Hot! The “I know it’s silly” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: Wool from stash from a million years ago and some Cotton Lycra Sateen $14.95/m

Pattern: McCalls 9400

Year: 1950’s

Notions: Zip

Time to complete: It’s been years!

First worn: For the photos

Wear again: Can’t wait

Total Cost: I’m calling it nothing

My reality is that I don’t really have anywhere to wear a LBD, or a BBD in my case given that I am a size 16 and just under 5’10 (175cms).

The reality is that I have a tonne of washing to do every week. My husband is a tiler – he gets absolutely filthy every day. You can imagine, dust from cutting hundreds of tiles, glue, grout and building site filth come home with him.

We have two washing machines and two clothes lines. Don’t forget the two boys. My laundry mountain is only obliterated a couple of time a year!

So I was thinking about how silly it was that I was doing my best 50’s model posing, with my clothesline in the background – mocking me with its “I’ll be seeing you later!”, while wearing my big black dress with it big petticoat underneath.

But you know what? After weeks of fulfilling everyone else’s expectations of me – two weeks of running the kids around for the holidays, one day spent at the hospital after Noah had a terrific trampolining accident and put a tooth through his face (he’s all better, now thanks to the plastic surgeons), it felt good to do something for me.

This was a UFO – I think I started it first four years ago – it was my the first attempt using a 50’s pattern I decided to use some wool that had been sitting around since my student days – and that yes, it would be a great idea to use some for a toile! Lookey, lookey – perfect fit – love that!

It was definitely silly to use beautiful pure wool for a toile, not a mistake I would make these days. But it was the first challenging garment I had made in years so I threw caution to the wind.

This has become my favourite dress pattern and I have made a the skirt many times (omitting the front pleat).

To finish it I had to overlock all the seams, insert the zip, and bind the neckline and sleeves. I did the binding in a Cotton Lycra Sateen – it’s not sitting quite flat – but I can live with it.

Hat wrangling!

Thanks to my lovely friend and sewing buddy, Toni for help with the hem – we decided we should buy one of those chalk puffer hemming devices.

So now I have a black dress on standby for any occasion – not silly at all is it?

More on the accessories and more photos on my blog



Trish lives in Sydney and has way more thrifted patterns and fabric than her fair share. She studied fashion design in her former life and sews while trying to not to burn the dinner.


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  1. Look at you!! Sorry to hear about your son, I’m glad he’s doing better now. The dress is a stunner, great job at finishing it up : )

  2. Beautiful dress! Yikes about your son’s tooth-trampoline incident, but great that he’s better. I’m sure you’ll find a dinner date to which you can wear the dress. And if not, just wear it to go grocery shopping! :D

    • Thanks Adri, it was quite scarey especially as he had to have anaesthetic, but he is a tough cookie. I just booked a 40th birthday dinner for my brother – bit excited about that, I might wear it to that – cheers!

  3. Not a silly dress at all!! I love it and you so deserve to wear it and be pretty in it..[ While wearing this gorgeous dress..for get about the piles of laundry.ha]
    So sorry about your son.. Proud he’s better.
    Happy sewing.

  4. The dress is lovely and having a black dress “just in case” is not silly but very resourceful. Still wearing it when your dusty husband comes home from work might be another cup of tea. ;)
    When the occasion comes that you need a special dress for, there usually is no time to make one and the choices in stores are limited. So yay for planning ahead. ;)

  5. Wow, my youngest brother split the top lip open as my parents were go out for the evening, it feels like yesterday. Boy those kind of accident make your heart stop. Glad to hear all is well and that you were able to relax and sew..

    • Wow, Krista, I bet that totally ruined their evening! I get strangely calm in those situtions and underreact (totally unlike me). Yes the sewing was definately therapeutic. Thanks :)

  6. just gorgeous! an ever lasting classic. well done!!

  7. That’s a beautiful dress. I started out making a LBD this week but didn’t finish it….perhaps this is the way of the best LBDs? Remaining UFOs for a few years before completion….we’ll see. Love the bodice on yours and that hem looks ace. So sorry about poor Noah, that must be so incredibly painful. Poor lamb…tho glad to hear he’s on the mend.

    • He handled it remarkably well Tempest. It was actually it was good to support him through it – made us closer. We bonded over Plants Vs. Zombies – your kids into that? I adore what you made this week – hang the LBD – you’d never wear it!

      • Thank you so much. No we’re staying away from Plants vs. Zombies because it looks too addictive. Currently I’m addicted to Snoopy’s Street Fair (which I think is by the same makers), Goth Child (15) is obsessed with creating art and fiction to post on Deviant Art and Melchett (9 almost 10) is into the Magic Piano app. I have plans for the LBD to make it smart but still quirky….I just need to find a challenge it can fit into ;)

  8. Awesome! I had to research the pattern so I could understand the construction. I love the gathered inset over the bust. It looks really nice in the solid color too. Cute hate and lovely photos.

  9. Thanks Barbara, I added a note about the “Bosum” on my blog post if you care to check it out. The solid colour shows up the details well, which usually get lost in a print – a good piece of information to retain from this experience!

  10. Fabulous! Of course you need a gorgeous not-so-little black dress to go to dinner and do the laundry in!

    Poor Noah. Hope he is better soon.

  11. Wow Trish, you’ve done an amazing job on this dress and it suits you beautifully. Glad to hear little Noah is doing okay poor little man.

    I need to ask, do you work in a vintage shop or trade vintage? All those photos on Instagram? or is this your own private collection because it sure is impressive.

    • Thanks Darl, for the kind thoughts.

      Um, no I don’t work in a Vintage shop. I just op shop constantly and I can’t buy everything – so I snap away. But I do have a lot of “junk” as my husband calls it – and to be honest its a source of friction between us. Then some of the collection may go on Ebay – but I am not a hard core seller. Trouble is, I am so sentimental about my childhood in NZ and things my Nana had (who died many years ago) that I like them around because they spark happy memories. I hear this is common with creative people! I will make an effort to hashtag what’s mine and what’s not in future!

  12. You DESERVE it! Not remotely silly.

  13. It not silly, it’s fantastic! What a lovely dress to have waiting in the closet! Well done finishing a UFO. Glad to hear your son is on the mend.

  14. Thanks Jennifer, it feels so strange being organized!

  15. You look absolutely lovely! I myself have a LBD which I keep safely tucked away in a drawer for protection, as I have a long-haired Himalayan cat.