My Self Drafted 1960's Style Mini Dress


The Hubby and I love the Mod scene, we love the music, the fashion and we have had the scooters in the past.

Just under 2 years ago the hubby had a accident at work which meant that he had to sell his beloved scooter as he just couldn't use it, but he's on the road to recovery (we are hoping his operation in September will be his last) and we are planning a return to scene in the near future.

In preparation I am going to make myself a Mod wardrobe, that is what I love about sewing, I can make what ever fashion styles take my fancy.

A line dress

A love of the 1960's style mini

I love vintage fashion, especially the 1950's, but I find that the 50's style of dresses don't always suit my "boyish" figure.

Many, many years back I bought a vintage 1960's mini dress from a charity shop (in the days before I could sew), it was obviously handmade and was just adorable, thinking back this was the dress that inspired me to learn how to sew and I do still wear it sometimes.

The 60's style dress suited my shape much better and my love for the mini dress was born.

Adapting my block dress pattern

As you may have read on my previous post, I am currently learning how to draft my own sewing patterns and successfully made my first dress using a fantastic tool called The Pattern Drafter, this is my second dress that I have drafted myself.

I spent some time researching how to adapt my block dress pattern into a 1960's style A line mini dress, and I found that it was super easy to do, these are the changes that I made

  • Added a 2" A line insertion to the dress front and back (this is not difficult to do, I will add a separate blog post to show you) and widened it at the side slightly from the hipline down.
  • Left the front waist dart open (so simply ignore the waist dart on the pattern, see  how I have put lines through it below)
  • Shortened the length to "mini"
  • Widened the neckline slightly
  • Narrowed the shoulders slightly

I wanted the dress to be fitted at the back so I sewed the back darts to give the shape, and of course I sewed the bust darts.

A line pattern adaption

Bold and Beautiful Fabric

I wanted to keep the dress super simple (as this pattern drafting malarkey is still new to me) so I decided to use some really bold fabric that I had in my stash. I'm not sure what it is to be honest, it was from the remnant basket at my local Abakhan fabrics it was an absolute bargain at £8, there is enough to make this dress and leftovers to make a mini skirt.

There were obvious faults in the fabric where the dye had smudged, but I couldn't resist, it looks velvety (but it isn't velvet) and has such bold red roses, it also has a little stretch and plenty of structure, so perfect for A line.

I also had "sugar skull" lining fabric in my stash, I got this years ago from My Fabrics but hadn't found a suitable fabric to mix it with (as I'm normally a ditsy floral type) but I thought that with the bold red roses it may just work, and I think that it did! Bravo!

A Line mini dress

Sugar skull lining

Such a simple dress to make

This dress is super easy and pretty quick to make, it also doesn't need much fabric at all, this dress took less than 1m.

As you can see above, I didn't have enough fabric to pattern match at the back, this does bug me a little (Grrrrr) but it won't stop me from loving it.

Self drafted A line dress

The techniques that you need to know to make this dress are

  • Sewing bust darts
  • Sewing diamond shape darts
  • Inserting a concealed zip
  • Inserting a full lining

Top Tips

A couple of top tips for the above techniques

  • Sewing darts - When sewing a dart point, change the stitch length to be shorter as you approach the point (I went to 1.5), this helps it to be flat when pressed
  • Concealed zip insertion - Before using the concealed zip foot, sew the zip to the dress using a standard zip foot, then re-sew using the concealed zip foot. This helps to keep the zip in place when you are sewing it with the concealed foot, I've never failed using this method
  • Finishing lining around a zip - I always hand stitch the lining to the zip, this gives you control and means that the stitching doesn't show on the outside of the dress

Self drafted A line dress

Self drafted A line dress

The perfect fit

I am super pleased with how well my self drafted patterns are fitting, it really has made me realise that many other items that I have made don't fit that well, I am going to keep the styles simple for now and really focus on that fit, I couldn't have done it so easily without the pattern drafter so this tool is already a great investment.

Self drafted A line dress

I couldn't resist a pose with my beloved Stockman!

Posing with the Stockman

 

Give it a go

If you are interested in drafting your own patterns, my advice to you would be to just go for it! Don't be put off my all the maths (as I was) as you don't need to understand it too much if you have the right tools and the will to experiment a little.

A line mini dress

I'd love to know what your favourite fashion scene is and why, do let know in the comments below.