Miss J

Recently I was lucky enough to obtain this beautiful Australian Home Journal dress pattern with divine scalloped edges and I was waiting until I found the perfect fabric – as most of you know sometimes the fabric and the pattern just fit together and often one will go unused for quite a while until it’s perfect match is found.

While helping a friend with a family estate, a pile of old linen was left and destined for the donation box – until I spotted this most beautiful, pristine sheeting. I had found my perfect match!!!

As with most vintage patterns of the 1930, 1940 and 1950 eras quite a lot don’t have instructions and most are sold as a particular size. I was literally flying blind with this one and I knew I would not get another chance with this fabric.

After I had praised the fabric angels above and thanked them for their gift, I was then to have an occasion for this lovely design.

For the entire month of October I participated in an amazing nationwide charity event called ‘Frocktober‘ – involving women from all walks of life, wearing dresses, skirts and frocks for the 31 days of October (henceforth referred to as Frocktober) to raise awareness and research funds for ovarian cancer research. I was proud to be involved in this month long party that has made me new virtual friends via the everyday ‘Instagramming’ of frocks. The event raised a staggering $300,000 with the tagline ‘love the frock you’re in’.

Frocktober was the perfect debut for my beautiful reinvented frock.

Teamed with a cream satin ribbon and cream Mary-janes, I felt a wonderful connection to the family that gifted the fabric to me and to my rich Australian past that produced this lovely pattern.

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It is a tradition in my family that the girls all have a new dress to wear on Christmas Day. As time has progressed, my children are grown and my family is now spread all over Australia (and a few in UK) the tradition has changed a little.

A wonderful friend of mine includes me in her family celebration on Christmas Eve and this year I decided on something a little more special than usual.

I already had some divine white paper taffeta with black spots on it and an assortment of colored taffeta remnants that I had yet decided on their purpose – I had the fabric but was agonizing over a design!

After much discussion and debate with trusted critics I finally rested on the lovely Butterick Retro B5603, 1956.

A beautifully simple pattern to make, and I always love sewing with taffeta, everything went exactly to plan. Until my iron went on the fritz. It is amazing what you can do with a hair straightener.

And I found a giant flaw in the dots straight down the middle of the fabric, all 4 metres . . . Luckily they were printed dots and not woven. A combination of fabric paint and permanent marker averted that major catastrophe!!

I used pattern style A – on the envelope in yellow – and used the red as a contrast. You can’t see it on the pattern but the back has a deep v and unless I turn into a contortionist I don’t have one of the back yet!

I had a little extra time up my sleeve so I trimmed the hem in red satin bias. I think the result is rather festive. Nobody even noticed that half an hour before the party started my iron had died!!

Sparkly red shoes topped off the outfit.

A very Merry Retro Christmas to all, and Happy New Year!

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As a vertically challenged, stiletto wearing vintage clothing lover I have always struggled to find dresses and skirts to fit – and sent constant prayers of thanks to my long departed great-grandmother that she taught me to sew at a very young age.

One day whilst surfing Pinterest (hands up those also addicted?) I came across the ‘Haunted Housewife’ dress from Pinup Couture and fell instantly in love.

I set about finding a pattern that represented the true style of the era – I adored the decadent concept of a housecoat – I then discovered the wonderful ZipZapKap on Etsy. Simplicity 3068 Shawl Collar Dress from 1959 was exactly what I was looking for!

A brilliant emerald green cotton sateen with black satin piping was the perfect blend to give the vintage pattern a colorful edge and a French cuff on a 3/4 sleeve added a little personal touch.

Thank you Katherine, a beautiful pattern that was a joy to construct and make my own.

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