Sunday, 3 June 2018

An entirely stash make

This wasn't what I'd planned to make next at all, and nothing to do with my pledge to make up some of my 1960s-1980s patterns, but sometimes these things happen.

Not a vintage dress!

It all started with a bit of a tidy-up in my workroom, when I found a remnant of this.

Northcott 'Artisan Spirit - Nature Studies', image from Northcott website

I'd bought it around the same time as I bought the 'Shimmer' remnant, and I'd intended to use it for another skirt. The problem was that the material is 108cm / 42½" wide, so I couldn't use the full width unless I wanted a floor-length skirt. I'd put it aside while I pondered what to do, and then forgot all about it.

Finding it again, it still seemed a shame to waste any of the fabric. I thought about making a dress from it instead, but it would need to be something straight and plain.

Enter New Look 6643, one of my go-to patterns. I've used it several times, my favourite being the peacock dress. View A seemed the ideal style for what I had in mind, and fitted the width perfectly. I cut the two back pieces from a single layer of fabric, to get the position of the motifs right and the horizontal pattern elements matching with the front.

Pattern also from the stash

I really like the shape of the neckline and armholes on this pattern.

The armhole shape gives the look of a small sleeve

The neck facing was made from a piece of stashed blue cotton, and I already had suitable bias binding for the armholes and (for once) a zip of the right length and colour. I even had matching thread!

The one problem with the peacock dress is that the front neckline gapes very slightly. Taking inspiration from Simplicity 4463, I added a small front opening, which had the effect of using up part of the neckline width in seam allowance. It didn't need to be functional, so I just sewed the buttons to both sides of the opening.

I was especially pleased with the buttons; they were the spares from a Monsoon jacket which I had years ago. The jacket is long gone, but the buttons were still in my button box - the large one was for the front, and the small one must have been for the cuff. They were the perfect colour, and a nice textural contrast.

Buttons and false opening

The fabric worked perfectly with the shape of the dress. The dark section gives a belt effect at the waist, and the strong vertical elements of the flowers in the skirt balance the horizontal stripes - as you can see when I finally remembered to take a picture without my hands in the way.

Showing the full dress

I'm so glad that I didn't press on and make the skirt, this has been a far better use of the fabric. Yay for procrastination!


  1.!! I love it so much. Well done!

  2. Definitely a good choice to make this as a dress, rather than a skirt. It works so well and looks so good on you And yay for a stash buster! It always feels good to do that and I have plenty I really should get on with rather than buying new fabrics! xx

    1. Thank you Cate! My local fabric shop was selling Liberty cottons at £10/metre a few months ago, and I went a bit mad. So I really do need to chip away at the stash a bit before I even THINK of buying more fabric. xx