Hot! The Keyhole Mod Mini | Adey Lim


The Facts

Fabric: 2 metres home decor fabric from ikea $14 and remnant navy denim
Pattern: Simplicity 9014
Year: c. 1970
Notions: Invisible zipper
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: August 2011
Wear again? Yes

Total Cost: ~$14

1970s fashion always reminds me of the mod mini dresses worn by my mum and aunties in old family photos. Born in the early 70s, I chose a mod mini dress pattern from the year 1970 which was still pretty much influenced by fashion of the 60s.

I don’t usually buy 1970s patterns and probably have less than 10 of them in my stash. I tend to go through phrases in pattern buying, looking out for different elements that attract me and this particular one was bought at a time when I was into keyhole openings.


But upon closer inspection of the pattern and instructions, it was the side front pieces that caught my attention. I remember reading in fashion magazines that using a dark contrast on the sides of the dress creates an illusion and results in an instant slimming effect.  I decided to try that out and was very pleased with the result. It was those side pieces that created shaping to the otherwise shapeless dress. No belts required too! Definitely a comfortable mod dress I would wear!


There were four front pieces, two back pieces, sleeves and facings in the pattern. Instead of using a belt buckle on the neckline, I sewed on a white button. The thickness of two layers of home decor fabric together with the heaviest interfacing, which I thought was necessary for the neckline to stand, made top-stitching difficult at the keyhole area and I wasn’t too pleased with how that looked close-up.

Nonetheless, I am always excited whenever I learn something new from a vintage pattern. They are my teachers really. This is the first time I have heard of and sewed a dart seam. I basically start by sewing a dart and continue to machine stitch a seam together all at one go. The  result- the dart in the photo below and the coming together of the side front pieces and and center front pieces. Pretty neat!

P8234416With the exception of the keyhole top-stitching, I am pretty happy with this dress. It was fun to sew and wear too!


Adey Sew Convert

A former kids' television channel manager turned stay home mum from Singapore, I hated sewing since I attended my first home economic class at the age of 14. In 2007, something miraculous happened when God blessed me with a second pregnancy. I discovered that I was expecting a baby girl. That changed everything. First I went crazy shopping for handmade clothes for her on etsy. Then I decided I needed to make something for her on my own. I was a month from my due date when I took an intensive 8-hour sewing class. In Dec 2008, I made a dress for my princess before she was born and have not stopped sewing since.


Comments are closed.

  1. Fabulous dress! I love the contrast side panels and the neckline of this dress! The fabric is in such a fun pattern too! YAY!

  2. Looks very cute! The contrast side panels are a great idea.

  3. It’s groovey baby! I love Ikea fabrics, i have my eye on a floral one at the moment! Nice matching of the checks.

  4. This is such a wonderful dress. I’m impressed with the vision you had for this dress. It doesn’t look nearly as exciting on the packet! And most importantly, you look fabulous in it!

  5. Adey, I love it, it’s a very fresh and super fun dress!

  6. Re the keyhole stitching…it might help to use a foot that will keep your stitches evenly spaced. I have a clear B foot with a metal guide for my Viking. It’s amazing. Also when you coming to a corner, try dropping the stitch length gradually until you hit 0 in the corner….as you leave the corner increase the length until you reach the regular length again. Also to make your top stitching really pop out, use a heavier weight thread like a buttonhole twist OR use your regular thread and a three-step stitch (which is on my Viking, but maybe not your machine). Your stitching should pop out big time! Finally, you might want to play around with your different options on scratch before top-stitching on your garment next time around.

  7. Adey, this dress is beautiful.. Love the key hole and the dark panels.. Looks great on you too.. Happy sewing.

  8. It’s fun to see design elements like the keyhole neckline repeating themselves over the decades. This dress is SOOOO cute on you! The plaid matching is perfect and the dart seams are beautifully done.
    I have a couple similar patterns in my stash but have been shying away from them because the necklines look uncomfortably high to me. Your lovely example makes me think it might be worth making some modifications.

  9. I just wrote a comment but it seemed to have gone away. so if it shows up and this is a duplicate, sorry!
    Anyway, just wanted to say that I love this dress and the side panels! One of my favorites on Sew Weekly for sure!

  10. Adey, this is fun incarnate! I did not even notice the dark side pieces until I read that part. Wonderful optical illusion! The key hole is adorable too.

  11. I love this! I usually shy away from the shapeless mod dresses,but the side panels in your dress so flattering! I am curious about Ikea fabric. Is it comfortable to wear?

  12. That is a super cute dress. Gotta make me one of those!

  13. I really like that and it’s quite fallish which is the season I’m thinking about sewing for now. Super cute!

  14. The side panels are so flattering and I love the button placket! Beautiful job, Adey!

  15. This is adorable. I’m curious—you don’t look like a size 14. Did you have to do any serious alterations? I ask, because I have a largish vintage 70’s pattern and I love the “sailor” look of it but hesitate to spend loads of time altering it, only to be disappointed in the final result…

  16. This looks great. :) – bionicvincent (Veronica Darlings huzbie)

  17. oh, I loved the model,very original, especially the detail on the neckline drop,an the side of a contrasting color.
    ps. sorry my bad english,I’am a Brazilian girl.

  18. S U P E R S T Y L I N Adey! Love this mod dress LOVE!!

  19. It looks lovely! Keyhole closure is very original and side panels are a great idea, it sure I will copy one day.

  20. great dress! Love the key hole detail.

  21. i continue to hate you.
    (and will also be copying you.)

  22. Love it! Didn’t even notice the side panels till I read the post!

  23. I’m amazed that Husbie made it here before me! But I agree Adey – it’s great styling, great photos and a really great concept! Like Sarah and her materials, you pushed the boundaries a little this week! I *think* I have a keyhole dress somewhere that’s totally worth trying now!

  24. Thank you so much Trish, I love collecting ikea fabrics too!

  25. Thank you so much! I am really thrilled the dress turned out better than I expected it to :)

  26. Thank you dear! It’s a fun dress to wear!

  27. Thank you so much for the tips. I need to visit spotlight to see if the Brother customer service lady can help. I’m not sure if my very basic machine comes with other foot (so far I have only used the basic one, zipper foot and buttonhole foot). I am very keen to try top stitching with a heavier weight thread, thank you for the great suggestion!

  28. Thank you Kathy, I hope you enjoy sewing and wearing the dress. I am sure the neckline modifications will be more than worth it!

  29. I am so flattered Christine! Thank you so much and you definitely made my day!

  30. Yay! That means the illusion plan worked wonders kekeke. Thank you so much Lizzy!

  31. Thanks Melissa, me too me too, that’s why this pattern is just darling and the side panels genius! Ikea has fabrics of different texture and weight. There are light weight ones which are very much like apparel fabrics and pretty comfy and there are home decor ones like these which are much thicker. I don’t find them uncomfortable at all but if you have sensitive skin, it might be worth the while to underline it. Hope that helps!

  32. Thanks Beth, hope to see your version!

  33. Thanks Jessie. I agree, I think this will be great for fall:)

  34. Thanks Mary K. I am actually a size 12 and so was the pattern I used. Sorry the image was taken from vintage wiki library as I didn’t snap a picture. I think it depends on how much bigger the pattern is. I usually buy patterns one size up or down as well as these are usually easy to modify. So sorry that I’m not much of a help in this area as I have yet to try altering something much bigger.

  35. Thank you BionicVincent! It’s so great to meet the man Veronica mentions almost every week! I love ALL the photos you snap for her. They are amazing! Please share some tips with us :)

  36. LOL! I was so surprised your hubby commented. Mine a lurker! Love to see your take on the keyhole dress!

  37. Thank you so much Rina! I have no problem understanding you so please don’t apologize :)

  38. Thank you Rosy! Hope to see its twin dress on you:)

  39. Thanks Tania! Appreciate it!

  40. Yay! Glad the illusion worked more than once kekeke!