1970s dress restyle and the Great British Sewing Bee

On Saturday I promised a completed sewing project, and here one is. A couple of weeks ago I picked up this dress in the Vintage Oxfam shop in town.

I'm a bit perplexed about where this dress came from. Given some of the sewing techniques and quality I would suspect this might be a handmade dress, but then it seems to have the remains of a label sewn in by the zip. Whether handmade or not, I think this is a really cute dress, although I have a couple of issues with it. The zip is very badly inserted and so visible on the back (you'll have to trust me on this as I forgot to take a photo) and I find the neckline too high. 

I've blogged before about my mixed feeling on altering dresses made by someone else, but I recently bit the bullet and made the alterations to the first dress in this post.When I first wore it to work after the alteration I received lots of compliments, so I decided to dive in and make some alterations to this dress.

The main change I wanted to make was to the neckline, and I wasn't sure what to do until I remembered I had recently picked up some vintage dress patterns.

I decided this pattern had the best neckline, so used the pattern pieces to cut a new neckline on the dress. I then cut the facing piece from some white fabric in my stash, and attached the two. The result is, I think, not to shabby.

I also replaced the zip with a new lapped zipper; a technique I learnt last year and have fallen in love with.

As I'm sure most of you are aware, the Great British Sewing Bee is back on TV. Described by the Daily Mail as 'More gripping than The Wire. More innovative than Breaking Bad', The Guardian took a different tack offering 'an apathetic shrug'. Personally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, I am a fan and I suspect that a fair review of the programme is somewhere between the two given above. As to the contestants I'm not sure who my favourite is this year. I have a soft spot for my country woman Lynda, although Heather and her 'bucket of gin' could be fun too. Anyway, my point in introducing GBSB is that the two main techniques I used in this dress remake were things May and Patrick were looking for in the first two pattern challenges this series; facings and lapped zippers. So, how did I do? Well, my facing does not sit completely neatly at the front, so May wouldn't like that, but I think my hand sewing on the lapped zipper might just pass muster?


  1. Lapped zip excellent. I'm really enjoying the GBSB this year - the dress that Chinnolo made this week was fab!

  2. Wasn't it just! I wish I had the skills to make a dress like it :)

  3. Hi HazWool, I just found your blog via Ravelry as I searched for versions of ' The Perfect ChrIstmas Jumper' (yours is lovely by the way). Love your re-working of the 70's dress, the neckline is far better and well done on the lapped zip. And before I go a belated Happy Saint David's Day!

    1. Hi Crow Bird, thanks for your message and I'm glad you like the jumper, I really enjoyed knitting and wearing it. Always nice to hear from another Welsh girl :)


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