A simply sewn summer dress in sixties style
Frida Kahlo said:
“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”
In our case when it comes to sewing – Bernina Feet will make you fly! Especially with this ideal summer dress which flatters the female form. For me the perfect thing to do when I am tired is to sew something for myself. It is my therapy. Time just for me and I listen to some great music and afterwards I not only feel revitalized but I have something new to wear. It is a Win/Win.
I’ve always been a Frida fan so when I saw the fabric for sale at the Festival of Quilts exhibition in Birmingham I had to have it. I have to also say here that I have enough fabric at home to open a small shop so I had the devil on one side with saying buy, buy, buy but on the other side sensible side was saying “you’ve got enough fabric and where are you going to wear this anyway”
So along came lockdown with home office and masks. Before I started sewing I just knew, I needed to sort out my sewing room in a big way. I come from a family that taught me not to waste anything and I keep everything, as you just never know when you might need it. I cannot help it – it is the Kiwi way!
My daughter Eliza (15) was a great help with the sort out. After enjoying the teachings of Marie Kondo and Queer Eye on Netflix (in an endeavor to get her to watch more educational shows lol) – she went to work sorting every thread, ribbon and button…
I now have clarity!
Free pattern for a sixties dress by Mary Quant
In amongst the fabric stash “Frida” was re-discovered. Then when I saw the Victoria and Albert Museum, London offer on Facebook for the free Mary Quant Georgie dress pattern, I knew they were a friendship made in heaven.
I am not personally not a fan of A4 printing of patterns as it usually takes so long to prepare but this was quite quick to stick together because the skirt requires just a length of fabric. What took the longest in the whole project was sorting out the pattern matching and presenting the “Frida’s” printed on the fabric, nicely on my body.
Sew the darts with a post-it
I first sewed the darts, something I honestly do not enjoy – mostly the tying off part. I use a quick method using a post-it and not to forget the great markings on the slide-on table.
I am a great believer in pressing as you go. So I always press everything very carefully which helps in a professional finish.
Use the BERNINA Ruffler Attachment
The Pattern called for soft gathers but I knew even though I am not really the ruffle type this was a great chance to use the BERNINA Ruffler Attachment.
I tested it first with a length of scrap to work out how deep the ruffles should be and how much fabric I would need. I didn’t quite have enough fabric but because the print was so busy I was able to patch the pieces together to have enough for all the ruffles required. I decided on pleating every 6th stitch.
Thanks to the freearm I was able to easily attach the ruffles at the bottom of the sleeves. My cat Paua is always around when it’s time to sew and he is great company.
As I didn’t line the dress, to keep it light and summery I decided to overlock / serge the seams instead (this kept my daughter busy) neatening all the seams.
Neckline with “Hong Kong finish”
On the neckline, I added a “Hong Kong finish” with bias binding and the wonderful binder attachment #88.
Never without my Edge Stitching Foot!
All the edge stitching was sewn in a flash using my absolute favorite BERNINA accessory the Edge Stitching Foot #10D. No sewer should be without a Foot 10 of some kind. As an impatient sewer, this keeps me on the straight and narrow.
Invisible zipper with BERNINA foot #35
I put invisible zippers in all my dresses and skirts. Foot #35 makes light work of this task.
I placed my zipper in the side of this dress because of the pattern matching on the back.
Ready is the summer dress in sixties style!
This was a relatively simple dress to sew and I think it is a good style, flattering for many figures especially after the lockdown time with a couple more kilos. 🙂
It is possible to gather or pleat the skirt. I used the Ruffler again for this job. So quick! The time you save with this handy tool makes up for its cost. This is something people do not factor in when buying accessories.
So if you a looking for a dress for summer this is perfect. I challenge you to find some fabric you already have and not only bring it to life but also I guarantee you will also feel great wearing it.
Have fun! 🙂