A(nother) Sundress in September – Simplicity 7454

I’m pretty sentimental at the best of times but this year that sentimentality has kicked off to a WHOLE other level. One of my Mum’s lockdown projects has been sorting through old family photos and she’s been texting us a few of her favourites along the way.

Some of my favourite fashion memories come from the dresses I wore in the 70s and 80s. When we ‘grammed our two Sundresses for September earlier last month (here and here), I loved – so much – how both vintage patterns brought back such strong and happy memories for a group of followers who’d made them, or had them made, at the time of their original release.

I’ve had this pattern – Simplicity 7454 – sitting in my stash for a while now and in the years it’s been in my possession, has lost absolutely none of its appeal. Colette made it up in March 2012 and it’s been on my must-make list since then. I very much adore that a pattern originally published in 1976 still stands up almost 50 years on with this simple, timeless silhouette. Lovely Charlie also made one recently and I took a couple of style notes from her knockout red linen version. Namely, those side splits inspired by the similar style of Peppermint’s Wide Strap Maxi Dress.

We’ve had my chosen fabric for a while now but I only really noticed it as I was cutting some recently for an online order. It’s our Bedford Cayenne Vintage Washed Linen and the colour is glorious, sitting somewhere in between red and orange and awesome. Not my normal colour palette but glad to have found it in this very not normal year.

The dress is a pretty straightforward sew but lessons were learnt. I started out by sewing up a calico because I wanted to get that underarm/bust fit just right. The calico turned out to be a great fit but (Lesson 1) calico and linen are not one and the same. When it came to sewing up my linen version, I had this whispering voice telling me to “use tear-away, use tear-away” which I ignored (Lesson 2). Linen grows, and grow it did (Lesson 3). When I’d attached the facing, everything had stretched and with the pattern’s original tie detail at the back, it was all paperbag style and all wrong. So I cut out some Vilene shields, re-cut the top of my pattern pieces, took it in at the sides and replaced the back opening with an invisible zip. Live, learn, listen.

I substituted the patch pockets for in-seam ones instead. The pattern has you put buttonholes on the strap and buttons on the inside of the dress. I switched that around so I could feature these shell buttons that are just way too lovely to hide away.

Metro Melbourne’s still in Stage 4 but turning on some proper spring weather which is giving everyone here a much needed lift. So I’m happy to have this one sewn and ready for life on the other side of lockdown and beyond that 5km radius.