Behind the Seams: That 70s Frilly Dress and the drape wrap skirt

Going through my old photos, taking to mum about them and thinking about my childhood made me quite hopelessly nostalgic this week.  I ended up making a dress and a skirt. For The Sew Weekly Challenge, I’ve chosen to sew my interpretation of a 70s frilly dress made by mum as it was one of my most memorable dresses and was the last dress mum made me as a kid. To find out why, check out my TSW post here.

At the same time, I remembered that I loved wearing those batik wrap around skirts my parents bought from Malaysia all the time. They were the only skirts I wore but I was never photographed in one so that doesn’t qualify it for this week’s theme but that does not stop me from recreating my own interpretation of it. There are some quick photos of it below and I’m working on the tutorial so anyone interested can recreate this drape wrap easy to wear version I came up with. I’m totally in love with it!

But, first let’s see the types of dresses mum made me wear as a kid.

Mini Me in Dresses

Shirred dress. I must have loved that dress, I looked happy in it. I absolutely can’t remember LOL

The shirtdress. My cousin and I at grandma’s. I remembered liking that one cos it was in green, my fave color and had little orange/ white embroidered flowers on it.

Ruffle Sleeves dress. Grandma and I. No recollection of that dress at all. I was starting to cruise.

Puffy Sleeves Dress. Cheeky me and cousin at grandma’s again. I remembered loving to overfeed granddad’s singing birds with worms and giving them bath time a lil too often cos I just enjoyed seeing them hopping into the bathing cage.

Pom Pom Dress. I can’t get over this one. It’s a mini Taiwanese tribal costume I think. Cousin and I at grandma’s.

Lined Sheer Dress with Lace at my birthday party. This was the dress made by mum for my seventh birthday which I have chosen to recreate for TSW this week.

The Pattern

This 1970s boho hippie dress pattern tucked in my stash reminded me of mum’s creation with its small bell sleeves and lace trims.

The pattern was really straight forward and come with only six pieces and must have been the fastest dress I’ve finished for the Sew Weekly Challenge. I used a stretch lace fabric for the yoke/sleeves and lined cotton voile for the rest of the dress. The seams are finished with french seams. The dress did turn out shorter than I have hoped for as the sash has a tendency to pull up the skirt which I totally didn’t factor in.

I was browsing through Modcloth today and saw three other dresses which could be made from this pattern. Not bad for another questionable pattern cover.

The Gallery


The Drape Wrap Skirt

Here’s my interpretation the wrap skirts I loved wearing as a kid and the first skirt I have worn in a really long time.


I made the skirt in Chiffon and lined it with voile. I’m wearing it over my Mademoiselle Dress for these pictures as my red knit top is being washed. Do give me a few days to put together the tutorial. I hope someone will find it useful. Like the Kaftan tute, this will be for both kid’s and adult’s sizes.

Have a blessed week!

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30 thoughts on “Behind the Seams: That 70s Frilly Dress and the drape wrap skirt

  1. Your dress is so romantic and beautiful! I also love all your old pictures and childhood stories, they bring smile to my face 🙂

  2. Thank you so much Novita! The cherry blossom blooms you posted looked beautiful and I’m happy spring has arrived with your family enjoying it. I’m glad things are getting back to usual in Japan as we only get to hear about the dramas at the Fukushima plants on the news bulletins here.

  3. Very smart of you to use lace on the top and you totally transformed the boring pattern into this romantic dress. I love it! Shows how clever pairing of fabrics can do!

  4. Oh my goodness, you never cease to amaze me with the gorgeous creations you make! You are always so inspiring – I love the fabric choices you go for. The 70’s recreation dress is so dreamy, I love the lace. And I LOVE the red binding on the wrap skirt – what a great idea!!!

  5. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful memories with us! I LOVE Modcloth though it’s a bit pricey for my budget but their dresses are the kind I seriously want to recreate, you’ve done such a good job with that. I also really like skirts and can’t wait for your tutorial.

  6. Thank you Jessie! I try my best. I love Modcloth designs but their dresses are often too short for me and like you say they can be pricey especially with international shipping but its definitely a great source of inspiration!

  7. Oooh, pretty! I really think you did an amazing job creating “grown up” garments that still relate to your childhood. I actually enjoyed looking a the garments so much more knowing where the ideas came from. 🙂

  8. I live in Wyoming. It has been winter here for months and months. Your posts are a sunny inspiration – a huge thank you to you for all your work (and wonderful photos)

  9. I love seeing everyone’s pictures as a kid, it’s just funny that everyone used to wear crazy little outfits they’re parents put them in. I also really love this dress, probably one of my favorite so far in the challenges. The lace at the top and the short bell sleeves are great.

  10. Oh, wow! I love the dress (left you a comment at The Sew Weekly) and that wrap skirt is fabulous!! Looking forward to the tutorial. 🙂

  11. You are a natural at choosing fabric combos and styles, everything you make always looks a knockout! I don’t think it hurts being so slim and attractive either 🙂

  12. I decided I should comment more often here. I absolutely love everything you create. Oh to come and play in your closet! Thank you for endless inspiration.

  13. @Ashley: Thank you! I’m glad you like them, your morning glory dress is too cute!
    @Polly: I hope Spring will come to Wyoming soon and thank you so much for the encouraging words!
    @Molly: Aw, you made my day dear! Thanks so much!
    @Amanda: Thanks so much Amanda! I hope to get the tute done soon!
    @Sarah: Thank you for commenting on both blogs! I really appreciate that!
    @Regine: Modcloth has been a great source of inspiration for me so I visit it often just to browse 😛
    @Claire: Aw, thanks so much! And your red vintage dress is awesome! I love how you used the border print fabric!
    @Crystal: Thanks for the encouraging words and yes, I love to hear from you more often too!

  14. WOW! Your intreptation of the dress is wonderful. Yes thank you on the tute. I do wear wrap skirts and would enjoy making this version

  15. I adore your beautiful dress, with the lace at the top. Soooo pretty! You really brought out the very best in that pattern.
    And the pictures of you as a kid are adorably cute. They made me smile!

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