Mirror mirror on the wall…

…which is my ugliest fabric of them all? Part of this month’s challenge on Stashbusting Sewalong 2015 is to sew the piece of fabric in our stashes that we most dislike. So I went to my stash. Deep stash. I found these three contenders. I thought I had more than this, but they must be well hidden 🙂


So, which to choose? The one on the left is ugly (is that a muppet face I’ve just seen hidden in it??), but it is modal and silk jersey, which lifts it out of contention. The middle one is a knit and is too hot for our summer, but the one on the right is “the one”. It doesn’t look too bad in the photo but it is horrible. It is a thick, coarse cotton, which I suspect is some sort of quilting cotton and the colours and print are so not me. It has no drape at all, and no matter how often I wash it, it doesn’t soften. I won’t put my hand up to buying it, my sister slid it into my stash when I wasn’t looking, grr!

I have had this fabric out of my stash on numerous occasions and decided it wasn’t even useful to use as a muslin. When this challenge came up I immediately put it on my possibilities list. What poor, unsuspecting pattern did I inflict this fabric on? McCalls 5512, a vintage pattern from 1970.


I have previously made the blouse, and have wanted to make the shirt dress for some time. In fact, I resisted the siren call of other shirt dresses in order to save myself for this one.


There are lots of things to love about this pattern. The raglan sleeves that stop short of the armhole, the slight A-line shape, the inseam pockets, and the rounded hem. The collar, however, is very ’70s, so I do confess to cutting it down a smidge. I also hunted through my stash for 1970s buttons and finally settled on some crystal ones, era unknown. For some reason I put buttons right to the top – I think I just got carried away with the buttonholes!

I brought the dress to Sydney, thinking that I could wear it where nobody knew me, but I will confess to feeling a little frumpy in it – perhaps it was the sensible walking sandals that did it though?

I wore the dress to the Achieve Australia op shop, which I’ve mentioned before on the blog, and which Andrea has described in some detail in her blog post. Here I am on entry (and the front of the dress does line up in real life!)


and here I am on exit an hour and a bit later – please don’t tell my Stashbusting Sewalong Facebook Group!


Back to the dress. I did a passable job of the pattern matching, but not as good as I might have done if I had cared one whit about the fabric.


I didn’t have time to make a belt, so dug this elastic one out of my belt stash. The buckle is a 1930s French, enamelled, shoe buckle. Shoe buckles are great because they have a gorgeous shape with the bend in the middle. I’m at the railway station here, waiting to go out to Meadowbank where the op shop is.


I also wore the dress to visit the Art and Design Market at Milson’s Point. What a market! I hadn’t expected anything like it. It’s only on once a month I think, but totally worth it!


It starts under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and then spills out onto the adjacent park.


This photo doesn’t even begin to show the scale of the market – it is huge. That’s me hiding under the red umbrella as I was a muppet and left my hat at home. I have decided, though, that I am going to find myself a parasol – the coverage is so much better than a hat, the eye poking of other pedestrians is a slight issue though!

The coffee here in Sydney is so much better than in Perth – Mark enjoyed his enormously, and he’s wearing another of those long sleeved t-shirts that I made him.


We have now used all forms of public transport in Sydney and I can recommend them all! We took the ferry to Milson’s Point, which deposited us at Lunar Park


Here is another shot from the park underneath the bridge – we saw a wedding here on Saturday, what a spot for a wedding!


And finally, we took the train back into the city. It goes over the bridge, and I managed to capture this photo of the famous coat hanger just before we got there.


In a nutshell: McCalls’s 5512 shirt dress from 1970. Fabric is ugly quilting cotton, buttons are vintage, buckle is vintage. Location is Sydney.  I have another one of these shirt dresses planned in my very near future, so stay tuned!


29 thoughts on “Mirror mirror on the wall…

  1. I love that pattern, what a great wearable shirt dress. Your dress turned out lovely too though I was looking more at the gorgeous sunshine in your pictures than the dress. And another vintage pledge make too!

  2. Oh I think the fabric pattern is cute! I can’t speak to how nice it feels, but it makes a cute dress!

  3. Is this an ugly fabric?? The print is nice and it doesn’t look so coarse on the pictures. In fact, you turned it into a nice little summer dress. You’re right about the umbrella, much better than a hat under the sun!

    1. Thanks Hélène, it looks ok, but it is not nice fabric – I should have given it away, but it’s made now. Whether I shall ever wear it again is another matter…

  4. I think I’m going to seek out a copy of this pattern after seeing this – a lovely summer dress and great shape. You did a very nice job. I enjoyed the photos of Sydney, too! I worked in Australia (Canberra) for a couple of years many years ago…it couldn’t be further away from the -20C I live in back home. 🙂 Lovely to see the sun and foliage, the market, etc. Stephanie

  5. Thanks for posting about your trip to Sydney. It looks like you had a lovely time. I agree with everyone else in that I think the dress looks great including the fabric. Would dyeing it improve it? or is it the texture that’s the issue (this would be a big deal for me – only soft fabrics allowed near my skin😆).

  6. I like the way it looks on you, including colors (eh, I´m a blue/white fan by default, so I guess it doesn´t really count)
    I give away things I don´t like wearing at the end – although for that judgement I need at least 2 occasions for the experience 🙂

  7. Sue the dress looks great and I don’t think the fabric looks ugly at all. I give your dress A+ 😉

  8. Love the colour on you. The markets look amazing in Sydney, something to add to my list of things to do. I haven’t seen Mark look so relaxed for a while and the shirt looks great on him.

  9. Your shirtdress looks very comfortable and even though you don’t like the colour, with a darker belt and a bit dressier shoe it might just surprise you. I hadn’t heard of those markets, even living in Sydney, so they have been added to my list, thank you.

    1. They seem to have a different market every week. If you google this market, you will find all the others. Enjoy and thank you for the suggestion, I must say that I don’t think my sandals helped!

  10. You are making me wonder why I don’t get out and enjoy my city more. It looks like you had a wonderful time gallivanting around Sydney. I hope you had a great time. Time to fess up, how many metres of fabric did you add to the stash at the Fabric Cave?

    1. I actually only bought two pieces of fabric – about 4 metres, but I bought lots of thread, elastic and patterns. I did all the fabric damage in Pitt Trading!

  11. I am another who thinks it looks nice – although if the fabric ‘feels’ uncomfortable that would obviously affect how you feel about it. As you have good legs ( I am jealous) you could wear it a little shorter or maybe cut it to tunic length?

    1. Yes, perhaps a bit shorter, and better shoes might fix it a bit. I did reduce the length by 5cms but maybe a bit more. Thanks for your comment, Jenny.

  12. Your dress looks lovely and fresh. I love blue and white together. Thanks for sharing you Sydney trip. We are going to Sydney next month to do the Sydney Harbour Bridge climb, and staying at “The Rocks” for a couple of days.

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