Sunday, 24 June 2018

Impromptu Sewing

I have made an impromptu evening dress. We attended a ball for a reunion of staff, pupils and friends of a school where I worked for ten years as a Primary teacher. The primary school has been an educational establishment since 1618 so they are celebrating 400 years!  

 I knew what dress I wanted, this 1969 vintage pattern, but not what fabric to make it from. I didn't want to buy any so I made a pile then made some decisions. I had silk dupion in a midnight blue and jade green as well as a curtain in mock dupion with embroidered daisies and some purple satin. All worthy contenders but in terms of yardage I was short every time. 

I plumped for the two pieces of silk dupion because I knew they were the same fabric and would behave themselves and with each other. Andy said, "Where have you had that material from?" "Well..." I replied, "It is a long story. The blue is left over from a cocktail dress I made in 1998 for a Young Farmers club fashion competition." He replied, "Do you mean to say that I have moved that piece of fabric to three different houses?" "yes," I said with grin. The green was in a donated bag someone gave me (sorry, can't remember who?)

It is a simple pattern but it deserved a bit of detail. 

The shape is plain. When I tried on the empire line top part it felt like it was going to ride up over my bust with some exuberant dancing so I made it longer. I added a little empire line belt with a diamante buckle button for some bling detail, I don't actually do bling but again it was in my button jar and needed a home. The piping was a fun way to make it look like it was supposed to need two different coloured fabrics. It is lined too which makes it feel super smooth to wear.

I used an invisible zip I already had, but lets face it is not that invisible. I did not have enough time to go and buy a darker one - I kept moving on the dance floor and wore my little jacket for reception drinks. I have had these shoes for years and they make an appearance for nights out.

Ta dah! A summer evening dress. I must confess the reason this dress was made is a vain one. I was going to wear my strapless wedding dress but my builders tan is just too darn prominent; thank goodness this did the job in the time.

A Photofest in my current favourite part of our garden follows:

I did not want to put any fabric back in the cupboard so I made a clutch which turned out to look more like a sponge bag but again, it did the job. I have enjoyed working with fusible fleece of late.

The evening was wonderful. Happy memories. I went to this school as an infant and worked there as an adult. I spotted myself on a photo from 1978 and sat by the headteacher from that time. He remembered me!

Thanks for dropping by. I love it when you call in. Jo xxxx


  1. You, dress, bag, photos, all wonderful!!!! Tell Andy that he won't have to move the fabric as fabric again, just as a dress for your next move!!

  2. Jo your dress is stunning and you looked lovely and all from your stash of fabric and shoe cupboard. Never mind that Andy had moved said material three times he is lucky to have such a wife who can make such a dress saving lots of pennies that it would have cost if you had to go and buy one. More pennies for the renovation project.


  3. I love that dress, you see that is a skill all by itself - seeing the potential of vintage pattern drawings. Many people can't do that. I love the two colours together. (Blue and green should *always* be seen in my view. Loving the piping touches and the little bling sparkle too.

    That's the reason we keep fabric, you just never know when you might need it!

  4. p.s. Except it isn't blue and green is it!? Silly me.

  5. You never stop surprising me Jo, there you are, quickly whipping up a wonderful evening dress! It looks fab and the details are fun. I am happy to hear you had a lovely evening. Seeing old childhood photos of oneself is always fun. xx

    P.S. Back home soonish. Coincidentally the dress I whipped up for my trip is not wearable, as I discovered when I put it on... I made this pattern before and it was a good fit, I can only blame the fabric, which was not fun to work with, or my rushed work. Ah well, I'll turn it into a skirt when I get back.

  6. It's lovely Jo, you did well. I love the colours. I'm trying to get ready to make a dress. I need to order the pattern then take it into town for material. I really wanted 100% linen but the shop sells 70 / 30 linen with cotton. I've not done any dressmaking since school and then it was pretty basic. I did soft furnishings as part of my cse needlecraft. It's called a shirt dress so buttoned through but a) I only want buttoned to waist and b) I'm wondering if I can put in a softly gathered waist. I may need to lengthen the bodice part anyway as I'm 5'11". I can't find an exact pattern I like which is basically a Pyne & Smith dress (short sleeve - below knee). The price is $156 & $22 p&p - hence why I'm wanting to make one. Cathy x

  7. What a wonderful dress and it must feel fab to have used up some precious stash fabric that has moved house 3 times!! He, he. If all husbands / partners only knew the half of our stash contents - you are not alone.
    It sounds like you had a very special evening and you certainly looked the part!

  8. Swizz swoo, very very nice.

  9. You look brilliant Jo, absolutely brilliant. So stylish and cool!

  10. This dress is gorgeous and you look stunning in it!

  11. Amazing! You look beautiful and those colours work really well together. A builder's tan though - is that with white straps on the shoulders? Because I am rocking on of those right now.

  12. Such fun to read the story of your lovely creations and enjoy viewing them and you as well! Thanks for posting, Jo 🤗