‘Reflection of the Moon’ Frock

The Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional festivity of the Chinese. It is a day families gather to admire the moon, eat mooncakes and drink tea. Children also get to carry candle lit lanterns in the park in the evening. I enjoyed the festivity as a kid but have not celebrated the festival since becoming a parent. My prince’s school is organizing a celebration this Friday with a recital of chinese poetry and performances by the kids, followed by a tasting of yummy festival dishes and a stroll round the park with lanterns! I think I’m more excited than the kids! So excited that I made a dress to wear to the event!

I called it the ‘Reflection of the Moon’ frock as this border print fabric reminded me of the moon’s reflection in water.

The sewing pattern is a vintage reprint. Butterick 5209 retro ’47. I chose to sew the version with sleeves.

When I was checking through the pattern, I noticed that the skirt pattern creates a centre seam at the front of the skirt so I decided to make my own pleated skirt. I used the 2m long fabric (I cut away the top portion with border print to be used for the bodice), folded and stitched pleats at the top. As the selvage with fringe was at the bottom, I left them as such and didn’t need to sew the hem. I love the look of the fringe at the bottom of the skirt. I might try the original skirt pattern the next time if I can find fabric with the right width and place the pattern on fold.

Given the warm weather here, I didn’t make a lining.  The fabric used is a cotton santeen fabric with a slight stretch. I inserted an invisible zipper. However, I didn’t like the idea of  the zipper ending at the bottom of the sleeves so I sewed around 2″ down from the sleeve before stitching in the zipper.

If you are planning to sew this dress, please DO NOT use a contrast fabric for the midriff band. The design of this dress is such that the band’s seams do not meet at the sides. See photo here.

I actually used a solid black fabric for the band but unpicked the pieces completely after my discovery. I am still not completly happy with how the sides look but the print fabric does look better than a solid color band that does not meet at the side seams. *sigh*. Good thing I had enough fabric for the additional pieces. Lessons learnt. I do think however that a contrasting fabric for the entire top and another fabric for the skirt could work wonderfully.

Did the dress resemble the pattern cover image? For most part, I think it does except for the waist and the skirt since I modified that completely. I think I need a 23″ waist to look like the image. LOL!

Nonetheless, other than the side view, I do love the front and back views of this dress, made more interesting with a border print fabric.

Resort 2011: Retro Inspiration!

I do not usually visit style.com. In fact, this is probably my second visit to the site. This time round something is distinctly different. I was glued to the site for hours as retro chic has become the buzzword for Resort 2011!

I saw lots of beautiful sheer fabric, scallop edges, soft ruffles and irresistible laces. Thereafter, I went in search of similar vintage sewing patterns for them. I didn’t manage to locate all of them but will update the list whenever I do make new discoveries. Please feel free to let me know if you spot something similar!

Kaftan by Chanel and 1970s Simplicity sewing pattern available at RetroModVintage. Or check out the instructions here.

Dress with scallop facing by Christian Dior and 1971 vintage Simplicity dress with Peter Pan collar available at OneLittleWindow. Scallop facing can be made using the Vain and Vapid tutorial. Flower belt tutorial at Ruffles & Stuff.

Dress with scallop neckline by Marc Jacob and 1960s vintage Simplicity sewing pattern available at mbchills. Or if you have the Built by Wendy Dresses book, this might work. Use the shift dress pattern, shorten the sleeves and hem. Draft your own neckline and facing pieces for the neckline, sleeves and hem.

Pleated Scallop Hem Dress by Collette Dannigan and 1950s Advance vintage sewing pattern available at tricotgirl. The major difference here is the designer dress has pleats which I am not  really sure how to create with a scallop hem.  I am guessing (and this is a super wild guess!) the way might be to create the pleats first, secure them at the bottom of the skirt before creating the scallop edges.  It could also be that the lace fabric the designer used came with scallop edges to start with :(

Black mini dress by Giambattista Valli and 1950s (I think) vintage Butterick sewing pattern available at mbchills

The styles were minimalist, mod, preppy with a good variation of wrap and shirt dress and bow blouses. The popular hues ranged from black, grey, white, green, purple, blue, orange, red and pink. Mostly in solid pastels.

Pink Dress with white facing by Louis Vuitton and 1970s Simplicity vintage sewing pattern available at frillygirlythings.

Christian Dior

2 piece outfit by Marc Jacob and 1966 vintage Simplicity sewing pattern available at vintagesewingandmore .

Pastel green dress by Versace and 1960s McCall’s Mod Dress sewing pattern available at SewingWithMissDandy


Military inspired Cape with shorts by Stella McCartney and 1960s McCall’s vintage sewing pattern available at sandritocat

The popular prints with designers this season include black and white prints, animal prints, nautical stripes and florals.

Sonia Rykiel

Floral Mod Inspired dress by Stella McCartney and 1960s Mod dress sewing pattern available at SewingWithMissDandy.

Swimsuit by Cynthia Rowley and 1965 Simplicity bathing suit sewing pattern available at Fragolina

Carolina Herrera


Dress by Givenchy and vintage simplicity sewing pattern available at Baby10

I am glad to have spent the time browsing through the many Resort 2011 collections. Most importantly, I saw gorgeous retro inspired designs brought to life in a big way by numerous designers. The experimentations with adaptation, new fabrics, colours and embellishments are just fabulous! Some of us might just own vintage sewing pattern similar to the designers’ creations above!   Now, I can’t wait to get back to sewing retro inspired garments!  If you have been procrastinating on a vintage sewing project, perhaps this will be a great time to start. Do you have a favorite from the outfits above? It’s too difficult for me to pick one. I am torn between Marc Jacob’s scallop neckline dress, Giambattista Valli’s little black dress and Chanel’s kaftan.

Oh! And if you have time, go check out the Louis Vuitton Fall 2010 Campaign shots!


Fashion and runway photos source: Style.com

Retro Hot Pink Dress Completed!

Yes! The Sew Convert has completed the retro hot pink dress based on vintage butterick B5032 pattern! The sewing pattern was first printed in the 1950s and I chose to sew the dress with belt. This is a relatively easy dress to make with clear instructions. I did however unpick the seams joining the top to the skirt twice to ensure that side seams matched and that the dart lines on top matched the centre of the skirt’s pleats. So, this is the first solid colour dress The Sew Convert has made. No, not really… The Sew Convert decided to pick a polka dot fabric for the belt:)

I was not happy with the first belt I made as it was a little too short so I lengthen it. Somehow, a handmade belt does not feel as secure and stable. Perhaps I should add a loop to the belt? I also shorten the length of the skirt to increase its wearability. When I compared the photo below with the pattern cover above, I must say the dress does resemble what’s promised remarkably. I’ve been looking at the dress, perhaps a little too much but I still can’t decide if I like it more with belt or without belt. Which do you prefer?

Dress without belt

Back of dress

Close up of belt and pleats details

Dress with belt

Side view of dress

What I love about this dress is the flattering fit and the colour. The pleats on the front are well positioned to hide the tummy:) I also think it is a versatile garment. Throw on a jacket and you can wear it to the office, off comes the jacket and you can meet friends for drinks. With or without belt. The Sew Convert remains indecisive…

Retro Hot Pink Dress: Work in Progress

I’m making a hot pink dress from Butterick B5032, a vintage sewing pattern. The dress is almost complete except that I have run out of zippers! Major bummer! Anyway, here’s a preview of it during my fitting. I also made a belt from a hot pink fabric with white polka dots. I think it’s cute but I actually like the dress without a belt too. Will show both versions when it’s done. Gotta go pick up my prince from school. Have a blessed day!

Retro Inspired Dresses

I managed to sew two retro inspired dresses this week and am totally delighted with them. I have no one to snap the photos for me today so I tried my best by standing on a stool and snapping my reflection in the mirror. Think it would have been hilarious if anyone was watching. Anyway, I used this vintage simplicity pattern I got from etsy for the first time. I chose the one with V-neck but shorten the dress length and the sleeves.

Dress Number 1: The Hummingbird dress

Full length view

Close up

The Sew Convert chose to make this dress in Patty Young’s hummingbird fabric (Flora & Fauna collection). The vintage pattern came with a 1.5cm seam allowance so it was ideal. It was my first attempt with vintage pattern so I was a little skeptical but the instructions were surprisingly easy to follow. It was also my first experience sewing a zipper and as The Sew Convert does not have a zipper foot, she chose a normal white zipper instead of an invisible zipper. Thank goodness it turned out all right, phew!

Dress Number 2: Scallop Hem Floral Mini Dress

Full length view

Front view

Side view

My second zipper

Off course, I was inspired by the vintage blouse I posted here. I adapted the sheath dress pattern from Wendy Mullin’s book Built By Wendy Dresses and used the vain and vapid tutorial for the scallop edge. I had to add seam allowance to the pattern and drew my own pockets.  Instead of sewing the hem area as suggested by the tutorial, I used bias tape to finish it so that it does not show on the right side of the dress. To ensure that the hem stays I stitched it to the sides of the dress,  the bottom seams of the pockets and the back centre seam. I used a thin orange bias tape for the pockets as I didn’t have piping but am happy with the end result.

For both dresses I adjusted the fit at the waist and hip area a little at the end. Two dresses in a week. That makes it a good week doesn’t it?

To make it an even better week ahead. Have you heard about the 30% sale at colette patterns? Don’t miss it, I know I won’t! I have been wanting to make the Rooibos and the Macaron dresses from colette. Drool!!!!