Tips for Sewing with Vintage Patterns #waverize

These tips for sewing with vintage patterns were inspired by a DIY Challenge I participated in with Jo-Ann Fabrics and Waverly.  All opinions are my own.

Tips for sewing with vintage patterns

Recently, I had the opportunity to take part in a creative challenge with Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts and Waverly Fabrics. This was all part of Waverly’s 90th anniversary and the Waverize It contest that Jo-Ann & Waverly are holding. They sent me a mystery package with a top-secret fabric inside. I had to create a sewn project that was a unique twist.


What was I going to get? What was the pattern going to be? Would it be like a quilter’s cotton or would it be a heavy upholstery fabric? Most importantly, what the heck would I make?!?!

Waverly creativity challenge fabric

THE Fabric!!

I had a few ideas, but they would all depend on what the fabric was, both weight wise and the print. Finally, the fabric came, and I knew what I was going to make. A vintage bikini!

Vintage Bikini

Vintage Bikini

The vintage bikini is a little too large for the mannequin!  Oh well…

Tips for sewing with vintage patterns


  • Measure yourself. Even if you regularly sew, vintage patterns are sized differently. Just like regular garments, pattern sizing has changed over the years. This top is a C cup, but I would guess it’s a small B in today’s measurements.
  •  Make sure all the pieces are there. This is oh so important. I was halfway through this project when I realized I was missing a couple pieces. I just drafted & freehanded them, as I could figure out what was needed.
  •  Make sure the patterns are uncut. Even when a pattern is shown as uncut, check it out for yourself. If it’s cut, it’s more likely to be missing pieces.
  •  Make sure that you understand the terminology used. Way back when, sewing was a very popular past time, and patterns can be a lot more complicated.
  •  Similarly, be sure that you understand what the materials used are. There have been a lot of changes in notions and sewing materials over the years. Especially in the past 10 or 15 years.

Waverize it contest

Are you ready to enter the Waverize It contest? One lucky winner will receive an assortment of Waverly fabric and a $250 JoAnn Giftcard!  Click on the graphic above to see the official rules!

Are you going to enter?  What are you gonna make?


  1. says

    I used to sew – a long time ago. I actually made my daughter’s Kindergarten back to school dress when she was little. Now I do the very minimum. Your bathing suit came out amazing!

  2. Mer says

    Love the bikini! I’ve been wanting to get into vintage patterns, so thanks for the tips. It’s amazing how things have changed in the sewing world.

  3. says

    Your sewing skills are awesome! I love the bikini and the fabric that was used. I have some patterns of my mom’s that are from the 60’s. These tips are a big help.

  4. judy gardner says

    your bathing suit is really cute! i love vintage clothes but cant afford to buy them. fortunatley, i have a friend who is a great seamstress who is just beginning to sew with vintage patterns. i will pass these tips on to her!

  5. Maddie K. says

    Adorable bathing suit. I made my daughters prom dress (she requested it) from a 50’s vintage pattern. It took a bit of altering (she’s busty), but she looked amazing in the end.

  6. Jennifer Hiles says

    I wish I knew how to sew. My mom does but somehow I don’t think I inherited the gene. haha. I’ve read patterns before but they just don’t make much sense to me. I should give it another try though. It’s such a great thing to know how to do. Love the design you chose for this bathing suit.

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