Midcentury Mashup dress

Midcentury mashup dress

I think my favourite part of sewing is matching fabrics to patterns. When I clapped eyes on this beautiful print I knew exactly what it was destined to be, and even better, no new pattern purchase was needed as it’s a Frankenpattern of two already in my library.

Midcentury mashup dress

It’s a mash-up of Simplicity 1651 and 1800, used previously here and here. The twist front bodice is a variant of 1651 and I reckoned its Fifites style would be a good match for the print. Gratuitous close-up:

Midcentury mashup dress

It was really fun to put together, with an ingenious method for attaching the shell, lining (yes, it’s lined! Sewing bucket list tick) and centre piece with no visible seams. As I was sewing it I thought that it would make a really cool back bodice piece too, even without the centre piece for a cut-out look.

Midcentury mashup dress

Having sewed both patterns before I knew to make a couple of fit modifications. I shortened the bodice by an inch to hit my natural waist, and took about 3 inches off the top of the skirt so that the pockets sit higher up.

Midcentury mashup dress

It was super easy to merge the two patterns since the construction is the same: I just made sure that the width of the skirt and bodice matched up when I put in the darts and pleats. It’s just maybe an inch too large on the waist, but I’d rather play it safe with woven fabrics.

Midcentury mashup dress

I’m generally pleased with my workmanship here for once. Look at that tidy invisible zip!

Midcentury mashup dress

The fabric, ah the fabric. I’m in LOVE. It was another £2.99/m Minerva bargain but this time the cheap fabric wheel of fortune landed in my favour: it feels so lovely, sewed up well, and oh my the print and colours. Midcentury heaven with a hint of Cubism? In my head, if I was ever on Project Runway (all sewists imagine this at one point or another don’t they?) this would be my final collection’s signature print. It feels so very me.

Midcentury mashup dress

This dress also got me thinking about something that Tilly touched on in a recent post regarding curating a personal style via the items you sew. It’s something I find difficult because I’m so drawn to lots of different fabrics and patterns right now – I’m just a kid in the proverbial and I want to sew all the things. But once my technique is better and I learn what I actually wear regularly I hope I can start curate a sense of cohesion in the items I sew, and create a pulled-together ‘look’ for myself as a result. I’m in admiration of bloggers who seem to have this nailed, such as Tilly herself, Ami, Anna and Andrea amongst lots more.


To help me stay on track, I made a Sewing Studio page of all my makes. I love seeing these on other sewists’ blogs to get an idea of their personal style and I think it will be helpful for me to shape my consistency. I feel like this dress is a good step in the right direction: its sludgy tones, graphic pattern and interesting details are a good basis for a checklist of ‘What Katie Sews And Will Probably Wear A Lot’. Does anyone else try to curate a personal style via their makes?

3 thoughts on “Midcentury Mashup dress

  1. AvatarGrace

    Another stunning dress! I love the idea of a sewing studio page, I also tend to be attracted to print and really need to start thinking about whether the things I make are really my style.

  2. AvatarRachel Porter

    Love this dress – I know what you mean about wanting to sew all the things, though. I find that reading blogs just makes finding a personal style more difficult, as you see things other people have made and immediately want to pay homage to them (or totally copy them!). This dress is a great example, as I would never have been drawn to that fabric, but seeing what you have made it into and reading your description makes me want some myself (damn that self imposed fabric buying ban).

  3. AvatarDiane

    Another lovely dress Katie! I completely understand wanting to create a sense of cohesion in the items you sew. That’s partly what motivated me to finally learn – I one day dream of having the ultimate ‘grown up’ wardrobe where my clothes can be easily coordinated and outfits can be thrown together without much thought. I think I’m slowly getting there!

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