tiddlyompompom made: a 1940s vintage top

A few weeks ago I cut all the pieces out to make a 1940s vintage top from Simplicity.


I was all ready to go and then we had a mini heatwave and I had to make an emergency strapless top, during which my 60 year old sewing machine blew up.


That meant all my nicely cut pieces for the 1940s vintage top had to sit on the piano for a bit while I figured out what to do next.

I bought a new machine, that’s what I did next. And then I made an easy t-shirt instead, mostly because the thought of the invisible zip for the vintage top scared the bejeezus out of me.

This was my first proper floppy paper pattern. I was quite tense about it but soon found I had nothing to worry about.

Until now, everything I have made has had step by step instructions with photos to help me work out what is going on.

Not this time.

I don’t know if the instructions were vintage too, but I found some of them a tad confuddling. Thank goodness for the sewing bible my sister gave me for my birthday.

By the end of a Saturday afternoon I had the shell of a top.

I had done darts and gathers and everything.


I was getting along brilliantly until I discovered that the zip I had was 8″ but it turns out I need a 12″ one. DAGNAMMIT. (Note to self: When going for notions take the pattern with you OR write a list of exactly what you need. DO NOT just say “ah that’ll do” because it probably won’t.) I decided to carry on with all the other steps as I figured I can just put the zip in when I get the right size.

When it got to sewing the loop on to the neck facing the instructions made absolutely NO sense. To me. I’m still not entirely sure that I did it right, but hey, I have a loop and that’s what counts right?



It does up so that’s got to be a bonus…


I also didn’t bother with the sleeve headers, mostly because I have no idea what they are for, and when I looked it up, it seemed a lot of faff. I also didn’t put the shoulder pads in as it all seemed a bit Alexis Colby. I don’t think the top needs them, or maybe I don’t? Either way, I have no shoulder pads. I also don’t bother with the ties. I don’t do fussy.

And then I was done apart from the zip.

I had to wait until I got a zip that was the actual correct size.

(It was at this point I abandoned it to make the kimono t-shirt.)

And then I had a go at sewing it in with my regular zipper foot, but that didn’t work. So I had to wait until my invisible zipper foot arrived.

And then I had to wait until I was brave enough to attempt it.

And then I was.


Thirty minutes (albeit several weeks) later, I had finally completed my 1940s vintage top.

There are things that aren’t quite right with it (obviously), but you know what? I’m pretty bloody pleased with myself. It is wearable, although I think if I make it again (which is highly likely) I need to add about 5cm in the length. Other than that though, I’m pretty pleased with the fit.










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