Vintage Sewing – New Look 6838 and Vintage DVF Fabric

For most of my sewing projects I use vintage patterns, but I found this modern pattern, New Look 6838 when I was looking for one with which to make pajama pants.  I also loved the style of the top, which is designed for knits only, and I put cotton jersey on my fabric shopping list.

I knew that I did not need stripes, as I already have quite a few in this style.  Besides, though the drawing of the matching at the sleeves looks nice and tidy in the illustration, I know that would be easier drawn than sewn. So I started thinking about dots.  But then I got distracted cleaning and sorting my existing fabrics.  And in the middle of my “reds” bin, I pulled out this vintage fabric from designer Diane von Furstenberg.

I found the fabric in an antique store in one of the many little towns in the piedmont of North Carolina that for years survived off the making of cotton textiles.  These towns were a source of the best fabrics for a home sewer as well, as the factories often sent remnants and “seconds” to their factory outlet for sale to the public.  I suspect that is what happened with this fabric, as there was a small wrinkle in it that caused a bare spot in the print.

In 1976 Vogue Patterns magazine did a feature on Diane and her printed dresses.  As you can see, the patterns were by Vogue, and the fabrics were made by Cohama.

I never did finish my sorting job because I laid out the fabric piece and realized I had just enough of it to make the boat-necked top. I spent the rest of the afternoon sewing, and before long my new top was finished.  As the pattern envelope promises, it was easy.  There were only three pieces, the front, the back and the sleeves.  The back has a center seam, which I like because it makes for a smoother fit.

The neck was to be finished simply by turning under the seam allowance and topstitching, but I made a little facing using the selvage of the fabric.  I just could not see “wasting” that Diane von Furstenberg signature.

And here is the finished product.  It is perfect for the early fall weather we are having.


Filed under North Carolina, Sewing, Textiles

24 responses to “Vintage Sewing – New Look 6838 and Vintage DVF Fabric

  1. Wow! This is lovely! What a simple great pattern. You have so many fantastic vintage things pver there.


  2. Everything about your top – pattern, fabric – looks absolutely contemporary. Are the pants straight-legged or fitted?


  3. Looks great! The striped pattern reminds me of a Jean-Paul Gaultier t-shirt!


  4. I love that you preserved the signature! Genius.


  5. This is a great top. I love that print, and I love how you kept the info in the garment for some future clothing detective!


  6. Love this fabric & your thoughtful use – perfect!
    I bought a piece of a similar DVF red knit, and a Vogue DVF pattern, in the 70s. They were great to work with. Huge sigh over the loss of all those mills, though…


  7. Oh lucky you to have a small piece of fashion history with that wonderful print. And the simple top pattern shows it off beautifully. I actually made a hand printed copy of this fabric and then made up a dress from a DVF Vogue pattern – that was a labour of love!


  8. Adorable–and it fits perfectly into your red, white, and blue color scheme. What a wonderful fabric find!


  9. Lovely neckline on you and great use of the selvedge!


  10. Beautifully done, Liz, and you look gorgeous!


  11. What a fab print and great use! It looks perfect!


  12. Looks great, Lizzie! I’ve used that pattern before, and it’s great. I just scored some vintage jersey (not stripes) so I may go that way, too.


  13. I appreciate all the lovely compliments!


  14. Great top, Lizzie, especially in that DvF fabric. Did you wash it before stitching, and if so, did it shrink? (You might be guessing that I have some DvF fabric in my collection, waiting to be sewn…).


  15. Carrie

    Great top, and a great fabric find Lizzie!
    I didn’t realize that Cohama made fabrics for DVF; was this to coordinate with the pattern series, do you know? The handful of DVFs I’ve had (most a cotton/rayon blend, 1 in acrylic) have all been made in Italy.


    • I don’t know if Cohama made any of the fabric for her ready-to-wear line or not. I went back to the article to see if there were any clues.
      “…thanks to Cohama you can make your Vogue Von Furstenbergs in authentic Von Furstenberg prints. Yes, at your fabric counter, you’ll find Cohama’s superb knit fabrics done in her exclusive prints.”

      Not much help in answering your question, I’m afraid.

      Ten years ago I found the green on white Dalmation print at a yard sale along with the wrap dress pattern. Crazy me sold them.


  16. sissy03

    What a great story. You look like a doll.


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