Vintage Sewing

Middy Dress

January 25, 2009

Tomorrow is Australia Day. It’s a day that’s immensely confusing for a lot of Australians (do we celebrate the arrival of the Europeans, do we mourn the horrors wrought upon the indigenous population thereafter, both, or neither?) that we just drink beer to quiet the addlepation.

Thus: the Middy Dress. It ain’t a mini, it ain’t a maxi, it’s a Middy. Those attuned to slang terms for beer glasses in this country will think this pun enormously clever. Those who don’t can find a crash course towards the bottom of this Wikipedia entry.

YES, those are beer posters and labels. Picked up the fabric in Queensland during Spotlight’s sale. I tell ya, fabric shopping in regional QLD is awesome because there are no urban hipsters to compete with you for the retro/ironic patterns. They were all buying pink polyester Disney fabric leaving treasures such as this one ignored on the sale rack. Designs that sold out in a jiffy in Melbourne were all there, languishing. So a considerable number came home with me.

Pattern is a 70s sundress – McCalls 4535, as
simple and straightforward as they come.

Incidentally, my Ma’s response when I told her about my plans for this one said “Oh, why do you make such awful things?”

The answer, of course, is that I make them because you can’t buy them.

Happy Oz Day, folks, however you feel about it.

  1. I had a good laugh at the ‘middy’ dress along with it’s intent. Very clever and whitty. I am curious if I should quietly take offence to the QLD gag, I am just past the border on the Gold Coast. Just made it phew LOL

  2. Hi Meg – point taken, I did not mean to slur the good name of our Northern friends… so I’ve changed the nuance just a little to also insult citydwellers everywhere (of which I am one!)

  3. It looks absolutely adorable although I am a little disappointed that you decided against the frill at the bottom. I just love the idea of a beer can flounce.

    Still, I suppose you do have to wear it afterwards and there is a fine line between retro irony and retro ridiculous. Ask me how I know.

  4. That is the most concise and perfect description of Australia Day I have seen! I wish I’d seen it yesterday so I could use it to explain to more Kiwis what it’s all about and why all the beer. 🙂

  5. Awesome fabric and dress! Do you know the fabric co who made such a fab. print? I am dying to try to find it here, somehow, in WestVirginaUSA

  6. Forgot to add in previous post- did you alter the pattern in any way? looks like you may have increased the top edge, and rounded it. Just curious how well the illustration shows the actual shape and fit.

  7. I love the shape and length of the dress. I did a similar one last (UK) summer, but with boned corset (Vogue, I think). Yours look much more my kind of sewing!

  8. Thanks all for the comments…

    katedid: nicely spotted, I did indeed make the neckline a little higher. I shouldn’t have, though, because it created a host of other fitting problems and required little darts to be cunningly hidden beneath the straps.

  9. I made this sundress for myself when I was about 14, back in the 70s. I still have the pattern. I didn’t use beer coaster fabric though.

  10. I also made this jumper (worn over a blouse, not as a sundress – Mom didn’t like them) in about 1976 or 7. Pink and white striped seersucker, which was a mistake because, a., I’m one of those redheads (well, I was then) who truly don’t look great in pink, and, b., people still knew what candy-stripers were. Oh, well, it was a comfortable dress and easy not only to make but also to finish well. I wore it to shreds.
    Cool fabric!

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