1960s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

A vintage shirtdress; Simplicity 6698

By on January 8, 2016

simplicity 6698_cover

Don’t they just look like a fun (if slightly judgemental) pack of gals? I wonder what View 1 is just about to say.

I jumped for joy when I found this pattern on Etsy, I love shirt dresses and this looked like a fairly simple introduction to this kind of garment. So far I have sewn 1 party dress, 1 skirt that doesn’t fit, 1 work dress and one wedding dress. I’d never set in sleeves or sewn a collar, this dress required both so it was a good challenge. I used some lovely chambray snapped up in the Christmas sales. There is no yoke to worry about, but I think I will add one next time as –  if I’m being brutally honest – it does look a bit like a nurses uniform !


I really should have interfaced that belt! I’m planning a silk crepe version next, wish me luck!



(Lots more construction detail on my blog)


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1940s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

My wedding dress

By on December 6, 2015

My wedding dress journey officially began on March 20th 2014 when my gorgeous man popped the question – however I had already spent almost 6 months researching couture gown construction methods – you know, just I case I ever needed to produce such a garment…. (wink wink).

( I posted the result of this research, the ‘index of DIY Bridal Gowns‘ to my blog as a resource for other DIY brides, if you know of a blogged dress I have missed please let me know and I will add it ! )

I have watched enough “say yes to the dress” to know that around 5 out of 10 women want to look like either Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly on their wedding day, but I really meant it: “Timeless, simple lines with a tidy updo, thanks!”  I already had simplicity 2442 in my stash and was pretty sure I would use it  (minus the gloves and boob-collar), I love the proportions and the use of print on the pattern envelope. This rare pattern is circa 1948, I purchased it on etsy.


My sewing experience at that point consisted of a pencil skirt that didn’t fit and a vintage dress with floppy facings, however one thing going for me is that I am one of those annoying people who can cut a vintage pattern straight out of the envelope with no problems whatsoever. Just to be on the safe side I visited local couture wizard Sally Mussared who produced a moulage for me using Parisian drafting techniques, this is a fantastic asset and I have used it for every sewing project since – I highly recommend doing this if you are sewing an important garment, fitting becomes a synch!

How did this strapless dress stay up? I spent 6 months sewing the corselet alone. If you want more detail on that there are several posts on my blog regarding this mysterious process (here, here and here)

With that done I had about 10 weeks to produce the rest of the dress! I chose a beautiful silk organza jacquard which was a dream to work with, and underlined it with a blueish grey silk to tone down some of the yellowness


I completely altered the skirt of the pattern after I saw this Rochas dress on pinterest:


I loved the huge centre box pleat – I just draped it on my dress form and basted the pleats into place, ensuring the centre pleat was  as wide as the darts in the bodice piece are apart so that everything matched up.



I also modified the bodice by adding a highly unorthodox seam right across the bust apex. This allowed me to achieve a very close fit in the centre of the bust and added a bit of interest, I thought.

For my veil I took inspiration from one of my favourite ballet moments, the Willis from Giselle. The Willis are deceased jilted brides who have been left at the alter! They’re certainly miserable and sombre beauties, but super chic in my opinion.


Ok enough chat – here is the finished gown, with stacks more photos here for the wedding enthusiasts among you !




I enjoyed every minute in this dress and was quite sad to take it off at the end of the day! It was light, snug, and didn’t budge an inch which I am very proud of. I am a very different sewer on this other side of this project and look forward to applying these new skills in some garments that will get a bit more wear. I’d like to publicly acknowledge the effort Mel from Poppykettle.com and Laura Mae from Lilacs and Lace have gone to to document their couture level techniques on their blogs, without these resources I would not have had a chance of success – have a look if you don’t already follow!

There is more construction information than you could ever want and two construction disasters  on my blog , which you will enjoy if you’re the schadenfreude type.  Thanks for reading !



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