Simple DIY: Free Delicate Vintage Top Pattern

Every week I go through numerous antique and vintage publications in search of unique embroidery, sewing, knitting, and crocheting patterns to beautify our contemporary wardrobes.

This delicate stunner comes from November 1st 1951 issue of Australian Home Journal that I found on The Internet Archive. This non-profit digital library truly is a treasure in every sense of the word. It provides readers with free access to over 20 million books and texts. Books published prior to 1923 are available for download.


Vintage Boudoir Jacket Into Gorgeous Summer Top


Free Vintage DIY--America Daily
Simple Boudoir Jacket, 1951. America Daily

The original 1951 pattern was intended for making a boudoir jacket. I re-created this pattern using light sheer fabric and lace trimming to create a delicate alternative to a cardigan, perfect to wear during hot summer days. This open-front garment could be worn over a tank top and paired with jeans. It’s also a wonderful beach cover up piece.

If you choose to use sequined or beaded fabric for this DIY project, you’ll be adding a perfect evening dress shrug to your current wardrobe


Quick And Budget Friendly Wardrobe Upgrade

Depending on your sewing skills and fabric the project could be completed in 1.5-3 hours.

Australian Home Journal suggested this boudoir jacket would make “a lovely gift for a special friend, and so simple and easy to make. Not expensive to make as you need only 1 1/4 yards of 36 inch material.”

I found this beautiful shiffon for only $0.99 a yard! It’s 58/60 inches wide.


Step-By-Step Vintage DIY 

Sketch A shows the completed garment and sketch B shows the garment’s back view.

The pattern is very simple and there is no need to make it first on a paper. You can go ahead and draw the pattern directly on your fabric, just like most ateliers do.

Sketch C shows exact measurements to create one-size-fits-all garment (works well for modern small, medium and large sizes; add 1 inch width- and length-wise for each subsequent dress size up. For example, add 1 inch to the length and 1 inch to the width for XL size and two inches length- and width-wise for XXL size).

You will need:

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Thread
  • Ruler
  • lace or other trimming (optional)
  • sewing machine (optional)


Draw pattern on fabric and cut allowing 2/5 inch seem allowance.

Free Vintage DIY -- America daily
Free Vintage DIY, America daily


Sew side seams first. I’m a huge fan of French seam for sheer fabric because it gives flawless look both inside and outside. This is the best tutorial on French seam I’ve ever come across.


Next, finish the edges of your garment’s front opening, bottom hem, and sleeves:

  • Fold and press 1/4 inch of the raw edge up using your iron
  • Run regular or simply basting stitch at about 1/8 inch from the folded edge
  • Use a pair of scissors to trim the raw edge away, very close to the stitches
  • Fold again to enclose the stitched-down raw edge, and press with your iron again
  • Now run a regular stitch length to secure the fold. Press to flatten the hem.
Free Vintage DIY --America Daily
Lace trimming applied to the bottom hem. America Daily

Topstitch lace to both sleeves, front opening, and bottom hem. Press.

Lastly, make a casing for the neckline from bias strips of the garment’s material. Run a ribbon through the casing. Australian Home Journal suggested to “arrange fullness to the back and front and leave shoulders fairly flat”.

And you’re done!

Free Vintage DIY --America Daily


Please share how this vintage DIY project turned out for you and please don’t forget to tag your friend who might also like to make her own vintage boudoir jacket!