1960s | Dresses | Modern Patterns

Tuffin Dress

September 15, 2013

I have been reading the Foale and Tuffin biography recently and as an insight to the name of this dress, I have named it after Sally Tuffin. Dress designer of the pair of “two cocky, feisty bolshy, arty, clever-clogs young women”

For those of you who might not be familiar with them, Marion Foale and Sally Tuffin met at the Royal College of arts in 1955 and eventually went on to design wholesale together for various retail stores including Woollands 21 shop, before opening their own store. They were featured early in their careers in Vogue in 1962 and travelled with Mary Quant and few other British designers to America for the ‘Youth quake’ tour in 1965. They made clothes worn by Cathy McGowan, Modelled by Jenny Boyd and with Mary Quant and Barbara Hulanicki, form my own version of the “holy trinity”

The pattern of this dress is the Burda Mondrian Dress. The dress pattern is very interesting – a creative version of a drop-waist dress, with a nod to 1965. The Burda version is colour-blocked with a different colour for each piece. 

As shown in the illustration, this dress is supposed to have a belt and pleated skirt. But through mainly happy accidents, my version ended up like so…

The instructions don’t give you a pattern piece for the skirt, so I just measured out a piece as it said. Maybe I was supposed to double it or something because the skirt just ended up a plain skirt without the pleats. I decided I liked the straight skirt as a pleated skirt could become the victim of a gust of wind and show everyone that which they are not supposed to see!

I did actually make the belt, but it didn’t sit as nicely as I’d hoped and the only buckle I could find was quite heavy and just made the fabric sag down at the front so I took it off.

I think I’d rather it in this minimalist version – just the red and white without the fussy decorations.

The fabric I used was a Ponte de Roma – a stable double knit which is light enough for summer and wrinkle resistant. I added white bias to the arms and left-hand closure.

The dress is actually a wraparound dress – and closes at the left shoulder, kind of like a dentists jacket. I used a few different sized press studs to close the dress. The while buttons are purely decorative but pop against the red

And because I couldn’t help myself, this dress just calls for some abstract model poses don’t you think?

Thanks for taking a look dears!

Cat xo

  1. You look great!! Thanks so much for sharing the details about Foale and Tuffin along with your lovely dress – always appreciate learning something new!

  2. Ooooh, what a splendid post! Perhaps my favourite We Sew Retro post so far. I appreciate the history ‘lesson’ very much. And the Burda pattern is adorable. I just finished sewing a Burda blouse and may have to sew this one. Thanks for the heads up on the skirt issue. Your version is fantastic. You look adorable! Well done, and thanks very much for sharing.

  3. You and your dress are fab. Your choice of skirt and trimmings make it more casually modern, thus more often to be worn and enjoyed.
    Thanks for educating me about Tuffin and Foale. I’ve found appealing YouthQuake era patterns by Muir and Quant but these two are new to me. I didn’t discover Muir’s designs until 1969, after the Students for a Democratic Society split and my university campus politics went south, er… west, and dropped acid in it’s pursuit of enlightenment and I found an enduring part of mine in the Vogue Pattern Book. She’s forever enchanting and now I can afford her vintage patterns.

    1. oh thank you! im glad i was able to offer you some info on Foale and Tuffin.
      But what an interesting experience you must of had at the time! seeing all that was the 60s happen to your classmates. But the fashion is the best part of the 60s by far!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.