a new frock for free

April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last week I rediscovered a stash of aging needlework books. In between enjoying the fashion advice (“Check that your hair is neat under your hat; that your coat lies smoothly over your shoulders; the your skirt is not peeping below the hem of your coat; that your stocking seams are straight, and that your bag is well closed and not bulging with unnecessary odds and ends. Finally, have you a clean handkerchief?”) and giggling at 1970s abominations in patchwork satin, I decided it was time for a new dress.

I used a sun-top pattern in a 1959 book called ‘And So To Sew’ as a basis, and improvised the rest around it. Here’s the book:-

And here is what I made, using recycled bedlinen for the lining and a bit of lurid red stuff that I was given last summer, and have been trying to use up for ages:-

Just the hem to sit and stitch now, and it’s ready to enjoy the sunshine.

For those of you that sew for fun, here’s the pattern I used.

It’s skewed a bit by the photograph, but if you draw it up on one-inch squared paper you can draw the wonkiness out. The solid outline is to fit a 32 inch bust, and the dotted outline is for 34″. Broken lines denote darts, and spots along an edge mean the pattern piece should be placed against a fold in the fabric. Cut one part A (bodice front) and two parts B (bodice backs) from fabric, then again from lining fabric. Ignore part C unless you fancy that white flappy bit you can see in the book illustration. Straps are tubes of matching fabric, and the back is closed with a zip. I would strongly advise making a rough version in cheap calico first, as well. The hips are definitely aimed at a classic English pear-shape and I had to take out 2 inches to make them fit.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The pattern does not have a seam allowence. Add your own according to the fabric you’re using (stuff that frays – lots, stuff that doesn’t – less).


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