1960s fabric using 1960s pattern

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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.

Scan

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Action shot – smelling the frangipani!
Fadanista

35 thoughts on “1960s fabric using 1960s pattern

  1. 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.

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  2. 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 🙂

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  3. 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!

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  4. 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!

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  5. 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.

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  6. 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!

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