My 40th Birthday & Vintage Maxi Dress

I’ve been still riding the high of my epic 40th birthday trip.   40 years = four decades = four countries, a country for each decade.  I visited Chile, Panama, Peru and Columbia and each place left me in love, each for a different reason.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and it was so incredibly hard to come back.  I got back home and rolled back into being super busy work wise.  I’d even put off going through my vacation photos, though I took drastically less than I use to in the past on any vacation.  I was so immersed in the culture, food, people and the general sights that I just didn’t feel inclined to document everything.  That’s something that has become quite a normal trend for me these days, especially with my growing dislike of social media and the circus it’s becoming.  But even that feeling can’t spoiled the absolute delight and love I have for sewing, designing and sharing with fellow makers and designers. We’ll see how long that feeling lasts.  I came back from vacation inspired and ready to sew.  I spent most of the month of September away and really missed my sewing machine.   October has seen me preoccupied with work, household stuff and just taking my time deciding on what I wanted to make this month.  I wanted to make sure I was intentional with my make. My goal now is to make sure that I make stuff that I will love wearing over and over again.  I of course treated myself to a great collection of fabric while I was on my trip and hit the jackpot the most in Chile and Columbia, where I bought the most fabric.  I’ll be turning those into Fall/Winter makes soon, since my mind was firmly in that season when I did most of my shopping.


Maxi Dress: Vintage Simplicity 9107.  This is a vintage Learn-To-Sew pattern from 1979, which is a good three years older than me.  Sewing this pattern was a reminder, why I fell in love with the big four, now five, vintage sewing patterns.  The pattern pieces are well drafted.  The instructions are easy to follow and the illustrations and construction notes are usually much better and clearer than the current patterns.  This pattern even included a pattern piece I don’t see too often in patterns.  It included a shoulder pad pattern piece, so you could make your own shoulder pads, though I typically skip shoulder pads unless it’s a blazer or coat pattern. It was such a thoughtful and great touch to a very classic pattern.  I absolutely love this pattern and I am so glad it’s a vintage pattern I own.  I absolutely love this dress and I know that it will now be in heavy rotation in my dresses this fall and all year round.  While it’s still a bit warm in Southern California, I will be able to add a turtleneck and pantyhose/leggings and still wear this dress well deep into winter.  It is definitely a beginner friendly pattern, and even introduces the sewer to a couple of couture sewing techniques.  I could go on about this pattern, but if you can manage to find a copy of it on Etsy or eBay, you will not be disappointed.

FABRIC – This beautiful hunter green spotted crepe rayon fabric is from Angel Textiles.   I bought ten yards because I literally had a visceral reaction when I saw this fabric.  Any fabric that I get that feeling about I usually buy at least ten yards if money permits.  Since this fabric was only two dollars a yard, I barely felt the price of those ten yards.  I will mostly likely use the remaining fabric, which is at least maybe four to five yards left to make a button down top or another dress.  The only complaint is that this fabric is slippery and behaved a bit more like a silk than a woven, but I loved it nonetheless.  It was also perfect, since one of the colors I’ve been drawn to heavily this season is green, mostly the darker shades of green.

STYLE – My usual style of gold hoop earrings, plus a pair of Nine West’s Kares Platform Mary Jane Heels, which are absolutely fabulous in this deep wine/burgundy color.  The sunglasses are my summer obsession from Zenni.  Prescription sunglasses in this banana yellow color

A Cute Maxi Dress with Issues

This month I have had the worst sewing ADD possible.  I honestly didn’t think I would actually complete a project this month due to my indecisiveness regarding patterns, fabrics, and a general sense of frustration with pattern mishaps lately.  Simplicity released their new spring 2022 patterns and the New Look 6718 captivated me.  I immediately went to the store and bought it the same day.  I honestly can’t remember the last time a Big 4 pattern has gotten me absolutely gaga. I for one love a great maxi dress, and spend much of my summer months in big flowy sundresses for the heat and comfort.    The fact that it was a humid 87 degrees yesterday in Long Beach was just enough of an excuse I needed to put on my new dress and twirl around.


Maxi Dress: New Look 6718.  So first and foremost, the design of this pattern is absolutely dreamy.  I had been looking to actually draft a dress similar, as I’d been eyeing some runway pieces that felt very similar in design.  I did view A with view B length.  Now to the not so pretty parts about this pattern.  The biggest issue, is the fabric specifications on this pattern are absolutely incorrect.  I made the size 20 (of course not normal clothing sizes for my non-sewing folks). My busty self couldn’t do any other size if I wanted to, but also because that’s the max of their sizing chart for New Look Patterns (serious side eye on that one McCall Pattern company!). Per the pattern I would need  about 4 ½ yards of 60” wide fabric.  I actually used 6 yards of 60’ wide fabric, and boy was I grateful that I actually had all of that available to use thanks to my fabric hording self over buying when I bought this fabric.  This is a huge difference in fabric yardage! The center waist piece was drafted 2 and ½ inches short of the length that it needed to be in order for the waist piece to wrap all the way around and connect properly in the back.  The result was me having to shave off fabric on either side in the back to cover this drafting mistake.  The Front lower skirt should have also been increased by 2 and 1/4th inches in width in order to line up with the top half of the body of this dress.  That I was also able to hide when I shaved off the back for the other drafting mistake.  Honestly these type of drafting mistakes in this pattern from such a large pattern company is more than a bit of an epic fail, but they could have rendered this pattern a disaster.  For a beginning sewist, I’m sure it would be.  I had to get creative in order to compensate for these issues, which ultimately left me with a back that does not line up perfectly.  So the back of this dress is my least favorite thing to look at, but even with that all of that said, I still really like this dress and the pattern.  Armed with what I now know, I will make sure my next version has taken all of these issues into account.  So my biggest takeaway advice for this pattern is make a muslin/toile, buy more yardage than you think you will need, and be prepared to make pattern adjustments to account for the front lower skirt and the middle waist facing issues. Also be sure to interface the neckline along with the facing for this pattern. I got a weird kind of floppy fabric thing around the neckline due to my rayon challis fabric being so light.

FABRIC – I used this beautiful rayon challis from my stash that I’d purchased from Fabric Merchants Outlet.  I saw this in their store during one of my trips there and bought everything they had left, which was six yards.  Fabric Merchant Outlet is one of my hidden gem stores of the LA fashion district.  It’s on the outskirts of the fashion district in an area that’s solely commercial and manufacturing.  I discovered their store while I was consulting for a fashion company that was within walking distance to their store.  Needless to say I spent a lot of money there on my lunch breaks.  This rayon challis proved to be more on the silky side and behaved like a silk fabric in that it was very slippery.  The next time I make this dress I will use a more solid woven like a tencel twill or drapery cotton blend fabric.

STYLE – Prescription sunglasses from Zenni.  Watch from Anne Klein that I’ve owned for forever along with my favorite neutral platform sandals from Nine West.