Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Vintage McCalls Top Tutorial

Casual day was on the last Friday of school .
Zara was very keen to have a new top and she had some ideas.......
We both loved this dress by an amazing artisan and we used the colours as our starting point.

After digging through my hundreds of patterns Zara found a vintage McCalls that had a little bound edged tank top.
That girl can spot a good line drawing at fifty paces!

It was a simple matter to add a little to the front.

We cut two layers of fabric.
The top a sheer black hail spot muslin,the bottom layer a apricot de-lustered satin cut a few inches longer.

Next we cut some binding a little wider then standard from the muslin.

I constructed the two tanks separately,sewing the shoulders and side seams and stitching a double hem on each.
I then placed them together the satin right side to the muslin wrong side.
After stay stitching the neck line I gathered in the added fabric and Zara tried it on. As she is so slight I had to pull the gathers tighter to prevent gaping.

Binding the arm and neck finished of this snappy little top.
From start to finish-2 hours.

Zara in her McCalls top and oliver+s 2+2 skirt.
Elsa wearing Clever Charlotte Finch top and Sandpiper capri's

The top layer changes colours as she moves,

Pretty and fun but very sophisticated.

Zara was so pleased with her top she requested a tunic version for Christmas.

She chose a gun metal grey cotton stretch poplin.

We took inspiration from the oliver+s Family Reunion dress for the hem detail.

The moral of the story?
Have a good poke through those old patterns. With a tweak here and there you may have your own designer look waiting to happen.

From this....
To this.

Have fun!
x N


  1. Lovely! I bought some vintage patterns this summer and have yet to use them but I will.

  2. Gorgeous! It sounds so nice to be designing and planning clothes with your girl. Looking forward to when I do that in a few years.

    They both looked very stylish!

  3. Wow, can I have that grey tunic in my size??!!

  4. I love them both, but that tunic is just gorgeous! You have a fantastic eye, Nicole :-)

  5. Thank you Sarah.
    I always scour the patterns in Op Shops for the old patterns. The line drawings give you a good idea of what they are really like.
    I look forward to seeing your creations!

    It is fun Lotta!
    Its is a great chance to chat about things with out being to confrontational.
    Thank you!

    Camille,the Lisette dress is a very similar look......

    xx N

  6. Thank you Justine,I have to give credit to Zara on this one. I am ashamed to admit I was quite rude and laughed when she first showed me the pattern.

    x N

  7. I wonder where she get's her eye for style from! You're a clever Mum! They both look so pretty in their casual clothes.

  8. Thank you Millie,at least we can find a common ground but negotiations can be tricky!
    They do enjoy getting 'dressed up'.
    x N

  9. I love what you, and Zara, have done with this pattern, and combining the pink and black was inspired! I've sewn from my first vintage pattern recently, an interesting, but good experience.
    Happy New Year to you too :-)

  10. Love that tunic! Great eye girls! Truly inspiring!

  11. Thank you Angela.
    Its probably pushing it calling this 'vintage' but you know what I mean!

    Thanks mc,I love sewing with my girls.

    x N