Tag Archives: dress

The Debi dress

I seem to be on a bit of a ‘squeezing in at the last minute’ roll with sewalongs at the moment!

But, better nearly-late than never, right?

D’you remember back in, oh, February (eep!) there was a vote on my blog for which of three pattern-and-fabric combinations I should make up during March? Well, I was a good girl and started on the winning combination at the beginning of March. And then it didn’t go so well, and had a bunch of fitting issues, and I got grumpy with it and put it in the naughty corner and proceeded to make other things to cheer myself up. While in the back of my mind planning on getting it finished for the Sew for Victory sew-along.

It was a close call which dress was voted in, but in the end it was McCall 5676, a dress pattern from 1944, made up in a pretty, lightweight and silky-feeling floral cotton.

McCall 5676

Finally, that dress has seen the light of day, just in time for the end of Sew for Victory! Yippee! And after all the pain of making it, I even like it!!

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Both the pattern and the fabric came from Debi, and since I discovered the gorgeousness of 1940’s designs and got inspired to sew 1940’s patterns through seeing all of her lovely creations, this dress seems to be quite fittingly named after her.

I chose to make view A in the dress, sans lace. Instead, I left the little cap sleeves plain.

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The pattern itself was reasonably easy to make up. Gathers at the front waist and front neckline, a band to finish the neckline, and button placket down the back (to which I added interfacing, even though the instructions didn’t call for it. Did they have interfacing or some equilivent back in the 1940’s?). I used some vintage self-covered buttons for down the back.

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The problems came with the fit. I usually (somehow?!) fit 1940’s dresses more-or-less out of the envelope, with only a slight grading to a bigger size at the waist and a small bust adjustment. So I was rather surprised when, even with trying it on at points in the construction, I finished attaching the buttons and discovered the waist sat far too low. Heck knows how that happened, since it seemed to be fine when I was trying it on earlier! Anyway, I’d been all nice and tidy and taking care with my finishing, so not only was there a gathered seam on lightweight delicate fabric to unpick, I’d also top stitched it down right close to the seam itself. Ugh.

(This was the point where the dress made it’s way to the naughty corner for over a month. Yep.)

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Then one day, it dawned on me. I needed to take the waist up by a couple of centimeters, so why not just cut the skirt off, and then when I reattach it it’ll be in the right place! Far, far easier, and sure enough, it worked well. 🙂

(Although yes, I’m aware it doesn’t look like it’s sitting quite right in a bunch of these photos. That’s coz there’s a baby bump in the way that’s pushing the belt up higher.)

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The other fitting issue was in the back. There was a big gape at the centre back, again not discovered until I could actually do the dress up properly, by which point the buttons and button holes had been done. Ugh once more. (Admittedly, it would have been fine and sat flat if the neckline had been worn wider, but it just wasn’t sitting as wide as it was meant to on me and staying put, so that just wasn’t going to work.)

Time for another hack. I just moved the buttons, and folded the interfaced button placket under enough for the new button placements to be stitched on through the interfacing. (Ssh, don’t tell anyone!) Naughty maybe, but it worked, and got this dress off the UFO pile, so I’m calling that a good hack. 😉

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Now that it’s all done, I think I quite like it. The gathers are pretty, and while I debate whether cap sleeves ever look any good on me, they’ll be good for keeping direct sun off my shoulders while still being nice and cool next time summer rolls around.

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Plus, bonus hidden in-seam pockets in the front of the skirt! I think this is officially my favourite feature of this pattern. Because, pockets! Functional ones!! In an unexpected (yet still logical) place!!!

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

My mother is in town visiting this weekend, so my sister and I took her out for a one-week-early Mothers Day surprise High Tea at Sweet Pea cafe in Petone. (More about the High Tea in a later blog post.) Petone is one of the oldest Wellington suburbs, and has lots of cute late-1800 and early-1900s houses and buildings. We took photos outside the historic police station. In use during the first half of the 1900’s, this teeny tiny building was both police station and jail for the area. Ain’t it cute? It’s now a Historic Places Trust building, sitting set back a few meters from the main shopping street in Petone. I’m hoping that one day I’ll get to have a look inside coz I bet it’s super-cute on the inside as well. 🙂

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Debi dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Mellow Yellow La Sylphide

This one’s been hanging around a while, waiting to be posted. I was actually about to post it when my laptop died (argh!!!!). And now, finally, here it is – my half of the twinsies La Sylphide dress photo shoot that Mel and I did together. 🙂

Mellow Yellow Papercut La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

We had so much fun taking photos together of our Ensis tees last year, that we’ve decided to make it a regular thing – pick a pattern, sew it up at the same time, then get photos of it together. (And can I just say, taking photos with another sewing blogger is So Much Fun!!!!)

Mellow Yellow Papercut La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

We’d both made up Papercut’s La Sylphide pattern once before, and loved the result, so decided we’d make another one, kinda to sew along with the sewalong that Lauren ran over on the Papercut blog. (Not that either of us are particularly good at going at the same speed as sewalongs. Oops!)

Mellow Yellow Papercut La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

If you’re unfamiliar with the La Sylphide, it a cute little button-up dress, with a full skirt, sleeves, and a necktie. Surprisingly fun to make, with details such as using interfacing to create tidy hems on the sleeves, and attaching the sleeves in the flat (brilliant!).

Papercut La Sylphide dress

Since I’d made it before, I decided to make a couple of adjustments this time around to change the pattern up slightly and not have two identical-but-in-different-fabrics dresses hanging in my wardrobe.

This time around, I did the following:

  • Lengthened the neck ties by 12cm at either end (I found them just a bit too short last time)
  • Lengthened the skirt by 15cm (be warned if you make this – the default length is very short!!)
  • Took a lot of the fullness out of the skirt (for two reasons – I live in a very windy place, and I was using a vintage fabric of a narrow width and there was no way I was gonna get the full skirt out of it)
  • Shortened the sleeves by 15.5cm
  • Cut the back skirt on the fold, rather than with a centre-back seam. (I did this last time as well.)
Folding out volume in the skirt

Folding out volume in the skirt

My verdict on the changes? All a success! Only thing I’d do differently with them next time is how I cut the sleeves and make sure I mirror-image the slope of the last inch of them so the hem is the same width as the sleeves when folded under. I had a heck of a time easing in the hem since it was shorter than the point of the sleeve I was easing it into! Oops – didn’t think that one through when shortening them!

Mellow Yellow Papercut La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Next time I make this there are two other changes I’d make. One is a change I planned to make this time – widen the shoulders by 1cm, as I have quite broad shoulders and the seams sit a bit too far in on me (as they do with pretty much everything). I remembered to widen while cutting out the back bodice, and completely forgot the front bodice adjustment. Duh. Next time, yeah? Other change I’d make is lowering the bust dart points by about an inch, which I’ve discovered is something I pretty much need to do by default for every pattern I make. (Heck knows why?) Oh, and I’ll add in-seam side pockets to the skirt. Because, you know, dresses with pockets are rather fantastic.

Just like last time, I cut a size S, grading out to a size M at the waist. Only it turns out that I’ve lost a bit of weight since then (baby fat vanishing – woo hoo!) and I had to take it in, so next time I’ll cut out a size XS bust, grading out to a size S at the waist.

Mellow Yellow Papercut La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

For the photos, we went exploring and headed up to the top of Miramar Peninsula, to a water tower I’d spotted while flying into Wellington a couple of weeks beforehand. (Good way to find photo locations, no?) I’d never been there before – great views all over the city, and the contrast of a water tower with lots of graffiti – which I’m always a bit fond of for backgrounds to photos. 😉

Twinsies of Papercut La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Twinsies of Papercut La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Twinsies of Papercut La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Twinsies of Papercut La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

So much fun doing twinsie makes/photos again! And this time my sister Jen joined us, with a skirt she’d made from a self-drafted pattern. (With teapots!!)

So much fun in fact, we’ve got another twinsie creation planned very soon….

Mellow Yellow Papercut La Sylphide | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Blackcurrant Tiramisu

Yikes! Somehow it got to the second week of November, and I still haven’t posted about the third dress I made at the start of October! Gah.

Anyway, here ’tis. Along with some more glimpses of our holiday. 🙂

Blackcurrant Tireamisu dress

Yep, it’s another Tiramisu! Going along with the ‘flavours’ theme of naming them, I figure this one must be Blackcurrant. (Coz grape flavoured Tiramisu? Um, no. I don’t think so.) I did toy with the idea of licquorice flavour, due to the black-and-white contrast fabric, but decided they can just be thought of as chocolate sprinkles on top instead. (Excuse me while I go and eat some chocolate now… Power of suggestion, and all that.)

Blackcurrant Tireamisu dress

Since last time I made myself a Tiramisu I ended up having to take it in by pretty much a full size, this time I cut one size down – a 30 B. Which fits a heck of a lot better! Pretty much perfectly actually, except for one small issue – I didn’t realise it when I was making it up, but the bodice on the size 30 is shorter than the size 35 bodice. Which is a bit annoying, since the size 35 midriff was hitting at the right place on me, and now the size 30 midriff is too high, and as a result does nothing flattering to my bust…. *sigh*

Blackcurrant Tireamisu dress

Aside from that annoyance (which, once made, I can’t really do anything about!), I quite like this dress. I spent ages deciding which fabric combination to use – I was thinking of making one entirely out of the black-with-white-dots knit, with red-with-white-dots for contrast. But it made my eyes go funny looking at it, so I decided to have a bit of sympathy for the rest of the world. Heh.

And I have to say – the Tiramisu is great for travelling in! I took both my Tiramisu dresses on our trip, and wore them soooo much. Every long-haul flight we did, I was wearing a Tiramisu. They’re perfect for flights, and even more perfect for flights-with-a-toddler-who-is-still-breastfed. Comfy, practical, generally rather awesome. Seriously – if you’re flying long distance, make yourself one. You’ll be glad you did.

Blackcurrant Tireamisu dress

Since we were going to Milan for a couple of days, I figured I’d better save this Tiramisu for photos there. Tiramisu, Italy – yeah, bit of a no-brainer, right? 😉 The lovely Mel did suggest I get photos while eating tiramisu in Italy. And I wanted to, I really did. But when it came down to it, well, I actually don’t like tiramisu-the-dessert. So I ordered something else instead. 😉

Blackcurrant Tireamisu dress

Dress details:
Pattern: Tiramisu by Cake
Fabric: purple cotton-blend tshirting (had in stash for years and I can’t remember where I got it from), black-and-white cotton tshirting for contrast (also been in my stash for years, think it was about $6 per metre, can’t remember where from?
Size made: 30 B
Adjustments made: none, but next time I’ll lengthen the bodice by an inch or two. (Oh, I did omit the pocket. Again. I’m just not loving the pocket on knit fabric, really.)
Construction notes: made entirely on my overlocker! Gotta love that thing. 4-thread knit stitch for all seams. Cover stitch to top-stitch down the arm and neck bindings. I left the hem raw, as I like it better that way. Oh, and since the neckband of my last Tiramisu is too loose at the back of the neck, I stretched the neck binding a lot tighter when sewing this one, and just cut off the extra inch that I no longer needed at one end.

Blackcurrant Tireamisu dress

These photos were all taken in Milan, wandering around near the main shopping centre.

And just because I can, here are some more photos from the Milan part of our trip. Enjoy!

Playground in Milan

Checking out the playground across the road from our hotel

Sforza castle

Sforza castle

Peace Arch

Peace Arch (with Steve standing directly under it)

Fountain in Milan centre

Awesome fountain in the centre of Milan

Floral Dream dress

For some reason, about three weeks before we went on holiday, I got the idea into my head that I was going to make one garment for each country we were visiting and get photos in each place. Coz, you know, three weeks before you go on holiday is a brilliant time to get all ambitious like that.

(Spoiler alert: I didn’t quite manage my goal. But four out of five countries isn’t bad, right?! 😉 )

So…. here’s what I made for photos in Slovenia!

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

It’s the Midsummer’s Night Dream dress by Papercut Patterns.

And just like both of the previous Papercut patterns I’ve made (La Sylphide, and Ooh La Leggings), this pattern was an absolute dream! Katie is a fantastic pattern drafter – so far, I haven’t had any construction or fitting issues with any of the three patterns of her’s I’ve tried. I’m guessing she’s a trained fashion designer as well, as her patterns have the 1cm seam allowances that are garment industry standard. Plus she uses clever time-saving construction techniques, like setting in sleeves in the flat for the La Sylphide dress. (Which, incendentially, makes it a lot easier to set in a sleeve smoothly. I recommend you try it.)

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

Anyway, back to the Midsummer’s Night Dream pattern….

It’s a pretty little wrap-around sleeveless dress, which crosses over in the front and ties around the waist with long ties. The skirt is quite full, unlike a lot of other wrap-around dresses I’ve seen out in pattern-land. (Which works well for me, as I do love a full skirt!) The neckline is finished with bias binding, which extends into long ties at either shoulder. The front panels feature a bit of gathering on the sides, so you get nice soft folds over the bodice, which I think look quite nice, although if I made this up in a heavier or stiffer fabric I’d omit the gathers.

(Side note: the tie shoulders make this dress pretty good if you’re breastfeeding, as you can just untie one shoulder, then tie it back up again afterwards.) (Hopefully that’s not too much information for the rest of you!)

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

I made up a size S, and made no adjustments to the size at all. (Wrap dress styles are so forgiving in the fit department, don’t you think? Especially this one, with the shoulder ties meaning you can get the waist to the right level just by tying the shoulders in the right place. Easy!)

The only adjustment I made to the pattern was to the back skirt. The instructions called for it to be cut out in two pieces, then joined along the centre back seam. I couldn’t think of any good reason to do it that way, so just cut it on the fold (overlapping to omit the 1cm seam allowance for the omitted centre back seam). Nice and easy, and one less seam to sew and finish – win!

I’m not sure what fabric this is made from – I picked it up from Fabric-a-brac a while back. It’s soft and light and doesn’t crease (perfect for travelling!), and frays like crazy. My kind-of mother-in-law things it’s a viyella, and I’m inclined to agree with her. I had the exact amount for a Midsummer’s Night Dream dress, and I think the fabric suited the pattern perfectly. It hangs well, and is lightweight enough for the bodice pleats.

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

I got a bit brave and tried making my own bias tape for the first time. (Yes, you read that right. Before now, I’d never made my own bias tape. Lazy me always bought it instead!) Even though I was using a fabric that frays heaps, it was surprisingly easy! And I love the way it looks, so I’ll definitely be branching out into self-made bias again in the future. 😉

So yes, another Papercut pattern success! Katie has managed to (temporarily) lure me away from my vintage pattern love, to indulge in a little affair with her more modern designs. (I hope you’re not getting sick of Papercut on here yet, as I may be about to start on a skirt…. But shhhh, it’s a secret! My other sewing project hasn’t heard about it yet….)

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

On a side note, isn’t Slovenia beautiful?!?! We were at Lake Bled for these photos, both up on the Bled castle, and then on the tiny island in the middle of the lake. So, so gorgeous! I think I’m in love with Slovenia….. *sigh*

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

Midsummer's Night Dream dress from Papercut

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!! 😀

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!).


The Purple Rain dress

Finally, here it is – my first creation as part of Indie pattern month! (Yes, right at the very end. Again. Oops!)

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

All month I’ve been talking about, and slowly but surely putting together, the La Sylphide dress from Papercut patterns. This is my first Papercut pattern, and can I just say – I absolutely love this company! The thought that has gone into it amazes me – Katie has put together a whole experience with a lot of care, and I found every part of it, from browsing her website to receiving the pattern, making up the instructions, and sewing up the dress, to be rather delightful. I suspect I am now a Papercut fangirl. Hah. (And I am also eagerly awaiting her next collection, so I can buy and make more pretties!!)

Anyway, enough gushing for the moment. And on to the dress!

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

La Sylphide is a short dress, with a quarter circle skirt, button-up front, and tie at the v-neckline. (There is also a peplum top and a skirt variation. I’m planning on making the peplum top sometime very soon. Coz that’s how much I enjoyed making up this pattern.)

Now, a little word of warning. When I say this is a short dress, I do mean short. I added 16cm to the length of the skirt, and it’s still a bit shorter than I’d like! (But that’s how wide my fabric was, so that’s how long it got to be.) The quarter circle skirt swirls beautifully, and I live in a very windy city, so I’ll have to be a bit careful about what I wear under this, just in case! (Too much information? Perhaps.)

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

I found working with this Papercut pattern quite interesting. Back when I was at university, I did a part-time evening pattern drafting course, where I got taught things like using 1cm seam allowances and assembling in the flat as much as possible. But, I’ve pretty much never come across that sort of thing in patterns. Until now. Papercut patterns have a 1cm seam allowance – which is fantastic! Less wastage, less bulk, and none of that cut-out-heaps-of-extra-seam-allowance-then-cut-it-all-off-again faffing around. The sleeves on this dress are also attached in the flat, then the side seam of both dress and sleeves sewn up all at once. Brilliant! So much faster, and easier, than attaching them in the round. (Yes, another reason why I am now in love with Papercut. *swoon*)

The use of interfacing with this pattern was quite interesting too. Strips of interfacing were attached at the end of the sleeves, and along the button placket, then the fabric was turned over and topstitched, which gives a great, clean finish both inside and out, adds a bit more durability for the lightweight/drapey fabrics recommended for this pattern, and in the case of the sleeves also gives a nice, crisp, almost-cuff-like finish.

Now, speaking of the button placket, I went with what seems to be my current ‘thing’, and used snap fasteners instead. Because I could. Sewing-with-a-hammer once more – gotta love that.

Snap fasteners

I decided to go with a turned-up hem, rather than the rolled hem the pattern called for. Not for any particular reason – I think just because I couldn’t be bothered doing a rolled hem that day. (Lazy seamstress, me? Um, yeah. Whoops.) I had some vintage seam binding in my stash, which added a bit of a contrast colour (I do like adding contrast colours when binding hems). Sadly, it ran out about 3/4 of the way around the skirt, so I finished the rest with some cream lace. (Note to self: next time, measure the lengths properly, rather than just holding the tape up to the skirt and thinking it looks about right, then heading straight into stitching it on.)

Hem tape

I found the fit of this pretty good – no modifications were made, although next time I will lower the bust dart points by about an inch and a half. Which is probably a modification I should just make to every pattern by default, since they’re always too high on me. (What’s that about?!?) Aside from adding the 16cm to the skirt length, the only other thing I did differently was construction order. Rather than stitching up the bodice and the skirt separately, then joining them at the waist, I attached the skirt pieces to the bodice pieces then stitched the entire way up the side seams all at once. For two reasons – I like working in the flat more than working in the round, and (the main reason) because it makes it a lot easier to take the dress in at the waist if I ever lose these last couple of post-baby inches. (But let’s face it – chocolate is more important to me than those last two inches, so chances are they’re not going to be coming off in a hurry!)

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

Had to go to Auckland for work last week, which made for a good opportunity for photos outside in daylight, without having to wait for the weekend. (Ironically, I then didn’t get a chance to post this until the end of the weekend, but whatever.) These were taken at Browns Bay, on the North Shore, right between the shopping centre and the beach. In the rain. That’s how dedicated I am to getting photos for you, people – I stood in the rain in winter, without my coat. I even twirled in the rain, on wet and muddy grass, in high heels, in order to show off the skirt’s twirl-factor. And people nearby looked at me like I was crazy. (And a big thanks to my lovely colleague Fiona, who very nicely took the photos for me and hopefully didn’t think I was too odd.)

La Sylphide dress Papercut patterns

So, there it is, folks – my Purple Rain La Sylphide. (Why Purple Rain? Well, the dress is dark purple and black, and it was raining in the photos. And I couldn’t think of anything better. Got any better suggestions? Let me know so I can rename this dress – my naming creativity is at an all-time low this evening!) Verdict? I love it! It’s fun to wear, swirls around while you walk, the necktie looks super cute over a buttoned-up cardigan, and it was fun and easy to make. More versions of this will be made, probably quite soon.

Here’s a last twirling-in-the-rain photo, just because I like it, blurry though it is.
La Sylphide dress twiriling

The “Generations” Dress

The Facts
Fabric: about 2/3rds of a cotton double-sized duvet cover I got in a clothes swap a while back
Pattern: Style 2382
Year: 1978
Notions: about 1 metre of hem binding tape
Time to complete: 3.5 hours
First worn: to work on Monday 6 May
Wear again? yep
Total cost: About $0.30 for the hem binding
Bump: 21 weeks


Check it out – I’m wearing a tent! Eek!!

(Much better with a belt, no?)

I love the fact that this pattern used to belong to my mother. It was published in 1978, so I figure she must have gotten it a bit too late to wear while pregnant with me, but I think she wore dresses from this while she was pregnant with all my siblings. The continuity of that makes me happy – different generations wearing dresses from the same pattern, while pregnant with the following generation. (*soppy moment* *cough, sorry ’bout that, the soppiness came out of nowhere*) Here’s my mum, pregnant with my middle brother, wearing a dress from a similar pattern. (I’m the little girl in the middle of the photo, aged around 4. My grandmother is holding the oldest of my three brothers.)

So, the pattern. This one came together nice and quickly – not surprising, since it consists of a front yoke, back yoke, and skirt panels. No fastenings, nothing tricky, just a few gathers in front and back. 3.5 hours in total, which included hand stitching the shoulder seams of the yoke facing and hand stitching the yoke facing down on the inside. I’m slow at hand stitching – this dress would have taken around 45 minutes less time otherwise. I made up version 3, the overtop without sleeves, only in version 2’s length (since as of yet I haven’t made any maternity trousers or slim skirts. There are plans afoot for both of those in the near future though….). I hemmed it using blue hemming tape, for a pop of colour on the inside. (One day, I will run out of this hemming tape. Then I will be sad.)

The pattern is very easy to put together. I made a couple of adjustments as I went along – aside from adjusting it to my size (taking it down two sizes) I also took it in a bit at the base of the yoke as it was flaring out at the back a bit more than I liked. And I chopped 8cm off the bottom of the dress, after my flatmate asked if I was going to shorten it. (Originally, I wasn’t going to, but she put the idea in my head. I got lazy and couldn’t be bothered pinning it up to see if I wanted to take any length out, and just grabbed the trusty rotary cutter. Sewing people – don’t copy what I do, it can go horribly wrong at times.)

Sure, it’s a bit of a tent. But hey, it’s a maternity dress. They’re kinda meant to be tents, right?!? And tents are most certainly comfortable to wear! I can see this one getting a fair amount of use over the next few months – add some heels (I’m seeing how long I can get away with wearing high heels at work for – too stubborn to give them up just yet) and a cardigan, and it’ll be good to go.

So there we have it folks – the next installment in my creations for the Sew, Baby challenge. This one fits into the ‘vintage’ and ‘dresses’ categories. Like all of the maternity-specific things I’ve made so far. (Note to self: branch out and make some separates soon!) Stay tuned for next week’s Sew, Baby creation – will it be another vintage dress? Or something completely different? Heck, even I’m not sure yet! 😉

(PS please to be excusing the photos. I didn’t quite get this finished before it got dark on Sunday, and it’s dark by the time we get home from work these days, so it was either photos-inside-at-night or wait until next weekend. I am an impatient sort, so photos-inside-at-night it was.)

The “Journey” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: about 3 metres of ‘travel icons’ print craft cotton, on sale from Spotlight last year, $4/metre
Pattern: Weigel’s 1703
Year: unknown, looks early 1950’s?
Notions: 4 vintage hooks from stash, 4 mismatched burgundy buttons from stash
Time to complete: 6.5 hours
First worn: hunting (unsuccessfully) for a new lounge suite
Wear again? yep
Bump: 20 weeks (halfway!)
Total cost: ~$12

Check out the fabric of this dress – isn’t that just so cute?!? (Well, I think it’s cute. Steve disagrees. But then, we have different taste in, well, pretty much everything. Hence the unsuccessful lounge suite hunt, over two full days. *sigh* Anyway….)

I picked this up in Spotlight down in Dunedin on Boxing Day – my mother and I inevitably go to Spotlight on Boxing Day, just coz we can. And they tend to have a pretty good sale down at the Dunedin store then. Also inevitably, I buy too much fabric and struggle to get it all in my suitcase to go home again. Oops! Luckily I managed to fit this in somehow, as when I found out the challenge for this week was ‘pink’, I knew immediately what I had to do – use this fabric!!! I’ve been hanging out to use it for a while. Different shades of pink, with little icons of planes and buses and taxis and suitcases all over it? Brilliant.

Weigel’s 1703 is a rather interesting pattern. It’s a bit different from the standard maternity patterns from the 1950’s, with their skirts with cut-out circles and their tent-like tops. (All of which are rather cute, I might add, and some of which are likely to end up in my wardrobe soon.) This dress does something rather nifty at the waist – the four pleats closest to the centre front are held together by hooks and thread loops, rather than stitched in place. See?

Then there are three more thread loops inside each pleat, so as your bump expands, you can expand the front of the dress. Meaning you don’t have to wear a tent until you need to – the tent grows with you! Pretty cool, huh?

And it buttons down the front, for once the baby arrives. (I’ve been informed I need things that button down the front for ‘easy access’ at that stage. I figure this dress fits the bill. Close those pleats to their tightest loops, add a belt, and it should be all good to go.)

Yes, that belt is worn above the waist at the moment. For some strange reason, it just doesn’t fit around my waist any more….. Go figure.

I indulged in a bit of blue to go with the pink (after all, I have no idea if this bump will be a boy or a girl, so probably best not to exclude either from a creation at the moment, haha!) and used some blue hemming lace on the hem of the skirt and also the armholes.

It’s a bit too cold to wear by itself around here these days, and I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold, so you’ll have to ‘scuse the merino top underneath. (It’s also a bit windy around here today, even though we were in a sheltered spot. Notice the vertical bit of hair on top of my head in some of these pics? There’s a reason I have long hair – so I can tie it back on windy days.)

My one issue with this dress is the fit in the bodice. Even though it’s for my bust size (in theory) it’s rather loose. Not sure what’s up with that – perhaps they just expected that everyone with a 34″ bust would swell up to a 38″ bust and not change pattern size? *shrug* If I make it again, I’ll take a bit of volume out of that front bodice somehow.

Actually, now that I remember, I had one other issue with this dress. The front skirt pattern piece was missing. Argh!!!! So I hacked it together by using the back skirt piece, drawing the pleat lines on to match the front bodice pleat lines, then measuring what was left and making it into a pleat on either side (as indicated on the pattern envelope) to make it fit the front bodice nicely. I think it worked out quite well. Gotta love those little hacks at times. I’ve worn this dress twice now, and I’m loving it quite a lot, so I think I will be making the pattern again. Next time I make it, I’ll take the time to properly draft a new front skirt piece so it’s there for whoever makes it up in the future.

And just because this is a maternity dress, here’s a photo of the bump. 20 weeks now, halfway there! Eek!!

(It also fits in nicely with the Sew, Baby! challenge, for both the vintage and the dresses categories. Yay!)