Vintage Inspired Fashion

Caroline Smith set up Sew La Di Da Vintage patterns so that women could create their own vintage inspired clothes.

How did Sew La Di Da Vintage come about?

I owned a shop selling vintage clothing and I was also making bespoke couture and teaching sewing. Vintage clothing is much smaller than our high street sizes today, and so I designed a couple of dresses that were influenced by the past but cut to today’s body shapes. Vintage patterns are often complex, so I felt there was a need for patterns that sewers wouldn’t have to fiddle about with too much.

Do you have any advice for dressmakers who are sewing vintage inspired fashion?

If you’re stitching a vintage pattern, remember that underwear was different in the past. Our bust shape today is softer which can affect how clothes look. Make up a toile of the design as it is, then see if you can personalise it to your body shape. Get a friend who sews to help – that way you can move seams and lengthen or shorten waists.

What fabric do you use when sewing vintage inspired clothes?

I often sew with vintage fabric sourced from charity shops. Old curtains are great for skirts and jackets. My favourite piece has to be a black lace jacket I made from my Grandmother’s mantilla. There wasn’t quite enough so I blended it in with a modern lace. Some may say it’s outrageous to cut up a mantilla, but I think my Gran would have definitely approved!

That’s Sew Vintage…

If you would like to make your own vintage inspired clothes then please take a peek at our sewing patterns. We have a number of patterns available – suitable for beginners and more experienced sewers alike. From the Hollywood glamour of the 1930s, to the practical style of the 1940s, right through to the full-skirted and fabulous dresses of the 1950s. Visit our pattern store to discover our patterns for yourself, or check out our ‘Frocks that Rock’ sewing workshop where you get to make your own vintage inspired garment in just one weekend!

This article was originally published in a special vintage edition of SEW Magazine.

Do you have a passion for sewing vintage inspired clothes? What’s your favourite era and why? Please share with us in the comments section below…


In the beautiful cobblestoned courtyard of Lyme Regis Town Mill, Caroline Smith has created a sewing sanctuary. The history-rich mill buildings of the courtyard are the perfect backdrop for Sew La Di Da Vintage, Caroline’s studio, workshop and creative HQ, where she designs, creates and teaches vintage-inspired clothing patterns made to fit the modern sewing and fashion enthusiast.

2 thoughts on “Vintage Inspired Fashion

  1. Megan Searle says:

    Caroline has been teaching me for more than five years! She is an inspirational teacher and I think her designs are fantastic and unique.

  2. jessiebolts says:

    Caroline has taught me to be adventurous with my sewing which has allowed me to become creative and help me strive towards the goals I wish to achieve. She is a fantastic teacher and mentor who is unique in everything she does. Her workshop is an amazing environment to work in with everything you need….. How lucky am I!

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