I have a problem, and I don’t think there are any support groups that can help me. I can’t stop buying vintage patterns on ebay and etsy.
It’s amazing how cheap they are – for the price of two pints or less you can get a pattern that’s 50 or 60 years old, often ones that have never even been used or unfolded.
This is a problem because I never get round to making half of the patterns I buy. There’s always another more exciting one just about to arrive in the post (I’d like to name and shame Miss Betty’s Attic on Etsy, for having far too many nice patterns, and very reasonable postage to the UK).
Anyway I did get around to making this one, Style 2472. It’s a mid to late 60s style, originally retailing for the bargain price of 30p. It’s a simple empire line dress, with a nice 3 panelled front skirt which matches up with the darts in the bodice.
I particularly enjoy the model in the middle, for wearing her hair in bunches on her wedding day, and stroking the knee of one of her friends (bridesmaids?) in a slightly inappropriate fashion.
I made this dress out of some retina-searingly bright cotton from Dalston Mill Fabrics. It has a really nice soft feel and is a good weight – not stiff but not too flimsy. Dalston Mill Fabrics is definitely an interesting shopping experience, if you’ve never been. The fabric is all either squashed tightly together and reached by incredibly narrow aisles you have to inch along sideways, or resting on shelves 10 feet above your head. If you ask for one of these fabrics, they get a big pole with a hook on the end, and pull it down on to the floor, not really checking to see if the fabric could end up on top of your head/on top of another shopper’s head/on any small children that may be toddling around.
The print is probably a bit of an acquired taste. It was one of those fabrics you love in the shop, and then you get it home and think ‘Hmmm, this could either be nice, or really really hideous.” I actually used it with the wrong side outwards just to try and calm down the brightness a bit, not that you can tell in these photos.
The only problem with this print is that you can’t see the seam lines at all. I sewed on a length of black grosgrain ribbon to emphasise the empire line, otherwise it was totally invisible. Here’s me wearing it at a wedding – I’ve had to crop off my face as I was making a rather imbecilic expression.
Here’s the back of it. I actually fully lined it with black cotton AND did a facing which I sewed on top, as per the instructions in this brilliant book, which I found in Oxfam in Edinburgh for £2.50.
Here’s some beautifully shot (ahem) photos of the dress hanging on the back of my bedroom door. I probably should have ironed it first, but anyway you can see that I put an exposed zip in the back, using a combination of this technique on the Burdastyle site, and this one on the Husqvarna site. You can also see that I didn’t exactly match up the ribbon perfectly either side of the zip, but the beauty of the exposed zipper is that it doesn’t really matter, as the seamlines don’t meet! (As long as it’s not about 10cm out, although you could probably pass that off as an innovative new style).
I didn’t make any other huge changes apart from lowering the neckline and making the bodice longer. I did actually draft up and sew a peter pan collar in black cotton, but it looked a bit odd.
The colours do look better in real life, honest. They remind me of this fruit-stand photo. Water-melon pink, oranges, and yellow apples.