The 3 Armhole dress – table cloth to beach cover up

3 armhole

I have been fascinated by these dress pattern, looks so so cute, and only one pattern piece – so little sewing, and in the 60s quite a few pattern companies did different variations of this dress.   I drafted a pattern that I thought would work, while based on a Butterick illustration here, I  put the shaping darts high (at armhole) and made a one piece pattern,  The nice thing about this pattern is you can make something from a length of of fabric you are precious about and still make something again from it later as the dress has only armhole cuts (I get preoccupied with a stash of fabric becoming too big and redundant!). 

The dress is straightforward to sew,  the darts are sewn, then the shoulder seams.   I hemmed the sides and hem, and then used bias binding to finish the armholes and neck. 

I had picked up tablecloth in a charity shop, and while the embroidery on it was lovely, the faded background was uneven, so I dyed it after making the dress.  The embroidery took the dye as well (I thought it might but would have been equally happy if it didn’t).  Great dress for the beach as a cover up, and if you wear a slip underneath it would work fine as a dress, or made shorter it makes a cute tunic.  

Comments online re 3 armhole dress suggest a similar design was in use in hospitals for patients? sounds better than the back-tie tunic that used be given out. 

If you wish for a copy of my drafted pattern for this, it can be downloaded from google drive in the pattern links tab at the top of this page.The 3 Armhole dress - table cloth to beach cover up


The Boat Neck Top – Trousers to Top

boat neck blouse upcycle trousers to top
I bought a skirt in a charity shop as I figured the print was fun and the lining had a good deal of fabric, but the skirt also fitted me and was incredibly comfortable (thanks to useful pockets), so it escaped the chop.  

I did need a blouse or  top to go with it as tee shirts and camis just looked a bit odd and as it had a vintage 50s style to it,  I thought a linen boat neck would work well.  I was a bit lazy and instead of drafting a proper bodice block, I adapted a wiggle dress pattern and then realised the back centre seam does its own thing……. so there were some modifications, actually there were a lot, and I ended up drafting a new bodice block in the end but kept the 4 waist darts (and side bust dart).  The hem finishes at the waist.

The top has a side zipper.  I am really happy with the top as the linen has that soft worn look and the black is now a dusky ink………………..  trousers are a good upcycle option as the cut lends itself to underarm width, and the straight grain is easy to figure – now to work on getting a dress out of them!

boat neck top upcycle linen trousers to top

Pattern Magic Hoody T Shirt – ‘dress to a tee’

pattern magic hoody t shirt - dress to a tee

The pattern magic books are pretty inspiring.  I know when I first came across them I was got such a  kick out of some of the quirky ideas and when I would show to some friends* the reaction was often simply – “but seriously, would you really wear that”  (probably about crushed can top!)  just goes to show, unbridled enthusiam is not always infectious.

pattern magic hoody t shirt - dress to a tee

This one was made from one long one euro jersey dress and the pattern was quick to draft, but I should have made the neckline slightly smaller but only by 1 cm all around.  The tee shirt is very wearable and very comfortable.  It was quick to make up (not having to finish seam edges helps).  I like the way the tee is plain to front, and draped to rear.  The tee shirt took up most of the fabric of the dress, and I cut bias strips from left overs to finish sleeve edges and neck.  

I have also made a second one from a jersey skirt.  I had to made this one a bit narrower at the base of tshirt as there was less fabric to play with, but it still worked fine.

*just to add, some of my lovely friends are not sewers so the reaction was probably to be expected!

Simplicity 4826 Purple Smocked Frock – skirt to dress

simplicity 4826 smocked dress

This is definitely a great upcycle as there were only tiny scraps left, and I forgot to take a photo of the skirt in its before state.  The fabric is a purple polyester shantung, so easy to sew and easy to launder. 

This pattern is so so quick.  I traced the smocking dots and then used carbon paper to apply to the dress front.  The direct smocking (unlike traditional english smocking) is super fast!   I managed to get the dress cut from the skirt, and the lining was re-used also.  The waistband became the belt (that still needs a buckle).  I prefer the dress without the belt, but I think my sister prefers it with the belt.  

The dress is simple to make, after cutting the front is smocked and some pleats tacked into place.  the back has a zipper and two neck darts and then the back and front are sewn together.  I lined the dress as there was no fabric for facings, and used bias binding on the neck and armholes after to strengthen them.    

This dress has found its way to my sisters wardrobe as I made it in her measurements.  and I intend to make another, and this one will include beading in the smocking.  I got this pattern from Amanda at OhSewCharming .

simplicity 4826

Simplicity 4826 Purple Smocked Frock - upcycle skirt to dress

Simplicity 4826 Purple Smocked Frock - upcycle skirt to dress

Simplicity 8825 – Jiffy Dress – duvet to dress

Simplicity 8825 - Jiffy Dress - duvet to dress

I love these jiffy dresses, they seem to have a ‘gal on the go’ feel to them.  I thought for some reason that this would be reversible also, which it is – kind of – except the ties i put inside to keep it in place, then are on the outside, but this could be changed.  This one was made from a duvet cover.  It uses a lot of fabric, as in effect you are making 4 dresses including the lining.  It would work well and the double layer gave a good hang to the dress, but the poly-cotton is a bit ‘flat’.  it would work well in an inexpensive light silk or with some nice braid/print/embroider detail,   I got this pattern from LadyJaneVintage on etsy (who I am convinced knows a lot of people personally in ups it got here so fast!)

The dress itself once cut was quick to make up, and as it was self lined, there were no seam finishes.  I am still unsure about neckline and hem length.  The neckline goes right to the neck and I think would work better as a slight boat neck, the hem length is on the knee on me, so it feels ‘in-between’ lenghts.

Simplicity 8825 - Jiffy Dress - duvet to dress

Simplicity 8825 - Jiffy Dress - duvet to dress

Simplicity 8825 - Jiffy Dress - duvet to dress