#vintagepledge 60’s dress, a tribute to Bridget.

Earlier this year well in fact quite a lot earlier this year, actually it was in May I published my vintage pledge. Inspired by the initiative set by A Stitching Odyssey. You can read my pledge and my motivation here.

Nevertheless time seems to have evaporated extremely quickly and we are heading way to fast towards the end of the year. My pledge stated I was going to make five vintage garments in total. I fear I may have been over ambitious given that we are now in October and this is only my first vintage make. However here it is..

This pattern belonged to Bridget (story explained in my vintage pledge post) and is a teeny weeny size 12. By modern day standards it equates to more like a size 8! So my first task was to scale the pattern up to a somewhat larger size 14/16. As I have worked for many years in the Leicester hosiery trade many of which as a pattern cutter, grading patterns is something I am OK with. However throw into the mix my odd shape and quite a big size up and it wasn’t the most straight forward of activities. I actually ended up making two toiles for this dress. It looks like such simple style but getting a good fit was much harder than I thought it would be.

I used blue lightweight non-stretch denim . I have to confess I pretty much ignored the instructions on this one. I had in my mind how I wanted to make and finish this dress and whatever the instructions said I would still have done it the way I planned. Not very true to the vintage plan I know! It is essentially a shift dress and definitely something that will be part of my everyday wardrobe so I decided to make it the way I knew I would be happy with. One element that is always important to me for dresses is having a lining. I have a couple of dresses I have made without linings and find they stick to my tights or leggings which feels uncomfortable and therefore they end up staying in the wardrobe unworn. I also used an invisible zip down the centre back. I am pretty sure invisible zips weren’t readily used or possibly even available in the 60’s. I felt it would be the neatest finish for such a streamlined style.

My first plan for this style was to use Cloud 9 – Window Dressing Big Plaids Turquoise – Yarn Dyed Broadcloth Fabric I was going to cut the yoke with diagonal checks and keep the rest on the straight of grain, I still quite like this idea. I would probably underline the yoke if not the whole dress if using this fabric to give it a bit more body and help the bias cut yoke to hold its shape. However as I decided to go with denim I opted for top stitching the seam style lines. I used a light pink heavyweight topstitch thread. It looks like white against the dark navy but it is actually a pale pink. Perhaps in hindsight not the best choice of colour.

I hand finished the sleeve and skirt hems to keep the lines clean and uninterrupted.

Overall I am quite pleased with the finished result. I think it clearly comes from its original era but works in today’s wardrobe equally well.


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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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