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An ode to “The Party”- In the form of a dress

Have you ever seen the 1968 Peter Sellers movie “The Party”? It’s a slapstick comedy set at the party of a Hollywood director. What starts out as a sophisticated dinner party soon turns into an overblown rave with drunk waiters, pools turned into giant bubble baths and a painted baby elephant!
It’s rather fun and good for a giggle on a Saturday afternoon while sewing.
When making this dress I was reminded of this movie. The bright pink and purple would be perfect for a party dress! The little orange dots in the fabric go well with gold jewellery and overall it has a rather frivolous feel to it.


The pattern I used was Butterick 4774 this particular pattern has 7 options and is called “The wardrobe maker”

Like some kind of fashion daemon – it will create you a wardrobe of your 60s dreams! A jacket, coat, pants, shorts, top, dress and gown. Why you could make them in coordinating colours and always look the same! Haha no just kidding….
I chose to make the shorter length dress, but I have my eye on that Emma Peel style jacket too!
The fabric was purchased from Etsy and could possibly be Mercerised cotton. It has a little bit of a sheen to it adding to the party feel and was listed as original 60s

The dress was nice and simple to make – especially because there are no sleeves! The neck and sleeves are faced but I’m yet to slip stitch the facings closed. The front also has a simple strip of fabric as decoration which when worn with the coat, is supposed to replicate the zip closure. 

This is one of those wonderful things about 60s patterns – little details that are repeated in different ways which link them all together and help to tie an outfit as one. André Courrèges was known for doing this with his coats and dresses which was very modern at the time and lots of high end designers still repeat this technique within entire collections.

My next project will involve teal silk. I’ve never sewn with silk or satin before – do you have any tips or advice?
Cat xo

About the author: 60s lover from Sydney, Australia with a sewing machine and endless amounts of creative motivation

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Stephanie July 29, 2013, 7:42 am

    Make sure you get silk pins and an appropriate weight needle. Consider interlining your fabric to help get the right drape. Plus interlining will give you one non-slippery side of the fabric to work with! If you’ll need to do some hand sewing on your project, I prefer to use silk thread when basting on silk (but use poly for the actual machine sewing).

    The biggest thing to me, though, is to not rush and just take your time.

    • Allison July 30, 2013, 2:34 am

      Thanks for posting your advice for sewing silk…I was wondering about how to sew with it as well!


    • Sewingthe60s July 30, 2013, 6:39 am

      i have these lovely thin pins from Merchant and Mills, and my sharps needle ready! The silk has a rough side so i wonder if i can use that to my advantage?
      Thank you for the tips i hope i dont screw it up!

  • Miss Crayola Creepy July 29, 2013, 5:21 pm

    I’m dying over that pattern! I want it!

  • Jeannie Watt July 29, 2013, 8:33 pm

    I love this dress–you look fabulous in it! The fabric is perfect. My suggestion for silk, if it’s the slippery kind, is to cut it using tissue paper. There’s a Gertie post on it here http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/2013/04/cutting-slippery-fabrics-with-tissue.html

    • Sewingthe60s July 30, 2013, 6:43 am

      Thank you so much! I saw Gerties tutorial and i was keeping it in the back of my mind – but thank you for fetching the link for me! xx

  • Allison July 30, 2013, 2:37 am

    gosh cat ..you are creating some amazing projects, your wardrobe must be looking very colourful and beautiful…I just bought a pattern book the other day from 1968 and the little colour illustrations are just like yours, there was even one with a purple dress and lilac/mauve? hair like your post photos from a few weeks on a rooftop or something?

    happy sewing !!


    • Sewingthe60s July 30, 2013, 6:45 am

      Aww thanks!! yes its practically a rainbow in there!
      Wow this book sounds interesting – what is it called? I have to see this purple hair picture!

  • BobbinBombshell August 3, 2013, 1:41 pm

    Super cute! Love the colors!

  • mariebayarea August 4, 2013, 2:00 am

    I just adore this dress and love the snap of you dancing. How cute are you!?

  • Virginia August 4, 2013, 11:09 pm

    Love that movie. I’ve been saying “birdie num nums” to myself since reading your post ! Nice dress too. 🙂

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