A British Affair

You know how sometimes, you’re just walking along, minding your own business, and all of a sudden a length of fabric simply jumps out of nowhere, wrapping itself around you and demanding to be taken home right that minute? (Even if you have no real idea of what you’re going to do with it after that?)

Yep, this was one of those.

I mean, how could I say no? It’s a vintage-inspired floral, all green and orange and white. And it’s a lovely quality cotton poplin – perfect for all sorts of dresses. (And we all know how much I love dresses by now, right?) Plus (and here’s the real cincher) – there are little Hello Kitty faces peeping out from behind the flowers!!!

Yes, that’s right – Hello Kitty!!!!!

Clearly, it had to be mine. (And it continued to inform me so in a rather loud voice.)

I tried briefly to resist, working to convince both the fabric and myself that, since I had no idea what I was going to do with it, it really had no place in my stash. But really, there was no hope in winning that argument. So, I got two metres, and decided I’d figure out the what-it-will-be details later.

(Why only two metres? Because this is a super-wide fabric! 160cm wide, in fact. Otherwise I would have gone for my more usual 2.5 – 3 metres. Plus I figured it may be a bit over-the-top with that floral to be a dress with sleeves.)

My original plan was to go with the vintage look of the fabric, and turn it into a button-up 1970’s sleeveless dress. Only would you believe it – I couldn’t find any button-up woven dress patterns from the 70’s in my stash!!! (There were, however, a large number of zip-front ones. Guess zips were a Big Thing for dresses back then…)

Then suddenly, it struck me – the Vintage Shirt Dress pattern from Sew Over It. Perfect!

(And it was perfect – I got it out of two metres of this fabric easily, even assuming the print had a direction (I went with way the largest Kitty faces were looking). The cotton poplin is a great quality and the weight worked well with the skirt volume and the shoulder gathers. Plus the rounded collar works well with the vintage vibe of the fabric, don’t you think?)

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

With fabric and pattern both from the UK, this had turned into a rather British vintage-inspired affair. 😉

This was my first time using a Sew Over It pattern. I nabbed this one in PDF format when it was launched – I’ve been wanting to try one of their patterns for a while, and a button-up fit-and-flare style shirt dress will always find a home in my wardrobe.

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Overall, I found this to be a great pattern. Reasonably simple, with some cute touches, like the rounded collar and the light gathers into the shoulder yokes. It’s the sort of pattern that lets the fabric be the star of the show, while still being fun and interesting to make.

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I did have a couple of “what the heck?” moments when printing and assembling the PDF. There are two files with the pattern on them – Pattern 1 and Pattern 2. I assumed they related to the two variations of the pattern, so just printed the second file since I was making variation two of the dress. Nope – you need to print both, as it turns out. There wasn’t anything in the instructions about that, nor was there a diagram or table or the like saying what pages each pattern piece was on. Which was a shame, as I like to save paper and only print the pages I need, and in this case I had to print the whole thing, including the full sleeve piece. Ah well.

The other “what the heck?” moment I had came when looking at the actual PDF pages. Each of the pages has edges from the surrounding pages printed on it as well. Which isn’t a problem at all, by the way – I just found it a bit unexpected and had a moment of worrying if there was something wrong with my printer settings printing partial pages!

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now, the other thing you may want to watch out for is when you’re cutting out the bodice. There are dots that show where the gathering is. There are slightly different lines for the sleeveless vs. the sleeved version, and the gather marker dots are printed on the line for the sleeved version – if you’re making the sleeveless version, make sure you transfer these down down to the right point.

When cutting out the dress, I went for a size 10 bust, grading out to a size 12 waist and hip. (My measurements put me at a size 14 for waist/hip, but the finished measurements for that size had more ease than what I like, so I sized down.) I used the skirt length from size 20, and added a little bit to the length by turning up a 1.5cm hem, rather than the 4cm one called for. I also added 3cm to the length of the bodice, at front and back. (For reference, I added quite a lot less length to the skirt than I usually do for indie patterns, and quite a bit more length to the bodice.)

The dress came together nicely. There are released tucks for shaping at front and back waists, on both the skirt and the bodice. The armholes are finished with bias binding. And the front has a facing all the way along it.

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

(Going with what seems to be a current trend for me at the moment, I finished the seam allowances and edges with some yellow seam binding.)

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The hem was done using a blind hem stitch on my sewing machine, and again some more yellow Hug Snug seam binding.

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The instructions were fine and clear to follow. I couldn’t spot a key for the fabric/garment shading, but it’s easy enough to figure out, and I liked the cute touch of the right side of the fabric on the garment being patterned as though it was a vintage floral. 🙂

One thing I did notice that was missing is that the collar pattern piece doesn’t have instructions on it to cut one in interfacing as well – so you’ll need to remember to do that.

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

I’m really happy with the final dress – I like the fit. It’s got a little bit of blousiness in the bodice back, as a result of the released tucks there, which is a bit different. The rounded collar makes me smile. 🙂 And the ease at the waist is just how I like it, so going down a size based on the finished measurements worked out well for me.

(It’s also a bit more vibrant than it looks in these photos – tricky early-morning light with sneaky photos before I went to work. Hah! Spring is on it’s way!)

There we have it folks – one dress, with little Hello Kitty faces hidden in plain sight all over it! (How to get away with wearing Hello Kitty to the office? I wore this dress to work on Thursday and no one noticed the kitty faces. Hah! Stealth Kitty!!)


  • Pattern: Vintage Shirt Dress by Sew Over It
  • Fabric: Hello Kitty cotton poplin
  • Size made: 10 bust, grading to a 12 at waist/hips. (Body measurements put me at a size 14 waist/hips, but I went down one size at waist to have less ease, as per personal preferenace.)
  • Alterations made: lengthened front and back bodice by 3cm; cut out longest version of the skirt and only turned up a 1.5cm hem
  • Things to watch out for: if making the PDF pattern, print both pattern files; if making the sleeveless version, transfer markings for gathering down from where they’re located on the sleeved version; cut out one interfacing for the collar
  • Things I’d change next time: add another 0.5cm of length to front and back bodice; remove some of the fullness at the back bodice by lessening the width of the release tucks
  • Final verdict? Love it! Fits well, fun to make and wear, and will definitely make it again

British Kitten dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

23 responses to “A British Affair

  1. Hehe your description of the fabric demanding to be taken home cracked me up. And your final product los great I love the yellow seam binding!

    • Thanks! 🙂 (Surely fabric has done that to you before, yes? It happens to me far too often. That’s my excuse for my overly large fabric stash, haha!)

      • Soo often! Hence my stash doesnt fit into my fabric cupboard anymore and I’m colonizing the nearby shelves!

  2. Gosh, this is awesome!!

  3. Its lovely Kat, I’m not surprised that fabric twisted your arm! I love the green buttons too, they’re such a good match. Bring on Summer!

    • Yay for summer! (Or the promise of summer anyway – I accidently looked at the weather forecast earlier. Ugh.) Maybe we need to have a pretending-it’s-warm shirt dress picnic?!

  4. I love this dress! I’m a bit of a Hello Kitty fan. 😉

  5. Gorgeous fabric – very quirky! I’ve been wanting to try this pattern for a while now and love your run through of it 🙂 I will be saving it for future reference, thanks!

  6. lovely, my second favourite secret hello kitty fabric make on the internet (sorry, this beats you 😉 http://mainelydadswintercoat.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/time-to-spring-forward.html)

  7. I really want this pattern (should make myself sew up my hawthorn first!). love the details on your one – cute buttons and lovely seam binding ;o)

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  9. Definitely the best version I’ve seen of this dress pattern. The fabric is beyond amazing and you’ve more than done it justice xxx

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