Thursday, 4 September 2014

Book Review And First DIY Dress Post

I've been learning to dress-make since I was about thirteen, and during the holidays, I went to Waterstones to look at dressmaking books. Crafting isn't as popular as it used to be when my parents and grandparents were young, and it definitely showed in the 'crafts' section of the shop. I was underwhelmed by the selection of craft books and the only book containing clothing patterns that I could find was 'Famous Frocks- The Little Black Dress' by Dolin Bliss O'Shea. It was bought on a whim, I flicked through it and was sold by the mention of Audrey Hepburn but didn't properly look at the patterns or the difficulty.

The book contains twenty patterns inspired by style icons of the past 100 years, the 'icons' range from a Kate Moss to Grace Kelly and Coco Chanel. However, what caught my eye was the cover photo, a Mary Quant inspired 60s sleeved dress with a Peter Pan collar. After reading Dawn O'Porter's novel 'This Old Thing', I have come to realise that I am best suited to 60s style shifts because of my slim frame, so I knew I had to make it (I've also always wanted to have/make a dress with sleeves!)

Originally, I was set on recreating the dress in black with a white collar,as Mary Quant made her original, but when I got to my local fabric shop, I saw the most gorgeous 60s style flower fabric, which I'd seen previously on some items off the Mod Dolly website, and at £7.50 a metre, who could argue? As the sleeves required a sheer fabric, I opted for a dark blue to compliment the tones in the floral pattern. So, it became my take on a classic Mary Quant design. 

The pattern was fairly easy to construct and the book contained clear tutorials on how to insert a zip, do French seams and lots of other useful techniques. The only complaint I would have is that having to trace the patterns from the double sided pattern sheets was a bit unnecessary, when I pay £18.99 for a book, I would hope the patterns are able to be cut out straight away. All in all, it took me about six days to complete the dress, doing a few hours each day. The buttons I chose were given to me by one of my Nan's friends who was clearing out her mother's sewing box, I love how they hold so much history.



Dress- handmade by me    Shoes- Hush Puppies (in the last season sale)
Sunglasses and tights- Primark's finest     Bag- Reid and Hamilton

Until next time

Holly Olivia x



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4 comments

  1. Awe what a lovely dress! I wish I can diy dresses!! :)

    www.ensembledeux.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you! It's quite simple once you get the hang of it and there's classes for beginners in most places. You should try it! xx

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  2. oh great job! I really want to buy this book and your version is really cute! good selection with the blue as well. I guess most people would make it black like the book suggests, but you could do with any colour really.
    If youre after other cute sewing books with a vintage twist you could try Tillys book, Love at first Stitch and Gertie has also just brought out a book called Gertie Sews vintage Casual which has more practical and cute vintage patterns in there too!

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    1. The book is really worth buying! And thank you. I was going to make it black but the fabric I chose was too beautiful to not use! I've had my eye on Love at First Stitch since it came out, but finally got to actually have a flick through it the other day. Thanks for the book recommendations though!
      Holly Olivia x

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