shift dress

Swinging 60′s

by bobbinandbaste on October 10, 2013 · 11 comments

in 1960s

 

Between watching the last season of Mad Men on television this year and spying Simplicity 1609 I have become a little hooked on 1960′s fashion. I’ve always been a hard core fan of the 1950′s dress and haven’t really considered 1960′s until I started my love affair with wool fabric which I think lends itself perfectly to 1960′s shift dresses.

The recommended materials for the pattern didn’t mention wool but I took the risk given the dress didn’t require any sort of folds, pleating or anything else that a thicker fabric might interfere with. I did worry about the zip but given I opted to use a more authentic zip style in keeping with the style instead of an invisible zipper,  it turned out fine.

 

The dress came together pretty quickly but I warn you that it is narrow in the hips. I had read this in previous online reviews and drafted the pattern so that it was slightly more generous in the hip-butt area without taking away from the sillouette. Even with that extra amount I factored in I still had to go down to less than a 1cm seam in that area after doing my first fitting of the dress. The darts are my favourite part of this dress. I had never sewn french darts before but now I am hooked. They gave a beautiful fit and prevented any ‘pointy bits’ that typical darts can do, especially in woollen fabric!

The only change I made to the construction of this was the neckline interfacing. The pattern suggests you sew in the interfacing to the back seam before the insertion of the zipper. I thought it might be nae impossible to sew a zip with so many layers of woollen fabric so I sewed the zip in first and then hand sewed the ends of the interfacing over the zip on the inside. Much like you tend to with skirts anyways. The bow is a lovely finish to this dress and I suggest you spend a bit of time in the mirror moving it about to get it just how you want it before hand sewing it on. I really enjoyed sewing up this dress – the fabric was ridiculously lovely to sew with and the dress came together in just a day. I am keen to try the other collar variations the pattern offers to make a bright summery casual shift dress too.

More piccies on my blog! http://www.bobbinandbaste.com/2013/10/swinging-60s/

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I originally started off with this pattern some time ago – a vintage 1970′s (Simplicity 6883) shirtdress, with big promises of making me ‘look slimmer’…

But once I had cut the pattern out and tacked it together, it was doing nothing for me (this is the second time I have tried this pattern, so maybe it is time to accept defeat.)

 

The fabric is a vintage 60′s lightweight polyester jersey, and it’s pretty bold, yet strangely alluring. I didn’t want to scrap it, so I folded it up with thoughts of returning to it at some point.

 

That point finally came when I spied this pattern in a half price sale recently. (New Look 6176)

Now granted it is not the most inspiring of patterns, but I like a nice simple shift dress, especially when teamed with a bright print. So the next step was to see whether the pieces I had already cut out would fit the new pattern. JUST! I had to make a few tweaks, the main one being the fact that the first pattern buttoned up, so there were 2 front pieces, which looked too mismatched to just whack a seam up the front. But a handy piece of toning bias tape worked well with the Mod vibe, and actually ended up looking pretty smart.

The pattern has separate neck and cuff panels, so I dug out some black cord to offset the pattern, with the finishing touch of 3 little vintage black bobble buttons at the front. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out, although there were a couple of small fitting issues (the neckline was a bit too wide for my fairly narrow shoulders, and the cord is a tad heavy so it ends up gaping slightly when I bend over!) but given the fact this started out as a completely different dress, I think it turned out to be quite a cute little Mod number! I already have plans for a longer sleeve version, and maybe I’ll try out some pockets too!

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(I’ve been admiring everyone’s posts on this site for ages but am only just now getting around to posting myself. Thanks for your beautiful and inspiring craftswomanship!)

This is my second time using Butterick 3114, a sixties style shift dress I purchased from oldpatterns.com I was a little unconventional and used shirt weight Pendelton wool. I got 2+ yards for $17 at a Portland vintage shop and I couldn’t resist! Its amazingly soft, warm but not hot, perfect for pretty much any season here in the NW.

The pattern instructed me to finish the neck and arms with bias tape, but when I did that on the first version and it turned out stiff and scratchy. So I created my own linings with fusible interfacing, then hand-sewed them in place. The result is an even cozier dress!

I wanted the plaid to be the star, but it needed a bit of pop. I added pleats to the hem (inspired by the Colette Patterns Pastille Dress) and a beautiful beaded notion to the neckline.

I’ve got many more completed projects on my blog. Please stop in and have a look!

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This winter I was fortunate to get some fantastic photos of my version of Vogue 1556, a dress from Yves Saint Laurent’s famous ‘Mondrian’ collection. (You can see my post on Vogue’s Mondrian collection patterns here.) Some of you may remember the dress from my We Sew Retro profile a while back.

For the pattern’s first release, the original dress was photographed at the Knoll showroom in Paris, so I roped a photographer friend into a photo shoot at Toronto’s Knoll showroom. Here’s one of the shots:

We had a blast with all the mid-century furniture in the showroom. See my blog for details and more photos.

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