For dressmaking enthusiasts, finding a good dress pattern that fits what you’re trying to make for a good price can sometimes be difficult. The shirt dress I made was an adaptation of the vintage pattern (Style 2104) that I found on Etsy. I liked the flared skirt and the fitted bodice from the 70s which you can’t find in modern shirt dresses, or you end up paying a fortune for high street ones. Like this one from Topshop which costs £46, but it’s very simple and not very flattering, unfortunately. With the pattern, I made myself a shirt dress that I liked for £42. I just left out the pockets that came with the pattern. You could also say it’s custom made because it was made to fit me perfectly.
Going to find a pattern these days without trawling through Etsy and Ebay can take time. With finding vintage patterns, you’ll probably find one that you suits what you’re looking for, but you’ll need to check the measurements to make sure the vintage sizes available for that pattern fits you. Have you been to a cloth shop recently to look at their patterns? The hardcover books are almost 200-300 pages long and you’re looking at between 3-5 or more books of patterns. If you’ve got something particular in mind, the cloth shops are quite good for going through their pattern books and with patience, you’ll surely find something to suit your needs. Sometimes, it means with a little modification, but what pattern doesn’t when it comes to specifically what you’re looking for?
On reading the blog of Culture of Thrift, I managed to find a tutorial to help me make this dress with a jersey top and metallic tweed skirt that I’ve been putting together in my head:
With help from my trusty book by DIY Couture, I’m sure I’ll be able to make the top part with one of my fitted stretch tops and the long skater skit with their instructions.
What Culture of Thrift also introduced to me in addition to giving me the confidence that making the dress above isn’t so hard, is the discovery of BurdaStyle. It’s an American site for patterns, but the great thing is, you don’t have to worry about getting these patterns delivered by mail, postage costs etc – once it’s been paid for, you can download the pattern instantly. It also gets saved in your order history so if your pattern ever gets torn/worn over time with use, you can just download a fresh copy. The pattern is also made to fit on A4 pages which you assemble together using the instructions from the page of the pattern you’re looking at.
The other perk? It’s also slightly less expensive than buying a pattern from the cloth shops! It’s US$5.40 (approx £3.60) – in the shops, it’s normally between £5.50-£5.75 for a pattern! These are the two that I’ve got so far, there are also a few patterns on the site that are free!
Lace jacket/cardigan, US$5.40 (£3.60) from BurdaStyle
Floaty dress (although I’d leave the sleeves un-ruched so they’d be flutter sleeves instead), US$5.40 (£3.60) from BurdaStyleAnybody else got patterns sites for us dressmaking enthusiasts they would recommend for scouring?