The problem I find with purchasing vintage dresses from mass retailers is that you don’t get exactly what you want in terms of style or print, it will likely need to adjusted or altered to fit properly anyways, and you’ll end up at events with the same dress as three other girls. Fair warning, sewing and dressmaking isn’t the easiest hobby in the world, but once you learn the basics you can create all kinds of cute outfits that will be 100% unique to you!
You can find lots of vintage dress patterns on Ebay, Butterick has a vintage pattern section, and so does Simplicity. Several Etsy retailers offer vintage patters, either literally old patterns or custom ones that they have created. You might be able to find what you need at MOMSPatterns, but they do have a limited amount of patterns.
Really make sure to measure and check the sizing on vintage patterns, as standard sizing has changed considerably in the past 60+ years! If you need to adjust the pattern to be plus size, you may find the video below helpful.
Vintage Sewing Techniques
In my opinion it’s definitely worth it to invest in a book that illustrates vintage sewing techniques, particularly if you are a novice when it comes to sewing. Here are a few that I’d recommend:
Laura After Midnight has a fantastic tutorials section on vintage sewing techniques, I’d highly recommend taking a look through there as well.
Fabrics and Notions
You don’t have to use vintage fabric to sew a vintage pattern, as long as you are using the same type of fabric suggested on the pattern or something similar you will be fine. If you are a purist and really want to use vintage fabric it can often be found at thrift shops, yard sales, church sales, estate sales, or in your parents or grandparents closet!
Get creative and have fun!