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Pattern Reviews> Lutterloh> 1950s Lutterloh (Mad Men Top)

Review submitted in Natural Fabrics Contest 2013 Contest
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Reviewed by:JetSetSewing
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About JetSetSewingstar
Member since: 6/29/12
Reviews written: 11
Sewing skills:Advanced
Favored by: 7 people
patterns reviewed: 11
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Posted on:5/31/13 10:58 PM
Last Updated:1/30/14 9:51 AM
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Pattern Rating:Difficult, but great for Advanced Sewers
Review Rating: Very Helpful by 7 people   
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Fabric:Silk  [See other projects in this fabric]
This is a 50s "Mad Men" style top made from Langchou "Mud Silk" from China. The pattern is by Lutterloh, which is a German pattern system that dates from the 1930s and is still in existence today. You take the little bitty pattern in the book and expand it using their special ruler to make a full-sized pattern. The designs are great, but no instructions, so it's really a challenge! To pull it off, I used the pattern marking and muslining technique I learned in Susan Khalje's "Couture Dress" course on I found the vintage Lutterloh patterns on Ebay.
Pattern Description:
1950s top with no zippers or fasteners. It goes over the head, and has darts in the front and back. I was skeptical that it would fit, but this old-fashioned type of construction worked really well.
Pattern Sizing:
Here's the great thing about use separate measurements for the bust and hips, so if you're an hourglass who's larger on the bottom than the top like me, you don't need to do much in the way of alteration. I was surprised at how well it fit!
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
It's pretty close, and the fit was incredible. You do have to monkey with things. The neckline was small, so I expanded it. I'm short-waisted, so I took it up in the waist. You have to guess where the darts go. But considering how small many vintage patterns are, the Lutterloh patterns are great because you can make them larger.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
No instructions at all. I checked out the Lutterloh website to do a test pattern to figure out which measurements to use. You need to get your hands on a Lutterloh measuring tape, which you can do by buying their modern system, or looking on Ebay. I learned construction and lining via that class of Susan Khalje's. I would definitely recommend that class before attempting these Lutterloh patterns.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I loved the high neck, tight armholes, and back darts that gave this that 50s look.
Fabric Used:
I found this unique "Langchou" silk on Etsy (also know as "mud silk"). It's a technique that's been used for centuries. They take woven silk and bury it in river mud for weeks. When it comes out, it has a dark patina, and it's cool to wear and water-resistant. It is highly prized in tropical climates because it's not hot. I found it at Crose Fabric on Etsy. One thing about mud silk is that it has a lot of discolorations, so you need to buy more fabric to cut around them. I think the lack of perfection added to the funky look of the top, though. It has a deep, pleasantly earthy smell that really connects you to ancient times when you're sewing--sounds weird, it adds to the vintage experience. It sews like cotton, and it's hand-washable! Sofia at Crose Fabric is super nice and has a nice selection of Langchou and other silks she ships from China.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The neck was tight, so I made it larger. Otherwise, it was a perfect fit. There are no facings in the Lutterloh patterns, so I decided to make a lining with the same fabric. It was very tricky to get the vents in the front on the top and bottom to work. I ended up making a mini-facing on the vent on the bottom to give it a clean look. I wanted to finish it without machine top stitching, so I hand-stitched the sleeves and hem with running stitches to give it an "Alabama Chanin" vintage look.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Phew, if you really want a challenge, try these Lutterloh patterns. They're very cool, but you're flying blind.

This project was a fun challenge, and now I have a funky-cool top summer top THAT FITS!
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8 Comments      Login to Add a Comment
Jessica Dean said...
Great top! Love the cut! It fits you so well. :D
5/31/13 11:28 PM
Mufffet said...
NICE top! Love the fabric...thanks for the review!
5/31/13 11:34 PM
tailormaid said...
Great job and great review about Lutterloh!
6/1/13 11:32 AM
pdiddly said...
well done, looks lovely
6/1/13 5:59 PM
Re Becca said...
wow, that is really flattering. Love it!
6/8/13 9:06 PM
JetSetSewing said...
Thanks for the nice comments! I was really excited that I got some votes in the Natural Fibers contest, considering it's a pretty esoteric entry. Lots of competition in that one!
6/10/13 1:28 PM
Baja Susana said...
Love your blouse and your review. I am a devotee of Lutterloh. Thanks for the tip about where to buy the silk.
7/8/13 8:10 AM
Quickie said...
Beautiful top
1/30/14 5:16 PM
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