Saturday, 27 December 2014

Vintage Pattern Pledge: '80s Lounge Cat


I hope everyone's had a wonderful few days of indulgence and catching up with loved ones!

I'm happy to say I've finally made up my Vintage Pattern Pledge! I had already decided to make something that looked fairly quick as I'm usually a slow sewer and wanted to make sure I hit the deadline, and after my gift-sewing bout I fancied something a little less challenging than I originally had planned, but still something made up in a knit that could be worn as everyday wear (rather than something fancy- the opposite of most peoples' 'Christmas sewing'!). 

Here's my source pattern, McCall's 8810 from 1983. I had wanted to make up a slinky and versatile 'Quick Butterick by PJ Walsh' (mentioned here) from one of my mother's patterns, but faltered at the thought of having to resize it up three sizes. I still want to make it up at some point when I'm more confident with my drafting skills,  as it would make a great base dress to show off some fantastic '80s punk gear that my aunt recently gave me (including a Jean Paul Gaultier denim underbust corset, there's a similar one selling for a pretty penny on Etsy here). 

Anyway, back to McCall's 8810. From the artwork I was convinced it was a made for knits pattern and therefore interchangeable with the Quick Butterick, but on actually reading the envelope it's designed for wovens and even slips into evening wear territory with some of the style options. I made up view D, which the model is wearing in beige. I was tempted to omit the pockets as I'm not sure they're my style, but as I hadn't ticked patch pockets off my skills list I thought I might as well get some under my belt!

Mega batwings!
The fabric is another double knit from Mermaid Fabrics on Hackney's Narrow Way (up Mare Street), where I also picked up the checked double knit for my Lady Skater. Neither of these prints is really my favourite, but are fun and neutral enough to be wearable until I find a good source of nice quality double knit in solid colours (which I hope happens soon as I got Gertie Sews Vintage Casual for Christmas and can't wait to get going on all the cute retro knit projects).  

It was really simple to make this pattern up in a knit, all I needed to do was omit the seam allowance and kick vent on the back. I cut the back piece as one on the fold and made sure to remove the centre back seam allowance (which was really easy on this pattern as the seam allowance was marked with a clear border on each piece). I also had to attach the collar in the same way as you do with a t-shirt, but had the instructions from the Plaintain to refer to for this. 

I was a little worried that it might end up too big being made in a knit fabric instead of a woven, but as this dress is such a relaxed fit it looks fine to me. My mum gave me her old belts ages ago and this black suede one is a great style match for the dress. It does bunch up a little when belted, but this may be due to the fact that the belt is probably a bit small! 

And here's the dress worn as it's shown in the envelope artwork (although, referring back to the picture, maybe it is a little bigger than it should be?). I prefer the belted look, but this is very comfortable. In fact it reminds me of a nightie I used to have when I was about ten, which is probably why I'm less OK with wearing it out of the house without the belt!

This was another nice and quick make (which is why I'm being seduced by knits - they're so fast and the fit is forgiving!). I finished this up on Christmas Eve and wore it out to drinks with friends, then brought it out again for Christmas Day with family. I confess the belt did come off after Christmas dinner!

My only slight issues with this dress are that I stretched out the patch pockets a little when pressing and hemming the top of them, so they don't lie perfectly flat against the dress. And, although I did say that making up knits meant no fitting, there are a couple of things I would change if I made it up again. The sleeves are meant to be loose, but I find the openings at the wrist bit large for my taste and I also find that the seam at the top of the raglan sleeves tends to slide back, making the collar pull tight at the neck at times so I have to pull it forward throughout the day. Perhaps my shoulders are set a bit further back than normal? Or maybe it's because I left off the shoulderpads?

Back view unbelted. Original pattern would have had an invisible zip at centre back and a kick vent.

I'm glad I finally made up something for the Vintage Pattern Pledge, which I decided to join back in June! There are definitely more vintage makes in my to-do list, but my priority for the coming year I think will be to make more everyday 'cake' items. There will definitely be many vintage inspired ones- Tilly's Love at First Stitch and Gertie Sews Vintage Casual will be taking care of that for me!

Enjoy the rest of your festivities!

Until next time,

 NorseOtter xx


  1. Hey there,

    Just saw this frock on Marie's pinterest it's ace. I love it! Nice work my dear :)

    1. Thanks! It's not my most exciting vintage pattern (that's a challenge for this year perhaps), but it is so easy and snuggly to wear!