Hot! The Yellow Trellis Dress

The Facts:

Fabric: Yellow print curtain (Linen?) = $5
Pattern: Simplicity 9253 = $1.75 from Etsy
Year: 1971
Notions: cotton sheet for lining (leftover from my Long Road Trip blouse) = $0; invisible zip = $2
Time to complete: ~5 hours?
First worn: For photos
Wear again? Hmmm.  Not sure.  No; This is a muslin.
Total price: $8.75

Yellow looks terrible on my skin tone.  Even before the ’80s Colour Me Beautiful craze declared me a “winter”, I knew I shouldn’t wear it.  I was going to skip this challenge altogether and save myself the sallow disappointment, when I remembered that I had this yellow curtain and could always just use it for a muslin of Simplicity 9253, a cutout dress from 1971.  Everything old is new again and all that jazz.

I rarely do a muslin, but when I do, I just sew directly from the pattern and made adjustments afterwards.  However, I’ve finally gotten enough experience under my belt to know the typical alterations necessary and did them before cutting:  broaden the back, lengthen the torso, open the armscye.  And you know what?  It was pretty close!  The front bodice is still slightly too big (I need to pinch a centimeter from the width and may have to do a slight SBA next time) and somehow the bust points are too low (first time for everything!) but it fits better than a ready-to-wear dress would, so I’d give it a B+.

You may notice that the neck, armscyes and hem aren’t finished.  I just cut them where I wanted them to fit on my body in my final version.  I feel like a cheating badminton player by posting a muslin for a challenge, but it didn’t start out that way, so what the heck.

Sorry for the terrible photo quality – I was taking timer shots as the sun went down so the exposure is all screwed up. And again with the photobombing, Lulu….

This fabric is hella-itchy.  I think it is that kind of cheap linen that I’ve unfortunately encountered before (blogged here).  I lined the bodice with cotton, but I can still feel the fibres, and I actually had a rash after wearing the muslin around the house last night to check for fit!  I think I’ll cut it apart and use the fabric to make some bags, since it’s quite strong, and I do love the print.

I have a great red, white and blue double-sided shwe shwe cotton that has a similar heft and body, and would work great for this pattern, so I may try to work that into a challenge sometime soon.  Uh, Mena…..Can we do another red, white and blue challenge?  :)





Vicki used to sew when she was young and free, but then raising young'uns and bringing home (some of) the bacon took up all her time. Now her closet is full of skinny clothes, maternity clothes and post-partum clothes, none of which fit properly. Maybe that's why she started sewing again in 2010.


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  1. It’s cute as a dress, but it will be cute as a bag too. :)

    • I think I may end up giving the fabric to my mother for cushion covers, because she fell in love with it (see my comment to Trish below!)

  2. I like the print too. The dress is pretty and I’d like to see it in a different fabric. I think it will look great-

    • I’m looking forward to making it again too, now that I know the fit is fairly good. I’ve had bad luck with my previous two ’60s patterns (narrow backs, high bust darts, not enough shaping) so this was a pleasant surprise.

  3. That’s a pretty pattern and I am sure it’ll make a nice dress.. And yes, you’re such a cheater for presenting a muslin here! ;) It’s quite weird though that linen can be itchy. Never really came across such linen before.

    • I thought I had mis-identified the first batch of linen fabric that bothered my skin, but I had a blog commenter explain that if the linen is not hackled well enough (and is cheap), there would be prickly fibres left that could irritate the skin. I guess that explains why this was a curtain…

  4. Wow Vicki, the pattern you chose is great, love the peek-a-boo key hole at the front it’s a damn shame the fabric irritated your skin, The fabric and cut look brilliant together. Good luck with the shwe, shwe looking forward to seeing it sometime soon.

  5. Love the dress & love the print! too bad is itchy… cause its a great creation!!!

    • I know, I wish it could have worked as a fashion fabric, but it was just way too itchy for me. I’m weirdly sensitive, and I’m the only person I know who finds some types of linen rough on the skin. Don’t even get me started on wool….

  6. Hi Vicki, great to see you posting again. The dress is going to be fabulous in the final version. The bodice is such a nice style.

    • I only took two weeks off, but it felt like forever. I wanted to do the Reality Check and Olympic challenges, and even had projects picked out, but I was traveling so much away from my sewing machine that it was impossible. I’ve got things planned for the next few weeks, so hopefully I’ll be able to free up some time again.

  7. Love the pattern, and the dress does look good on you too..

    • Thanks so much Judy. I had that pattern in my “make before it goes out of style” pile for almost two years, so once again, the Sew Weekly gets me to do something that I’d almost forgotten about.

  8. Vicki, that fabric is I N C R E D I B L E ! ! ! What a fabulous print, I want to run over there and steal it and make cushions for my house!

    I love that you put a muslin in on The Sew Weekly and I am going to steal that idea really soon! Who needs those pesky facings anyway?

    The dress looks great on you – sorry your skin didn’t love it – can’t wait to see the bag!

    • Ha! My mother saw the fabric and said the same thing: “I’ve been looking for that exact fabric for patio furniture cushions. I can’t believe you used it to make a dress that you’re going to cut up anyway!”

  9. Sometimes is nice not to be too commented to a finished project and just make the muslin knowing that the next time you make it it will be perfect! The pattern is adorable with that peek a boo hole in front. I can’t wait to see your next one.

  10. I think 60’s patterns are not easy to wear…I love the dress on you and the fabric too…pity it’s just a muslin. Can’t wait to see the final version

  11. I love the fabric but I understand – itchy fabric is no good and would be much better off as a bag or cushions! I’m excited to see you shwe shwe version of this pattern because the cut out neckline is adorable.

    • I’m making pencil cases with my boys tonight for back-to-school (hence the pinning of so many pencil case tutorials on Pintrest today), and this fabric will probably get cut and sewn. Photos to follow!