The Big Vintage Sewalong. My sweet and stylish version of V9000 | Randomly Happy

The big vintage sew along: Vogue 9000

So you’ve probably come across The Big Vintage Sew Along by now.

The lovely people at McCall Patterns have picked 20 patterns from their vintage archives, including beauties from Vogue, Butterick and McCalls, with proceeds going to the Eve Appeal cancer charity. There’s a website that gives more details and shows all the patterns so anyone can get involved.

To help spread the word they asked a few sewers to have a go and blog/vlog their makes. You can see everyone taking part here – and I’m up today.

No pressure 🙂

You know me, I do love a good vintage pattern. The quality of the details, drafting and construction back in the day was pretty amazing. And you generally get more unique designs with vintage patterns.

So obviously I had a hard time choosing 🙂

The Big Vintage Sewalong. My inspiration for V9000 | Randomly Happy

But the Vogue 9000 swung it for me in the end. I can kinda feel myself heading towards an obsession with shirt dresses this A/W so I decided to go all in and used this pin from my Pinterest board as a starting point.

The Big Vintage Sewalong. My inspiration for V9000 | Randomly Happy

Pattern details

V9000 has a button-up bodice with kimono sleeves and the option to add a cuff or finish the sleeves with a facing. The front and back bodice are lined and have darts. The skirt is a multi-paneled skirt that flares out to calf length. The fit is quite tight on the waist so there’s a side zipper.

There are also a few additional extras like a belt and shoulder pads that would really help you double down on the vintage look.

The Big Vintage Sewalong. My sweet and stylish version of V9000 | Randomly Happy

The fabric

Originally I really wanted to copy the inspiration dress and go for a moss/olive coloured fabric. Something easy-going and drapey.

I popped into Cloth House to have a mooch around and ended up really falling in love with this blue cotton/linen. The weave is uneven giving it a great texture.

It’s not olive, but hey, I’ll take the hit.

I then spent ages looking for a good lining to go with this and ended up deciding to skip the lining altogether. To be honest, I’m not sure I totally understood the instructions for lining anyway (which seem to imply you baste the lining to the bodice and treat them as one piece, putting darts through both layers as one).

Moral of the story: it’s hard to find lining when your fabric is this amazing.

What I did

The Big Vintage Sewalong. My sweet and stylish version of V9000 | Randomly Happy

The Big Vintage Sewalong. My sweet and stylish version of V9000 | Randomly Happy

The Big Vintage Sewalong. My sweet and stylish version of V9000 | Randomly Happy

I made a muslin/toile in a size 10 first – which in itself is a small miracle (I’ve made a sum total of 2 muslins in my whole life). But I’m really glad I did as it really helped me work out a few tweeks to the pattern.

Actually, it wasn’t so much a few tweeks. There was some pretty key pattern reinventing going on to get the fit right. Though TBF it does pretty much look the same as it did before. Which I guess is the point, right?

The bodice actually got the most reworking. The size 10 muslin fit well, but didn’t quite fit well enough to button up. I also found the back darts gave a nice shape (i.e. they really cinched in the waist), but I could imagine it feeling a bit restrictive by the end of the day. Also I cannot run after the bambino in a cinched waist. In the end cinched waist = deal breaker.

OK, so the changes.

  • Omitted the back darts
  • Added 2 inches to the centre front bodice pieces. This allowed me more room, but also let me get a decent finish on the button plackets
  • Created the button plackets by folding over 1/2″ to the wrong side and then folding over another 5/8″ to hide the raw edge and create the placket.
  • Added a centre back seam to allow me some room to play with fit. I did this by not cutting the bodice on the fold. I also thought a centre back seam would be quite handy if I decided I wanted to add a zipper here for a snugger fit.
  • Took in a 1″ chunk at the centre back seam to adjust for my sway back
  • Shortened the bodice by 1″
  • Used suite-bought navy bias binding to finish off the sleeves. The original pattern had facings, but I wanted a much more narrow finish on the sleeves.
  • Topstitched the button plackets and collar.
  • Omitted the shoulder pads.
Redrafting the collar

The Big Vintage Sewalong. My sweet and stylish version of V9000 | Randomly Happy

The Big Vintage Sewalong. My sweet and stylish version of V9000 | Randomly Happy


I also redrafted the collar. The piece in the pattern is quite oversized. Lovely, but I wanted something a little more understated. I followed this great tutorial by Little Tailoress to redraft my own.

And to be a bit more adventurous I opted to make the underside of the collar in this beautiful bark cloth that I’ve been hoarding forever. Overall I’m really, really happy with the result.

And, yo, I drafted a collar. Microphone down.

I opted not to use the paneled skirt that came with the pattern. It’s a perfectly decent skirt but I wanted something that spoke to the relaxed/casual feel of my inspiration dress.

Finally, I added some super sweet little bronze buttons I scored from the Sewing Weekender goody bag. I think they balance out the whole dress really nicely.

Making the skirt

The Big Vintage Sewalong. My sweet and stylish version of V9000 | Randomly Happy

The Big Vintage Sewalong. My sweet and stylish version of V9000 | Randomly Happy

To make the (super basic) gathered skirt I cut two rectangles measuring about 1.5 times my waist and ran two gathering stitches across the top of the two rectangles to gather them to the width of the bodice. I then attached the two together and sewed the skirt to the bodice. I decided to use the selvage as the hem because I liked the little swathe of colour (and less work for me!)

Ok, so, wow. That’s quite a bit of changes there. But most importantly…

What had this whole experience taught me?

Well, I’ve actually learned that it’s OK to take risks. You can, with some very basic knowledge and intense use of Google, get patterns to fit you and recreate a much loved look.

It’s not magic or voodoo. Which is nice because I kind of absurd assumed it was!

The lovely people at McCall’s are giving away a free copy of this pattern, so if you’d like to win drop a line in the comments telling me about your favourite vintage make or vintage inspiration. A winner will be chosen at random on September 23rd.

  1. Reply

    Gorgeous!! I can’t believe I’ve not thought of doing something similar and now it’s all I want to sew

    1. Reply

      Thanks Amy. I can tell you right now, this is not the last you’ll see of shirt dresses. I’m obsessed!

  2. Reply

    This is dreamy! Great set of hacks to make vintage look current, and I love that denim-y looking fabric.

    1. Reply

      Thanks Katie. Your make inspired me to be a bit more playful with the pattern 🙂 And Cloth House for the win. Every time.

    2. Reply
      coins hack mineplex

      Keep these articles coming as they’ve opened many new doors for me.

  3. Reply

    Great work. There’s absolutely no rule book that says stick with the pattern as drafted. You’ll get so much wear out it!

    1. Reply

      Thanks Sarah. It’s a big departure for me – I find following instructions so comforting! But this really flexed my drafting and construction skills.

    2. Reply

      Your’s is a point of view where real intelligence shines through.

  4. Reply

    I really like your version making it modern and I wouldn’t mind having that pattern myself to play with

  5. Reply

    This is a really lovely modern twist on a vintage pattern, great choice of fabric and looks comfy too. I’d love a chance to make a version, maybe in gingham. I love shirt dresses and love sew over it’s vintage shirt dress but have a 70s one that I bought from eBay last week that I’m itching to start, just need to find the right fabric.✂

  6. Reply

    Love it!! I made a vintage 1960’s dress that I love and receive tons of compliments whenever I wear it. I’d love to try this pattern out!

  7. Reply

    Oh I just love that dress! I realy should make matching dresses for me and my beautiful sister Bryndís 👌

  8. Reply

    I love how you took the wonderful pattern and made it look more modern and lovely :). Unfortunately, I haven’t sewn anything (let alone anything vintage) for myself – only for my girls. I would love to change that with his pattern. I love vintage dresses with cinched waists.

  9. Reply

    i really love your dress and the fabric choice!
    my vintage inspiration: skirts and headbands! 🙂

  10. Reply

    I love this dress! I really want to make a shirt dress this Autumn.

  11. Reply

    I love love love vintage shirt dresses and wear them quite frequently. I’ve often thought if making my own to modify things like funny (BIG) collars and tiny waists, so thanks for the opportunity!

  12. Reply
    Rebecca Pelletier

    I haven’t made any vintage patterns but love vintage inspired ones. I do have some old patterns from my grandma I can’t bear to cut. I just love looking at them. ❤

  13. Reply
    Allison R

    You did such an amazing job making the pattern into a dress that you love with a few tweaks. A shirtdress is next on my list to make, and your insights will really help!

  14. Reply
    Jill Karcher

    I love your modern interpretation of this vintage pattern. Well done!

  15. Reply

    Love those tiny buttons! They make it very modern looking but still vintage. I’d love a chance to try this pattern out.

  16. Reply

    Gorgeous fabric. It makes the dress look really modern and not vintage at all. I’d love to make a vintage shirtdress. I have a button down gathered skirt pattern on my vintage to sew list.

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