my favorite dress pattern

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It all started with this photo from a recent post about wedding dolls. My sister Anne wrote to say that she liked my dress. I told her that I made it years ago and asked if she’d like one. While I waited for the fabric she picked out to arrive from Portland, OR, I decided to make another one for myself. After all, you can never have enough cotton dresses to wear in the summer heat. I think it’s my favorite dress style, simple and timeless, with just the right amount of fitted detail at the neck and waist. And there are large side pockets, which I can’t live without!

I first made a dress from this pattern over 30 years ago and it’s stood the test of time, at least in my world. I’ve resisted giving in to the ubiquitous black wardrobe in favor of color and pattern. To me, wearing black seems to lack imagination and looks more like the uniform of the grownup sophisticated set. Teenage Prom goers may crave this look, but I feel more myself in something comfortable and colorful.

I searched all over my studio for the pattern, but couldn’t locate it. Luckily, I still had a white dress from the same pattern that I’d made to wear for Scottish dancing eons ago. I cut open the seams, which included a fair share of top stitching and used the pieces as a pattern. It wasn’t until after I’d made the 2 new dresses that I found the pattern, Simplicity 8922, from 1979.

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I’ve already worn mine enough times to have to wash it.

dress-1-2Anne’s fabric of choice was 2 different blue batiks, which worked out really well. She sent a photo of her wearing the dress.

I really enjoyed the process of sewing the dresses, which was so fast and easy compared to my other work. It made me think about how revolutionary the invention of the sewing machine must have been in the mid 1800’s. This doesn’t mean I’m giving up hand stitching, though. Most of what I want to do can’t be mechanized and the slow methodical approach helps me work out my ideas. It’s just fun to hear the sound of a sewing machine as it wips together a piece of clothing every once in a while.

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22 thoughts on “my favorite dress pattern

  1. This is a perfect dress. I love my old patterns too. My more recent favorite is Schoolhouse Tunic by Sew Liberated #106. It can be shirt or dress length and I think I’ve made it 8 times now!

  2. I have a colostomy and hernia that bumps out.  It’s a couple inches below my waist on my left side.  I would love to find a simple dress pattern that helped camouflage my bump.  I love the soft look of your dresses below.   Suzette

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    • Suzette, I have an ileostomy and also a hernia that bumps out on my right side! I won’t even wear a dress because of that. Maybe this kind of dress is a real answer for both of us. However, I do tend to go for interesting knit tops for their stretchy comfort factor, over my stretch knit jeans!

    • Suzette look online for Sew Liberated Schoolhouse Tunic #106. I think it might be just what you need. It’s empire waist with inverted pleats that give you lots of room. 👍🏻😊

  3. Thank you, Salley, for sharing that! In the 70’s (high school and beyond for me) I sewed most of my dresses, because I really didn’t like what was available in stores. Since then, I’ve mostly used my sewing skills for costumes. My daughter and I loved going to Renaissance Faires in Medieval dresses from when she was eight through her early 20’s. She now makes her own costumes and her boyfriend’s, sometimes with my assistance and/or advice. Her group of friends were The Fellowship of the Ring for Halloween, and some epic costuming was required! Thank you for bringing up some wonderful memories, and inspiring me to get out that sewing machine again! Cheers Martha

  4. Regarding my previous reply, I forgot how fuzzy that cellphone photo had been! Here’s a clearer picture of Adam’s Gimli the dwarf costume. Sara made his helmet and boot covers, and I made everything else, using a silver sweater cape as material for the chain mail shirt, components from a metal belt for the armor on his upper arms, a braided leather belt on the edge of his tunic, which was made from a brown polar fleece lap robe… I thought about your use of found objects and fabric as I put this together!

    On Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 11:42 AM, Martha Bergeron wrote:

    > Thank you, Salley, for sharing that! > In the 70’s (high school and beyond for me) I sewed most of my dresses, > because I really didn’t like what was available in stores. Since then, I’ve > mostly used my sewing skills for costumes. My daughter and I loved going to > Renaissance Faires in Medieval dresses from when she was eight through her > early 20’s. > She now makes her own costumes and her boyfriend’s, sometimes with my > assistance and/or advice. Her group of friends were The Fellowship of the > Ring for Halloween, and some epic costuming was required! > Thank you for bringing up some wonderful memories, and inspiring me to get > out that sewing machine again! > Cheers > Martha > > On Sun, Jul 24, 2016 at 10:08 AM, SALLEY MAVOR comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote: > >> Salley Mavor posted: ” It all started with this photo from a recent post >> about wedding dolls. My sister Anne wrote to say that she liked my dress. I >> told her that I made it years ago and asked if she’d like one. While I >> waited for the fabric she picked out to arrive from Po” >>

  5. It has been ages since I’ve sewn an article of clothing for myself…but this lovely, comfy dress might make me change my ways.

    warmly,

    Beth

  6. Love your comment about the revolution the sewing machine made..I have the little machine my grandmother took to Africa with her and then back to Belgium. It sewed dresses for her daughters and during WWII little bags to hold food in occupied Belgium. It now sits in its little wooden case on top of my other grandmother’s Martha Washington Sewing table….I love looking at both of them and thinking of their journeys….

  7. What a great dress. The Simplicity pattern is no longer available. Too bad, I would certainly like to make it. Thanks for offering your wee folk family for the raffle. I was happy to buy some tickets and am glad to support the center.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  8. Love your dress pattern, I too have favorite patterns from long ago, I made my 1981 wedding dress from an “ancient” pattern from the 60’s . Your textile art and dolls are so inspiring.

  9. Two beautiful, colorful dresses. Love the contrasting details. I know what you mean about black. I was invited to a fancy dinner to celebrate an older couple’s anniversary. The family was to wear formal wear; others were not required to do that but obviously it was a fancy dress occasion. I felt the pressure to buy a new outfit and was determined not to wear black. Or polyester. Caved in on the polyester when I saw the price tags for nicer fabrics for an outfit I knew I’d probably only wear once. And ended up half caving in on the black: a black jacket and a flowered skirt. As I recall, probably 85% of the women were wearing all black. A few in white. A handful in colorful clothes. Of course the men’s only color was their ties. And it all looked so somber and dreary for what was supposed to be a joyous occasion. Conversely, when you go to funerals, which I always think of as somber occasions, so many people wear colorful clothes.

  10. Oh, Salley — Your post made me laugh! I’m afraid I’m guilty of sporting a “ubiquitous black wardrobe” which “looks more like the uniform of the grownup sophisticated set,” and am subjected to merciless teasing from family and friends! But your post is inspiring — I’ve been wanting to go beyond using my machine for sewing shoulder satchels, pajamas & simple quilts. I have several patterns for a-line dresses which I’ve never used, and was excited to learn about the Sew Liberated Schoolhouse Tunic from comments above.

    Note: I was scanning Simplicity patterns for a few other a-line dress patterns and spotted #6460, which appears to be an updated version of the pattern you used for your lovely dress.

    Thank you, as always, Salley for so much inspiration!
    mb

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