Birds of a Feather Dress

1940s dress

The Facts

Fabric: a couple of meters of some pretty, shiny, floaty something-or-other that I got for $3 per meter in the Global Fabrics sale a couple of years back


  • set of 6 pearl snap fasteners (~$7 from Made Marion)
  • a couple of vintage small snap fasteners
  • about 1.5 meters of piping (bought from the Trelise Cooper fabric store a few years back – maybe around $5 per meter?)
  • about 1.5 meters of pink ribbon for hem binding (about $1.50? Been in my stash for years)
  • some iron-on interfacing (bought hurriedly from Made Marion yesterday when I couldn’t find my stash of it – eek!)

Pantone Challenge colors: Acai (purple) and Carafe (brown) (plus some green piping that’s not quite Emerald but about as close as I could get!)

Patterns: bodice from Bestway C.493 (gift from Bea in the pattern and notion swap), skirt from Simplicity 4649


Year: 1941 for the Simplicity pattern; sometime in the 1940’s for the Bestway pattern

Time to complete: about 7 hours I think – hard to say for sure, since time was snatched in little bits and pieces around a baby’s nap time

First worn: today, for these photos!

Wear again? Oh yes. To work tomorrow, probably.

Total Cost: about $22 (most of which was notions!)

1940s dress

I’m guessing a lot of you will have heard of The Sew Weekly before. It was a weekly sewing challenge, run by Mena Trott, with a community of people who sewed along with a weekly theme for two years. As well as being a lot of fun, it was also what got my sew-jo kicked off again – I sewed along with every theme during 2011 (and as many as I could in 2012 what with having a new baby and all the time challenges associated with that), and the challenge of sewing along with a community meant that as well as making 50 garments in one year (while the year before I’d made maybe 6 in total), I also got my blog properly underway (as I finally had a focus for it and things to write about!). So yeah. I kinda credit the Sew Weekly with getting me into the amazing and super-supportive and wonderfully creative sewing blogging world, and “meeting” a whole bunch of amazing lovely people (several of whom I’ve now met in real life).

1940s dress

Anyway, sadly the Sew Weekly vanished this year. 😦 (Since it hasn’t come back, Mel, Juliet and I have started up The Monthly Stitch coz we were missing the challenges and the community.)

But now, the lovely ladies who were a part of the 2011 Sew Weekly have put on a reunion! Yay!! πŸ˜€

And like all good Sew Weekly related things, it has a theme and a deadline. The theme was the Pantone Fall 2013 colour palette.

I went digging through my stash and unearthed this gorgeous fabric, all soft and silky and floaty, with feathers printed on it in brown (‘Carafe’) and purple (‘Acai’). Perfect!

1940s dress

The Bestway pattern was a gift from Bea as part of the Sew Weekly Reunion pattern and notions swap. (Thanks Bea!) I used the bodice from the Bestway pattern, and the skirt from the Simplicity pattern (as I had to adjust it at the waist and couldn’t quite be bothered figuring out the adjustments needed to keep a pleated skirt even all the way around. Hah! Laziness, yes indeed).

I must admit that the Bestway pattern confused me no end to begin with. On the outside it says it’s in five sizes, but only one size is actually given, and there are no markings anywhere that say what size it is. I hunted out a pattern that I’d made before that had darts in similar places and laid it out over the Bestway one to figure it out. (Conveniently, it happened to be the exact right size. Win!)


I decided to add contrast piping to the seams down the front bodice and around the waist, just for fun and to break the colour up a bit. I cut the fabric for the centre bodice panel out with the leaves going across instead of down for contrast as well.

The Bestway pattern called for snap fasteners as closures, so I went with that and used a set of 6 pearl snap fasteners down the front, with a couple of small vintage silver ones hidden between some of them to keep everything nicely closed.


I used a pale pink ribbon for hem binding on the inside, and hand stitched both the hem and the sleeve cuffs. (Not as invisibly as I wanted it to be, but the fabric was so light I had to pick up a bit more of it than usual when stitching.)


I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out – it’s fun to wear, and I reckon it’ll work both in summer (since it’s nice and lightweight) and in winter with a merino top underneath (just like in the photos!).


56 responses to “Birds of a Feather Dress

  1. This is lovely – I esp love the piping πŸ˜‰ looks great

  2. I, too, love the contrast piping – what a lovely detail! You look fabulous in this πŸ™‚

  3. I love this bodice- the contrast piping is a nice pop- I wouldn’t have thought of that color and it’s perfect! This palette is great on you.

    • Thank you! πŸ™‚ I was actually hunting through my (far too small) piping stash, hoping to find a nice dusky pink, and unearthed this instead. Not a colour I would normally have thought of, either!

  4. Cute boots. Adore the dress, so many amazing details

  5. I love this fabric and You have made a gorgeous dress. I love the evening photos as well

    • Thank you! Evening was a happy accident (sleeping child didn’t want to wake up early enough, so this was the soonest we could get outside!). They worked rather well though, I may have to try and repeat that lighting at some point….

  6. I think this is my favourite thing you’ve made since I started following you. I love the way it looks on you, the fabric choice, and the little details. Great job!

  7. the dress is lovely, and the photo location/light is perfect!

  8. Super cute!! Very chic

  9. Beautiful dress!! I love how you piped it in a completely different colour. And, your pics are really beautiful, I love the background and the ‘dusk’ time of day, very ethereal.

  10. Lovely as always! This is a great silhouette and I’m totally in love with the feather print and the piping.

    It’s lots of fun seeing everyone’s Sew Weekly Reunion makes pop up online today. I wish I’d had time to participate!

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ (And look – baby friendly too, haha! πŸ˜‰

      I’m hoping they’ll do another Sew Weekly Reunion next year. It’s been great sewing along to it again. πŸ™‚ (Have you thought about joining us over on The Monthly Stitch? It’s along the same idea, a group sewing to a regular challenge. Come join us!!)

      • Ooh, I will check it out. Sew-alongs have sort of been flying past me lately (see the thing I just posted) and I haven’t been following up on half the things I mean to. But hopefully that will change soon! Sewing to a theme is so much fun.

  11. Lovely! I love the colors, print, and style. Sometime I think piping can be overdone, but here I think it defines the style lines perfectly! Love this with your boots too.

  12. Stunning dress and L.O.V.E that first photo!!!!!!!!

  13. Gorgeous dress, love the contrasting piping and the fabric/

  14. The post I’d been holding my breath for! I really wanted to see how that pattern turned out in real life! It’s beautiful, and you picked gorgeous fabric to make it in.

    • Oh, the pattern is absolutely gorgeous!! I’m very much intending to make it again. (In fact, I now find myself wondering as I type this… how would it work as a top? Hmmm…..)

      Thanks again for sending it to me. πŸ˜€

  15. How did I miss that fabric at the pop up store?! The colours are so perfect together and love the little accent of green piping, pretty!

  16. Kat this dress is wonderful and extra cool that it included stash and swap items too!

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ I really love using swap items in creations – it’s kind of like including a little bit of the sewing community, a bit of a feel-good factor like a little hug. Heh. πŸ™‚

  17. The feather print is so cool. And the touches of the piping and the hand stitching are very impressive! Well done, and also wow, you made that many garments in a year? Stunner!

  18. The piping delivers the added pop to the dress, love the feathers, and the boots! Perfect accessory!

  19. What a great fitting dress – it looks sooo comfty, you would never know it has come from two different patterns. The fabric is amazing! Nicely paired with great boots.

    • Thanks! πŸ™‚ I am rather in love with this fabric. And have just discovered it hardly creases when getting washed either, so it’s now on my ‘perfect dress for travelling’ list, haha!

  20. those colors! those boots! this is like your signature palette!

  21. Fun dress! The piping is such a gorgeous touch!

  22. WOW! This is incredible! Such lovely patterns to start from as well!

  23. Pingback: Birds of a Feather dress | The Monthly Stitch

  24. I so love this dress!
    you have made such a great job of this. the finishing details make this extra special and couture.
    beautiful! : )

  25. Pingback: “Mix it All Up!” | The Sew Weekly Reunion

  26. Oh Kat! That first photo of you! You look so beautiful! My fave photo of you ever, you big supermodel. Love the dress, great print and you have mad piping skills. I need to pipe something! Also love the photo of you with your hands on your hips with Wellington Hills and streets blurry behind you – makes me totally homesick. Well done xx

  27. Absolutely gorgeous! I love it, and I am so impressed by your piping. Fabulous!

  28. Pingback: 2013 reflections – top 5 hits and misses | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

  29. Pingback: Cherry Ripe dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

  30. Pingback: A me-made-May retrospective | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s