detail
1950's plaid dress with removable collar
1930's or 40's cotton day dress
1940's day dress - love the contrasting insets
This 1950's two piece romper set is an outfit with built-in bloomers - sometimes you feel like a skirt, sometimes you don't

Crepe and Drape

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This 1930’s/40’s crepe dress from eBay seller 7shops is a standout in several ways. The dress shape and draping are classically elegant, but there are some wonderful and eclectic elements to this dress, specifically the slit cutouts below the neck, the pleated gathering at the bust, and the fabric itself. If you look closely at the fabric, the green and yellow shapes are trees and the background is a sort of zebra stripe wood grain in black and white. Someone with a 28 inch waist please buy this dress! Starting price is $9.99.

Candy Striped Dress

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

This 1940’s style striped dress from eBay seller buddhaboogie was too adorable not to post, even though it’s not in season. But then it’s never too late or early to shop for all things fabulous. I’m in love with this candy striped dress – it’s made with a great vintage fabric and has a chevron skirt, matching belt, and flutter sleeves. It’s good enough to eat!