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

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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

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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

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