unsuccessful vintage sheet projects

First off, some blogging business to attend to: thank you’s!

Thank you to my giveaway contestants! It was my first one and four of you participated and I wasn’t sure there would be anyone. 🙂

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to comment on my jumpsuit transformation. It might be my most commented on post and it cracked me up how every comment mentioned how gross the jumpsuit looked initially.

And thank you to the link parties that have featured me lately! At one point in my blogging history I would regularly post my stuff at link parties that had a couple hundred links, but it got old and didn’t result in many people stopping by. I’ve stuck with smaller link parties lately and have found it to be very rewarding. If you are looking for some new places to link up, try Feather’s Flights (I just checked today and I’ve been featured two weeks in a row!!) and The Life of Jennifer Dawn. I also really like the link party at Recycled Fashion.

So on to today’s main event. I finished two vintage sheet projects shortly before I moved at the end of last summer and they never made it onto the blog. You’ll understand why I wasn’t in a big rush to post them once you see the photos.

Up first is a dress from a vintage pattern. I found it at a thrift store and thought it could be a cute sundress.

Screen shot 2012-06-05 at 1.13.02 PM

photo borrowed from the internet. I’ve already donated the pattern.

The sheet I used for fabric is more 50s than 70s to me, but mismatching eras was the least of my problems.


I’m not one to abandon a project halfway through; I would rather finish it and then donate it than have a unfinished project laying around indefinitely. That being said, I definitely wanted to toss this dress in a corner and leave it forever.

This top is very unflattering, and the sleeves and collar are weird. Putting in the elastic for the waist was a nightmare.


the casing is not even close to being at the true waist. threading the elastic through was almost impossible.

I added a lining before I realized it was unwearable and that complicated everything.

The collar facings were a disaster. They wouldn’t lay flat for anything.


All that being said, this dress was a good learning tool. I am proud of the finishing techniques on the collar (minus the facings), the placket, and the sleeves.


not all bad?

It has a good weight to it with the lining, but it does look like this on….


I hope someone shopping at Goodwill thinks it’s a good costume for something.

The next project is a simple square top using the tutorial at C+C. I want to see if this style could work for me without making me look like a big rectangle so I used a vintage sheet to test it.

Of course it got more complicated because:

– I cut it too short and had to add a piece of contrast.


– There was a spot on the sheet I’d cut for the back, so I had to seam two pieces together.


– I added a faux button loop at the center back and made my own bias tape for the neckline.


I was pleased with the shirt when I finished it last summer, but had never worn it. When I put it on a few weeks ago, it just kind of felt like I was wearing a sheet. I think the pattern being spread out on the fabric contributes strongly to the sheet feeling. And on top of all that, the sheet was worn rather thin in the section I used for the front.


sheet? shirt? a bit of a hospital gown feel perhaps?

I think a knit fabric with elastic or a band at the bottom would have a better shape and be more flattering.

So there are two vintage sheet projects that came out with successful elements (I’d like to think) but did not lead to a successful wearable final product. I did spend a good deal of time and effort making them, so I wanted them to get at least a little blog space before they move on to the donation bin.


10 thoughts on “unsuccessful vintage sheet projects

  1. Have you ever tried making a mockup (aka muslin) to test a pattern before using your cute fabric? You can make all kinds of fit changes to a pattern with a mockup. That was the biggest sewing epiphany for me when I learned about them in college.

    You have chosen good styles (and cute prints!) but the dress just looks a size or two too big. Keep at it! =)

    • I’ve made only a few muslins in my sewing career. I tend to just run with the idea and make it up in fabric from a sheet or a yard sale and finish it all the way, but I think you’re right and I’d be better off making a basic version without spending all the time to make button plackets, etc. to end up with an unflattering end result. I’ll take that with me as I attempt to sew some more clothes for me this summer 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  2. I love the dress. so sorry that it didn’t turn out how you expected. it does look a tad large on you. I’m sure someone at Goodwill would love it. As for the shirt – it’s just fantastic. It’s just the perfect weight for a hot steamy summer. In terms of making the shirt less sheet-like, how about adding a belt and a statement necklace? keep on sewing. can’t wait to see what’s next!

    • I think part of the reason I don’t like the dress is because it was so frustrating to make!

      I really like woven shirts for summer instead of knits, I just think I need to find the right way to make up/style this pattern so I find it flattering on me. I definitely think accessories would help! Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  3. Sherry says:

    Well, not your best look, but I have to give you credit for your honesty. The first fabric might be a good lining for a girlie diaper bag, quilt, changing pad??? Something about it says “baby” to me, but maybe that’s just where my mind is these days. The second one…I think you nailed it when you said hospital gown! Lol

    • Some sheets work as clothes, and some just end up looking like you are wearing a sheet!

      I’m planning to make a doll quilt for Emma from the flowered sheet. I don’t know any little girl babies right now, but I keep finding the cutest stuff to make for them!

  4. I just received my monk bag this morning- and love it! Thank you.
    The shirt is actually kind of cute. Maybe a different pattern would be better, but the shape of it is nice.

    • I do think it’s a pattern I’ll try again with a few tweaks. I have a similar knit shirt that works, but I’m just not feeling this shirt as is.

      So glad you like your bag! Enjoy!

  5. I just want to thank you for sharing these. I know you aren’t happy with them, but that’s why I am so very thankful to you for sharing. I am still learning, a lot, and most of what I make doesn’t turn out quite right at all. Reading blog post after blog post from people who’ve been doing this a long time, but who seem to do it perfectly (because we don’t see the finished stuff they don’t like) makes me feel so frustrated! I really appreciate that you shared two projects you aren’t happy with. I think you’re right about the first one. The dress is not flattering, but I’m sure someone, or you, could alter it enough to make it look better. The shirt I don’t think is that bad at all. I think the blue band is cute at the bottom, but in my opinion, it needs a bit more shape to it. Or maybe just wider at the bottom and more flowy? As I said, I’m far from a professional (very, very far from it!) so my opinions are just that…very unprofessional opinions. Still, I think you should keep the blue shirt and tweak it and make it work. I like the pattern. Thanks again!

    • Ha, well I have several more items that I’m planning to post that came out less than satisfactory (in my opinion)! I think part of the story is sharing the things you tried that didn’t work out. Some people might like them (some won’t!), while others might get an idea from them and be able to make it work!

      The dress has some good points, but I just made it from a sheet and an old curtain as a sort of vintage pattern experiment and it was frustrating to the point where I just want to be rid of it 🙂

      The idea of the shirt I do like, so I think I’m going to tweak the pattern, or try a slightly different shape or fabric. I have a similar shirt in a knit with elastic at the bottom and I find it fairly flattering. I like the idea of a flowy shirt too, maybe adjusting the back so it’s less rectangular.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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