From Duvet Cover to 50s Day Dress

Ahoy there!

I think this dress has a distinctly nautical feel - it is a wearable muslin for the dress I am wearing to a wedding next weekend. Would you believe it is made from a duvet cover that cost £1? Well believe it, because it is. Much inspired by the items made by other sewing bloggers using sheets and duvets (thanks Miss P!) I had been keeping my eyes open in charity shops for something suitable. Some weeks ago I bought this double duvet cover:

 Vertically striped cover - the blue section is the bottom of the cover.

I'd already made a bodice muslin before this wearable muslin, but wanted to try the whole thing before I used my 'good' fabric. I decided that I'd try a combination of horizontal and vertical stripes together, I think to have both the skirt and bodice in either direction might look a bit overwhelming.

Skirt pieces cut out

Although the bodice muslin had shown I needed to remove a bit from the centre of the front and back pieces, there were still some fit issues with the bodice, as there was excess fabric at each side, and the armholes were a bit gappy.

Sides of bodice showing excess fabric pinned and loose (I know this looks like my body is missing, but Blogger seemingly can't handle putting 2 images beside each other)
Dress worn with crinoline (homemade! More in another post...)

I think I made an OK job of matching stripes on the bodice front - it was hard because of the princess seams. However I was so pleased with this that I totally forgot that the front and back would be joined together (duh) and didn't match those striped sections. I don't think it's too bad though, at least not enough to bother me.

Side showing zip, which I'm pretty proud of - still needs a hook fastener at the top

Here is my review of the project:

Pattern Used

Woman W142 pattern for a Day Dress of Tennis Dress. Purchased in January 2011 from eBay.

Incidentally, it was designed by Teddy Tinling, who is described on Wikipedia as "an English tennis player, fashion designer, spy and author". Sounds like an interesting man, eh?

Does it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? 
Yes, although the neckline is more rounded than in the illustration.

Were the instructions easy to follow? 
Yes, but it helped that I'm not a complete beginner, as I might have struggled a bit then.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? 
It was easy to make - no facings just bias bound edges. I was dreading the easing which had to be done to make the bodice pieces fit together, but actually I just took my time and it was fine.

Fabric & Notions 
Duvet cover, white bias binding, white zip and white thread.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made
I took in excess at the centre front and back of the bodice and at the sides of the bodice

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? 
I already have! Yes, I would recommend it, but not to a complete novice. 
Fabric     £1
Pattern   £6   (£12 divided by 2 since I've made it twice - I don't usually pay this much, rush of blood   to the head I think)
Zip         £0.90
Thread   £1 approx
Binding £2

Total = £10.90
I'm really happy with it, it's a classic style and I'm delighted with the fit.


  1. I LOVE this dress so much! What a fantastic idea to have the stripes going horizontally on the top and vertically on the skirt! So fantastic! Oh and I absolutely adore the top picture with your kitty!!

  2. Wow, what a fabulous dress! It doesn't even slightly look like a "duvet cover" print on the fabric either, it just looks like it was made for that dress!

  3. That is absolutely gorgeous! Love the print and the fit and the way your cat is looking at you is hilarious. x

  4. Love love love! The border on the skirt is great!

  5. oooooh, clever clever clever!!! Love the directional use of the print. I always said redheads are Genius'!

  6. You used the stripes and boarder print of the duvet cover (can't believe it was a duvet cover!!!) so well, it looks fanastic! And Tedding Tinling sounds like he was indeed a very interesting, and mysterious, person!!
    LOVE you cat too - she/he is looking at you and saying "stop posing for all those photos and just open the door for me will you!"

  7. What a fabulous dress! I love that you used the stripes in two directions and included the border on the skirt. Nice pattern too. I don't think you can go past princess seams they are always flattering. I love the way your cat is looking at you too! :)

  8. I absolutely love this dress! (and your cat) That is the definition of a true bargain!

  9. Thanks ladies! Dot is desperate to get into the cupboard, as she knows there are plastic bags in there that she can chew - naughty cat!

  10. This is a really professional looking make - you would NEVER believe it was an old duvet cover! I love the stripes going in different directions and the bias bound armholes and the fit it just perfect. Love it! x

  11. This is so gorgeous, Kerry. I am green with envy over here!

  12. Oh this is just lovely, there is no way anyone would ever have thought it had a previous life as a duvet cover!!

  13. Now I have seen this post earlier via my iPhone reader & I do love it! Have you got much wear out of it? I can imagine it's absolutely wonderful with a cardi too :-)

  14. Wow wow wow, this is so brilliant! Absolutely perfect! I have so many bits of bedding and curtains and sort of half-arsed ideas in my head for what I want to do with them... You've inspired me!

  15. Oh my goodness - this dress is from that pattern? I didn't recognise it at all! Well that settles my dilemma - this is definitely the first dress I ought to make from Janet's stash!


Thanks for reading and commenting - I love to hear what you have to say