Oriental 60’s dress

Over on The Sew Weekly this week, the challenge was to create something from a pattern with an ugly cover. Take something bad, and attempt to make something good from it.

I had a few patterns that fitted into this ‘ugly’ criteria. I couldn’t decide which one to use, so I asked the girls over at the Sew Weekly Community to choose from five of them. Here’s the five I’d narrowed it down to:

The most-nominated one was the top left. So, here’s what I made from it!

The Facts

Fabric: 2 metres of lightweight floral wool, approx $4 a metre. 2 metres of light grey taffeta lining, approx $4 a metre. Total ~$16
Pattern: Simplicity 7807, one from a bulk pattern purchase so probably around 20c
Year: 1969
Notions: 60cm invisible zipper, approx $6
Time to complete: 4 hours
Would I make the pattern again? Yes, but with alterations
Will I wear it? Unexpectedly, yes!

Total cost: Approx $22.20

I was of two minds about this pattern at the start of the challenge. On one hand, it looked like it would be pretty easy to make something decent out of it – just adjust the neckline so it doesn’t have that ‘turtle’ aspect to it. But on the other hand, if I adjusted the neckline, half the point of the pattern would kinda vanish, and it felt a little bit like cheating! So I decided to make it up as it was, in a soft fabric so the neckline wouldn’t be so stiff, and see how it went. I figured I could always change the neckline afterwards, if it didn’t work out. *shrug*

I think this pattern was one included in a bulk lot of patterns I got off TradeMe. I picked up a couple of boxes of patterns, probably around 60 patterns in all (!!), for about $20. (Yay!) Naturally, many of them are ones I’d never use, but there were a few jems tucked away in there which made it all very worthwhile! And there were a few like this. Kinda interesting due to their vintage nature, but not really something that looked like it would be that great made up. After all, the neckline is kind of like a wide, loose turtle neck, and there is that weird button detail going on in the front of it. Hmmm.

If it wasn’t for this challenge, I probably would never have even thought about making up this pattern. It would have languished unloved at the back of a box for many years, never seeing the light of day. But thanks to the Sew Weekly challenges, it has been saved from such a fate! Yay!

The main issue with the pattern is, of course, the neckline. I decided to make it up in a lightweight wool in the hopes that the softness of the fabric would soften the harshness of the neckline. I’m pleased to say that yes, it did indeed! I ended up not having to adjust the neckline at all, much to my surprise.

I did a small bust adjustment on the pattern, and removed the side bust dart. It’s still a bit big around the bust though, but unexpectedly it’s actually a bit big all over (hence why I’ll be wearing it with a waist belt!). If I was to make it up again, I’d adjust the size down by about 1/2 a size all over, to get rid of some of that extra fabric. Looking at the pattern envelope now, though, it does look like it’s meant to be a bit of a loose fitting style. I’m not a fan of semi-tents as dresses though, so I’d change that. 🙂

The sleeves on this style were surprisingly narrow. Extra surprisingly, since the dress is wider everywhere else than I expected! So that’s another adjustment I’d made, to make them a bit wider. Currently they fit quite well, although they’re snugger than I’m used to and I wouldn’t be able to wear a long-sleeved top underneath them.

The skirt ended up longer than it looked on the pattern, which I actually quite like. (Although I’ve since found a small hole in the fabric (argh! No idea where that came from! 😦 ) so depending on how it washes up I may have to shorten the skirt by about 20cm to get rid of the hole. (I’m glad it’s near the base, and not half-way up! Eek! Nothing worse than finding a hole in fabric after you’ve finished making something.) Luckily I made it in wool as a winter dress, so I’ll be wearing it with tights more often than not and a shorter skirt won’t make it unwearable.

I wasn’t expecting to like this dress, but I actually quite like it! Since it’s made out of a slightly rough, lightweight wool, I’ve lined it and it feels nice to wear. With a waist belt and tights, I think I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of this in winter. I’m calling it my ‘Oriental 60’s dress’ as the pattern is from 1969 and with the floral wool and the higher neckline it kinda looks a bit oriental.

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3 responses to “Oriental 60’s dress

  1. Pingback: Self Stitched September days 11-15 | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

  2. Pingback: The last 10 days of Self-Stitched September 2011 | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

  3. Pingback: Looking forward, looking back (a.k.a. 2011 and 2012) | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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