I bought this sewing pattern for the grand total of £2 in my local Sue Ryder charity shop, although the general consensus of the internet was that I’d overpaid. Charming! A few weeks ago – or is it actually months now? – I started making the 1970s smock-style overdress, and was distracted half way through by other things.
All it needed was the top stitching and the buttonholes, which I’d been putting off because making them by hand (oh, and doing the hemming by hand too) was going to take so long. In the end I bit the bullet and risked making the buttonholes on my notoriously uncooperative sewing machine. They’re not perfect, but they’re lot better (and involved a lot less swearing) than I expected, which was a pleasant surprise!
Unfortunately this is the best picture I could get of me wearing it. This house is so dark, the mirror’s propped up in my sock drawer because there’s nowhere to actually hang it on a wall… and I’ve found out today that we’re not going to be building the beautiful new sewing room that we’ve been planning for the year since we moved in here, because the quote from the architect was rather a lot more money than we can afford. So, until the clocks change again and we start getting a bit more daylight into the house, crappy pictures of sewing (or Instagram filters) it is!
This is my newest old pattern (dating from 1955), and I bought it specifically for view 3, the short one at the top. When I unfolded the pattern pieces I was amused to note that it’s not actually mid-thigh length, as shown in the illustration, it actually reaches almost to my knees. But that’s what I want – something to wear over my many pairs of coloured trousers, that’s a bit smarter than a t-shirt. (Whether my colleagues will consider the 1970s smock top an improvement over a t-shirt remains to be seen, in fact I’m a bit nervous about wearing it, but it’s rather a waste of time and fabric if I don’t!)
The pattern only gives fabric requirements for non-directional prints, so I had to work out the yardage that I’d need for a fabric which can only go one way up. Because the skirt is made up of six very wide gores, the answer turned out to be A LOT! Five yards for a knee-length dress, in fact! I didn’t have enough of the fabric I’d had in mind (I suspect that will now become another 1970s smock), so I’ve started it off in a lovely organic cotton check. I’m currently deciding whether it needs a contrast trim (collar, cuffs, pocket yoke and tie belt), or whether it would be better in just the one fabric. In fact, as I haven’t actually traced the skirt pieces yet, I’m wondering whether to make the most of having quite a lot of this cotton, and actually making the calf-length version instead. I’m leaving the bodice on the dress form while I have a bit of a think about it.
Given my current sewing speed, you’ll probably see it again next year!