2016 Summer Frock Parade – Light Grey Cotton

When I finished this dress back in early summer it was actually a UFO from the end of summer last year and who doesn’t love getting a UFO off their hands?

This is the pattern I used for the bodice, only I made it sleeveless and brought the neckline in a bit as I didn’t want it quite so wide. For the skirt I just cut 2 selvedge to selvedge panels and pleated it up into the waist.


And voila!


I’m not sure but I think the fabric may also be vintage. There’s something about the weave and the soft crispness of the hand that you just don’t really see in current fabrics. Also, it was narrow-ish (about 40″ wide) and has the most beautiful selvedge (haha, how much of a sewing nerd must I be to admire selvedges!) that’s perfectly smooth and clean, which you hardly ever find on modern fabrics. I got it from Value Village a few years ago, so who know?


I feel really happy having used this fabric for this dress, like the textured grey cuts down the sweetness of the collar and full-ish skirt.


While at the same time making a neutral colour so interesting!

I changed up the skirt pleating from my usual a little by leaving it flat for a few inches across the front and then knife pleating it all the way to the centre back. I think it’s definitely something I’ll do again.


Unfortunately, it appears I may not have shortened the bodice back quite as much at the waist as I ought to have done but at least I’m usually completely unaware of it, not being able to see it myself! Lol It’s tough to tell from the photo but I did a rather nice hand-picked zipper for this one, too.


A couple of detail shots, and once again, photo credit to Taylor (we had a whirlwind photoshoot day back in August)



And a look at the insides:


In addition to those awesome selvedges – which you can see at the side seam allowances – the best part about the insides of this dress is the polka dot binding.

It’s actually the reason why this dress became a UFO last year. I had not grey or white binding at the time, found this polka dot one on etsy, ordered it, but it never showed up. I eventually contacted the seller who very graciously sent a second cut of it. But by the time it all got sorted I was deep into Fall sewing and so left this until Spring/Summer.


The bodice lining fabric is leftover bits from a thrifted bedsheet I intended and cut to use as lining for a Victorian dress but ended up changing my mind about. It’s a thin cotton sateen with printed white pin dots that feels just wonderful as bodice lining!

The final awesome thing about this dress is that I believe I may be able to wear it year round! Although it’s awkward to try and wear a sweater over it I can wear long-sleeved tops under it and with a slip I have I can wear tights with it too!

Do you tend to make your you-sewn clothes be year round too or ever had it happen as a happy coincidence?

16 thoughts on “2016 Summer Frock Parade – Light Grey Cotton

  1. I totally agree, this is an awesome pairing of fabric to pattern! I would buy this off the rack in an instant. (Since my sewing skills extend only to embroidery and not producing useful things.)


    • Thank you! But don’t sell yourself short. Embroidery is beautiful and that makes it useful. What would life be without beautiful things?


  2. This is absolutely amazing (inside and out). I was trying to click on the flamingo border dress link and ran into this. How lovely. You lady sewists are really encouraging me to step up my sewing game and include hand sewing, seam finishing and the like.

    Now, off to try and find where I can post about your flamingo border print dress.

    Thank YOU for this share. 🙂

    Oh, one day I hope to be in the league of you ladies to post in this Curvy Sewing Collective. So encouraging!




  3. I started following your blog several months ago because I’m easing myself into historical costuming and that blue spencer you made is beyond inspiring! But I’ve also been trying to make vintage day-wear patterns and I have a question!

    I wanted to ask about the wrinkling in the back; I get the EXACT same kinda buckling when I try to sew vintage bodices and I haven’t figured out how to fix it. Is it a swayback adjustment? I’m relatively new to sewing and after a few muslins have thrown my hands up and tossed my muslins in the corner. How do you typically get the upper-back to lie smooth/blend beautifully into the waist?

    Hope you’re having a great day and thank you for taking the time to blog!


    • To be honest I don’t know much about the whole swayback thing, although it keeps popping up in sewing blogs. For me, I know that I’m short-waisted, I always have to cut off 1-2 inches from the length of bodice pieces. I also seem to need my bodice backs a little shorter than the fronts but sometimes I forget about this and/or forget to check and I end up with a little extra fabric back there. Unless you’re the height/proportions the patterns are drafted to vertical measurements will be as important for you as circumference ones.

      Does that help at all?


      • It’s definitely worth a shot!

        Before images I’ve seen of swayback adjustment usually look baggy in the back-waist rather than in the upper back, which is why I got so excited when I saw you seem to have the same problem I do (hope that doesn’t sound rude!). That makes sense; I still haven’t taken my vertical measurements and I’m still figuring out the adjustments I need to make for commercial patterns.

        Thanks for the help!


  4. Love your dresses, and your finishing is amazing! The inside of the dress looks as good as the outside! I notice that you’ve sewn some bias tape around the zipper and was wondering how you did that. I like to have nice finished seams – I use flat felled seams most of the time – but struggle with the seams around the zipper. Thanks!!


    • Thank you so much! The bias binding at the back of the dress is actually really easy. I sew the bias binding to each edge of the fabric before I sew the back seam, so it’s already on there by the time I insert the zipper. Does that help?


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