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Saturday, 12 November 2016


Vintage sewing, the late 1960's

This is another iconic style of the 1960s, it was the first time in history that teenagers had their own style and the shift dress was certainly one of them. Made in heavy fabric so that it hung straight on the body it was short , bright and fun to wear.

Perhaps one of the most daunting challenges is when you choose a pattern only to find that it has an all in one facing which encloses the neck and armhole edges both at the same time. I am using New look patterns. Both available from 

There are many methods but this one is in my opinion the neatest and the easiest. So, choose a pattern for either a shell top or a sleeveless dress which includes an all in one facing.

I wanted an ensemble because the outfit will probably be worn in the evenings and I will need something to cover my arms with. I have made this jacket before so i know I will be able to whizz through the construction fairly quickly

I have made this dress before too, but have made the one with sleeves. This time I wan to make a sleeveless dress.
You might be wondering about the fabric. I have had this wonderful 50s inspired soft furnishing fabric in my stash for over  a year.I have kept on looking at it, thinking that I really must get down to making a blind and kitchen accessories from it, but something always held me back. I just love everything about the fabric, the colours, the texture and so eventually I went with my heart and started to pin pattern pieces to it.

Make up your darts and so on in the usual way after marking them with tailor tacks. A lot of inexperienced sewers use these new fabric marking pens which are supposed to disappear when wet or will disappear in the air after a day or two. I am not sure about them, or about using tracing paper. Although I do use these methods occasionally be aware that an iron can set the marks making them impossible to remove and I would never use them on fine fabrics because they could end up being a permanent eyesore. So, if you do not want to use tailors tacks, personally I love doing them, use anything which marks the fabric with caution and always, always test it out on a spare piece of fabric  so, after doing your darts and pressing them join the shoulder and side seams on the garment and the facings

press the seams open on the facings and neaten the seams on the dress. Leave the back seams open at this stage

neaten the lower edge of the facing

Right sides together pin and tack the front facing to the dress front at the neckline  matching shoulder seams.

You need to clip into the curve along the neckline, if you do this at a slight angle the fabric is less likely to fray. Press the seam open using a tailors ham or sleeve roll.

Do exactly the same on the armholes.You must be wondering how on earth you are going to turn this the right way out.simple.
Take a very large safety pin or nappy pin like mine ( I have my elder sons who will hate me for telling you this as he is 33 now) Attach it firmly to the bottom of one of the dress or top backs and thread it through the tunnel in the shoulders, Keep threading and then pull the whole back through.
Do the same with the other back. simple? yes?

You should now have in front of you something which looks like this. The facing is now where it should be, on the inside of the garment
press the seams, do it carefully so that the seam is sitting ever so slightly on the inside of the neckline.

Put the zipper in. I love the look of an invisible zipper and I always use them.If you prefer to you can use an ordinary zip and either a lapped seam or a centred zip as is your choice. If you have never done an invisible zip before then do give it a go,you will need to purchase a special foot for your machine, and use the correct zip. Just ask for an invisible zip. If you are not sure how to put a zip in please ask me and I will put a tutorial on a blog post.
Once the zip is in place stitch the back seam and neaten it. Press, try it on again and measure the hem, stitch in place by hand or machine
the only thing left to do is to catch the facings down at the underarm seams, and neaten the back by turning the facing under along the zip tape and slip stitching it in place. You may want to top stitch, in which case use a longer stitch length and a contrast thread if you like

As you can see the all in one neckline and armhole facing looks professional, neat and yet is so simple to do. I have experimented with various methods over the years and settled for this one because it just looks so good.

I have made this jacket before, it is My Birthday dress and jacket, you will see more of it if you click on the link below the picture

To make it a bit different I attached some large flower buttons along the front yoke for a designer touch.

I can wear the two together, or the jacket with my white trousers.

Finally, there is a full tutorial on how to make a jacket on the link below the photograph
All of these outfits are worn in my travels with On The Beach

Could I have your comments please, I always appreciate feedback.


#sewingbee #dressmaking #GBSB #1960s #vintage #shiftdress #jacket #dressmaking  #sewingblog #tailoring

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