FO: Lucienne Day Shirtdress

I think I'm going to have to throw out all my other shirtdress patterns, because I love this one so much.
In spite of some misgivings about the first dress I made using this 1980s pattern, it was getting frequent wear so I knew another one would be a good idea. The fabric I've used this time is a reprint of a design by 1950s designer Lucienne Day. It's a cotton poplin from the John Lewis sale, reduced to £5.50/m from £14.95/m. As a 50s repro fabric, I felt it was a great match for a pattern that's '80s doing 50s' style. I am so enamoured with the dress and it's pretty much turned out exactly as I hoped.

As I've written this pattern up before, I'll just give a brief rundown.

Pattern Used
Style 4280 from 1984
Fabric & Notions
I just adore the fabric. It is lovely quality fabric although the softness means that it creases more than I would like, considering how infrequently I iron. I love the 50s fabric design. Lucienne and her husband Robin were both designers - he designed furniture and she designed textiles, with their work being quintessentially 20th century British in style. They worked as design consultants for John Lewis between 1962 and 1987, and this fabric was designed around 1954. Neatly, 30 years before this pattern was produced

Let's talk about pattern matching. I tried, I really did. I matched the notches on the front bodice up with the skirt, and those bits match OK. But all the pleats kind of threw things off so now I just hope this doesn't look too crazy. As for the pockets, I also tried! I managed to get the vertical lines matching, which is good, but I haven't exactly matched the pattern. I dunno, a more diligent seamstress would have made a better job, but I think it's fine. Honestly, I find that my best pattern matching happens by fluke - I never seem to be able to anticipate which bits are most important to match up!

On the back yoke I ran the pattern horizontally, which I think looks nice and handily combats the pattern matching aspect. You can see the vertical back pleat:

I used clear plastic buttons from my stash. I think they fit pretty well with the fabric style, and I have (like many of you, I suspect) so many buttons but struggle to find a matching set in a plain colour. At least this pattern only requires 4 buttons.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made
I added horizontal bust darts, as I knew these were required from my last version. These should have been a bit lower but function fine. I also meant to lengthen the bodice a little, but forgot.

Last time I was pretty confused by the placket instructions - this time around I took care to label everything really well and it was much easier. However the instructions could do with a bit more explanation about how the placket is supposed to sit at the top of the skirt as I've actually got it right both times, but not been sure because the instructions are vague.
This time around I used good quality woven interfacing I bought from The Stitchery. I cannot rave about this stuff enough, it's beautiful to use and works beautifully.
See that pattern matching across the front closure...total fluke! Didn't occur to me to try and match this area

Would you sew it again and do anything different next time?
Pretty sure I'll be sewing this again. I still want to make the McCalls 6696 but now I'm wondering if I have room for 2 great shirtdress patterns in my life. Could it be as good as this one?
 Without a belt - I think it works just as well
Cost
Pattern     Free in swap
Fabric      £16.50
Buttons    From stash, can't remember their origin but probably cost a few pence as part of a charity shop lot

Conclusion
I love the dress so much, and it is my 6th item for Vintage Pledge too. Still baffled by print matching though!

Now on to the next vintage pattern...

K x

p.s Bonus outtake for you, the result of my Current Husband's attempt to take 'naturalistic photos'...

56 comments:

  1. Love the out-take! Beautiful dress, the fabric is lovely. Thanks so much for your comment on my blog the other day. xx

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    1. Thank you Tamsin. This out-take wasn't the worst of the bunch, my husband told me he'd give me £5 if I put the worst one on my blog but that offer didn't tempt me!

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  2. Absolutely love it! Can totally see why it's a favourite. The print just seems to 'go' and the pattern matching is spot on. (P.S. Have you looked at the lack of pattern matching in some shop bought stuff? You are being too hard on yourself!)

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    1. Cheers Philippa, the matching isn't dreadful but I really just find it hard to remember to match the print sometimes, I just get so into the cutting of fabric!

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  3. Its a real beauty, the design is so balanced on you!

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    1. Thank you, I think this dress shape suits my shape well

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  4. It's the perfect dress. I love the color, style, and it looks good with or without a belt. Well done.

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    1. Thanks Patty, I'm delighted with it

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  5. So so lovely. Suits you prefectly! The fabric is prefect for the pattern.
    Jx

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  6. I'm a big fan of Lucienne Day textiles and that fabric is just lovely. I love this dress, you'd never believe it was an 80's pattern, it looks totally 50's! x

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    1. Cheers Jane, I do love how 50s it looks, that pattern is so great that I'm dying to make another already!

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  7. I really love it, the dress and the fabric. And the pattern matching looks great to me!

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  8. Very cute dress! And that fabric is just perfect. Lovely.

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  9. Gorgeous dress, I love the fabric, I do have a weakness for Lucienne Day designs. And you have even got matching shoes.

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    1. I love her designs too, I hope John Lewis reproduce some more of her fabrics

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  10. What a lovely day dress you've made! Great fabric choice (really like the clear buttons too) and I echo what others say - I think your pattern matching is great!

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  11. Love it! I have that fabric and although I feel like it wants to be a shirt dress I already have one in a similar colour so I had decided to make it into a betty dress. You are making me reconsider - that yoke is lovely!

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    1. It would also be lovely as a Betty dress, it's just so typically 50s it's hard to see past those shirtdress or fit and flare shapes!

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  12. It's gorgeous, I love those 80s does 50s shirt dresses, Now I think it looks amazeballs as it is but as you mentioned it, if you do ever want to pattern match exactly, just pin a piece of tracing paper over the pattern piece you're matchint, mark it on and then trace some of the pattern. Then you can use this to line up on the other pattern piece. I did a tutorial on pocket matching here, but it works for other bits too. Except I drew on hte pattern piece and since I wrote it I've started using a tracing paper overlay http://sentfrommyiron.blogspot.co.nz/2013/01/tutorial-matching-pattern-for-pocket.html

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    1. Thanks MrsC, as ever, great advice :-)

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  13. Gorgeous dress. I need a shirtdress in my life! I really like the pattern and it goes so well with that fabric. I love Lucienne Day too and bought the same fabric. I'm saving it up for a special project.

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    1. Oh great! Look forward to seeing what you make

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  14. This is really lovely. The fabric is great and such a pretty colour, and it works really well with the pattern.

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    1. Thank you Helen, I'm very chuffed with the fabric and pattern combo

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  15. Wow! It's a lovely dress on you and perfect fabric and colour!

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  16. I love this dress! Great fabric and really classic shape. Perfect!

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    1. Thank you Christine! I'm really delighted with it and love wearing it

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  17. Love it. It is a great pattern and suits that wonderful fabric really well. Looks fab on you.xx

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    1. Thank you, it felt like serendipity to match the pattern and fabric

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  18. Its a stunner! A perfect fit and the fabric rocks! x

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    1. Cheers Vix, I love the fabric and the fit is pretty good

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  19. Love your dress and the fabric is beautiful too.
    See me @ www.sewplus.blogspot.com

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  20. Fantastic dress, stylish *and* practical. Why have a never though of using clear buttons before? All my colour matching woes are over!

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    1. Of course, that needs to read 'have I never thought'

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    2. It definitely worked out well for this pattern as they look a bit like vintage glass ones

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  21. This is gorgeous! I love that fabric, and yey to accidental print matching! Also, there is always room for one more shirt dress pattern...

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    1. I definitely still do want to try the McCalls one, if I can make the time to work on fit

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  22. Awesome, awesome dress. Yup, just make these from now on. You kind of remind me of the Toy Story wallpaper... in a good way! :)

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    1. Ha ha, I'll take it as a compliment :-)

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  23. "Current Husband", hahaha! I do love this dress. It looks like such a fab pattern. I really will have to get a shifty on with mine. Your fabric is glorious and the pattern matching looks great to me. I love your matching shoes, you look ace. Xx

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    1. Thank you - yes I'd love to see your version too

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  24. This looks so great! It's got a lovely shape, and those big pockets are ace! I love that fabric too, what a find!

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    1. Thanks, I love the big pockets, hard to resist always shoving your hands in there!

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  25. This is absolutely perfect! It's a stunner of a dress! Go ahead and throw away all your other patterns! :)

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    1. Thanks! Maybe I will....(I couldn't really!)

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  26. This is such a gorgeous dress. I chanced upon your blog while I was trying to find out more of this shirt dress. You are so talented. Thank you for sharing. :)

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    1. Thanks for your comment, glad you like it :-)

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  27. Very cute. I've never worn a shirt-dress (looking furtively out from behind a pillar) but you make it look so good, I may have to try one on next time I'm out in the op shop. You look stunning in this pattern; first time visitor to your pretty blog... I'll be back for more !~!

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    1. Thanks, what a lovely comment! Glad you like the blog :-)

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