Friday, December 31, 2010

A sixties shift dress

It looks like I might be the first to post, which is sort of appropriate as here in New Zealand we were one of the first countries to see in the new year.  It is January 1st here, so Happy New Year everybody!

I'm Sherry and my blog is pattern~scissors~cloth, and it has taken me a while but I have finally decided what to sew.  It is Butterick 2669, a basic sixties shift dress, and it's a Quick n' Easy!

I'm going to make it in some dark grey linen that I acquired at Christmastime, and do red topstitching just like the picture of View B on the pattern envelope.  I presumed the topstitching was done by machine, but it is actually hand sewn saddle stitch using embroidery floss, so I might copy that idea too.

I chose this pattern because:
  • Both the pattern and fabric are stash so I don't have to spend a cent!
  • I really need more summer work clothes and this will be perfect
  • I've always wanted to see how a french dart that goes down to high hip level fits
  • It gives me the perfect excuse to buy some red shoes (the real reason he he!)
But now I've made my decision, I have a little predicament:

A 15cm predicament, in fact!
I could shorten the dress, but I don't like showing my knobbly knees. So a little creative thinking was required and my dress is now going to have a hem band:

And I think I prefer this anyway.  Although I like the simplicity of the original, I think the extra saddle stitching adds a bit of balance.  I'm not generally a fan of placing design details only on the front and leaving the back plain - it often looks like cost-cutting and design compromise to me, what do others think?

I want this dress to be hand-washable, so I've put the linen through the washing machine on a warm machine wash to take care of any shrinkage.  First I overlocked the ends of the linen, because we all know how much that frays, and I need more fabric not less!  Because linen can stretch slightly and 'seat', I am going to line the dress with viscose lining, also preshrunk.

OK - now I'm off to cut my toile and whizz it up on the machine!


  1. I have a definite weakness for red flats. Your hem band will look fantastic.

  2. I like your pattern and I think the red top-stitching on the grey will look fantastic! The hem band is fantastic idea too!

  3. Nice to meet you, Sherry! Looks like a wonderful solution to your predicament, and a great combo of color. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

  4. I also think the hem-band is a neat idea! With the top/saddle stitching it will give it that extra "oomph" that simple garments take so well.

    As a side note, Mom has always said the simpler the garment the harder it is to hide mistakes. I'm beginning to believe her.

  5. I like your iteration much better than the original. the red top stitching should is going to look so good.