Nicole's Vintage Pledge Project: Blue Leopard Loveliness

Nicole of Nicole Needles is a lover of classic, figure-hugging 50s style, always complete with red lipstick and perfect hair. Her vintage pledge project is a vision in blue:

Pattern Details
Hello! Having agreed to sew something for the Vintage Pledge in July, it gave me a good excuse to make this pattern from my collection, Vogue 1084 from 1956:
I bought this pattern in a sale a while ago, then took it out from time to time to look at that lovely neckline. I have a thing about dresses with stuff going on at the back - don't know why! I think it's partly the idea of turning on your heel and swishing out of a room dramatically, and as you do your outfit makes a final statement as you leave. Not that I'm often in that situation, but I like to daydream...

Fabric and Notions
I also had this fabric from Ikea, which is part of their collaboration with Katie Eary:

Have a look at the collection - there are some other brilliant fabrics, as well as some fab homewares. I bought the fabric on a whim, with no project in mind. It's a pre-cut piece of cotton, measuring 3 metres in length, 150 cm in width - what was I going to do with all of that blue leopard! It sat to one side for a little while, then the request for this July Vintage Pledge came along, and fabric and pattern seemed like the perfect combination.

When I bought this pattern, I made a mistake and bought the wrong size - must've been tired or something... I bought size 6 - 12, but I'm more of a 14 really, so I graded it up then made a toile of the bodice just to be on the safe side. (I'll go into how I did that another time) I decided it fit pretty well! The only further adjustment I made was a slight sway back adjustment to the back bodice. Besides fitting, the toile was good practice for constructing the dress. Though it appears simple, there are a lot of details in the construction which you have to plan for, as it were, or else you'll be unpicking a great deal!

Here's what I mean in more detail:

I've circled the areas where you have to take extra care!

Sewing it Up
Because the sleeve is cut in one with the bodice, on the front you have to reinforce with a small machine stitch, then snip into the bodice to make attaching the side front easier. I also ironed a little patch of interfacing to these snipped areas for extra reinforcement. Then on the back, when sewing on the facing, you have to 'interrupt' your stitching along the neckline when you reach the armhole and shoulder seams. This makes it all easier to turn and lie flat.
So other than having to take extra care over where some seams meet and the facing, the rest of the dress goes together pretty easily.

There's a cute little bow at the back which slots through a gap in the centre back seam:

The circumference of this skirt is huuuge! 

I was considering being lazy and just machining it, but the stitching just stood out too much. I bound the edge with bias tape, then spent an evening slip stitching it in place. I also bound and hand stitched the sleeve hems:
The instructions don't call for any lining; I generally don't line the bodices of dresses because I don't like the feeling of all those layers. To keep the insides neat I used French seams where possible, and overlocked the rest. But I almost always line the skirt. I wanted to add some extra fullness to this skirt, especially at the back, so I added a gathered frill at the hem of the lining. Luckily this lining was only £1 per metre - I think most of the 3 metres I bought went into this frill!:
But it was worth the effort - it provides extra swishi-ness and the skirt is the right amount of full without being too puffy. And using the rolled hem on the overlocker made it so quick and neat.

Final Verdict
I can't wait to find an excuse to wear this dress - luckily I have a wedding to attend in August, so it will get an outing then. Otherwise, I might just wear it to Sainsbury's, I love it so much!

See you soon!

Thanks Nicole, what a stunning dress. I absolutely love the back neckline detail and am so impressed with the Ikea fabric - looks like a range worth checking out.

K x


  1. Absolutely beautiful!! I love the fabric x

  2. This is just so gorgeous! I love that back. I wish I could get my slip-stitching to look as neat as that too!

    1. I know, my hand sewing quite often comes undone, it's pretty messy!

  3. Absolutely gorgeous dress!! And the fit is perfect, the whole thing looks wonderful on you!

  4. I also love that neckline. The whole dress is stunning.

  5. Love the shape. The skirt's a bit different as well as the bodice, and the blue leopard print is genius. Looks like you matched your bias binding to your lining fabric too?

  6. Beautiful! I love how you have added fullness with the frilly lining.


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