The “Have Yourself a Retro Little Christmas” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: remake of a skirt made for the UFO challenge, plus some fabric I had left over from that.
Pattern: Simplicity 3833 view C.
Year: 1960’s retro reprint.
Notions: silver mega-fancy ric rak I’ve had for years from a fabric store’s pot luck bin, old vinyl headband, thread.
Time to complete: 7 hours.
First worn: 26th November 2012.

Wear again? Yes.

Total Cost: $0 (£0)

The challenge: “1960’s (early, mid or late)”.

Once upon a time, in February 2012 to be exact, I made a circle skirt out of a psychedelic pink and purple print sheet. It then sat in my closet, virtually unworn and unloved. I’d not put a firm enough waistband on it and it didn’t thrill me to wear it. This is very rare for the things I’ve made this year. So far only this skirt and the dress I made for the Childhood challenge haven’t been regularly worn. I made it the skirt for the first UFO challenge, it looked like this:

I’d had plans to make my version of Mad Men’s Megan’s Zou Bisou Bisou dress this week….but with kids dropping like flies and Thanksgiving getting in the way, I wasn’t able to go out and fabric hunt (especially as my version’s going to be hunting green not black so the pleated chiffon is going to be fun to get hold of).

So it was time for an unloved skirt to be repurposed, whilst channeling my inner Megan.

(Warning, warning: some 60s angular and awkward poses approaching!)

After some careful chopping up of the skirt (it’s pretty amazing how much you can get out of a circle skirt) plus the remaining bits of fabric I had from the first time around (I do love a jigsaw), I managed to get enough for a dress. You’ll notice there are some interesting pieceings on the front, hence the slightly puckering of seams because I’ve used bits on the bias again, but for a dress to muck about around the house in next summer that cost me nowt (translation: zilch, nada, nothing), it’s ok.

(You were warned. I took my inspiration from here and 60s fashion adverts and catalogue photos).

You never know, perhaps I can wear it to a Mad Men or 60s party too sometime….though I might have to wear Honor Blackman Kinky Boots with it, as I got these shoes in a charity shop ages ago and the because they’ve been DIY silver glittered the backs dig into my heels. I can only deal with pain in the name of fashion for so long…

What was it with 60s models, and the weird leg positions? I call that one the “this is why I can never be a ballerina” pose.

That’s obviously the “contemplating hailing a cab” pose.

The “someone thinks that lava lamp is a telephone” pose.

And naturally, the 60s modelling staple – the “oh dear I seem to have karate chopped my other arm off” pose:

Blimey, are there really only 4 more challenges left? (Winter, Challenge Re-do-over, Fave pattern and Happy Holidays for those of you eagerly awaiting our creations or wanting to sew along with the Sew Weekly Community).

I don’t want it to end and want it to end in equal amounts. I have a life to claim back, a house to decorate but there’s still so much I want to sew now I’m beginning to understand how. I’ve become obsessed with tailoring, men’s suits, Michael Fish and Antony Price over the last few months, and look forward to having more than just one week to finish projects. This would never have happened if I hadn’t done nearly 50 Sew Weekly challenges, I’ve learnt so much and expanded my horizons so far, it’s amazing.

And I’ve asked Father Christmas ever so nicely for my first serger to cut my sewing time down and save me doing endless amounts of french seams and binding of seams. Do you think I’ve been a good enough girl?

Btw… won’t be a big surprise to most of you I’ve chosen the Music challenge as my re-do-over in 2 weeks time. Let’s exorcise the ‘evil’ of the LBD once and for all shall we…..though (shock horror) there may be a large quantity of black involved, possibly (teasey tease tease) and I can definitely say I won’t be doing David Bowie but….. ;)




Tempest Devyne is a Brit who loves rain. She was therefore exiled to the deserts of Arizona. She started tentatively sewing about 3 years ago to make her own burlesque costumes. She'd now like to make pretty clothes for herself that don't rely on velcro and poppers to stay on. She's self-taught with help from the internet and lots of books from the library.


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  1. LOVE IT!!! We could go to the same swank 60’s party in our mod dresses (I made a turquoise version for Mad Men week). I can’t WAIT to see what you do for the Music challenge since you were so sad. I, too, am wondering about next year. It’s been a blast sewing along with you (and everyone else!) and yes, you’ve been a VERY good girl so I hope you get your serger : )
    I also really like your pink tree in your sewing room…tres chic!

    • I shall tell Father Christmas that Loran says I’ve been good :) The problem with doing the Music challenge is my two huge muses have been waaaay too fashion-leading throughout their careers. I think for my sanity’s sake I need to choose one look (and then do others next year when I have more time to make lots and lots of suits…..including a tartan one because I was planning to finish the year off with one, but can’t find any red tartan I like enough at short notice…..should have planned ahead a bit more. Oh well :)

      I wish it was a pink tree, but I couldn’t find a big one, so it’s a white one that seems to take on the colour of the red dining carpet (next to my sewing lair) at certain times of the day as the sun shines from the kitchen windows….if that makes sense. Still pretty chic and I love looking at it whilst sewing :)

  2. Love this!! That fabric is great!

  3. I have missed being a bigger part of Sew Weekly lately! Do we really only have 4 challenges left? I thought the Happy Holidays one was 2.

    It still makes me smile to see you on Sew Weekly! That dress is out of sight and my favorite pose is the karate chop-so funny! I love the dress and your hair and make up. I hope you get that serger!

    • I spotted a Michael Fish kipper tie when spying on what other people were making this week, it made me smile :)

      I think it’s only 4 as that would bring us to 52….I’d love Happy Holidays to be 2 so we had one extra but I’m afraid if I make an extra Mena might not be posting the extra ones and taking a well deserved week off. Although I’d never get round to it, I’d love to do a few more pieces ala the sewing-whirlwind Loran. I’m having difficulty narrowing down what to make for my Music muse, I’m like a kid in a candy shop.

  4. Oh my goodness you made a dress out of that fabulous fabric! I think I may have mentioned that I also have that same sheet that I purchased at my local thrift. Wouldn’t that have been funny if I had made something up in it for 60’s too ? It sure is spot on as far as a psychedelic print eh? You look fabulous in your photoshoot from the cutesy poses to the pretty make up. I don’t know if you like pink, but I’d say it’s your color. ;0

  5. I so love the sparkly white tree – reminds me of Christmas long gone … I’ve still got some ornaments from that era though. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s happening in 2013. I’m finishing up my 12th challenge for this year at the moment, after last year’s mammoth effort of 50 challenges … Am sur you’ll get to wear this dress once summer arrives again.

  6. The fabric of this dress is amazing. I love it so much it’s not funny. You really made the dress shine with the fabric/trim combo and the cut. I love your hair and makeup for this shoot! Wonderful project!

    And, your 1960’s angular posing style is an inspiration! From now on, I think that’s all I’m going to do. I love the awkward awesomeness of the feet position. It’s almost like model geometry. YEAH!

  7. So cool! I own an original 1960s pattern very similar to Simplicity 3833. The very first line in the pattern is ‘sequin trim is optional’. Best pattern opening line ever ;-) I’ll think of you every time I read it!

  8. Tempest.. you look amazing in that style!! Just perfect. And the chopped arm look is my fave pose!

  9. I think you look smashing, a 60’s glamour gal, the fabric, the colour, you!!! fantastic!!

  10. No-one can pose quite like you – we appreciate the heel pain self-inflicted on our behalf. Loving the dress.

  11. Nice save! I love your hair and makeup and festive authentic poses. I feel the same mixed emotions about SW coming to an end. Like you I’ve learned so much, and knowing better makes ambitious projects more difficult to fit into a week, oddly. I know too much to be satisfied with a rush job/bad fit/etc. Onward! Happy Christmas.

  12. Fabulous darling! (<– to be said in a Johanna Lumley type voice, naturally).

    I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you that Santa is listening to your pleas!

  13. What was up with those silly poses they did in the sixties – honestly!? This is great Tempest, the silver braid is the perfect sixties touch of lurex, and I think you will get lots of use out of it. Love the white tree and I have bought one and am totally nicking that concept x