Vintage Sewing Patterns

Take everything I say here with a bit of a grain of salt, but - this pattern gave me a run for my money.

Picked it up thinking - Yay! Simple! - There are only three pattern pieces for a collarless Version A of this bolero, but it's a choose your own adventure for complexity with these and I chose highly complex.

The pattern instructions are very sparse (mostly your order of basics: sew dart, sew these seams) and when it comes to more finished details it assumes a higher level of sewing knowledge (which always seems odd to me, to direct for the easy stuff and leave the complex things totally at "technical challenge GBBO" level). Ex - for the finishing of the inside it gave options to just flip up the edges (simple way) or to line (with zero instructions). Flat lining would be the easy answer as you can use the supplied pattern pieces to do so, I went with a complex version of a self drafted bag lining. (So when you see photos of my finished version, that took a lot of additions and fit adjustments, a few of which I go into below).

Some quick pattern notes:

  • For mine the grain line on the sleeve didn't point straight vertical down the center point. At first I took this as a misaligned grain line and straightened it, but now I have buckling at the back of the sleeve head. Not sure if this is because the grain line should have been a bit askew as marked or my personal shape as I do have broad shoulders.
  • In the illustrations it shows the length hitting at about the pinched in part of the waist. I found when I did the first mock up it was just hitting at my under-bust so I lengthened it (though note, I'm tall).
  • One of the big - what - moments with this pattern for me was the front closure area pointing forward awkwardly. Should note, I took out about an inch on each closure edge so it didn't touch at the front but I still think this may be an issue even if I hadn't done that if it wasn't kept constantly cinched at the neck as pictured. I think it'd have been a bit wily, floppy & unstructured. Needed to add a bottom dart in to get that nice, tight halo effect around the waist as shown by the illustrations.

Other than that I made tons of other adjustments for the lining and details I wanted out of this make but those above are the basic ones I adjusted for with the original pattern pieces. I'll probably make a few other versions of this in the future and it'll be interesting to see how the other pattern pieces for them work out.

You can see a photo of how it turned out here & here.

If you make this, good luck!

*This pattern is an original and part of my personal collection, I don't have scans available for sale at this time nor do I know where they can be acquired at the moment.