Every December Linda from NicedressthanksImadeit hosts a challenge to take a designer garment and replicate it for a fraction of the cost. I think I’ve entered every year since its inception, and I’ve often been inspired by designer exhibitions that I’ve visited. A couple of years ago I copied a Mary Quant dress and I’ve loved wearing it so much that I thought I’d do another one this year. I happened to find a Mary Quant dress for sale on eBay in Japan. I knew straight away that it would fit really well into my wardrobe.
And here is my version. using the Lotta Jansdotter Esme dress pattern, which I’ve made more times than I can count. I chose it as it seems to be exactly the right shape. I couldn’t resist adding the Mary Quant badge I bought at the V&A shop when I visited the MQ exhibition.
I did a couple of things a little differently. I added a pocket , which meant I couldn’t add the dropped waist band, but I felt that the sacrifice was worth it. I did a full, rather than partial daisy, made from the same weight cotton knit and machine appliquéd on. I cut the daisy out on my cricut which simplified matters somewhat. When I cut it I left a little bridge between the inner circle and the daisy so I’d get the positioning correct, but I think it was a bit unnecessary. I tacked on the daisy prior to sewing and cut the bridge off.
I was really short of fabric and the dress is correspondingly short, so I decided not to hem it; instead I cut the hem straight on my overlocker by removing the threads and needles and using the blade to sharpen up the edge. This worked quite well as the fabric is a thick cotton knit interlock and doesn’t fray at all. I treated the sleeves in the same way.
As mentioned, the dress is pretty short, and luckily we had a cool spell so I was happy to don my black tights and style the dress as I will wear it in the autumn.
Just so you can see what I’m talking about, here are photos taken in warmer weather with no tights. It does allow me to show the dress a little more clearly, so I took more photos; then I got carried away! Also trying different shoes which has been fun.
It is uncomfortably short, although similar to the length we would have worn a dress like this in the 1970s, so I’m pretending i’m being authentic. However, I did look at my scraps to see if I could fashion a hem band but I just didn’t have enough. I’m not sure I’d wear it in public like this.
I see the photo below and wonder if I made the daisy a tad big. The dress is wide enough that it doesn’t ride up when I’m sitting down though, so that’s a bonus.
Both fabrics were found in an op shop and the whole dress cost less than $5, slightly less than the inspiration version. I bought the fabrics to make Mark a rugby shirt. Please don’t tell him that he’s not getting it now…
I feel a summer version of this dress coming on, but I might need to stop embellishing with daisies after that.
I mentioned that I’ve been entering this challenge since 2016, so here are my knockoffs – er, reproductions. I’ve put links to the original posts in the captions, so you can see my inspiration garments. Also a variety of hairstyles and glasses!
I still wear all of these outfits, but I find I wear the Mondrian and the Dior less than the others. I’m determined to fix that this summer as they are both lovely designs.