New 60s dress – Style 2472

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.

Style 2472

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.

Style 2472 retro 60s dressI 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.

back of Style 2472

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.

Finished dress

The colours do look better in real life, honest. They remind me of this fruit-stand photo. Water-melon pink, oranges, and yellow apples.

Fruit stand


I love reading people’s personal style statements. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to sum up your style in a sentence and base everything you buy around that?

‘Yah well my style could probably be summed up as Carmen Miranda meets Victorian lady funeral director, with a preppy twist”

Hmm, maybe that could work

Also I find the phrases people come up with to describe themselves hilarious and inspiring. It’s interesting to speculate on what a ‘hobo-goes-for-jazz-age-safari’ styled person might wear to a job interview, for instance. (I did not make this up. It’s an actual style description from Hel-Looks.)

Unfortunately most personal style statements are both extremely dull and self-contradictory, along the lines of  ‘Classic clothes with a modern edge, dressed up with colourful accessories’. Boring!

Here are some fantastic personal style descriptions I have found throughout the internet, mostly on Hel-looks. I didn’t save any of the actual photos that went with them because they will mostly look better in your imagination.

My style is a fight between gothic and homeless looks

romanticized archaeologist or anthropologist, travel-ready with just a touch of militant and/or sexy

a witch hunt-gothic-exorcism dress with an 80’s aerobic body, because we are living in apocalyptic times

Gaucho Anthropologist

Surf-Elegance at its best

My style is inspired by maximalism, Carmen Miranda’s hats, desserts and writing.

Classic, minimalist, chic, hippy, dandy, street, modern all at once. All this not to say hipster.

Outcasts, misery and the borderline between craziness and creativity inspire me

Mother’s old jeans + a culture lover’s cape = the doctor of macabre

Enter the Void, chaos and noise inspire me [you should definitely take a look at this guy’s unique interpretation of ‘chaos and noise‘]

Jewelry, hurry, fake fur, rings and wearing Converse shoes to a fashion party inspire me

Protestant prairie circa 1908

I would love to make a automatic personal style generator website, similar to this genius artist’s statement one. I want it to be like a fruit machine where you pull a lever and three random elements combine to create a whole new style. Teutonic 80s Ballerina. Ironic Edwardian Hobo. Waifish Surf-Rock Gypsy. Disco Sailor on Safari. 60s Spanish Geographer.

Brighten the corners

I love taking photos of corners of buildings going up into the sky, or nice triangular roof shapes. I think I’m just fascinated by perspective, probably due to being entirely unable to draw it convincingly. Here are some photos I’ve taken of different roof angles (wow, could that be the dullest sentence ever? Imagine sitting next to someone on a plane and that’s their opening gambit. You’d have to feign sleep)

This is a building near London Fields.

This is the roof of the Strand Building in Clapton.

Somewhere in Italy.

Spitalfields/Liverpool Street.

Stoke Newington houses.

Various unidentifiable roofs I have known and loved.

I’ve made a flickr group of all of my building corner photos so you can enthrall yourself further. There’s an enlightening wikipedia article about perspective drawing here. I like this quote:

“European Medieval artists were aware of the general principle of varying the relative size of elements according to distance, but even more than classical art was perfectly ready to override it for other reasons. “

I side with the European Medieval artists on this.