Monday, 14 September 2015

A Perfect Sundress for a Quick Family Roadtrip

As my little Brother and his fiance' had invited my husband and I to join them on a one night road trip up the coast to visit our Nanna and Pop, I thought it would be a perfect reason to sew myself a new dress (like I need a reason....) Even better, I thought why not make one from one of the Vintage Australian home journals that I received as a gift from my Nan a little while back. 

So I pulled out my home journals and decided on one that would look really cute made from a queen sized white sheet with pink lace/embroidered trim that I had purchased for $4 from Vinnies previously.

The first step as always is tracing out and grading up the pattern pieces.

I had a little trouble with the grading up, as I usually do not add any length to the pieces I grade up, but I realised when I was about to sew everything together that the Bodice Side pieces were going to be much too short if I wanted the gathered seam to sit anywhere near the bottom of my bust. Luckily I had plenty of fabric leftover, so I just re cut those pieces with approximately 1.5 inches extra on both the top and bottom.

For the skirt I just cut a 29" length from the end of the sheet with the pink embroidery, to use as a gathered skirt, instead of a 1/2 circle skirt from the pattern. I cut off a roughly 4" section, to use that for the bust detail, then cut the remaining piece in 2, so that I would have side side seams to put pockets into.

Bodice construction was reasonable simple, but a little different to how I would normally go about it (and a little different to the original instructions) I started by overlocking around all the pieces to stop any fraying, then attached the back neckline facing to the back bodice, clipped the seam, turned the facing inside and pressed. I then sewed the bodice front sides to each side of the bust detail piece and pressed those seams to the sides, continuing up the whole edge of the bodice front sides, which were then sewn down, hemming the neckline edge. Gathering stitches were then run along the bottom edge of each bodice front side, gathered in, then the whole lot was sewn to the Bodice lower front piece. The top edge of the bodice front sides were each gathered to fit the shoulders of the back bodice, then the shoulder seams were sewn in. The sleeves were then gently eased in and the side seams/bottom of the sleeves were sewn up, leaving a 3" opening on the left hand side for the zip.

Sewing the pocket to 1 side of the skirt

Sewing the 2 skirt pieces together

I used my usual method for inserting side seam pockets, just making sure I left enough space above the left pocket to insert the zip. Each of the 4 pocket pieces were sewn to each side edge of the skirt pieces, then the skirt pieces get sewn right sides together down the side seams, going out and around the edges of the pockets, leaving 4" above the left pocket open for the zip. The top edge then has 2 rows of gathering stitches sewn and pulled in to fit the bottom edge of the bodice, which was then sewn together. As a nice bonus with this fabric, the edge is already finished, so no need to hem, Woo! The downside to that is that you have to make sure the skirt pieces are the right length before adding the pockets or sewing it to the bodice.

At this point I tried on the dress and it just seemed a bit dowdy (and my husband admitted he thought it looked a bit like a nightie) So I unpicked a little bit of the side seam on the right, then cut and sewed 2 long ties out of some of the leftover sheet. I stitched one each to the sides (just on the back bodice on the left) of the dress, then finally got to putting in the invisible zip. With the ties added, I could use them to cinch in the waist a bit and give the dress a more flattering shape.

Finished (but not yet pressed)
I now realise that the bodice is loose enough that I didn't have to bother putting in a zip, oh well. I'm probably to lazy to bother taking it out now.

While I will freely admit a cotton dress may not be the most practical for car travel, as it wrinkles easily, and white is not a good colour for me as I am a bit messy, and pretty much guaranteed to spill/drop something on myself when wearing light colours, it was very comfortable to wear and I felt really cute wearing it, even if it still kinda looks like a nightie. It also turned out to be a great outfit for the beach, as my shoulders were covered and I had large pockets for collecting shells and pebbles.

And now for a few obligatory Holiday Photos (some taken by me on my tablet, others taken by my brother's fiance on her iphone)

The beach at Coffs Harbour (behind the Hoey Moey)

We left a message for other beach goers

Running away from the surf

Very serious manly bonding time

And a photobomb


Beach Beers

Don't worry, we took our empties home

Young Love.....
A very rare photo of my brother and I together
All these photos are just from the hour or two we spent at the beach (mostly while the boys were at the Hoey Moey drinking beer) The rest of the trip was spent catching up with family we don't get to see very often, and eating the most delicious 4 course meal that Nanna had cooked for us (seriously, must have taken days to make) but now we are all back home and back to the regular daily routine.


P.S. I've just realised after the fact that this counts towards my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge for 2015. As I am only counting Authentic Vintage Patterns made from fabric from my stash, this makes number 4, which means I've achieved my goal! Yay!


  1. I'll have to hit up the Hoey next time with you lot!

    1. Well I don't know about Brendy, but we will be heading up again sometime around Christmas/New Year/January

  2. Congrats on reaching your target! It's such an adorable dress - great for a beachy roadtrip.

    Katie @ Katie Writes Stuff

    1. Thanks Katie! It was a fairly conservative goal, as I often get too distracted by new fabric to commit to too many stash pledges. I'll be a bit more ambitious next year :)