Fabric: 2 metres of red suiting, heavy enough for a sofa cover, at GBP 4.95/ metre.
Pattern: Sunday People Pattern #494, GBP 1.99 including postage on eBay.
Year: Early Seventies.
Notions: Black invisible zipper from stash, woven interfacing somewhere around GBP 3.00, red thread at GBP 1.05 for a nice big spool. The collar is backed with a charity shop duvet I have had for ages, and stitched down with bias tape I made weeks ago.
Time to complete: One afternoon and four evenings, but that includes tracing and altering the pieces for future use.
Soundtrack: I have given in and bought a very cheap tiny telly for the sewing room. Some of this was put together watching Corrie and I am not ashamed of it.
First worn: For the last night of JB Shorts 8 on Saturday (brilliant as usual!), to the shops on Sunday and for work on Monday.
Wear again? Wear again and make again! Comfy and flattering, a good substitute for shirtwaist dresses while I get over my fear of buttonholes.
Total Price: GBP 15.94. Not cheap by my standards, but this thing and I are going to spend a lot of time together!
Good evening blog, how have you been?
I have some sewing to report on, and it’s quite good if I say so myself.
I have made my first Simplicity 9460 out of about 1 metre of tiny-houndstooth shirting. I set out to closely follow the instructions to attach the collar but realised I did not have any facings, nor did I have enough fabric for facings since I had to cut the collar twice after making a mistake. The collar is interfaced with iron-on interfacing and backed with a scrap of stripy blue fabric I had lying around. I did not make any button loops or the recommended vestette (or modesty panel) so I need to wear something underneath it, but it’s lovely, comfy and smart. It also goes with my committment to making smart separates for work. Eventually I might even take a picture of it!
With the arrival of Autumn the office is getting chillier every morning. It’s not cold-cold, but sleeveless garments are not enough. Some days the place gets incredibly warm by 2PM, but that still means I spend the majority of the day feeling cold.
So I went through my box (soon to be stash) of patterns and pulled out a dress pattern with sleeves.
According to Wikipedia, The People, also known for a while as the Sunday People, is a British tabloid Sunday-only newspaper. The paper was founded on 16 October 1881. It is published by the Trinity Mirror Group.
There are quite a lot of sewing patterns from their “Pattern service” that can be found on eBay for a decent price. I should know, since I have bought a few of these. This was GBP 1.99 including postage. The pattern is single-size, unprinted and does not have an envelope, simply a piece of A4 wrapped around the pattern pieces with an illustration on one side and on the other cutting layouts, sizing info and non-illustrated instructions.
Pattern number 494 contains an extra piece of A4 offering more patterns for sale and, since the prices are in decimal currency, this dates the pattern after 15 February 1971, but still firmly in the Seventies.
I am a sucker for this type of silhouette and I used to have an original Seventies dress like this in the late Nineties. It was a dark-olive, heavy knit in a pattern more suited to train seats that apparel, it had buttons at the front and a gigantic collar. It wasn’t to everybody’s taste (euphemism of the month!), but I wore to death.
Last Saturday I was feeling a little mopey, so I decided I needed some red in my life! I went down to the fabric shop in Chorlton and bought 3 metres of red suiting, which felt a little bit too heavy, some woven interfacing and a zipper:
When I got home I put the fabric in the wash and set out to trace the pattern pieces on to the back of some wallpaper:
Based on my own measurements I found the waistline and the hipline and worked out the finished measurements. Waist:
- Front: 26.5*2 = 53 cm
53-6 (seam allowances) = 48 cm
- Back: 24.6*2 = 49.2
46.2-6 (dart) -3 (s/a) = 40 cm
Total measurement 40+48 = 88 cm. That’s 5.5 cm of ease on my 82.5 cm waist, which works just fine. On to the hips:
- Front: 33*2 = 66 cm
66-6 (s/a) = 60 cm
- Back: 29*2 = 58 cm
58-3 s/a = 55 cm
Total measurement 60+55 = 115 cm. That’s 2.5 cm of ease so I decided to taper to an extra 8 mm on each side seam at the hips and traced new flare lines from the hips.
On Saturday evening I went to see some improv comedy and came home to watch The Thick of It.
On Sunday I went over the pattern lines and markings with a black marker, cut the pattern pieces and set out to cut my fabric, but then I got a last minute invite to go indoor skydiving and who was I to say no? It was a ridiculous amount of fun and it turned a slightly mopey day into a fantastic day.
This had to wait until Monday night:
On Tuesday night I stitched most of the darts before going out for my last pre-Marathon run with the Harriers. I didn’t do a great job with the French darts but it was my first time, and I only found this great tutorial after I was done with them. I will definitely do them again in other garments, as they are very flattering and I am sure I will get the hang of them eventually.
The construction for this was incredibly easy: four darts for the back, two French darts for the front, zipper, shoulder seams, collar, side seams, sleeves, hem and BOOM! A brand new dress:
Bright red, big collar, very camp… did someone say Ming The Merciless?
It was my second attempt ever at inserting sleeves and I definitely need to work more on that “easing the fullness”, but I am happy enough with the result.
The more eagle-eyed readers would have realised that I used an invisible zipper (and a black one at that) as opposed to the lapped one in the picture at the top. I really wanted to finish this and I whilst I managed a lapped zipper on The Dress Of Awesome it was complete and utter happenstance, so it was quicker so sneak the only invisibile zipper of the right length that I had in the stash.
When it came to attaching the collar I found the instructions impossible to understand because of the lack of illustrations, so I pulled out a 1950s pattern with great instructions on using bias tape. This is the dress I ended up not wearing at my friend’s wedding, so I was very familiar with the instructions, and they work really well! There will be more collars in my future.
In keeping with my love of secret detail, and because the red fabric is so heavy, I used whatever bias tape was lying around, and it was blue gingham:
Ming The Merciless meets Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz – it doesn’t get camper than this!
On the left hand side you can see the scrap of printed duvet from the charity shop I used to back the collar.
I love this dress with a passion. It’s a little bit Butlins, and a little bit Virgin Atlantic, but I that’s exactly what I like about it. Now if I could just get this out of my head, since I hate this band anyway…
I am very tempted to wear this to the airport when I go to Italy on Thursday, pin my hair in a bun and point passengers towards the wrong place, just for kicks!