Sunshine dress – Vogue 9668

Here’s the dress I was frantically trying to finish before my recent holiday – Vogue 9668 in yellow gingham.

Vogue 9668 - Sunshine dress
Sorry about my dreadful smirk

I bought the fabric in May and it’s been marinating in my stash for a few months.  I LOVE large gingham prints, and thought this would be perfect for a beach wedding*, but didn’t want to do something too obviously 1950s. I bought a few vintage patterns on Etsy which I thought about using, but in the end  Vogue 9668 seemed like the best choice as I’ve made it twice before.
*The wedding ended up actually being in the living room of our rental house, due to a massive storm at the wrong moment, but I reckon it was still technically a beach wedding.

The fabric is so super fine and drapey, I love it. I got it from Fabrics Galore in Battersea, and apparently it’s from Paul Smith, I’m guessing it was used for their line of men’s shirts. The bodice and midriff are self-lined, and the skirt is lined with white cotton poplin.

Here’s the back:

I made a metric ton of alterations on this dress, some good, some not so good.

Before I cut the fabric –

-An FBA on the bodice
-Changed the bodice so the two sides meet in a sort of V/scoop neck,  instead of coming straight down to the midriff band (which I thought was a bit too low-cut for a wedding)
-Re-drawing the armholes so they were a better fit to add sleeves. I basically made this up as you can probably tell.

Vogue 9668 inside the bodice
Here's the inside with the bra cups sewn in

While I was making the dress –

-Bra cups sewn into the lining, as this style is too low-cut in the back to wear a normal bra.
-Added yellow piping to the midriff seams
-I changed the massive bust dart into two smaller ones, which worked extremely well in reducing-‘pointiness’, but made it a pain to sew the bodice to the midriff. Should have done this BEFORE cutting out the fabric.
-Sewed a ribbon to the back, as otherwise the dress constantly slipped off my shoulders in a Flashdance stylee.

Vogue 9668 back and ribbon
RIBBON ENHANCE! Please note my friend's amazing drawing of a jar of treacle, top left

Otherwise I pretty much followed the Vogue instructions, even hand-sewing down the midriff facing to the skirt, which is an unusual occurance as I loathe and despise hand-sewing (that’s why me and embroidery have never got on).

Reasons I love this dress:

      • It’s yellow gingham! It makes me feel like Doris Day.
      • Adding bra cups to the dress was a great idea, I feel super sewing smug about this.
      • I finished off all the seams properly for once.
      • It’s great for twirling around in, because of the bias cut skirt.

Twirling around in Vogue 9668

Reasons this dress could be better:

  • Oh dear, why didn’t I match up the checks on the front skirt? The back skirt is great but for some reason (I think it’s called ‘sewing after 11pm’) the front is totally out.
  • The fit isn’t amazing – you can see that the ribbon puts a lot of strain on the back bodice pieces, and the front stands away from my body a bit (it is fully interfaced so that doesn’t help).
  • It’s a smidgen too tight round the waist. After eating a huge meal and dancing around in 90% humidity at the wedding, I had to admit defeat and change into something more comfortable.
  • I’m not naturally a yellow sort of person, although this dress may have won me over.

On balance, I love this dress, even though it has absolutely no place in my daily life, and it’s too summery for most British weddings, so I forsee a long future in the wardrobe for poor Vogue 9668.  Somebody I know really has to get married on a beach so I have an excuse to wear it again. The South of France would be acceptable, or the Caribbean. Maybe even an Italian lake, I’m not fussy.

Jumping in Vogue 9668
Invite me to your wedding! I will jump around like a fool!

(sorry about not wearing shoes in these photos and thus exposing you to my feet. I know they look really dirty but it’s a combination of a tan and some dodgy lighting, honest)

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