I haven't sewn myself a birthday outfit before. No real reason other than there is usually quite a lot going on in December already thank you very much, but this year I decided to something a little different. The idea started when I saw one of Kerry's recent makes, and clocked the year her pattern was printed. An idea grew... why not make something from a pattern that was the same age as me? I'm not a huge fan of 70's fashion, but I did really like Kerry's dress and I figured I could probably find something similarly simple, not too "70's fancy dress" and make it wearable.
Easier said than done, particularly since I didn't have a lot of time to play with. I needed to find a pattern that was a style I liked and was wearable, was my size (no time, energy or inclination for grading) and was in the UK (no time for postage from the US). Oh, and it had to have been printed in 1974!
A trawl of Etsy and Ebay eventually led to this dress pattern.
The dress has a slightly bloused bodice with gathers at the waist on both bodice and skirt (reminiscent of the gathers on the Colette Peony). The bodice has a stand up collar and an all in one facing at the neckline. The skirt has 4 gores and is A line in shape.
I wanted to make the dress in a modern fabric, and recently fell in love with this viscose from Atelier Brunette that I had spotted on their Instagram feed and which I bought from Guthrie and Ghani.
I made view 2, but with the short sleeves from view 1. View 1 is kind of cool with the quilting on the hem, collar and sleeves, but with such a busy pattern, I though it would get lost.
I muslined the bodice which fitted fine - a wee bit big, but definitely wearable as is. I initially thought the neckline was super low - indecently so - but when I went to make the change I wanted to the pattern piece, I realised I'd just sewn to the wrong marking!!! Luckily that was the only daft mistake I made as I was really up against it time-wise to make this. I only had a week, which for me, is not that long. I finished the hemming (machine sewn - no time to hand sew) at 10.30pm the night before the day I wanted to wear it!
|Where I originally thought the neckline sat!|
In terms of construction, I followed the pattern, only making the following changes:
- invisible zip instead of standard zip
- I didn't make the tie belt
- I omitted the decorative buttons on the front
- I took 1 cm off the skirt pattern piece when cutting, due to fabric limitations (I managed to get this out of 2m of fabric), and then took a further inch off the length when hemming.
- Insides are finished with French seams where possible, and the rest are overlocked.
- Added pockets
- Used a strip of fabric, rather than the seam binding that was called for, for the waist stay.
|Invisible zip with perfectly matched waist seam. Win!|
Weird selfies so you can see the collar and neckline better.
Actually, I've just remembered I made a second daft mistake - I borrowed my pocket pattern pieces from Simplicity 2360 which has the top of the pockets caught into the waist seam. No problem, I could do the same here, only I managed to catch them into the back skirt pieces rather than the front ones - so the pockets were backwards! I only realised after I'd French seamed the waist. I didn't want to have to unpick the whole thing, so I have to say I hacked it a bit - I unpicked the second stage of the french seam, just at the pockets, and then cut them. I then flipped them forward and sewed them in place over the top of the french seam. My insides are now a bit messy, but I'm not too bothered.
The fabric is lovely. Soft with a beautiful drape. Really nice to sew with and to wear, although it does crease quite easily. All in all it's what I wanted: a really wearable, comfortable dress with a nod to the past, that is special to me.
|I am not pregnant again, despite the fact I look it here!|
|Palm Court - where we had afternoon tea!|
Right, I am off to spend my 40th freezing on a Scottish beach, eating fish and chips in the local pub, and drinking champagne!
ETA: forgot to add that I will be adding this to A Stitching Odysey's #vintagepledge