Saturday, 26 July 2014

Summertime Shift

It's scorchingly hot here in London at the moment, and I'm terrible at dealing with it. All of my clothes feel too heavy and restrictive. This weather calls for something light and less fitted, something like this:

Vogue 7372, 1960's.
I love how the girl in the beret looks impatient, like she's thinking 'Hurry up , b****es, I've got my driving gloves on so I can drive to Paris in my E-type and steal a painting with Peter O'Toole'

The envelope drawings look pretty structured, and the instructions recommend it to be underlined for stability, but I decided to skip this or it would have been too heavy. 

And here it is:

I used a navy cotton I picked up on a recent diversion to Abakhan's with Katie of What Katie Sews. It's super light without being see-through, and is even a little stretchy on the weft. Best of all, it's sprinkled all over with little apples:

The dress appears pretty straightforward, but being a Vogue Pattern, and therefore aiming to emulate high-end designers, there's more to it than your average shift. Where other dresses would have stuck with a couple of darts here and there, this dress has princess seams front and back, pockets in the seams, tiny little bust darts, and a side zip. There's also a tricky button placket which was a pain to do, but I got there in the end:

And I love the apples so much I even made covered buttons emblazoned with them:

From this... this!
I cut the pattern as is, without any adjustments - the fit seems fine:

This is me doing a 60's model pose
A few construction details-

French seams are my preferred method for finishing seams, but that was never going to work with the curves of these princess seams. Instead, I stitched them as plain seams, finished them with a 3-step zig-zag, then top stitched them close to the seam so they would lie flat:

Inside view of seams

Top stitching detail, with a bar tack at the base of the pocket.
It was a bit of a squeeze fitting the whole dress into the fabric I had - I bought it without knowing I was making this dress - so I had to save space by making half of the pocket with some scraps of red lining fabric:

Pocket detail

And finally the hems - I turned under the raw edge about 4 mm, machined this, then attached the hem to the body of the dress with a catch stitch:

And that's pretty much it!

Have fun in the sun, and see you soon!


  1. It's gorgeous, great silhouette and perfect use for the apple fabric. The buttons are so good!

  2. Love this! Such a great dress for this hot weather. I need to make myself some more summer shifts - I don't cope well with this hot weather either!

  3. This is lovely, and just the thing for hot weather. I'm struggling a bit with the heat too, but thankfully it's a bit cooler now. The apple fabric is great, and I love the apples on the buttons. Lynne

  4. Super cute dress Nicole and I love the apple buttons! Enjoy that hot weather, I'm back in the wet and cold longing to wear some summer dresses.

  5. That's fab - I love the apple buttons, it's such a nice touch.

  6. Ahh I love this Mrs Needles, such a cute and practical summer dress! I really do like dem apples! x

  7. Sew Little Time28 July 2014 at 12:39

    apple print! i love it. i need to pick your brains about those covered buttons as i recently had such a fail with those!

  8. So glad you got back safe and well! I'm still trying to work out what I'm going to do with the flamingo fabric...

  9. One thing a lot of the instructions leave out, which I find helpful, is to run a row of hand stitching around the edge of the fabric before you put it over the button. Then pull it really tight around the button and knot it; then you can smooth all the little ridges out before you put the back on. Dampening the fabric also makes it easy to mold into shape.

  10. Love the print and I love your buttons!

  11. Thanks Nicole! I'm still figuring out what to do with mine too. I'll let you know when I do, we'll have to do a show and tell :)

  12. Exquisite, as usual! I love the fabric and your red shoes!

  13. SeamsOddLouise.Blogspot.com10 August 2014 at 16:58

    That looks so cool and easy to wear. Good job. Those buttons are fabulous- totally worth the effort.

  14. Simply well done. You put a lot of effort into this cute summer dress.


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