That 50s Dress With The Collar {Vintage Anne Adams 2056)


Another irresistible choice from my rather large box (es) of gifted patterns. Oh how I love these old mail order patterns. Ordered from the newspaper and posted out to you in your size. I have 5 or 6 of these, all with a handwritten address on the front.


This one was a relatively quick sew, all over in a couple of hours. Like all old patterns, this one assumes you know how to sew so the instructions are vague at best. But it’s not a big deal, it’s quite an easy pattern (no collar stand!) and I changed the skirt to a basic gathered one which makes it even easier. I know from past experience that those narrower skirts aren’t my jam.


I added interfacing to the collar and facing pieces because that’s just what you do. The instructions didn’t mention it, but I’m not sure if that’s because sewists back then just knew too or it wasn’t a thing. When was interfacing even invented? Before that I’m sure collars etc had something in them (different fabric, maybe?).


Fabric is Birch Organic Maritime which was purchased locally from East Coast Fabrics.ย  This is it here if you’re keen for an online source. Funny it’s listed as very light weight because I feel like it’s a bit heavier than other quilting cottons I’ve used.


Was it a success? Well, not really. There are multiple fit issues and some weird drag lines. Part of it I was blaming on the fabric, but I have used quilting cottons for shirt dresses without a problem in the past, so I don’t know for sure.ย  The most obvious problem in the bust darts are suuuuper high. Also the bodice is a bit short so it’s sitting higher on my waist than usual. That’s a very strange problem for me as I’m quite short, so I generally have to shorten my bodices. The bodice has tucks too and I think maybe I’m just not used to the shape of them, I prefer darts. I do like the shape of that neckline and collar though. Plus mega angled pockets.


It feels simultaneously too big and too small in different places. So weird.ย  All in all, not the greatest but I’ve definitely made worse. I generally wear belts with most of my dresses, so that helps. I found a narrower one this morning which works better than the wide one in the images. If I don’t end up wearing it, I’ll save the skirt and add a waistband. If nothing else, Sid enjoyed his walk and the photos look pretty.

High five, buddy.



Party In The Back {Vintage Simplicity 6926}


You know I love a vintage pattern. Oh yes I do. It’s always a bit ofย  gamble picking them up at op shops because sometimes they incomplete or torn, but for 50c it’s worth it just to look at the cool illustrations on the envelope. I got so excited when I found this one because (a) it’s not that far off my actual size and (b) I am on such a pinafore kick right now. I think they are called a jumper in the US. And our jumpers you call sweaters. Confused yet?


I’ve actually been searching high and low to find a reissued version by one of the Big 4 pattern companies. Come on guys, do it for me?


The owl fabric is by Art Gallery Fabrics, most likely I bought it from Hawthorne Threads, but it was a while back (oooh – click on the link, they still have some!). I love it but was super paranoid about getting owl boobs due to the size of the print. I managed to avoid it though.

webDSC_1059The buttons are fabric covered and another op shop find. I found a bag of mixed ones but didn’t have enough of the white for the front two buttons, so used pink instead. I wish there was ten of the pink ones because I definitely prefer them. The square white ones tip and tilt a lot and sort of remind me of chewing gum. I might end up changing them for something else.




I made version two and really didn’t change much at all besides cutting the front piece on the fold so I didn’t have that centre front seam. It would have been a shame to cut up the owls. I finished the hem with grey satin bias binding (which you can see peeking out in the pic above).


Fit-wise I cheated and added about one centimetre to each side seam after comparing the pattern pieces to my current dresses. Vintage patterns do seem to have a lot of ease. This one is for a 36″ bust and I’m about 40″. There is a slight gape under the arms but I’m very happy with the fit considering the hack job I did.


It does look slightly apron-y, but I don’t mind it at all. In winter I’ll be able to layer it with long sleeve tops and in summer it will be perfect as is. She will be known as my mullet dress, party in the back!


Killer Bees {Simplicity 8085}


I sat on the fence about this pattern for ages.

Pros: vintage reissue, cute as heck, very wearable.

Cons: No sleeves, fabric hungry, not a huge fan of the look of binding.

The decision was made after I popped into Spotlight earlier this week, three Simplicity patterns for $12. I had 5. This made it through as the 6th.


Pattern: Simplicity 8085 from Spotlight (such a horrendous website, can’t even find the pattern on it).

Fabric: Purchased a while back from East Coast Fabrics (another very rubbish website, excellent store, bloody lovely staff).

Pearl buttons and double fold bias tape were op shop finds a while ago.

(Side note: how freaking awesome is double fold bias tape?! I’ve only ever used single before. It’s eleventy billion times easier to get a nice even finish with double fold).


When I got home, I opened her up to check out the size of those skirt pieces. MASSIVE. I thought with the centre seam they’d be smaller pieces (and I’d cut 4 rather than 2). Nup. Centre front seam yes, side seams no. Oh. Let’s change that then, shall we?



(Disclaimer: this is my quick and dirty method. It’s probably technically wrong, but I don’t care because it worked).

First I traced off my front and back bodice pieces, then pinned the darts in place (as they would be sewn). I lined up the bodice pieces with the skirt pieces, overlapping the bodice pieces at the side seams. I then marked where the bodice side seam was on the skirt (you can see by my marking that this involved a bit of fiddling around, you have to curve those flat bodice pieces around to match the skirt). Then I marked the seam allowance either side and traced out my new front and back skirt pieces. It made them much easier to fit on the fabric and I was able to eliminate the centre front skirt seam by placing it on the fold instead. Hooray!


Side seams mean side seam pockets! Didn’t iron them. Forgive me. When I googled other makes of this dress, I didn’t like the look of the patch pockets (sorry guys). You can also see the horsehair braid I added to the hem for a bit of a kick.


Pearl buttons instead of snaps because pearl buttons. And they match the bee’s wings.


Sleeves! I added sleeves. Literally the sleeves from the Emery Dress with zero changes. Probably shouldn’t work, but they do. Isn’t sewing magic?


Let’s talk about the fit. I obviously made the short version because I already have a fair few dresses in the longer length and I wanted to be stingy with the fabric. I made the size 16, but cut the length at the size 22. The horsehair braid means the hem is pretty narrow, much like it would be if you use binding, which I was contemplating doing, but didn’t have enough.


I feel like the fit is pretty decent, especially without a FBA, but it does gape a bit in the back if I don’t do the waist ties up as tight as they can go. And even then, after wearing for a while, they sort of loosen a bit and I can feel the breeze down my back. If I pull it up at the shoulder seams, everything seems to fit a bit better, so that’s something to consider for my next one. I could take some length off the lower back pieces, but I’d have to re draw the wrap part higher because it is very close to the back band of my bra right now. Maybe a little snap there would help, but it won’t help with the gaping. Still very wearable though but I can see it becoming more of a beach dress for summer.


Still not convinced about that binding. I think next time I might fold it to the inside. Or use matching. But who can be bothered making all that binding? Not me. I’m not that dedicated.

I’ve been really mean and kept the image of the back until the very end. Because it’s that part that’s the rock star of this dress, right? Here she is!