The “Paddington Goes to Scotland” Dress | Debi Fry
Fabric: 2 metres blue cotton broadcloth £4, 1 brushed cotton bedsheet for underlining £1
Pattern: McCall 8877 that I got on a recent trip to Notthingham at a vintage store, £1
Year: c. 1967
Notions: two vintage buttons from the amazing notions swap
Time to complete: 12 hours
Wear again? Yes!
Total Cost: ~£6
There's no children's book that conjurs up images of the UK quite like the lovable Paddington Bear. Paddington made his book debut in 1958 where he was found at the Paddington railway station in London by the Brown Family. They noticed a note attached to his coat which reads, "Please look after this bear. Thank you." Have you ever read the Paddington Bear books?
Paddington received his Wellington boots (his trademark) in the book Paddington Marches On which was written in 1964–only three years before the pattern I used to make my Paddington Bear outfit!! With his iconic colour scheme coupled with the fantastic backdrops of his stories, I thought Paddington Bear would be a fun theme for the Children's Literature week!!
Besides the Red Wellington boots, the thing that stands out most with Paddington Bear is his bright blue coat. I decided to borrow inspiration from his colour scheme to try my hand at another 1960's dress. McCall 8877 was a perfect fit. There was something about view B with the boatneck collar that made me think of Paddington's coat!
This pattern looks desceptively simple. How hard can four major pattern pieces be? Well, it wasn't really hard per se–just very time consuming. I think this is due to the fact that I decided to go for the optional underlining.
I decided to add underlining because the cotton broadcloth is a relatively thin fabric and it's just not the softest thing, even after washing. I've had a few lovely brushed cotton bedsheets in my stash for awhile now as I was planning to use them as muslin material. That worked perfectly as the underlining (which makes me want to get some more!). It's nice and soft, flexible and still relatively thin. I read up in Tasia's sewtionary all about underlining. I'm really glad I did underline because it feels like a substantial dress now–is a really nice weight AND I can wear it in Scotland (it's not exactly sweltering heat here…though to be fair before I give Scotland a bad weather reputation, today is lovely and warm and has been the whole week!)
The only bad thing about underlining? It takes longer!! Will you believe this dress took me longer to sew up than the 1932 gown I made two weeks ago? Hahaha…leave it to me to make the difficult projects easy and the easy projects difficult :)
I knew I had to take pictures at Edinburgh's Waverly Station–the main railway station in Scotland's capital. I love railway stations and this one is just fantastic! I also brought out the red rain boots and my black hat. I did find a really cheap plastic red rainhat online but with all the public holidays in the UK–it hasn't yet arrived! So you'll have to check back on my blog later in the week for photos once it arrives.
I definitely like this 1960's dress more than the last one I made. Though they are tricky dresses to wear–you have to stand just right so that it doesn't look like a completely shapeless sack. In fact, I was a bit lackluster sewing it this week, it wasn't really exciting me until I put in the collar. I think the collar totally makes this dress….too bad it was step 10 out of 11! Plus this fabric has a tendency to pick up lint and with the added underlayer, a tendency to wrinkle….no wonder they used a lot of polyester back then!
I am happy that I was able to use two buttons that I got from the super fabulous notions swap! How perfect are these buttons with the dress. You can see from the pattern cover that there are button details for view B. Originally I was going to use two other blue flower buttons that Amanda sent me but then these jumped up and said 'pick me, pick me' and I think they are perfect for the dress! whoohoo!