Hot! The “Union Jack Peek-a-Boo Dress” | Debi Fry

The Facts

Fabric: 2.5 metres red gabardine £20 from Edinburgh Fabrics, 0.5 metres union jack silk lining material £2.50
Pattern: McCall 3678
Year: c.  1940
Notions: 10 buttons from Edinburgh Fabrics £5

Time to complete: 12 hours

Wear again? YES!!!! I love it!!!!

Total Cost: ~£27.50

I've been waiting for the perfect opportunity to sew up this amazing pattern! And it came in the form of the UK Sew Weekly meet-up that happened this last Saturday in London!


It all started when I found this amazing union jack lining material in my local fabric store.  Originally I had thought of making up a 1940's shirtwaist dress in the material.  The more I thought about it, the more doubtful I became about using it as the main material for a dress BUT I did want to use it somehow!  I pulled out all the potential patterns from my stash and asked David to pick one!  He picked one of my favourites–this amazing hooded button front dress.  David also picked out the fabric at the store.  I was originally thinking blue but they didn't have anything that matched the union jack royal blue and then we spotted this red gabardine and it was perfect!

I had a plan! The only problem?? You may recall that I finished and posted my last sew weekly dress in the wee hours of Friday morning and the meet-up was on Saturday (I had to catch a 6am train) and I still had to work on Friday!  Eeep!  Well, I started right away after finishing my workday on Friday and get this, I sewed all night long!!!  I made my train in the morning and was still hemming the dress, tacking the facing and sewing on the buttons on the train! hehehe!  I think it was the excitement of the dress coupled with the excitement of meeting everyone that kept me going! 

The dress was very straightforward to sew up.  It's basically a princess seamed dress with pleated sleeve caps and straight sleeves.  The hood is just two seams and the lining is just the facing of the hood and the pockets.  This was my first time sewing with princess seams and I really like it! It makes it easy to fit the dress and is such a nice effect!  Sewing with gabardine was also a nice change from last week's loose weave fabric–gabardine is super stable and yet not too heavy!

DSC02029 I absolutely love the back of the dress and how it drapes!  It's super comfortable!!! Initially I was very nervous about all the buttons down the front, but I just made sure to mark them really well (all 1 inch from the edge).  In addition, the pattern pieces have the buttonhole placement marks on them–so that helped! 


The only changes I made to the pattern were to take 1 inch off the length from the bodice and 1.5 inches off the length at the midway point in the skirt.  I also lengthened the sleeves by adding sleeve cuffs.

The hood is one of my favourite parts of the dress!  You can't really tell it's a union jack flag fabric from far-away.  It's a fun print and makes me smile everytime I see it (and will always remind me of our first meet-up!)

Here's a close-up of the pocket flaps:DSC01982
The pockets came in super handy with underground cards and my mobile phone!

The photos below were taken by Sofia on the day of the meet-up…I love the colouring her camera gives to the photos:

Picture 49
The UK Sew Weekly meet-up was so much fun! It was really the most perfect day ever.  Read more details about the day on my blog posts here and here and a big thank you for the photos from the ladies at the meet-up and there are loads more photos on the Sew Weekly Sewing Circle!  We also met-up with Charlotte who blogs over at Tuppence Ha'Penny and who also contributed to the Sew Weekly Common Thread Project at the fabric stores:

Picture 46
Here we all are in our red, white and blue finest:

DSC01936Thank you ladies for such a fantastic day! I had so much fun and am looking forward to our next meet-up!!


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!


Comments are closed.

  1. margueritedesigns

    Oooh I get to be the first one to comment – great to see it once again Debi!

  2. judy roberson

    I just love, love ,love this dress. The hood is just fantastic.YOu look lovely in red..

  3. I admit, I admired your dress a lot… and aren’t princess seams nice? So easy to alter to fit if necessary ;) It looks wonderful!

  4. I’ve never come across a dress with a hood before and I had thought that you’d made a coat. It is a lovely pattern and I do like the cheeky union jacks peeking out.

  5. I too thought it was a fabulous coat when I first saw the photos of the meet up. It makes an interesting dress and my fave is the hood, too cute! And the back looks great!

  6. That’s such a neat idea, a hooded dress! And I am in awe (IN AWE!) of how you managed to present last week’s dress on Friday, go to work, AND THEN get going on this dress pattern for the next day. Oh my! I can’t believe you had the energy or the concentration on the train to do those finishes. You are my hero :)

  7. I too love your dress and appreciate seeing the details of the hood and pocket flaps, perfect material for the day. And such a nice addition to your sewn wardrobe. I’m sure this will be a go-to piece!
    It is so nice that David helps with thoughtful advice and suggestions. Sometimes a trusted second party really helps!
    So well done!

  8. This is divine! I love the hoodie and the Union Jack detail – way to go!

  9. Thanks Diane! It was so fabulous meeting you and I’ve been loving reliving the experience through your blog posts (fabulous pictures) as well!!

  10. Thanks so much Judy! We were sad you couldn’t be with us but loved your gifts! Thanks again!!!

  11. Thanks Rachel!! Fitting was a dream…princess seams are great and I definitely want to sew up more garments with those sort of lines!!

  12. Thanks Jen! The Union Jack peeking out is one of my favourite parts!!

  13. Thanks Adey! I had so much fun making it!!

  14. I was VERY tired on Sunday..I think I slept in until 1:30pm… ;) It’s definitely very unusual for me…but I was so excited so I think that helped!!

  15. Thanks Cathe! I love it when David helps pick out fact, I’m thinking that for a future theme I’ll just set him loose in the sewing room and see what he comes up with ;) Oh and this is DEFINITELY going to be a go to dress…I’m already contemplating the short sleeve version!!

  16. Thanks Sarah! I loved your skirt this week as well! We’ll have to try and all meet up at some point this year!!!

  17. Debi it drapes so well and I really love the length and hood, it’s a great pattern too, well done.

  18. This is like my most favourite thing ever. I’ve probably said that about most of the things you’ve made, but repetition doesn’t make it any less true! I was completely in awe of this when I first saw it on the Sewing Circle – that hood is so darn cute! You look fantastic

  19. Thanks Kazz! I love your creation this week too!!!

  20. Thanks Amanda :) I love it too!!!

  21. The skirt is really a wonderful fullness, and I’ve never seen a dress with a hood in vintage patterns before! They remind me of early 1990s, as I think I had a green one with white polka dots! Your dress is certainly not 90s world though!
    Great job on finishing it all up for the big day!

  22. Thanks Veronica!! Isn’t it funny how the fashions recycle through time? I never knew hoods were big in early 40’s fashion until I started sewing with vintage patterns! I love the silhouette!