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.

sewing with vintage patterns Tips for Sewing with Vintage Patterns #waverize

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 challenge fabric 575 x 431 Tips for Sewing with Vintage Patterns #waverize

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 5 575 x 576 Tips for Sewing with Vintage Patterns #waverize

vintage bikini 4 573 x 575 Tips for Sewing with Vintage Patterns #waverize

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.

Waverly JoAnn Animation Tips for Sewing with Vintage Patterns #waverize

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?

About Greta Brinkley

Greta is a newly minted 30 year old, originally from the West Coast. Now living in the Midwest, she loves hockey, sparkles, nail polish, and bright colors. She also cannot resist anything that has peanut butter and chocolate together. And she hates filling out bios. Yep.


  1. Wow. This is fabulous. I love it! I am so not domestically inclined but this is really great.
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  2. Passing this info ion to my sister, the sewer!
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  3. I love that vintage swimsuit! I just saw picture’s of someone wearing one recently – they are so adorable! You have so much talent. :-) Using that fabric to make a vintage swimsuit was the perfect choice. :-)
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  4. That bikini came out so cute! I love the colors! I’ll have to check out the details of the contest and see if I can come up with anything to enter.

  5. 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!
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  6. 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.

  7. Great tips to remember. I borrowed some of my grandma’s patterns for my boys and the sizing was way off. Sizes have changed a lot since then. I love the bikini BTW!
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  8. Vintage patterns are very abundant these days

  9. I can’t wait to bust out my sewing machine!

  10. amanda whitley says:

    i have always wanted to get into sewing and this looks like a fun project to get into

  11. 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.
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  12. 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!

  13. WOW! I love the bikini! You are seriously talented! Gotta love vintage patterns!
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  14. I like to shop at Jo ann’s. this is a cute pattern, thanks.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. April Crisafulli says:

    This is so cute but my mother is definitely the sewer in the family

  18. Wow! That is pretty amazing! I am totally impressed, what an awesome skill you have! I love that material! ;)
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