Post-it dress

First: the man-shirt update, modelled reluctantly by the recipient:

I don’t love the fit in the sleeve which is tight at the front and loose in the back – but he’s not planning to conduct orchestras or communicate via semaphore in the thing, so a full spectrum of movement is not mandatory. Otherwise, I think it came up a treat and he picked the purple buttons himself (actually, he has an unexpected talent for picking buttons. I consult him on almost every garment because he picks the buttons I never would and they’re usually perfect). One day I’ll remember to widen the shoulders so he doesn’t get those wrinkles under the collar.

NOW. Moving right along. As foretold in the previous post, there’s a contest entry to prepare! I picked Simplicty 6218, a stunner of a 60s sheath gown with a cowl back and empire line. I’m making it in a simmery, drapey 1960s brocade that is the precise colour of Post-it notes. Or pus, if you’re feeling earthy rather than proprietory. But the ‘Pus Dress’ doesn’t quite have the same appeal as the ‘Post-it Dress’ somehow. Can’t think why.

Thought I’d show you how I go about lengthening things. A quick and dirty muslin told me I needed 5cm more length in the boobular section. So I pinned the pattern pieces at the bottom and traced the lower seam line then moved it up 5cm, like so:

This is the lining that I’m working on first and I’ve had to mess with the contrast because the fabric is a similar colour to the tissue.

The important thing is that you shift it precisely on the grain line (when you’re cutting on-grain) OR along the central axis if you’re cutting on the bias. Then, with a ruler, you need to draw new side cutting lines from the top edge of the pattern to the edge of the original placing of the lower seam. You can see this above on the piece to the right.

I’m also narrowing the neckline by 1cm because I have very narrow shoulders. I hope this is enough! This pic shows the front and back bodice pieces together at the shoulder seam… obviously the alterations have to match exactly here.

Now we move onto the vintage brocade. This is the cowl piece which is cut on the bias for drapeyness. I’ve added 5cm here too and redrawn the side seam… yup, I know this looks like a very different angle, but it’ll all be OK, I promise.

Now I’m using the lengthened lining piece as a pattern for the brocade. And it’s a bit sheer, allowing me to artfully cut a bodice piece that avoids the horror of accidentally landing a target-shaped motif slap-bang front and centre like some glorified aureola.

I’m not doing a true lining; I’m sewing the two fabrics together (interlining). But because one is so slippery and the other writhes and wriggles about, I’m basting them together….

…and then overlocking the straight seams since these synthetics unravel like the dickens!.

Phew! Next steps… well, I’m going to muslin the skirt because I have an awful feeling I might not have enough fabric… eek.

Pattern Review sewing contest

So, which of these lovelies will I make up for the Pattern Review Vintage Pattern Challenge?

Competition is already pretty stiff… have you seen the Slapdash Sewist’s frock? I love it! Plus MagpieJen has a nice-looking work in progress. It’d be nifty to do as well or better than I did in the last one (I was third, I think, with this dress that I’m coincidentally wearing right now…)

LEFT: Simplicity 6218 60s sheath, RIGHT: Butterick dress and bolero

LEFT: mail-order pattern #9032  RIGHT: Simplicity 4-H uniform pattern

I think I know which one I’ll make… can you guess which one?

It closes 1 May so I’d better get cracking!

Manshirt update: It’s coming along nicely. Not much more to go… some hems, buttonholes, buttons and cuffs…


Thanks for all the nice comments on my Heidi dress. I wore it today and more than one person said, “Your dress is very…. bright.”

Next project is a retro shirt for the feller, cut out and ready to go. Pattern is Simplicity 8944 from 1979 and the fabric is a crisp and smooth poplin from Clear It in slatey blue with wee pink and blue circles. Check out the Prince Harry lookalike on the pattern envelope.

Last note: to vindicate us home-sewing types, did you know that the frock Grace Kelly wore when she met Prince Ranier the first time was a McCalls ‘easy to sew’ pattern she modelled for the cover of the McCalls catalogue? It’s a nice story, more in this review of the new book, Grace Kelly Style. Another one for the wish-list.

Burdastyle Heidi: win!

Finished – and what a sunny frock she is, made from loud 1970s sheets – floral outer and striped lining.

With a bit of tweaking, she comes out with surprisingly retro lines, I think.

Tweaks were:

  • lengthened bodice 7cm to accomodate height
  • made neckline shallower and narrower by about 2cm
  • lengthened pleats and converted to darts for closer fit
  • sewed right shoulder with larger seam allowance to accomodate my curvy spine
  • added a kick pleat at centre back hem – who in their right mind tries to walk in a hobble skirt these days?
  • cut skirt two sizes bigger than bodice but still had to use teeny tiny seam allowances… oops.

I reckon I might make another with my NZ fabric since it’s so fine that it will need lining anyway.

I told an untruth, though. I haven’t had another go at my block. Pah.


Dropped into town today all prepared to drop a bunch of cash at Clegs since they’re having one of their occasional ‘all patterns $5’ sales. Yup, even those $25 Vogues. Five smackers only. But when I got there, I just couldn’t be arsed. I flicked through some catalogues and thought, “I have sooooo many patterns at home,” and wandered out. On the way I spotted someone clearing out the Vintage Vogues – piles of each design in every size – no doubt for resale. Kinda against the spirit of the thing, I felt.

But the consumer gods were appeased at my next stop to pick up Love Vintage written by the lovely Nicole of Circa in Gertrude St. My wordy lordy, this is a gorgeous book. Cover-to-cover reading inevitable, nay, mandatory.