Hot! The “Owls About It” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: about 3 metres of vintage black floral pinwale corduroy from an op shop in Milton for $5, and about half a metre of orange pinwale corduroy (gift from my mother)
Pattern: Simplicity 5368
Year: 1973
Notions: 9 blue heart-shaped buttons (no idea where they came from), some interfacing for the collar
Time to make: 6-and-a-half hours
First worn: to work on Friday
Wear again? yep
Total cost: $5
Bump: 23 weeks

Mix it up? Why, don’t mind if I do!

The lovely Trish sent me this pattern the other week – as soon as I pulled it from the parcel she sent, I just knew I had to use it for the mix-it-up challenge. (Thanks, Trish!)

The main challenge this week for me? Trying to figure out which combination of fabrics to use from my stash! So many pretty combinations of cottons called out to me, but no. I held firm, and made myself use something a bit heavier. After all, we’re now into winter here, folks. Summer-weight cotton and a maternity mini dress? Not the best time of year for that.

So out came this pinwale corduroy. Black with flowers, and orange with owls. Since it seemed like the sort of combination a preschooler would wear, I decided to just run with that and add heart-shaped buttons down the front. In bright blue. Indeed.

The pattern itself was nice and easy to put together. Quite a lot of gathering involved though, which felt a bit like a battle at times. Me and the thread verses the corduroy. Luckily, I won out every time. (*phew!*) Gathers to the yoke in front and back. Pockets gathered to the pocket cuffs. Sleeves gathered to the cuffs, and also at the sleeve heads. This is quite a gather-full dress.

(Also, who on earth heard of maternity mini dresses?!? I mean, really?? Seemed crazy to me. Which was another reason I had to make one.)

This dress got it’s first outing today to work, and also to our 23-week midwife appointment (we took the photos just down the road from the midwifes place – hows that for an amazing view?!? A stunning Wellington winter day as well. Cold and bright and a brilliant blue sky. Hence the sunglasses – the sun is just too bright without them this time of year.). I must admit to a bit of uncertainty about this dress (after all, it really does look like something a 4 year old would wear) but after a day in it, it’s all good. And hey, pockets are always awesome, right?!?

I’m still not sure whether it works better with the belt to draw in some of the volume around the back, or not. What do you reckon, ladies?

Before I forget, check out the orange fabric – it’s got little owls on branches all over it. So cute!



Kat stumbled upon The Sew Weekly at the end of 2010. Inspired by Mena's creations and dedication to sewing each week, Kat stitched along with all the weekly themes for 2011. Through The Sew Weekly and the girls who contribute to it, she deepened her passion for vintage styles and started amassing a large collection of vintage patterns. Now she needs an excuse to try using them all.


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  1. So cute! And oh my do I want that owl corduroy! It’s so, so adorable.

  2. I love everything about this, I think it’s a classic!
    Now I just need to convince my pregnant friend that she wants one of these. Shouldn’t be too hard since she loves quirky prints for non-work wear, last summer she was all about a dress in a banana print!

    • Thanks Stef!

      If it helps, you can tell her it’s super-comfy to wear while pregnant, and I reckon it’ll work with a belt chucked around it for a post-pregnancy wardrobe as well. ;-)

  3. Look at you looking fresh as a daisy, Bump 23 weeks woah! time is flying by. Yep pockets are awesome! this dress will be great for breast feeding in too methinks. Great mix-up Kat, looking forward to seeing your next bump pic.

  4. Cute! I love this shorter length on you.

  5. Love that rich orange next to the black. I like the without belt version, but then that’s entirely up to you.

  6. Hi Kat, I love it without the belt, it looks great on you! Keep the bump pictures coming.

  7. Looks like a great practical outfit that’s darn cute to boot. You are looking well and happy.

  8. That is super cute, and I would wear it pregnant or not. I actually remember wearing lots of smock mini dresses back in the ’70s, and they were often of mixed calico prints.

  9. You look so cute!! I love watching your belly grow!!

  10. Very becoming on you! Love the color and print combination. You and baby are looking great!

  11. Corduroy rocks! Especially over baby bumps. Very cute!

  12. I just love this.

  13. So glad you decided to ‘run with it’, those buttons are fab and I love the fun you’re clearly having with this dress. It’s lovely.