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October 25, 2011

Mid-Century Menswear – Simplicity 5047

By Andrea

Today we’re taking a trip to the latter part of the mid-century period – 1972 to be exact.  The 70’s are back this fall season, and vests are everywhere in menswear.  My hubby was eying the vests that are out now, but I thought I could do better, and would do up a vintage reproduction vest – with Simplicity 5047.

I selected a heathered brown suiting, and a black lining fabric (fabrics available from Sew What? Fabrics)

Now, I’ve done a fair amount of menswear, and a fair amount of vintage, but not a lot of vintage menswear – so this was a bit of a learning experience for me.  I would say the most important things I learned from doing up this pattern would be that A) just as women’s wear has been vanity sized over the years, so has menswear.  A 1972 size 42 is not the same as today’s 42. And B) just as the waistlines on women’s wear was higher back then, so was the waistline on menswear.  Not as much of a difference, but something you still may want to correct for if you’re sewing up a vintage men’s pattern.

I will definitely give Simplicity credit for their unit system of sewing, which is something that their patterns and books featured for decades.  Some vintage patterns can be a bit lacking, instruction-wise, but Simplicity’s are really clear and helpful.

So, my initial sewing of the vest produced something that didn’t fit.  However, I spent too much time on the welted pockets to abandon the vest!  So, I made some alterations, and came up with a finished vest that I was pleased with.

Fortunately, my hubby is pleased with this finished vest as well:

My final verdict on the pattern – a good basic vest pattern, that really never goes out of style.  I’m pleased with the finished vest, and with a few tweaks, I’ll be making a few more of these.

Have any of you readers out there taken any cracks at vintage menswear sewing?

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9 Responses to Mid-Century Menswear – Simplicity 5047

  1. RetroRuth Reply

    October 25, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Sigh. Oh, Andrea. Sometimes your posts make me ashamed of myself. 🙂

    That vest looks amazing! And also, what is going on behind that hanging vest? Is that your sewing room? Is that vintage sewing wall art? I demand photos! 🙂

  2. Sara in AZ Reply

    October 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Wow, just wow!!! You amaze me Andrea! That vest is awesome and it turned out SO well. Great job!!! And yes, is that your sewing room??? We need to know!

  3. Andrea Reply

    October 25, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks Ruth and Sara! I think the vest may have turned out a little TOO well – Darren now wants many more vests! As for what’s going on behind the hanging vest – I don’t so much have a sewing room as a sewing area, I take up about half of the basement. The area where my machines are is also the area where the bar is, a futon, and an odd shingled wall. I have hanging on the wall a vintage Singer sewing ad, as well as two vintage Pepsi ads, so that’s what you’re seeing – the only way I could get the vest hanging the right way for the picture was to hang it from the ceiling!

  4. Pingback: Vintage Menswear on No Pattern Required! — Sew What?

  5. Betty Crafter Reply

    October 26, 2011 at 10:53 am

    Wow! I’m super impressed! (And a bit shamed over my fumbled sewing attempts!)
    It really looks fantastic – no wonder he wants more!

    • Andrea Reply

      October 26, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      Thanks, Betty! Hey – no need to feel shamed – if you had any idea how long I spent on those stupid welted pockets … well, I think I am still having nightmares over them, LOL. I can tell you for sure that any future vests will NOT have them, that is for sure!

  6. DrJulieAnn aka The Modern Retro Woman Reply

    October 26, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    The vest looks great! The first garment I ever made for The Mister was a vest. The pattern would be considered vintage now, so does that count? 🙂 I made several vests for him and was wondering the other day whatever happened to them.

    The Mister is a rather slim man–modern clothes that aren’t “trim fit” just look like clown clothes on him. I found an early 1950s shirt pattern and made a twill work shirt out of it for him (way back in 2009!). I think it is still a bit boxy on him but he seems to like it so I’ll use the pattern again.

    You can see the pattern here: http://grandmassewingcabinet.com/2009/02/20/mia-man-pattern-found/

    And a photo of him wearing it here: http://grandmassewingcabinet.com/2009/07/23/color_harmony/

    • Andrea Reply

      October 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm

      Wow, Dr. JulieAnn, your shirt turned out great! Considering how the style of the shirt appeared on the envelope, I don’t think it’s overly boxy looking on him at all. I have a very similar vintage men’s shirt pattern in my collection, I may have to give that a go now that I’ve seen one done up!

      Maybe it’s time to get him to dig the vests that you made him back out, since they’re now back in style 🙂

  7. Kalimah Yusuf Reply

    January 27, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Have you made the shirt? Im struggling with the collar, I have never made a collared shirt before.

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