So, among my Vintage pattern scoop, I also got hold of this 1974 “Style 4409” pattern.  Perfect for knit fabrics, I found some discount knit fabric at Spotlight (I think it was reduced to $2/m or something equally ridiculous!) – and decided to give it a go.

The sizings are always a little bit pot-luck with the old patterns – so i had to trim it down quite a lot by the end, and as a result the neck was a little cosy.  But, again, this dress is super comfortable – the stretch fabric fits really well, and I will be making another dress with this pattern, in other fabrics for the summer – possibly a dress without the sleeves; and I might just need to make a winter version with long sleeves too!

Style pattern 1974I cut two pieces for the centre front on this pattern, so I could have fabric pattern on the diagonal in the upper bodice.


I love a good vintage pattern, and have started a collection via ebay purchases of 1950s, 1960s and 1970s sewing patterns.  I find it very amusing that some of them were only 60c back then!

This pattern is Simplicity 5953 – dated 1965.  It is a lovely shift style dress, with diagonal darts from the bust down beyond the waistline.  I found some 60s looking fabric in Spotlight, and put the two together.

Simplicity 1965

The dress is really comfortable for summer, and nicely appropriate for work, with higher neckline.  I wear the dress with a slim belt, to draw it in further at the waist.

It is now May 2013, and a good six months since I have blogged my sewings… and there have been a lot of sewings!  I’ll endeavour to get back up to speed over the next few weeks.

I’ve been collecting Vintage patterns, remnant fabrics, and trying to reinvent my professional image.  So, I’ll post my items, with a view to catching up on the last few months of notable projects, and then culminate in the much anticipated (by me) – 2013 LdJ Design Autumn/WInter Collection!!

But first things first.  As for the previous few years, I did in fact enter the 2012 Tessuti Awards.  This time I thought I had it all figured out.. I thought I’d finally worked out what the judges might have been after.  Turned out I was wrong.  Not shortlisted, again, and reviewing the designs that were shortlisted, was puzzled by what the judging criteria was.   Anyhoo… I was really pleased within the result – so here it is!

Tessuti 2012

The theme for 2012 was Spots and Stripes.  Whilst researching the idea, I was very into vintage patterns and looks (and still am!) – and I came across this gorgeous image from the 1950s.

louise_dahl_wolfe It is the image by Louise Dahl-Wolfe, of Mary Jane Russell in Dior Dress, Paris, 1950.  When I saw the image, I fell in love with it.  The way the skirt elegantly billowed out at the back, contrasted with the beautifully fitting bodice at the top.

The image itself is just stunning as well, so possibly no wonder I like it so much.  I set about my designs with this in mind as inspiration.

The second thing that I strangely used as inspiration was the idea of a garlic bulb.  I think that certainly came across in my initial sketches.

I originally wanted to create the dress in Green and White fabric, but the patterns below were only available in black, red and blue.  So, I chose blue spots and red candy stripes.

0501_TessutiThe dress is comprised of a fitted boned, bodice – each boning line is contained within a French seam.  The bodice points down into the skirt of the dress accentuating the boning component. The lower part of the dress has a gathered waistline (around 5m of fabric was used create the skirt), which tuck under into a more conservative skirt lining.  This allows a double gathering at the bottom of the skirt and the top, hence creating a small billow effect.   I did consider putting layers of tulle beneath the skirt to give it more puff, but decided against it…


I was very pleased with the fit in the end – the bodice fabric had a slight stretch to it, so it fitted extremely well.  I was also pleased with the volume of the skirt.

Of course, now I can think of no occasion to wear it for.. so if you’d like to purchase the dress, please make an offer. 🙂


PS. I’m on Instagram now too.. so if you’d like to keep up to date with my sewing happy snaps, you’ll see it first, and in progress there!

So, my latest and greatest idea to get rich and famous, was inspired by a friend of mine who long ago made a comment to me – ‘oh, you should make lobster oven mitts!’

It has been a very long time in the planning, but I thought about it ever since, and decided for her birthday this year to do just that – make lobster oven mitts.  Not just for my friend, but also for her young daughter.   Hence – I introduce my latest concept – “Mum & Me Mitts”.   The premise, to encourage young ones to help in the kitchen, the perfect gift is to make Mum and Daughter matching oven mitts.

Next, I needed to actually design the mitts.  I used my own oven mitts as a base template for size (I made my own mitts a few years ago and have them the perfect length and size).

Then I drew lobster claws within the template in black felt tip pen.  I scanned the linework in, and coloured it up in Photoshop… laid it out onto my Spoonflower yard material template, and got my lobster claws printed!  They arrived in the post a few weeks later and I was so delighted with the colour intensity.
The image below shows my original images that I got printed, so whilst you’ll see there is some colour difference, the final output was very satisfactory.   I put layers of cotton and wool batting inside; lined the mitts with oranges and reds, and made the handling side of the mitts black.

So, if you’d like a set of “Mum & Me Mitts” for yourself or someone special, contact me and let me know!!!

I really have been sewing.. just not as much as I should be, and I have to finish my Tessuti Award entry.. 18 days left (for the record I started it some time ago, but have since found *other* things to do).

However, the sewing room is very lovely and seems to have almost everything I need now.  So, here is an updated picture, and in a moment, I will also be sharing my latest idea and gift which I completed sewing 2 weeks ago… ‘Mum & Me mitts’.

My husband and I have just moved house – and as part of the move I get my very own sewing room at last.   It is a small room, but even at the open for inspection when I saw the room for the first time, I felt it would be a perfect sewing room.

Not long after confirming the house sale and pending move, I investigated a trestle table for the room.  I found a couple on who crafted their own tables from recycled baltic pine – perfect!  So had myself a table.

I also managed to pick up for myself an old Singer sewing machine, whilst we were weekend-ing in Warburton… it will have a pride of place in the sewing room, and does need a good dust and clean when I have a spare moment, before I will put it on display!

So, watch this space, I will give further updates as I continue to turn my sewing room into the ‘just-how-I’d-like-it’ room!  And now, of course, it’s time to sew some winter things…

My Mum still has a collection of patterns that my grandmother ‘Mama’ used back in the 1970s to make dresses for my Mum.  There are some lovely patterns among them, and there was a Simplicity (No. 6329) pattern in particular that I have been wishing to try out for many years.

I saw the perfect cotton lawn at Spotlight the other week (Japanese print) and decided to bite the bullet and just make it.  The pattern was already cut out and altered from when Mama had used it.  I cut it exactly the same.

The dress has 7 panels to make up the skirt, which meets in at the bust in a point.   The bodice is gathered beneath the bust and has a split up the centre to where it joins the collar.   I changed the dress from a back zip to a side zip (I find it really hard to do up back zips by myself when I’m getting changed at work after riding in!).  To accommodate the fitted collar, I also added a centre front opening at the neck – which I have closed with fabric loop button holes, and little heart-shaped buttons in purple.

The dress was lovely and simple to sew, and I hand finished the facings and hem.  The dress also fitted perfectly, with no alterations needed – I had heard that my Mum was the same size as me when she was young – apparently exactly the same shape!  I will now go off and dig through her other old patterns and see what else I can find.

PS – we’re moving house soon, and I’m going to have my very own sewing room.  I’ll post pictures of this exciting event as it happens.. then onto world fashion domination!