Tag Archives: Sew Weekly reunion

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!).


Sew Weekly reunion swap joy

Oh man, I just loooove swaps. It’s always so much fun, ‘stalking’ my swap partners blog, pulling together a package of things I think (hope!) they’ll like, and sending it off to them.

And then the other part of the fun – getting a swap package in the mail, often from far away!

Lots of fun. 🙂

So yeah, I find it kind of hard to pass up the opportunity to be involved in a swap. (And there have been a few happening lately, so please ‘scuse my happy-excited posts showing off all my swap goodies!)

I’ve been running a swap myself, as part of the Sew Weekly reunion. This one was all about patterns and notions – sending a pattern and three notions to your swap partner. And my parcel has just arrived, all the way from Bea in the UK! I had so much fun unwrapping this, exclaiming over all the pretty, pretty things Bea sent me.

Check out this bundle of happiness:

Pattern and notions

  • 5 70cm long white zips (great for making dresses!)
  • A nice long length of pretty purple lace (which happens to be a match for one of the colours in the reunion challenge palette – yay!)
  • Gorgeous vintage notions from Bea’s French grandmothers stash (I feel like I’m holding an exotic piece of history!). Four things that look like buttons, but Bea thinks may be intended to be cufflink-sets. And two larger disks that appear to be belt buckles
  • And for the pattern – Bestway C.493, a gorgeous dress with a square neckline, centre-front panel, short sleeves, and a full skirt (pleated at the waist). I love that bodice, with the panel and the square neckline. 🙂 (Although, what do you think the model is doing? Holding an imaginary box of chocolates, maybe??)

Here’s a closer look at the pattern. (I’m going to be hunting through my stash this week to choose something to make it in!)

Bestway C.493 pattern

It was all wrapped up, along with a lovely handwritten note, in a UK tea towel, with the added fun of lots of handwritten notes attached to places where Bea has lived or spends a lot of time, giving me a little story all about her – so much fun to read! (And a little heart brooch as well. 🙂

Teatowel with notes

Thank you so much, Bea! I love it all, and am already concocting plans for the pattern (plans which involve the lace, even, haha!)

I hope all of you who have been participating in the swap have been enjoying it as much as I have! 🙂