Sixties mania!


A lot of the time my work wear is the same as my rest of the time wear; it’s one of the joys of both working in the arts and (mainly) working from home. It means I get to spend most days wearing dresses I love with the added bonus of vomit jumpers on days working from home.

Whilst dressmaking has really added to this ability, my most recent make for the Simple Sew bloggers network has bucked this trend somewhat, as – despite it’s cute vintage stylings – it really could count as “office wear”.

What is it?

A tailored shift dress with three quarter length sleeves and a contrast peter pan collar


Is it blue?

Yes

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The body of the dress is made using an adorable navy floral print cotton poplin that was very kindly supplied by Abakhan for this make. The collar also came from Abakhan and is a super soft cream coloured viscose.
What’s the pattern?

The Simple Sew Trudy dress in view B.

What was good about making this?

The first thing to say is that this dress was super easy to sew up. I made a toile first to check for bust fit after the issues I had with Ruby, and once I’d made some minor adjustments it went up in hardly any time.

In addition, although I’m not sure if good is the right word, this dress did push me out of my comfort zone due it’s sixties styling; whilst I love classic details, the sixties aren’t usually a decade that I look to for inspiration as I tend to find that the styles just don’t suit me. Making this dress has helped change that assumption somewhat (although I doubt I’ll be emulating Twiggy any time soon!).


What was bad about making it?

For some reason I couldn’t get the collar to stay put at the back, although that was fixed with a bit of invisible stitching. I found I had to make a really thin hem on the dress, which might have been a design feature (the 60s were all about the mini after all) but I think might be more to do with a combination of my height and personal preference to not show my bottom to the world!

Would you make it again?

Hmmmm….. So I think I might be a bit swayed towards the sixties aesthetic, but I’m not sure I’d make this dress again without making a few tweaks first. There’s also a couple of other similar but different dresses out there which I might give a try. Or maybe I’ll just go back to my usual fit and flare style. Only time will tell. (And Instagram. Instagram always tells.)

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Disclaimer: whilst the Trudy pattern was provided by Simple Sew Patterns and the fabric generously provided by Abakhan, I received no other forms of payment for this blog post and the opinions expressed are my own.

Blue flowers? Must be acidic soil…

01-IMG_9759Sometimes you just get a bee in your bonnet, or at least you do if you’re as stubborn as me… 

In this case I decided that I wanted to get my wearable toile of the Colette Crepe ready in time to wear on a weekend trip to my parents. Even though I hadn’t cut out all of the pieces on the Friday evening and didn’t finish work and dinner until gone 8…

Yet amazingly, remarkably, I actually managed to do it (and ok, staying up until 1am probably helped).

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What is it?

A wrap dress with a rounded neckline and back wrap

Is it blue?

The flowers are!

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The fabric is a cheapy viscose I picked up in Barry’s fabrics purposely for making a toile with.

What’s the pattern?

The Colette Crepe pattern.

08-IMG_9774(Not the best photo but my usual photographer was a bit …delicate)

What was good about making this?

The speed! I admit I cute a couple of corners, but given this was a toile I didn’t mind too much, and the result was a four hour sew.

What was bad about making this?

The viscose was pretty horrendous to work with. At the time of sewing I’d hoped it was because it was cheap (more on that in a future post…).

The fit wasn’t ideal, it feels far too big around the bodice despite being pulled pretty darned tight. However I cut a straight six so figured I could make alterations on the actual version.

Would you make it again?

This was a wearable toile for a version I wanted to wear to a wedding so in theory yes.

But….

….to be continued….

The £1.50 Moneta

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There are a couple of different things you can take from my expression here; the fact that I managed to get a(nother) Moneta out of a metre of fabric, amazement at how swooshy it is, delight with the mix of colours. I think the main thing though is the appreciation that despite having what can only be described as a horrendous hangover (may have had a sherbet too many…) I managed to not only navigate the rag market but I scored this fab jersey for the princely sum of £1.50.

What is it?

A(nother) Moneta with a Peter Pan collar and slightly longer than usual skirt.

Is it blue?

Some of the flowers are. But some of them are copper coloured. And some of it is white. Let’s go with multicoloured?

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

A ponte roma that I got from a stall in the outside section of the rag market. I nearly fell over when they told me the price.

What’s the pattern?

That old favourite I know so well

What was good about making this?

Pattern placement for the collar was really satisfying, and there’s something very smugness inducing about getting a dress out of a metre of fabric.

What was bad about making this?

I don’t know why but for some reason my sewing machine and overlocker weren’t enamoured with this fabric and both had weird puckering. It wasn’t too much of a hardship but it was a bit annoying.

Would you make it again?

Floral 1940s style Anna dress

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Sometimes you hear a lot about a pattern so you decide to give it a go. And then part way through sewing, when it looks like this, someone really helpful (or not….) says it looks like you’re making a costume out of Dinnerladies.

Great.

BUT THEN you finish it off, and you have something delightful and wonderful and you realise that was all wrong

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What is it?

A boat neck, kimono sleeve, mid-length dress

Is it blue?

The bias binding is!

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

The fabric is a soft cotton (lawn maybe?) that I got as part of the fabric swap at SewBrum

What’s the pattern?

By Hand London’s Anna dress in the midi length. There’s a lot of love for this pattern out there, so I thought I’d give it a go.

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What was good about making this?

It was really quick to come together and also had a couple of firsts for me; first time I’ve made a seven panel (seven gore?) skirt and the first time I’ve used bias binding for a decorative finish. The finish of the skirt to the bodice is really neat, with the panels all lining up against bodice features in a very aesthetically pleasing way.

What was bad about making this?

Oh my days. With seven panels joined together, that’s 12 raw seams. That’s an awful lot of overlocking. I got into a bit of a rhythm with it, but my word I was pleased when I got to the last one.

Would you make it again?

Yes; this was my wearable toile for a special dress I have in mind to wear to celebrate the boy’s 30th birthday.

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Green floral dress

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I love this dress, and not just because I get to spin around whilst wearing it…

I initially bought this fabric about a year ago to make a Lilou dress, but it ended up sitting in my stash box, unused and a bit unloved. Then I wanted to make a wearable toile and it seemed a good fabric fit; I wasn’t wrong!

What is it?

A sleeveless shift dress with a pleated skirt

Is it blue?

No

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

A floral midweight cotton. I think I got it in the Fancy Silk Store, but I’ve seen it in a couple of places and multiple colourways.

What’s the pattern?

The Mortmain dress by Gather patterns in the sleeveless variation.

What was good about making this?

I couldn’t get over how quickly this came together, nor how neatly the seams all looked. Not having to make a lining for a dress was a bit of a revelation!

What was bad about making this?

I misjudged the ease so had to lose two inches off the bodice once I’d made it (i.e. drop it a dress size with some seam pinching). Although, from another angle, that just means there’s two inches less of me than I thought!

Would you make it again?

Yes I would, and indeed I have.

Black floral Nicola shirt dress

IMG_4542 I have a search. A search for the perfect shirt dress. As an item of clothing I blooming love them but as a thing to make I’d felt pretty daunted by it as a possibility.

I’m going to say right now that this dress is not the perfect shirt dress. In fact, this dress very nearly got consigned to the WIP pile for all eternity and even once complete it very nearly caused a meltdown and immediate binning.

But more of that when we get there, for now….

What is it?

A black floral shirt dress with V-shape neckline and full length sleeves

Is it blue?

No (note to self: this is becoming a bit of a trend at the moment. Must buy more blue fabric)

What’s the fabric?

A super soft cotton (polyester? rayon? I have no idea) that’s black with white and red flowers (best description I can think of for them)

What’s the pattern?

The Nicola Dress from Sewaholic

Where’s the fabric from?

I got it at the Birmingham Rag Market during SewBrum for the princely price of £1 per metre!

1-IMG_4078What was good about making this?

I got to try out a new skill with this dress; making sleeve plackets! I realised I hadn’t quite read the instructions correctly about half way through, but I was pretty please when I did it, as evidenced by my immediate wearing of said sleeve…

IMG_4536What was bad about making this?

Where to start? With the collar piece that I cut to the wrong size because the schematic diagram for the layout wasn’t particularly clear? The confusion around finishing the facing? It doesn’t help that I got so far with making it and then ran out of time before Christmas, so left it unhemmed and unbuttonholed (?) for about a month. By which time I was fed up of it and bored, a feeling repeated when I hand sewed on the buttons (whodathunk a shirt dress would have lots of buttons….).

The absolute moment of (near) tears though was when, having finished it, I tried it on with the belt that comes with the dress. It looked hideous. A moment of learning the hard way that I do not suit a loose bodice or fussy waistlines with extra fabric. I looked – and felt – like a giant sack of potatoes.

BUT ALL IS NOT LOST.

For then I remembered my old friend the cinch belt and lo, with a bit of a nip in and reallocation of fabric folds, the dress was completely redeemed. And now I love it. So much so that I’ve worn it a couple of times already in the fortnight since making.

Would you make it again?

Nope. This dress is not the dream shirt dress that I was hoping for and, whilst I’m pleased with the finished product, I think that I wouldn’t make it again. I have however found out about the fabled McCalls 6696 shirt dress that seems to be getting a lot of positive press in the blogsphere, so have bought a copy and plan on making that after my current (nearly finished) project.

The great shirt dress search continues…

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Floral dress

Floral dres

What is it?

A bateau neck sheath dress I made use a floral fabric to wear to a friend’s wedding

Is it blue?

No!

What’s the fabric?

EMMIE ROS cotton, a medium weight interior fabric

What’s the pattern?

Colette Pattern’s Peony dress

Where’s the fabric from?

IKEA! (I think the name probably gave it away)

What was good about making this?

It came together pretty quickly, I was impressed with how clear the Colette instructions were, I liked the boat neckline

What was bad about making this?

I’ve since learnt that Colette model their bodice on a c-cup. I am not a c-cup. This explains why I had the usual issue of the dress being way too big on the bust, even though I graded this pattern before starting. However, as I wore it with a belt, this hid quite a lot of sins! Also, setting sleeves was quite a big learning curve!

Would you make it again?

Yes, but I’d use a fabric with more drape and I’d also learn how to do a SBA