“Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge: Suz from Sewpony

Suz from sewpony is our guest today for the “Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge of 2014 and we are thrilled to have her here.  We got to know her better when she was a contestant in Project Run and Play and we have been impressed with her sense of style.

Here is the pattern that Suz was mailed (a gem, huh?)……


And a sneak peek of what she made with it….


But you are going to have to go to sewpony to see the rest……and you will be amazed.  You will never look at one of those 80′s frilly patterns the same knowing what “it can be.”

Head HERE to see Suz’s amazing work!


“Ugly Ducking” Pattern Challenge: Teresa from Dandelion Drift

Today we are continuing our last week of our “Ugly Pattern Party” with Theresa from Dandelion Drift and we are so thrilled to have her.1982275_737219132963655_1509596183_nShe sews beautifully and her details are just fantastic!

Theresa took this vintage “ugly duckling” as her inspiration…..

Butterick vintage pattern

and turned it into an absolute beauty…..head HERE to see its transformation.  (You are going to flip at how modern and timeless it looks….go…see….now!)

Thanks Theresa for joining us in our “ugly duckling party”!

Ugly Pattern shirt to dress pattern

What I Made for the Ugly Duckling Pattern Challenge (Or my $2.50 Dress)


Today I get to share what I did for my “Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge.  To start I chose this pattern:

Ugly Pattern shirt to dress pattern

I bought it for 50 cents at a thrift store….and I didn’t even buy it for our ugly pattern challenge.  Although the outfit in the photograph is remarkably bad…cotton floods and a shirt that points to your crotch…not a look anyone should be going for.

BUT here is the thing.  I’m weird…and like I said before I think there is potential in any vintage pattern.  And I usually pay little attention to the photographs or the fabric choices on pattern covers.  So when we were in my craft room the other night and Elizabeth found this pile in my stack and was laughing about me buying myself a vampire hairline shirt pattern I realized it was pretty bad and would definitely qualify for an Ugly Duckling transformation.

So I pulled it out and got to work.  Here is what I made:

Ugly Pattern Shirt to Dress Detail

A spring dress for myself…and to put it together I only had to make three 3 changes from the original pattern/instructions.

#1.  I decided to make myself a knee length dress instead of a shirt.  So I measured from my arm pit to the bottom of my knee and then added an inch and a half.  Then I took that measurement and started from the arm pit of the pattern and extended that pattern down to match the measurement.

#2.  I decided to use knit instead of cotton like it suggested in the instructions.  Because of this I used an inch and a half seam allowance instead of the suggested 5/8 inch seam allowance.

#3.  I skipped making the pants.

All very simple changes.  Very simple changes!  Change the length, the fabric, and omit what you don’t like.  And suddenly that kooky pattern is a favorite.

Ugly Pattern shirt to dress

I really do love this dress.  (Even though I haven’t hemmed it yet…as you can tell by the picture above.)  It’s great and I’ve already cut out two more.  (One from stretch denim and one from a large print cotton.)  You really can’t judge a pattern by a terrible cover.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….I’ve learned how to sew from sewing vintage patterns.  They are the best.  If you take your measurements and follow the sizing charts they fit.  Their instructions are clear.  And they are affordable.  (50 cents at a thrift store).  If you are new to sewing or just want to try some new techniques they are the only way to go.

Thanks for stopping by today and stay tuned for more ugly duckling patterns coming up throughout the week!


PS—I bought this fabric for $1 a yard…which means that with the fabric and the pattern my entire dress cost $2.50!  Sales, clearance tables, and thrift store patterns…I’m telling you, it’s what’s made sewing affordable for me.

Maggie's ugly pattern

“Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge: Maggie from Smashed Peas and Carrots

Hello!  Today we have the lovely Maggie with us from Smashed Peas and Carrots to share with her Ugly Duckling pattern transformation.

Here is the pattern that she chose to update:

Maggie's ugly pattern


And to see what she did with it you can head on over to her blog:  Smashed Peas and Carrots!


(Is it wrong that I want that wiener dog transfer applique that was included with the pattern?)


A Girl and A Glue Gun Logo

“Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge: Kimbo from A Girl and A Glue Gun

Today we have our good friend Kimbo from A Girl and A Glue Gun with us today for our Ugly Duckling Pattern Challenge.

A Girl and A Glue Gun Logo

You’ll have to head over to her blog to see what she did with this crazy pattern!


Oh my gosh!!!  Seriously!  This pattern just gives me the giggles…I don’t know which part is funnier the front, the back, or the fact that I would have totally worn this in high school!  But now I’ve got to head over to A Girl and a Glue Gun and see what she’s done with this glamorous little Ugly Duckling!


“Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge: Amber from Crazy Little Projects

Today our Ugly Pattern Challenge comes from Amber at Crazy Little Projects, who we adore.  We participated in her “Learn to Sew” Challenge and had a blast and today she is back with us for the Ugly Pattern Challenge.


Amber is known for her softies patterns…so she of course started out with this not-so-modern-looking doll pattern.


And you now need to go to her blog to see the results!!!!!  Click HERE to see what Amber made it into….


“Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge–Terra from Momma Says Sew

Welcome to Day #2 of the Ugly Duckling Pattern Challenge…..where some of our friends are now taking “not-so-fashionable-vintage-patterns” and turning them into modern swans!

Today we have Terra from


joining us and showing what she did with this great 80′s pattern.

IMG_0709 copy

And  you are just going to have to go to her blog to see the “after” because it is sooooo cute!!!!  She did an amazing job.

See how Terra took this pattern and modernized it HERE!!!

ugly pattern challenge

“Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge—Elizabeth

Today we are excitedly kicking off one of our absolute favorite series of the year, the “Ugly Duckling” Pattern Challenge!!!!!  I think it is our favorite because it gives new life to some “otherwise never used” patterns that are sitting in thrift stores or attics everywhere…..and maybe the fact that we believe every vintage pattern has some redeeming qualities about it.  (Which is probably why we are hoarding so many…)

ugly pattern challenge

Take for example a million of these bad 80′s patterns like this beauty that I chose for my ugly duckling (I think I can safely say that because I had a quite a few of these dresses ;).  Just look at view C; a high lace collar, drop waisted, curved waistline, asymmetrical hemline, huge puffed sleeves AND ruffles all rolled into one little girls’ dress pattern (never mind the fact that it doesn’t fit the poor girl and—clothes were wayyyy baggier in the 80′s) but it STILL has some redeeming qualities.

Need a great peter pan collar?  For fifty cents—you got one!  Or a basic bodice pattern?  Yep, take away all the other crazy embellishments and you’ve got it!

And here’s what I made…..

white lace dress from 80's pattern

Taking inspiration from the lace collar itself I decided to make the whole dress out of lace. I also adjusted the waistline up to a more natural waist (although I really did think about keep it dropped—but I figured with the lace it might not show as well) and then cut the skirt in one piece instead of adding the ruffle.white lace dress from 80's pattern---sleeve detail

I also left the sleeve length as view C, but modernized it by taking all the puffiness out and leaving them just in the lace.white lace dress

And the dress was a hit!  Nevermind the fact that we did a photoshoot in 30 mph winds…and are trying to block them by hiding behind a public restroom…the dress has been claimed and declared that “she loves it”  especially with the gold sparkle belt that we found for $1.97 at Old Navy last week.  And I agree with her…I do think it makes the dress.white dress bodicewhite lace dress--full dress

So dig through mom’s or grandma’s attic and see what you can come up with for your very own “Ugly Pattern.”  We have an Ugly Pattern linky party going on here and a contest on instagram as well with the hastag #uglypatternparty—-both of which will have some awesome prizes!!!!

(You don’t have to sew up the patterns….we just want you to take a picture of the ugliest vintage–pre 1989 pattern you can find and link it up!!!)

And we have lined up a bunch of other friends who have their own “Ugly Duckling Patterns” that they have made into swans—and we CAN NOT wait to show you what they have done.  You are going to be amazed!!!!


In the spring quote

Spring Break


In the spring quote

We aren’t sure where you are right now or what’s going on in your world but here in our neck of the woods it’s Spring Break…which means we are busy spending more time outdoors with the kids than indoors with our sewing machines.

(Which is how is should be.)

So we apologize for the silence here on the blog for the next few days…but we are going to be out getting dirty…

We will be back though, bright and early Monday morning with day #1 of our “Ugly Duckling Vintage Pattern Party”!

See you then!