vintage may inspiration: modern patterns, vintage style

vintage may-3

as we prepare for vintage may, i wanted to round up some patterns and tutorials that i think have a “vintage/retro” look to them, many with a modern twist.  most of these designers have a vintage/retro sensibility in general, so be sure to click around their sites to see more.

you know, in case your project list isn’t long enough already…

*note: aside from the title photo, i’ve disabled pinning in this post to protect the original sources.  please click through to pin.  thank you!*



patterns by independent designers to purchase in your local sewing shop (or online).


1.  Oliver + S: Croquet Dress and Puppet Show Tunic, Dress & Shorts (available for download).  Oliver + S has a classic aesthetic in general, and these patterns are just the tip of the iceberg.  be sure to check out their free popover sundress (the first actual “pattern” i ever sewed)!  EDIT: You can also now download the Sailboat Top, Skirt & Pants pattern!  it’s my favorite boy pattern and quite vintage inspired – get it here.

Figgy_s Patterns » ZEPHYR-1

2.  Figgy’s Patterns: Zephyr.  rompers make me nostalgic – i have photos of my 6-year-old self climbing a fence in the summertime wearing one with saltwater sandals, but they also harken back to the ’30s depending on fabric choices.  figgy’s also makes a classic-with-a-twist peasant dress in the ofelia.

Finch Top & Shorts Sewing Pattern

3.  Clever Charlotte: Finch Top & Shorts.  a pinafore-esque top and pleated shorts?  doesn’t get much more vintage inspired than that!  clever charlotte patterns are a fun sew.  also check out their wren dress.



by lovely blogging ladies with great vintage style!

Peekaboo Bonnet Sewing Pattern!

1.  Made by Rae: Peekaboo Bonnett.  i mean, come on.  make one of these and you’ll get hit with girl baby fever, HARD.  also check out Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee, a real blast from the past.

ShwinDesigns — The _Claire_ Top_dress PDF Pattern

2.  Shwin & Shwin: Claire Top and Dress.  the ruffle in the back harkens back to the turn of the century, but pair it with leggings or skinny jeans and the styling is very modern.

Sew Liberated - Huck Finn Cap Sewing Pattern

3.  Sew Liberated: Huck Finn Cap.  my grandpa was from scotland so i have a soft spot for tams.  this one is so cute and adds a vintage twist to a little guy’s outfit.

Running With Scissors_ Maxi Sheet Dress Sewing Pattern

4.  Running with Scissors: Maxi Sheet Dress.  want to sew a maxi dress?  you’re gonna need a lot of fabric.  want to make it for next to no money?  vintage sheets are perfect!



probably the single greatest perk of following sewing blogs – free tutorials!  especially perfect if you’re just learning how to sew – i have learned so much from free tutorials.  these gals generously share their methods for everyone to follow.


1.  Craftiness is not Optional: Vintage Feedsack Dress Tutorial.  my lovely vintage may co-host has plenty tutorials for you to try.  my favorite is the vintage feedsack dress, but i also love Jess’ emma dress, vintage heirloom dress, and cinched up skirt.

Easy Summer Outfit - Bloomers to Romper DIY - Smile And Wave

2.  Smile and Wave bloomers to romper.  Rachel’s blog is a must-read for vintage style inspiration and i’ve been a fan of hers forever.  check out this tutorial to turn bloomers into an adorable summer romper!

crafterhours_ Pleated Sundress_ A Tutorial

3.  Crafterhours: Pleated Sundress – a simple sundress is elevated by beautiful pleats and tucks.  also check out this lovely 20s inspired boardwalk dress.

Girl. Inspired._ his work shirt to her school dress

4.  Girl.Inspired: Dress Shirt to Shirtdress.  i’m so in love with shirtdresses.  they remind me of the ’40s and have a great ladieswear/menswear thing going on.  stef shows you how to upcycle a men’s shirt into a classic shirtdress!


5.  MADE: heirloom skirt and circle skirt.  dana shows how to add vintage embellishment to a simple skirt, and takes a classic circle skirt and created an easy-to-follow tutorial.  circle skirts add twirl to any bodice!  and if you need bloomers to make rachel’s tutorial above, dana’s got you covered.  dana also has a pattern shop here.

The Cottage Home_ Happy Day Big Bow Dress ~ Pattern and Tutorial

6.  The Cottage Home: Happy Day Big Bow Dress.  a sweet summery sundress with eyelet shoulder straps.  check out Lindsay’s patterns too!

Noodlehead_ vintage inspired skirt tutorial

7.  Noodlehead: vintage inspired skirt.  inspired by catherineholm enamelware.  a skirt for grown ups, but scale down the design and it’d be adorable on a little gal.  and if you’re in the mood for some selfish (or mother’s day) sewing, check out anna’s patterns.

i’m pretty sure that should give you plenty to work with, and i’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s out there.  do you have any favorite pattern/tutorial suggestions to add to the mix?  chime in especially if you know of good vintage style patterns for boys – they’re hard to find!  happy sewing!

head on over to Jess’ blog for a roundup of her adorable vintage sheet projects!


11 thoughts on “vintage may inspiration: modern patterns, vintage style

  1. Rachel says:

    well I am loving this, you sure did your homework, thanks for sharing the results of your research 🙂
    I cannot say enough (good things) about Oliver+S patterns, they are FABULOUS & the paper doll packaging is such a sweet vintage touch

  2. nestedinstitches says:

    fabulous! lots of ideas to be had here. as an aside, as a new blogger (in pdx, too!) i’ve found your blog to be very inspirational. you’ve created a beautiful space, and have been so successful in a relatively short period of time. kudos!

    • kristin says:

      YES, thank you astrid! the donald and the cristobald are fantastic vintage-y boy patterns! i’d never been to their site before, but i have heard good things about their patterns.

      (hint: click on the union jack flag to view the site in english)

  3. Carol says:

    Such a wonderful idea! Love the round up of ideas. I cut out the Oliver + S Puppet Show shorts pattern yesterday for my grandaughter. Did not think vintage but guess that is why I like it so much. Really looking forward to next week!

leave a comment > > >

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s