The Sad Tale of the Brown Bird Dress:

December 3, 2009

Or, in which we learn the dangers of falling in love with vintage fabric.

I just finished this dress from a vintage 60’s pattern (Simplicity 6194), a really basic a-line dress to show off the lovely brown bird 70’s fabric I found in an op-shop. I loved this fabric so much, but it was so fragile I probably can’t wear the dress again or it will rip all the way down the back!

The worst thing is, I only noticed this when I had almost finished the dress. 🙁

More pictures + sad story (with a hopeful ending!) on my blog, Whipstitch Sewing


  1. That picture remedies ALL sadness of the fragile fabric… STUNNING, you are! Perfect, perfect and definitely pretty as a picture! From the umbrella, shoes, green chair and greenery plus the house color in the backdrop. Love it all!

  2. Oh, I love how it turned out! So sad that it's coming apart. That's what's happened with a few of the things I've bought vintage – after a few wears you start to see the little bits coming apart at wear points. But hopefully someday you'll be able to stand around beautifully in it again. Great job and great fabric find!

  3. Can I suggest vliselfix (sp?) I have lined vintage fabric with calico and v-ifx inbetween and it gives it a whole new lease one life- if you wash and wear gently.
    That fabric is devine!

  4. Oh that's so tragic! That fabric is beautiful and you wear it so wonderfully! I hope you find a way to give it a longer life.

  5. What a shame that the fabric is so crummy. The dress is gorgeous and you wear it so well! It's so unique and eye catching and your picture was so well taken. Maybe if you wear it somewhere, sit down, and then…don't ever move all nite? It would be a shame not to show it off at least once!

  6. You and the dress are so perfect! At least you can say you got solid practice with that pattern and can make another dress in stronger fabric, yes? I made a dress recently in fabric I love the look of, but totally isn't my style (what was I thinking), so I am going to make it again in something I'll actually wear. Cheers to you and your fabulous sewing skills!

  7. You look beautiful!!! the dress you made is wonderful but yes sadly fabric will deteriorate.I'm so leery
    of vintage fabric for that reason.I have a few tablecloths,pillow cases and things( 40's & 50's) which belonged to my Mother.Think of it this way….you have the photo of you wearing your creation :)I would suggest re making it in a new fabric which looks vintage( this is what I do)…keep looking you'll find what you want. Happy sewing.

  8. Gorgeous dress & photo! I love how you centered the pattern. Exquisite. Just want to add to the chorus: it was worth it to make the dress if only for the photo that will preserve it forever!

  9. Do you still have the leftover scraps? I'd try fusing a lightweight interfacing to some scraps and see if that helps without hurting the drape of the fabric too much. Then I'd make a lining and add in an internal waist stay, an internal strap and snap for the top of the zipper (I'm assuming there is one back there?), and solidly sew the zipper down to the lining. Hopefully that will take 90% of the stress off the fabric itself.

    Personally, I think that dress is worth it, but it is a lot of work without knowing if it will work – so I also agree that it's a stunning photo, and it'll look great hanging on a dress dummy or in the closet too!

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