The Big Vintage Sew-Along ~ My Swinging 60’s Colour Pop Dress


Earlier this year, I was OVER THE MOON to be invited to take part in the Big Vintage Sew-Along Blogger Tour. So many of the big names in dressmaking have been/will be taking part in this, so I have to say I feel massively honoured to be asked to contribute. And it is in support of a fantastic charity, The Eve Appeal which raises money for research into/awareness of gynaecological cancers.

Though I was initially a tiny bit scared of the challenge, as I have never sewn any vintage patterns. So this is a first for me! Plus I’m not a particularly girly girl, so I knew that any of the dress patterns would really be pushing me out of my comfort zone. But turns out that’s a good thing!

I was instantly drawn to Butterick’s B5748 pattern from the early 60s – mostly because I felt as though it would suit my figure, and I have worn similar styles before which I have really liked. This probably isn’t the kind of style which springs to mind straightaway when talking about 60s dresses, and could perhaps be thought of as more 50s swing.

Fabric-wise I knew I wanted something with a decent drape, but also with a bit of body to hold a nice shape, but not too stiff as I wanted it to have some movement. I am obsessed with the Sew Over It range of fabrics – and always find something that I fall in love with on their online shop. I knew I needed something without any directional print, and ended opting for something quite simple – this gorgeous blue spotty cotton twill. It was described on the website as having a good amount of drape so I went for it. The fabric arrived, and was more perfect than I could have imagined. Slightly more medium weight, super super soft and had incredible drape.

I knew before starting this dress that I wanted to make a toile – mostly after hearing the odd horror story on sizing of vintage patterns. So against the pattern sizing instructions I thought I’d go for a 12, given that I am usually an 8/10 but had heard that vintage patterns often come out very small. The toile that I made ended up being huge on me though. I roped husband in to help with fitting (bless him, he puts up with A LOT!). I only made a toile of the bodice though, as I figured that would be the most important part to get the fit just perfect. I ended up taking quite a lot of fabric from the shoulder and side seams – so much that it made sense to simply take the pattern down to between sizes 8-10. I then took about 1 inch from both the front and back bodice pieces. This is kind of a given with any pattern for me though.

It felt like an age going through the toile making and fitting. I was getting so impatient! Then on to cutting up that beautiful blue twill…

The instructions on this pattern suggest fully lining the dress. Though I only lined the bodice as I knew I wanted to wear an underskirt/petticoat with it – plus the fabric was thick enough to not really need lining on the skirt part. I was pleased that I lined the bodice though – as it felt lovely to wear with soft slinky insides.

I had a minor falling out with my sewing machine during the sewing of the lining – this was pretty frustrating! It kept skipping stitches, so I tried EVERYTHING to fix this. In the end it seemed to behave itself – after re-threading, changing the needle and adjusting the tension.

Once I got towards attaching the skirt to the bodice I got more and more excited! I had a real sense of this project coming together into something I was really proud of.

I had previously bought an underskirt to wear with this dress, as I thought it would really show off that A-line shape. And just for fun I wanted to jazz it up with a pop of contrasting red colour!

The hem took quite a long time to finish – with it being a circle skirt, there must have been metres and metres of hem!

Then I got on to thinking about styling this dress for photos. I ummed and erred over ‘how vintage do I go with this?’. I really wasn’t sure about going too over the top. Then bam…. walked into Kurt Geiger and saw these bright red beauties with big fat girly-as-you-like bows. Could. Not. Resist. And turns out – they were absolutely perfect!!

So since finishing, I have been absolutely gagging to blog photos! This is probably my proudest make to date. I am utterly over the moon with how it turned out – I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! The fit, the colour, the movement of it – all came together perfectly. I let out a little girly scream when I first looked at myself wearing it in the mirror! I am so pleased that I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone for this project – couldn’t be happier with it!

The pattern itself is pretty simple, so perfect for anyone relatively new to dressmaking. To highlight, I am no expert in dressmaking! I am still kind of new to it – probably termed as an ‘improving beginner’ – especially compared to all of the super experienced sewists out there.

So I hope you all enjoy checking out photos of this dress, and finger’s crossed that it inspires a few to very literally give this pattern a whirl!

Pattern: Butterick B5748

Fabric (main): Sew Over It

Fabric (lining): John Lewis, Cambridge

Size made: 8/10

Underskirt: eBay


To see more on the Big Vintage Sew-Along, check out the website here, and follow the rest of the Blogger Tour! Some bloggers have already posted their makes (here), and these lovelies are still to come:

Friday 10th June: Lisa Comfort, Sew Over It Youtube

Friday 24th June: Janene Spencer, ooobop

Friday 8th July: Marie Koupparis, A Stitching Odyssey

Friday 15th July: Kerry Patterson, Kestrel Makes

Friday 22nd July: Fiona Parker, Diary of a Chainstitcher

Friday 29th July: Karen Ball, Did You Make That?

Friday 5th August: Laura Clarke, Sew For Victory

Friday 12th August: Nina Chang, Thumble Nina

Friday 19th August: Charlotte Powell, English Girl at Home

Friday 26th August: Gabby Young, Living on a shoe string

Friday 2nd September: Rachel Pinheiro, House of Pinheiro

Friday 9th September: Elena Rose Brown, Randomly Happy

Friday 16th September: Wendy Gardiner, Butterick

Friday 23rd September: Winnie Longhurst, Scruffy Badger Time

Friday 30th September: Rachel Walker, The Fold Line


  1. by Abi on May 27, 2016  10:13 am Reply

    Absolutely beautiful! The colours are amazing and I love your petticoat!

    • by Gingerthread Girl on May 27, 2016  3:22 pm Reply

      Thank you Abi! xxx

  2. by Marie (Ree-Sewn) on May 27, 2016  5:12 pm Reply

    Oh well this is just gorgeous. Great work! It's a very special feeling, isn't it, when you finish making something and are just truly delighted with it. Enjoy your lovely dress x

    • by Gingerthread Girl on May 27, 2016  6:37 pm Reply

      Thank you lovely! It was SUCH a special feeling to finish this. I love it so much! I want to wear it all the time!! xx

  3. by Nicky on May 27, 2016  10:19 pm Reply

    Beautiful & that petticoat & shoes just add extra wow!

    • by Gingerthread Girl on May 30, 2016  5:32 pm Reply

      Aww thanks so much! x

  4. by Suzi Grant/Alternative Ageing on May 30, 2016  5:07 pm Reply

    What a spectacular dress and love the red shoes. You are clever! Only wish I could sew but I do love vintage so this one is right up my street! Suzi

    • by Gingerthread Girl on May 30, 2016  5:34 pm Reply

      Thank you so much Suzi! You should give it a try... I fell in love with sewing once I took the leap :)

  5. by Fay on May 30, 2016  5:08 pm Reply

    That is such a beautiful dress and the net underneath is just as great. The colours really work together

    • by Gingerthread Girl on May 30, 2016  5:35 pm Reply

      Thank you so much Fay! I love the colours too. Couldn't help myself! x

  6. by Lyndsay on June 7, 2016  4:18 pm Reply

    Wow, it's gorgeous! I just love the red lace underneath. You are SO talented, I struggle to sew my buttons back on ;)

    Lyndsay | Fizzy Peaches Travel & Lifestyle Blog

    • by Gingerthread Girl on June 9, 2016  10:29 am Reply

      Awww thank you so much for such a lovely comment!

  7. by Shelley Makes on June 19, 2016  7:56 pm Reply

    I absolutely love your blog! A pleasure to meet you at Blogtacular. I think I'm now following you on nearly every channel =P Hopefully see you again soon, Shelley x

    • by Gingerthread Girl on June 19, 2016  8:08 pm Reply

      Amazing to meet you lovely! What a fab day. And honestly, thank you so much for your kind comments about my blog... *blushes*. Your website is beaut - I'm flicking through it right now!

  8. by Megan on June 21, 2016  8:07 am Reply

    Wow! You look stunning! I love all the colours in your photos, the green grass really makes the blue and red pop! I love your dress, you've made a fantastic job of it, and as for the petticoat and shoes - just perfect! :-D

    • by Gingerthread Girl on June 21, 2016  11:49 am Reply

      Eeek! Thank you so much lovely! Means a lot :) My favourite make to date! xxx

  9. by Lee on July 1, 2016  8:17 am Reply

    Such an awsome fit. Lovely choice of colours! Inspirational

  10. by Elena on September 7, 2016  5:37 pm Reply

    Such a great make! You look great in it. And you look like you're having so much fun wearing it + twirling. :)

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