1960s fabric using 1960s pattern


This dress is made from the oldest piece of fabric in my stash. February has been a month of challenges – all from the Stashbusting Sewalong group, with the aim of ridding our stashes of red fabric, most disliked fabric, longest piece of fabric, and now, the oldest piece of fabric.

I left this particular piece of sewing until last for very good reason. This is a piece of cotton crepe that has been maturing in my stash for ever and is left over from the flower power era of the late 1960s. I used to get it out of the cupboard, stroke it lovingly and gently place it back on the shelf. When I have considered making it up, I would find that I either have too much fabric, and would therefore waste it, or too little fabric. Well the time had come to move it out of the sweatshop and into the wardrobe.

I wanted a 1960s pattern to go with the fabric and found this Lutterloh shirtdress.


I tested the pattern on some lovely cotton lawn and it came together brilliantly except for a couple of minor issues, namely a front shoulder seam longer than the back shoulder seam, and I needed to sort out those very high bust darts. I fixed the pattern and laid my fabric and pattern on the cutting board, being very aware of the pattern matching. This went on for two days whilst I tweaked and fussed and fretted.

Finally I went for it. I took a deep breath. Then another. And another. Then I was hyperventilating! Seriously; a friend rang and asked if I had been running, and I had to explain that no, I was just cutting out fabric!  I don’t know when I have last been this anxious. I figured that I would be a tad short of fabric, so thought I would give the sleeves a border in some blue linen which I used for my blocked dress. I had a little bit left over and it seemed like a pretty good match. All was going well.

Then I managed to cut the whole dress out of the original fabric so I thought I would put a flat piping round the collar and sleeves to break up that very bright pattern. I have new respect for people who do flat binding round curves. I would get it almost perfect and then find that it was out a millimetre, but obvious to the naked eye. I had the collar apart more times than I would care to count. In the end I decided that cord piping was the way to go as the cord gave me something to sew against. I had a rummage in the stash and found some builder’s string that my mother had been hoarding. Hmm, seemed about the right dimensions and is clearly vintage.


Worked like a charm. I had already put the flat piping round the sleeves, so unpicked all of that and replaced it with the cord piping.

Seam finishes were another area of concern. I didn’t want to overlock and I thought the fabric might be a bit stiff for French seaming so I did the plain seam with the clean edge finish – simply turned the raw edges under and sewed. This was fine until I got to the sleeves. I had pretty bulky edges because I had piping and a false hem on the sleeves to accommodate the piping, so I used the Hong Kong binding seam finish. I was even able to use the scraps of bias that I had cut for the piping. I will mention that the pattern on the collar does align perfectly with the pattern on the back, I’m not sure what’s happened here.

Trying to escape the hose in the background, so I am staring at a blank wall!

I had been trying the dress on periodically and was becoming more and more concerned – dinner lady anyone? Truly, did this look like some sort of gaudy overall? I was so disappointed that I nearly threw it put it neatly in a corner and moved on, but the challenge finishes on 28 February (today!) and I wanted to finish it. So, pushing on regardless of the unattractive look, I tackled my next problem. Buttons! I had two issues here. I had so carefully cut the fabric out but was about 2cms off with the pattern matching down the front. I could move the fronts out, but then the buttons would not have been on a spot and might have looked silly, or if they had been on a spot they would not have been down the centre. I also didn’t have a massive amount of folded back fabric due to aforementioned lack of fabric and I was running out of room to sew on the buttons. After much consideration I decided to forego fabulous pattern matching and just get the buttons placed correctly. I am deeply disappointed about this, as my other pattern matching is pretty good. The buttons themselves caused me anxiety as well. I had nothing in my stash, except 3 yellow buttons and 4 blue buttons that might do it. I considered covering buttons, but decided to go shopping. I couldn’t find anything that reminded me of the ’60s and which would suit this dress, so went with the original 3 yellow and 4 blue. I am ok with this and I can’t even see the blue buttons on the blue dots.


Bottom line? Mark absolutely loves this dress, and he managed to photo bomb me. Here he is walking past telling me how much he likes it – and you’ve gotta love a man who does the food shopping, wearing clothes that I’ve made.


I still feel a frisson of disappointment for some reason. I think I will wear it a fair bit though, so all’s well that ends well.

In a nutshell: Pattern is 1960s Lutterloh, fabric is from the 1960s. The belt is a piece of blue elastic with a daisy buckle also from the 1960s. Shoes are XSA from Dimatina in Subiaco, and yes, I should have found some cork wedges…

Action shot – smelling the frangipani!

35 thoughts on “1960s fabric using 1960s pattern

  1. IT’s lovely. Don’t beat yourself up about the front matching, no one will notice. I like how you did the different buttons! Congrats on a productive month!

  2. Mark obviously has great taste! The hyperventilating was all worth it and your pattern matching is a joy to behold. I love the fabric and the style and the finished dress looks very current. A winner all round, I say.

  3. I love this dress. It looks so fresh and smart and I’m a complete sucker for anything spotty/dotty. Your shoes are gorgeous, too.
    I can also relate to your reluctance to cut into your fabric. It took me a week of fussing and tweaking to cut out my latest project (a 1970s pattern and very old stashed fabric I have been saving for years) and I still haven’t started to sew it yet. I love the fabric so much and I have wanted to make the dress again since I first made it, but what if I’m sorry afterwards. Still it’s too late to change my mind now 🙂

  4. It’s totally gorgeous! It just made me smile! Tell your inner perfectionist to go hide under a rock and enjoy your beautiful happy dress!

  5. Well. I have no idea why you are feeling a frisson of disappointment! I think it looks lovely. There’s something very happy about that gorgeous print 🙂

  6. That is a really great dress where fabric and design have come together REALLY well. The belt and buckle is also just perfect.

  7. I’m so glad to have found your blog and I am now an avid follower! I am just starting to delve into the world of vintage patterns and your projects are so inspiring. Love this dress and the piping looks great! 🙂

  8. This dress is simply perfect. The dark blue piping is the perfect choice for dampening the exuberant print and the fit is wonderful. I love the picture with Mark walking in. His eyes say it all!

  9. I love it! And it’s not dinner lady at all – especially not with heels. The colours are great! I’m super inspired about Mark wearing your hand-makes too. Definitely one of my projects this year is to make an outfit for my other half.

  10. Sue this is one of my favourites on you – the workman ship is amazing, as per usual and the dress is just you!

  11. Sue, you look gorgeous in that gorgeous dress! It’s great! cotton crepe…hmm, would love to know how that is to the touch!

  12. Sorry you are not totally satisfied with this beautiful make; it really looks very nice. And kudos to your dress-appreciating, food-shopping husband.

    1. thanks Patricia, I’m not allowed to go to the supermarket because I hate queuing and have little hissy fits. I also don’t cook, so have no idea what to buy!

  13. I like this dress a lot – it’s smart but looks comfortable and easy to wear too. The belt adds a ‘fun’ touch too – the buckle reminds me of the Mary Quant logo which seems fitting!

    1. Thank you Jenny. The buckle is indeed reminiscent of Mary Quant which is why I bought it – I was desperate for anything of hers a couple of years ago!

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