One (60s) pattern, two very different dresses

I generally don’t do New Year’s resolutions but this year I have two: Be more social and do more things that I am passionate about. When I first moved to Wellington nearly 3 (!) years ago, I was warmly welcomed by the fantastic folk of the Wellington Sewing Blogger’s Network. With a 4 month old in tow, I settled into our new life, reinstated my old sewing/knitting blog and attempted to make new friends through sewing. I failed miserably.

Life with a baby and then toddler who didn’t sleep, didn’t take a bottle and was super alert all the time left me in survival mode with little time or energy for anything other than the basics. I also wasn’t inspired to sew clothing that was limited by my changed body and its needs (hello giant breastfeeding boobs and their access requirements). While I did keep sewing, in bits, I wasn’t keen on photographing myself wearing what I’d made. Between sleep-deprivation greying my skin and breastfeeding changing my body, I didn’t feel up to sharing. It all just slipped away.

But the Frog is nearly 3 now. I’m working again and feeling like I can rejoin society. And I’m getting excited about sewing the type of clothes I used to love to sew. Tailored dresses! Fitted waists! High necklines! Pockets! And I really do want to connect again with the awesome people of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network by re-joining their ranks. So here I am. Now onwards to the dresses!

I’ve had this pattern (Simplicity 8970) for yonks and love the style lines.Princess seams that angle in from the armscythe along with a bust dart. Super cool. I made it up for winter in a jacket-weight wool, lined with silk to cut the itch-factor from The Fabric Warehouse. I was so excited to make this up as I finally a) was working again and needed professional clothes and b) had finally stopped breastfeeding and could wear stuff that didn’t provide round the clock boob access.

The pattern didn’t include a lining but I cut one and lined using the same bagging technique I’ve used for jackets and coats. Worked brilliantly. And of course, I added pockets, which held up well in the heavy wool.

I love the fit so much I made another in a length of handwoven, indigo-dyed Thai cotton that I picked up in Thailand in 2014 and have been hoarding every since. This fabric is amazing. It’s 100% cotton but feel like heavy silk. The texture is thick and cushy, almost like a well-worn babywearing wrap. Gorgeous stuff. I didn’t have enough to to do set-in sleeves as I’d wanted to, but instead extended the  side bodice pieces into cap sleeves, which sit really well.

Two gorgeous, confidence-boosting dresses from one old pattern.

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