Hot! The “Paddington Goes to Scotland” Dress | Debi Fry




The Facts

DSC01622 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?

Picture 30
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.

DSC01626 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!

Picture 32

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!

The end.


Debi from My Happy Sewing Place

Debi Fry LOVES vintage patterns. She started sewing in 2009 and has been going since. In 2011, she participated in the Sew Weekly challenge and looks forward to the new challenges that lie in store!


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  1. Ah Paddington – there’s an old friend. I could have guessed who you were channelling even without the title. Such a bold colour against the railway stations – the collar buttons are a stylish touch.

  2. What an amazing colour that dress is- and so cute with the red boots. I have very fond memories of paddington bear as well.

  3. Paddington…. oh, yes. There’s one thing he says: “These things keep happening to me”. I can sign to that, too.
    I actually learned English with him. And now my children are spoonfed their first phrases through him, too. Nothing beats tradition ;-)
    Your drees and those boots look absolutely lovely.

  4. Paddington bear always reminds me of my favorite aunt as she used to always read it to me. What a fun challenge. I know what you mean with those sack-like dresses I’ve made a couple myself and they just didn’t work unless I used a belt or something.

  5. Paddington Bear! What a sweet idea, and such a perfect connection to the UK! Thank you for sharing the idea of using a bed sheet for underlinig, brilliant! You look so vibrant in your blue dress, red wellies and the orange/red train as your backdrop! I agree, the buttons are the perfect accent! I would say this is a “pick-me-up” dress, just so cheerful!
    On another note, at some point you need to share how you manage your time between working and sewing. From reading your blog, your job sounds so rewarding but also very emotionally draining, how do you find the energy to put so much love and detail into your sewing?

  6. Yay! I love Paddington! I had a coat that looked just like his at university but then I outgrew it a bit and had to pass it on to my sister :( I love the blue color of your dress and the collar is very nice. Underlining is my favorite thing to do on garments…even though it takes forever, I think it is totally worth it.

  7. judy roberson

    What a cute dress. And the book sounds wonderful..Great job.

  8. Too cute! What a creative way to channel Paddington.

  9. So cute!! I love the red wellies :)

  10. love the book, love the dress! great pattern

  11. Oh, I love Paddington! What a great homage.

  12. Such a cute inspiration, I love Paddington Bear!! And the red boots are such a nice touch (as is the note at the end). I just realized it but you seem to sport a lot of hats, which is awesome!

  13. Oh Debi! I love your version of Paddington!

  14. Paddington Bear never looked this good!! Great inspiration and interpretation – love it.

  15. OOH! Debi – this is so adorable! What a chic take on Paddington Bear!

  16. I love Paddington Bear and I really like your grown-up version of his clothes. The colors and style are perfect.

  17. This is so cute and I love the neckline too!

  18. such a cute inspiration..Love it with the red boots.

  19. Those buttons! CUTE!

  20. PERFECT PADDINGTON! i know what you mean about making the easy projects difficult. it must be something about punishing ourselves for picking something simple.

  21. I remember Paddington! This is a great interpretation of the story – love the bright red boots, too!

  22. The hat! The boots! The dress! What a fantastic, perfect interpretation of Paddington! I can’t believe those buttons worked so well – they look so Paddington duffle coat! As always, you’re incredible.

  23. Thanks Jen! So glad you could guess it right away :)

  24. Thanks Alex–I’m super happy about the red boots too!

  25. That’s so great! I love that phrase too…he’s just so adorable!

  26. Yeah, I’m finding that the 60’s silhouette is really hit or miss with me….I think I much more prefer 30’s and 40’s….though it is a bit fun to have an ‘above the knee’ frock :)

  27. Hi Cathe! Thanks so much–you always leave the most wonderful comments!! That’s a great idea for a blog post–in fact one of my colleagues just asked me that today!! I will definitely do it (though I’ll have to think more about it first) :)

  28. I think I’m sold on underlining too! I loved the underlining on your ‘kidding around’ dress!!

  29. Thanks–I knew I didn’t want a duffle coat at the moment ;)

  30. Thanks Charlotte! I actually want to try some of the other views from the pattern too and see what they look like!

  31. I love hats!!! :) I’m going to be doing me-made June so I’ll definitely have to try and wear a lot of hats! This is actually the same hat I wore with the 1931 suit!

  32. Thanks so much Bethany!!

  33. So sweet! Thanks Debbie!

  34. Thanks Sarah! You should have seen the train workers looking at me? What IS she doing? hahahahha

  35. Thanks Sue…I really love Paddington’s color palette!

  36. Thanks Adey! The neckline really sold the dress for me….without the neckline it looks like a sack :)

  37. Thanks Casey! The boots are super comfy…I could wear them all the time!

  38. Thanks Veronica! I LOVED your dress this week!!!! sooooo beautiful!

  39. ha! I think you hit it on the button….interesting…very interesting

  40. Thanks Tasia! And thanks for the fab underlining posts….they really helped! I’m trying to make my garments as pretty on the inside as you do :)

  41. Thanks Amanda! The buttons are indeed perfect! Originally I was going to use the blue flower buttons as they are the exact same color but then these ones really jumped out and looked perfect!! Thanks again ;)

  42. This royal blue is wonderful!! Great work Debi! :D
    Red boots are soooooo lovely ^_^

  43. Thanks Alice! Loved checking out your blog!!!