I finally finished my shirt dress today and I am completely chuffed. A quick shot of the finish...

Simplicity 1880 Shirt Dress

7:07:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 9 Comments

 I finally finished my shirt dress today and I am completely chuffed.

A quick shot of the finished dress
I used a floral rose print cotton that I purchased over a year ago from Spotlight and then decided it was too OTT rose print floral so it was lanquishing in my stash.

I initially used it on this pattern thinking purely of it as a wearable muslin, as I hadn't had a chance to go fabric shopping for "proper" fabric.  But once I got it to pinned together stage,  the fabric looks soooo much nicer and I started making an effort.  Its funny how often a fabric looks so different once it is made up, sometimes for the worse, fortunately in this case for the better.

I love this pattern (Simplicity 1880).  I made up a straight size 12 but ended up taking it in to probably a size 10 in the shoulders and bust, grading out to a 12 in the waist and hips.  I did a slight sway back adjustment in the bodice to remove some excess "blousy-ness" (is that a word?) in the back.  Other than that, this pattern needed minimal adjustments.  I cut a size 10 cap sleeve. 

The skirt is very flattering and I can see myself using this skirt pattern alot in other dress patterns.

I finished the hem with a strip of bias binding, handing sewing it on the underside so no topstitching was visible.  I am really happy with this subtle finishing detail.  It took me probably 3 hours to hand sew the hem with an invisible slip stitch.

Will  I make this again? Absolutely.
What would I do differently next time? Cut a size 10 in the shoulders/bust and grade out to a 12/14 in the waist instead of cutting a straight 12.
What changes did I make to the pattern? I changed the collar slightly to make it rounded not pointed and finished the hem with bias binding rather than hemming.

Collar and sleeve close up.
I wanted green buttons but couldn't find the right shade
but I am really happy with these.

Bit of a close up of my hem.  I love my hem.
Now I just need some warmer weather to wear it.  I will add some more pretty pictures of me wearing it as soon as I get a chance.

Edit: I changed this dress after a few wears to make it more me - I fixed the skirt drape and also swapped the sleeves.  To read the new post on how the dress looks now, it is here.


I have a treasured vintage pattern stash .  Its pretty awesome in fact, dating back to the 1950'...

Vintage Simplicity 7142 Midi skirt

7:06:00 p.m. Sew Hopeful 6 Comments

I have a treasured vintage pattern stash.  Its pretty awesome in fact, dating back to the 1950's, possibly earlier.  What makes this pattern stash even more significant to me is that they are the patterns used and loved by both my beloved grandmother and mother.  I love the fact that I am now making the same patterns they sewed, it makes me feel so connected to them, like some kind of freaky time travel surreal experience in fact.  Its almost as good as having the original dresses and garments they sewed, but which are now sadly long gone, given away years before any of us realised how much I would have loved to have them today.

Vintage Simplicity 7142
This skirt pattern has an amazing history.  It's the original pattern that my mother used in the 70's to make herself some pretty awesome maxi skirts, long lost and gone, but that I remember her wearing as a child.  It's a simple a-line skirt, with a back zipper. It is well drafted and easy to sew, and timeless.

Vintage Simplicity 7142
So, after finding this gorgous mystery fabric in the remnant bin at Pitt Trading last month, I knew it would be perfect for a midi length version of Simplicity 7142.

I added a lining, because I am massively into the lovely feel of a fully lined skirt.
I hand stitched the waistband and the hem. 
Its going to be a staple wardrobe item for this winter and hopefully many winters to come.

Pattern: Vintage Simplicity 7142 = Free
Fabric: A heavy weight tan remnant of unknown content, possibly cotton blend, with a slight stretch from Pitt Trading = @ $1.00 for the piece.  
Lining: A chocolate brown lining from The Remnant Warehouse, Used about 1.5 metres = $2, but will be able to use left overs on another project.
Notions: Invisible zip and thread from Spotlight = about $5 but thread I will use again.

Total cost: Around $8.00.  Not bad for a fully lined skirt.


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