60s sleeveless dress: victory!

It’s official – I’ve sewn my first dress! What do you think?


I am pretty pleased with it. For me, the most important thing is that I will feel comfortable wearing it in public in spite of its many imperfections. I’m going to debut it on Thursday at a friend’s birthday dinner. 🙂 Fingers crossed I don’t get any judgmental looks.

I’m also proud that I was able to make it through such a long, detailed project without giving up. A deep-seated perfectionism (which I’m trying to learn to suppress in the interest of greater contentedness) means that I often get impatient because I think I should be able to do things perfectly the first time. Rationally I know that’s ridiculous, but it’s still hard not to think that way sometimes. Making this dress over the span of months meant I was able to step back when I was feeling a bit crazy about how it was going. I think I will carry on with this approach for a few years. Maybe I will sew home items like cushion covers quickly, but I will be taking my time with any garments I attempt!

There are still things I’m not happy with about this dress, and there is a long list of imperfections:

  • The zipper – I used a lapped zip, which I had a nightmare sewing in. I wasted so much thread sewing, ripping out, and resewing. I managed to insert it in the end, but it is a little bit visible around the waist. I’m sure this is because of the skirt lining, which means there is variation in thickness around this area. Sewing over this area was really quite difficult, so in the end I was just glad to get the zipper attached there at all! The fabric over the zip is also not as flat as I would’ve liked. Next time I will definitely be focussing on the zip more.
  • Visible handstitching – It’s obvious where I attached the linings and hemmed the skirt. I handstitched the hem in herringbone stitch to match the lining, because I thought topstitching wouldn’t really suit the style of this dress. I regretted it by the end, particularly as it turned out to be fairly visible. I guess it’s partly down to my inexperience, but also partly because of the thin, shiny fabric. More practice required before the next project!
  • The skirt/hem – I am not convinced it’s straight! I was lazy when cutting the fabric, so it wasn’t all actually an even length with to begin. Measuring from the top was really difficult because of the gathering on the skirt.
  • Armholes/shoulders – Do they look awkward? I am not sure they fit as they are meant to. In future I will investigate armholes so I can do a better job with them.
  • Loose stitching in random places.


All that said, there are many things I am very pleased with. I think I’ll end this post with the positives:

  • Fit – Pretty good, right? The effort expended on the bodice was worth it in the end. The back really fits quite well. Going strictly by the pattern, it should be tighter, but I deliberately allowed a bit of ease. I don’t like really tight clothes because they feel so restrictive.
  • The actual zip – It’s a vintage zip, one I suspect is also from around the time the pattern was designed (or up to a decade later – definitely pre-80s, anyway). Even if it isn’t contemporary, I think it suits the rest of the dress.
  • The fact that it’s nothing like anything else in the rest of my wardrobe – I don’t often wear such bright colours or shiny clothes, so this feels like a proper party dress to me!

Finally, here are a few more pictures:




Thanks so much to my friend Jo for taking pictures while I showed it off to her. 🙂

3 thoughts on “60s sleeveless dress: victory!”

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