As a child of the 90s, I am equal parts thrilled and amused to see 90s styles come back in fashion. I feel it cements my status as a “real adult” to see clothes I wore as a kid being sold in everywhere from KMart and Cotton On to higher end stores. This particular sewing project was based on a style that my mum would have more likely worn than me*- a simple, sleeveless shift-to-a line dress in cool cotton for summer.
Luckily for me, my pattern stash is mostly comprised of 80s and 90s hand-me-downs from my grandmother, so I had the perfect pattern waiting – Butterick 6139 (view D). The fabric I was using was so beautiful I made a quick muslin from an old sheet. This was a good idea, as the pattern’s neckline was very wide and shallow. I brought it in and up 1cm at shoulders and back, and lowered the front 1cm for breathing room. I also lengthened the bodice so the empire waist seam sat a bit lower.
My fabric, of course, is a beautiful Cath Kidston print. I love Cath Kidston, twee and all, but not her price tags. So I quickly snapped up this fabric which was listed for a song on eBay due to possible flaws and its division into 1m lots. The only real consequence of this was my skirt is 7cm shorter than the pattern – which was a blessing in disguise as this is my maximum length of skirt before I start tripping over myself.
I left off the sleeves for a summery look, and used self bias facing on the neck and armhole. I actually did a Instagram story on how I sew bias facing, and still have the videos if anyone wants a shitty tutorial on it (regular application, that is, as opposed to facing a v-neck which I shared a few weeks ago). If you employ some judicious understitching and finger pressing, you can sew the facing entirely at the machine and your facing will lay nice and flat without burning your fingers trying to press the tape into place.
This is one of those rare occasions when your creation turns out pretty much as you envisioned it. The cut on the pattern was just right, and minimalist enough to tone down any potential cuteness from the Cath Kidston print. The dress has pockets and is really comfy to wear, even on a hot summer’s day. And best of all, I got a Cath Kidston dress for just $30AUD!
Pattern: Butterick 6139, Misses’/Misses’ Petite Dress
Pattern details: “Loose-fitting, pullover, A-line dress, below mid-knee or above ankle, raised waist, above elbow sleeves, and narrow hem. A, B: front overlay. C, D: tabs and pockets. D: side slits. E: purchased trim.”
Fabric: 3m x 138cm Cath Kidston loose soft cotton homespun in British birds: mustard. In 3 x 1m lots (maybe used about 2.5m narrow width). From handmadesourcefabrics on eBay. “Loose Soft Homespun. Open weave, soft touch, loose woven homespun cotton.”
Mods: Size 14.
– Omitted sleeves, used 1cm bias facing for armhole and neckline
– Skirt view D with pockets, cut 7cm shorter due to fabric being in 1m lots (hem allowance 2cm instead of 1.5cm)
– 12mm forward head adjustment
– Lowered front neck 1cm
– Raised back neck 1cm
– Brought shoulders in at neckline 1cm
– Lengthened bodice 1.5cm at lengthen line, 5mm at waist
– Raised armhole 5mm
*I was too busy rocking jeans, Goosebumps tees, runners, and baseball caps.