The Instant Dress, Finished! McCalls 3660

It’s finished! The Instant Dress, my version of McCalls 3660, is complete. I took a lot of photos of this one, so I’ll try not to talk so much and let the photos do the talking.

mccalls 3660 instant dress

Pattern: McCalls 3660

Fabric: vintage cotton from SelvedgeShop on Etsy

Shoes: thrifted

Nylons: What Katie Did

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

Yes, there’s a sewer with a sewer. I’m in the back alley behind my building so I could take photos undisturbed.

I’m posting these photos in the order I took them, so you can watch the sun come out!

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

I’m quite happy with this dress. It’s interesting without being too distracting, it pairs well with black or navy accessories, it’s a happy print with the dotted background.

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

Back view. You can see that it’s not extremely fitted through the bodice, yet the waistline is snug.

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

As with most clothing, it looks best when worn with good posture! This dress looks vintage without being obviously so. Or perhaps my ability to judge is skewed by the amount of sewing blogs and vintage patterns I look at regularly. (And it looks like I ignored the sewing step of ‘purchase a belt‘ – oops!)

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

Nice, full, circle skirt. And yet, could it be fuller? You bet! (I had a lot of fun taking photos this afternoon. Something to do with being alone in the alley, I suppose!)

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern - and a puffy petticoat!

I put this awesomely fluffy petticoat on and the sun came out! (Petticoat from Doris Designs. I did not sew it, I needed it for another thing, but decided it would be great fun for modeling projects too!)

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

So, here’s the thing. Wearing this petticoat feels pretty insane. I feel like I’m in a movie, like I should break into song & dance any minute now! I also feel like a lampshade. If I sway my hips, the entire skirt and petticoat sways. Kind of like if a lampshade gets dislodged from its top screw and sways from side to side. It’s a hard feeling to describe but that’s the most accurate comparison I can think of!

And yet, in this next photo, you can hardly tell it’s there. It fills out the silhouette nicely and makes my waist look small.

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

While wearing it, I feel over-the-top! I feel like everyone knows it’s there. I feel like I should take dancing lessons so I can twirl and show it off.

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

Great fun, I tell you! I’ve always wanted an excuse to wear a big puffy petticoat and modeling a new sewing project is a good enough excuse for me.

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

Here’s a close up of the neck tie detail. So glad I changed the bias tape colour! I’ve forgotten about having to unpick the hand-basting, all I see now is the finished dress.

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern - close up of bias tape detail

My favourite silly petticoat photo:

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

Does it look at all natural, or am I just trying to get away with wearing it on regular days?

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

I did a hand-picked side zipper, and I raised the zipper opening up by an inch. Do you find that side zippers don’t open enough to get on and off comfortably? I almost always extend the opening higher up towards the armhole.

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern - close up of bodice

You can see there’s a bit of room in the bodice, compared to other vintage dress patterns I’ve sewed. I like it, it’s incredibly comfortable to wear. I kept the dress on after taking these photos to work, and it was so comfortable I forgot I was wearing it!

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

Petticoat out! Oops, the side of my skirt is bunched up. It feels a bit flat after all that volume, doesn’t it? Speaking of the skirt, I did shorten the skirt length. I let the skirt hang after finishing the dress, so that the bias could stretch out, then hemmed it evenly to a 25″ skirt length.

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

Still a great-looking dress! I’ll probably never wear it out in the real world with a petticoat. I feel it crosses over into costume territory, and I already dress a little more colourfully than many people I encounter every day. (But now I’m thinking of making a halfway petticoat, something with not quite as much poof as the one in these photos, but not as flat as a plain slip. A slip with a ruffled hem perhaps.)

mccalls 3660, instant dress, vintage sewing pattern

I also think this is a dress that looks better on a person than on a hanger. I’ll have to remember these photos and picture how good it looks on, instead of judging how it looks on the hanger.

More posts on the making of this dress:

Make again? I think so! It’s a fairly quick dress, all things considered, and I like the fit. Fitted without being extremely snug, a great circle skirt, a nice flattering skirt length. Not quite instant like the package said, but still quite a successful dress project!

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126 Responses to The Instant Dress, Finished! McCalls 3660

  1. Nancy July 12, 2013 at 6:11 am #

    I love this! Now that you have done it once if you were to do it again how long do you think it would take to make? and do you miss the fussy facings (neck and armhole) – I love that it uses bias tape instead as I feel like I spend most of the time wearing something with the typical facings adjusting them all the time.


    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:38 am #

      I think I could sew it in one day if I had one uninterrupted day to sew and not worry about anything else! One day to cut and sew, and let the skirt hang, then a few hours to finish up the hem.

      I like the bias tape as it makes the whole garment lighter, but I do like the stability of facings. They keep everything in place and support the neckline and armholes, so I like facings for that reason. For a quick-sew project bias tape is great!

      If your facings are wandering, try tacking them to the side seam and shoulder seam?

  2. Amy July 12, 2013 at 6:17 am #

    It looks fabulous Tasia! If your life were a movie then you could wear the petticoat every time :) Alas, it’s probably not particularly conducive to sitting at a desk all day or cycling home from work.

    I love the vintage patterns you’ve made, and they’ve inspired me to try to find some of my own. Do you buy most of them online (eBay, Etsy, etc) or do you have some *secret* sources that you’d be happy to share?!

    As an aside, I’ve been a long-time lurker on the blog and this is my first comment. Please keep up all the great work; I look forward to reading your updates on my lunch break :)

    Amy (in sunny Bristol, UK) xx

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:41 am #

      Ah yes, in my movie life I could wear the petticoat every day and swish down the halls of my office! I’d hate to wreck it on my bike, that’s a lot of fluff to get up in the rat-trap and fenders. Although it would make for a pretty picture as it blows in the wind!

      I usually find patterns online on Etsy, or at a recent antique & retro show, and I get super lucky sometimes and have people hand down their unwanted sewing patterns. Etsy is great because it’s easy to search, you can look up the same pattern number to find it from different sellers, and you can see feedback to make sure the person is a trustworthy seller.

      So glad you’re enjoying the blog and welcome to the comments section!

  3. sewlittletime July 12, 2013 at 6:40 am #

    it’s lovely! i really like it with the petticoat – it doesn’t look costumey at all but i can imagine it feels it. how about a crinoline? sort of flatter at the top but poofy at the bottom? gertie has a tute to make your own i think! have it bookmarked but never got around to it!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:42 am #

      I agree, flatter on top and poofy at the bottom would be the right silhouette for this dress, so it’s got volume but it’s not quite so dramatic. I will look up the tutorial, thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Therese July 12, 2013 at 6:43 am #

    Love the way you shared your sewing adventure. I will take a second look at the patterns at Sally Ann and Value Village on my next visit instead of discounting them out of hand. Great job and I almost had as much fun watching the project as you did sewing and modelling it.

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:43 am #

      For sure! There’s a lot of recent patterns in the secondhand shops but once in a while you find some good ones. Glad you enjoyed seeing the making of this dress!

  5. mokosha July 12, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    it turned out amazing! love everything about this dress – shape, colors, print, bias tape details.. and petticoat is amazing too (i have one that i made, although not that poofy, so i wear it a lot.. but i love poofy ones too, might make one of those in future)

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:44 am #

      Thank you! How did you find making the petticoat, was it easy? Did you follow a pattern or a tutorial?

      • Ryan July 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

        The best tutorial for making a crinoline, from Sugardale. She shows you have to make the basic crinoline, and if you want a super-poofy look, just wear a bunch of them.

        • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

          Awesome, thank you! That looks pretty poofy, but I like how she’s explained how to customize it.. this might do the trick! Thanks!

          • grenouille July 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

            I’ve used that Sugardale tutorial. If you use soft tulle instead of mesh, it is a very subtle poof. In this post, I’m wearing two, so use your imagination to cut the fullness in half.
            Another way I’ve made a crinoline is to use a purchased half slip, cut off the bottom few inches (how much probably depends on your height) and sew on gathered nylon mesh to give that poof on the bottom while keeping it flat on top. It is a little fiddly sewing onto the stretchy nylon tricot, but not impossible.

            • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

              That looks great! I really like your dress. You can’t even tell you are wearing two petticoats! Perhaps it’s all about stepping outside yourself and seeing the whole picture, because you look fantastic and not costumey at all. (And I am baffled that they would have a one-size-fits-all cummerbund!)

              Good idea about the purchased slip with gathered fabric added to the bottom, too!

              • grenouille July 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

                Thanks, Tasia! I think you hit it on the head there about stepping outside yourself and seeing the whole picture, because when I look at your pics with the crinoline, you just look beautiful and not silly or costumey at all. I do feel a little more self-conscious with the crinoline and I think a lot of that is because it is so unusual nowadays that we *feel* conspicuous. But I’m gonna say that’s conspicuous in a good way! ;)

                And like Lucy says below, it isn’t a scintillating project, but it is cheeeep! And given my current life circumstances, that’s what I needed.

            • Lucy July 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

              Honestly, I made one from the Sugardale tut for my wedding dress, and it just was not worth it.

              It’s boring, boring sewing, it’s fiddly, and you can buy petticoats so cheaply that it wasn’t worth the time out of my life to make it. (Mine ended up not being poofy enough for my dress, so I bought one off eBay, and wore them both together.)

              That said, the one I made might come in handy sometime – as said above, it’s a very subtle poof.

              • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

                Thanks for the feedback! Yeah, I bought the one I’m wearing because I didn’t have the patience to gather all of those layers. I like the idea of being able to customize the length, poof factor, and waist elastic though. This one is on the tightest setting and because of the weight of the skirt, it hangs lower than my waist. There’s a ribbon but it doesn’t actually tighten, it’s for show. Plus a lot of the US sites won’t ship to Canada.. although, you’re in the southern hemisphere and you were able to buy one online so perhaps I should look again! Where did you get yours?
                I want to make things for the challenge and customization but often it is simpler to buy, and save the sewing time for the things we’re most excited to make!

  6. Lauren July 12, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    Tasia, it turned out great! I’m so glad you swapped out the bias tape for a better match. Those colors and that style look soo good on you! I really love the neckline, it’s so simple but beautiful.

    Isn’t wearing a petticoat SO WEIRD? I love the way it looks – esp with that dress – it really fills out the skirt and doesn’t look costume-y at all – but I totally get the whole swinging lampshade feeling. I always feel like everyone’s staring at me!

    Next time you make a big cross-country trip, come through Nashville and we can go square dancing… I have a cool dress that looks rad with a petticoat (it’s a vintage square dancing dress hahahahaa) that I never wear either. Maybe if we’re both dancin’ it up in poofy skirts, it won’t feel as weird… right?! ;)

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:46 am #

      That would be awesome! I would love to go square dancing with you in poofy skirts. Adding that to my next road-trip checklist – square dance in Nashville with you!

      It is so weird to wear a petticoat. I feel so obvious, you know? Imagine when that was a part of everyday life! I found it really warm though, it would be cosy in the winter. Like wearing a puffy sleeping bag around your waist and legs.

  7. Lindy July 12, 2013 at 7:34 am #

    Tasia: Loved the pictures – the finished project – the steps as you shared them. Your enthusiasm and courage for diving in to do-overs inspired me to alter my daughter’s 30 year old first communion dress for her niece, my granddaughter, so thank you for that. PS – I think you should purchase the belt.

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      Thanks! I’m so glad you enjoyed watching this project in progress, and even happier to hear it inspired you to redo your daughter’s dress! How wonderful to be able to remake a special-occasion dress for the next generation. (And I will keep my eyes out for the perfect purchased belt!)

  8. Marcy July 12, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    It’s so lovely!

    I agree a less dramatic petticoat would be awesome so you could not feel too costume-y. I have some material purchased – there’s a slightly ruffly petticoat in my future.

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      Nice! What kind of material are you using for yours?

  9. Jenny July 12, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    Ahh, it’s beautiful! So lovely that it looks vintage too! x

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      Thank you!

  10. Helen July 12, 2013 at 7:43 am #

    This is lovely. I love the shape of the bodice, particularly at the top – the neckline and shoulders. That’s my preferred shape and it’s really flattering on you. The fabric is just fab and the dress looks great with or without the petticoat!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:52 am #

      Thanks! I agree, the boatneck silhouette of this bodice is very flattering on many bodies, including my shape! I love boatnecks because they’re elegant without being revealing.

  11. Diane @ Vintage Zest July 12, 2013 at 7:57 am #

    Perfect! The only two mini-thoughts I had on the dress, you already addressed! I thought the hem could be a smidge higher and I actually preferred the fullness of the dress with the petticoat. If you have instructions on making a half-petticoat, I’d love to try making my own. Then I’ll just have to make a dress that would need one!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks Diane! You mean the dress hem should be higher from the original pattern, or from the finished dress here? I prefer the fullness with the petticoat too, I’m just not sure I have the guts to walk around in real life with it on, you know? It’s so swishy and fun but no one else is wearing anything like it!
      If I make a half-petticoat I will be sure to write about it, absolutely!

  12. Christine July 12, 2013 at 8:10 am #

    Super cute!!!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks Christine!

  13. Nicki July 12, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    I really love it! The bias trim is perfect. Please say you’ll wear it out with the petticoat, it looks awesome. Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted one of those petticoats. Not sure it’s a look I can pull off as I approach my forties.

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      Thank you! I will have to find a reason to wear the whole thing out, petticoat and all. I’m 31 and I worry that I’m a bit old to pull it off too, especially since I have a young-looking face. Like I should be wearing more black to try and look my age, and less colours and fluff to avoid looking too young? Probably we’re worrying too much and should just enjoy clothes!

  14. Niki July 12, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    Ridiculously adorable!!!! I love it without a belt, but it would be cute belted too. If only you had followed that inane sewing instruction… : )

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      Haha yeah, I totally ignored the sewing steps! Bad me :)

  15. Serena July 12, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    It looks wonderful on you, and I agree that it looks vintage without being obvious. The navy trim is perfect. I’m laughing at ‘sewer with a sewer’ and the lampshade analogy.

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      Thank you! Yup, I didn’t even notice I was posing next to sewers until I got back inside and looked at the photos on the computer..oops!

  16. Corinne July 12, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    Love it! I love the print of the fabric – perfect for the style of the dress! What fun!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 10:59 am #

      Thank you!

  17. Dana July 12, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    If you do make a “half petticoat”, will you please do a tutorial? I have been wanting one for my ’50s dresses but don’t really know where to begin. Even an mini tutorial would be great. :) Love how this came out!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 11:00 am #

      Absolutely! I will certainly write about it when I get around to making one!

  18. Mary July 12, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    I think the dress looks great both ways but with the petticoat (we called them crinolines in the 1950’s) it is very true to it’s 1950’s design. Skirts were full even for everyday wear. I remember wearing crinolines that actually had a channel to inset a hoop. Kept it very full but did make it difficult to sit down in a lady like fashion as you can imagine. I must agree though a very full skirt definitely gives the illusion of a tiny waist.
    Love the dress.

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      Thank you! Yup, even in this one when you sit down the petticoat goes up.

  19. ClaireE July 12, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    It looks wonderful. The shape is perfect for you. I love the bias trim, it finishes off the dress perfectly. I do love the big petticoat but agree it isn’t something you would normally wear. A smaller one would do nicely.

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      Thank you! The trim worked out really well on this fabric, it helps to outline the busy print.

  20. Kelly July 12, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Very cute, with and without the petticoat! This silhouette is so flattering, and it looks so comfortable. I often like dresses with a waist seam to have a little ease – I don’t think it makes you look frumpy, but it adds so much comfort!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      For sure! Especially when there is ease all over, so the silhouette still has an obvious taper from bust to waist, but isn’t uncomfortably snug.

  21. Reyna lay July 12, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    I love this dress and the bias color looks better! Great job. Plus, I don’t think it looks bad wth the petticoat. I think it would be nice on a night out for a date.


    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      I agree, it would be a great date-night outfit! We’d have to go somewhere exciting in a big puffy dress like this.

  22. Claire Cooper July 12, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    love it with or without the petticoat.

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      Thanks! Me too!

  23. patsijean July 12, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    I am from the petticoat generation. Yes, the waist looked smaller and the swish was wonderful. My sister and I would often wear two petticoats when one lost a bit of its fluff. Your hemline is perfect for your dress to be worn both ways. A very short hemline looks very juvenile and unflattering, and completely loses the elegance of the silhouette. Did I mention that I love the dress?

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 11:04 am #

      Two petticoats! Wouldn’t that get heavy? Was it hard to sit down?

      I agree, the longer length looks more elegant. In general I am starting to prefer longer hemlines, not because I want to hide but because it creates a more sophisticated silhouette. It all depends on the style, but this dress in a short length with a petticoat would start to look ‘little-girl’ pretty quick!

  24. Kerry July 12, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Stunning! Love the simplicity of the style which really shows off the fabric and the great fit, gorgeous!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      Thank you! Quick and easy but it looks much more complicated!

  25. Ali July 12, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    this is so cute I’m dying. The print is fabulous and you look fabulous in it! Now I want to make an instant dress! Please wear this as much as you can!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      Thank you! I love that comment, ‘wear this as much as you can’ – I’ll do my best on that one!

  26. Valentina July 12, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    Very nice dress on you, I wish I could wear these styles

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      Thank you! Give it a try, you never know how you will feel in a garment until you try it on!

  27. Vicki Miller July 12, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Retro in my book is back to my childhood! I loved these dresses, but hatted the can-can too! So itchy to sit on & your dress blew up before you! I love the fit on you w/ or w/o the can-can. Lots of details wonderfully executed! Dress would work with any body type with the fullness of the skirt.

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      That is a good point, I’d imagine that some of the netting underskirts would be itchy to sit on! Would you wear a slip under maybe? This one is very very soft, like soft nylon stockings. It’s like sitting on a cloud.

  28. Trisha July 12, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    I may be in the minority here, but I actually like the look of the dress better without the petticoat. But I can’t deny that petticoats are fun to wear!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      That’s OK, I think that’s how it will be worn most often anyhow! I’m glad that it doesn’t lose all of its appeal once the fluff is gone :)

  29. Katy July 12, 2013 at 11:10 am #

    I love it with the petticoat! Fabulous dress – well done!

  30. Ashley July 12, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    It’s beautiful!!! A very flattering fit on you Tasia!!!! Love the bodice with trim! You’re such an inspiration :)

  31. Alli July 12, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Your dress looks amazing! I love it both with and without the petticoat! :)

  32. ma-li July 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    What a beautiful dress! I admired your patience with the bias binding but seeing the finished dress I think it was totally worth it! I really love the fit of the bodice and you look great in the dress with or without petticoat’!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

      I agree, it was going to bug me with the non-matching bias trim! Now it’s not even a thought, it looks perfectly suited to the dress. Thank you!

  33. Gjeometry July 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Beautiful dress, I think it’s very flattering on you!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

      Thank you! I’m quite happy with how it looks.

  34. Seija July 12, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

    Beatyful Dress and fabric is very 50´s ! Vintagefabric or New?

  35. Sue July 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    The matched navy binding is definately right for this dress and was worth the effort to change it! It looks great and you will always love wearing it!

  36. Carla July 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    What a fun project this was to follow! You are so beautiful, and the dress fits you just right! Congratulations on a job well done :)

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

      Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed following along with this project, it’s fun to share the details with you guys and debate bias tape colours and such!

  37. Carla July 12, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    I love the vintage look to it. Good find on the shoes & stockings, too. Most of my wardrobe is vintage/vintage-style (50s/60s Pinup, Classic) and I wear it 99% of the time when we go out & about here in Vancouver. Quite fashionable in the younger generation & classic for those of us from an older generation. I vote “Go for it” ~ Looks great, Tasia!!
    I’ve been looking for the ‘perfect’ crinoline to wear with a couple of my fuller skirts/dresses as I find the petticoats a bit too full as well. I’m thinking batiste, maybe add some vintage lace or ribbon from my grandmother’s stash I inherited and need to find a pattern… will make a point of checking the neighborhood Value Village ~ I forgot about that source.
    Looking forward to your next project! =)

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

      Thanks Carla! I’ve gotten into wearing stockings and I love how all of my shoes are more comfortable, plus no more blisters! Finally I see the point of wearing nylons. I thought it was just a warmth thing, or a looks thing, but it’s also more comfortable to keep feet from sticking to shoes.

      Batiste would be soft and nice to wear as a petticoat, and breathable in the summer. Like so – with eyelet and tulle. Do you think it would stick to the layer of your dress? I guess it depends on what the dress fabric is!

      • Carla T. July 15, 2013 at 11:35 am #

        I gave up on actual pantyhose a long, long time ago ~ I find actual nylons so much more practical (I always carry a spare one in case of snags), seem to last longer, and are overall more comfortable to wear even in the heat of summer.

        That’s exactly how a long crinoline I had many years ago was constructed!! Thank you so very much for that link!!
        The tulle is needed for body for sure, and can be gathered to a wanted thickness. The eyelet with a scalloped edge could peek out from underneath (cute!) A plain edge fabric needs a nice finish such as a rolled hem on the serger or a delicate hem. The under/outer fabric can be a bit longer than the tulle to prevent sticking to the dress or skirt fabric. Hmmm… so many more ideas lol

        Have a good day, Tasia =)

  38. Leigh July 12, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Wow. Really broadens your shoulders, and sits beautifully across your colour bone.

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

      Thank you! It’s true what they say in the style books then, boatnecks do broaden your shoulders, I really like this neckline!

  39. Jenny July 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    It looks great! And I love seeing the difference with and without the petticoat- it’s kind of like 2 dresses in one…. score!

    It’s a shame you feel so conspicuous wearing the petticoat because it doesn’t look costumey at all. I guess I’m lucky to live somewhere where anything goes and you can wear what you like without raising an eyebrow. But if you feel like you already stick out a bit (and are uncomfortable with that) then maybe the slip with a ruffled hem option is the way to go :)

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

      Thank you! Yeah, a cream-coloured petticoat is a wardrobe extender isn’t it? Goes under pretty much any dress!

      I think that we’re pretty open about clothing in Vancouver but it’s on the casual end, for sure. Probably because of our outdoor lifestyle, there’s lots of yoga pants, cargo capris and denim everywhere. I was having a conversation this morning about how I’m always in dresses and it’s so unusual, and that’s just dresses as opposed to pants! I stick out and I’m not even trying that hard.. it could also be that I work at an office full of accountants, lawyers, counsellors, insurance salespeople, so I’m different from the usual people in here. It’s more that I would feel like I wasn’t taking myself seriously, maybe? Not to mention that I ride my bike and would probably wreck the petticoat. (And again, I’m the odd cyclist in dresses, on the bike path with cycling-jersey-and-lycra cyclists.)

      I suppose I always stick out a bit, and I’m OK with that! Thanks for the comment, it got me thinking about what stops me from dressing how I want. Which is an interesting discussion topic for future – what would you wear if it was completely up to you, no judgment? would it be different from what you’re wearing today?

      • Jenny July 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

        How much more interesting and fun would it be to live in a society where there was no judgement attached to your personal appearance?! I’d like to live there!

        I think there would be a lot of people who would probably change something about their style if there were no rules. Sure, what we wear now still allows us to express ourselves, but only within certain parameters. Just imagine it- it would be crazy, amazing and colourful!

        • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

          I agree, and I’m not even sure where all the judgment is coming from. Other women? Men? People who are older than us, younger than us, our friends, colleagues or strangers?

          If I really think about it, whose opinion am I most concerned about when it comes to colourful dressing? That person in the elevator giving me the side-eye as I’m heading in to work? The random car that drives down the alley as I’m posing, taking pictures of myself in a petticoat? Who cares what they think really. And yet, I let it stifle just a teeny bit of my fun.

          My biggest concern is having my appearance take over all of the other things about me, where I am not me, the business owner and sewer and knitter and cyclist and generally happy and enthusiastic person, but that girl who wears wild and outlandish things, or dresses too young, or too retro, or most of all, inappropriately so that it makes other people uncomfortable. And then again, why do I care how other people react to my clothing choices? It’s a very interesting train of thought, and because we as women have so many wardrobe choices available to us, what we wear can certainly have an impact on how we’re perceived. I want to be taken seriously and not dismissed as kooky or vapid or like I think life is a fashion show. (It can be, but I also care about a lot of other things!)

          I agree, if we didn’t think twice about impressing or not offending, we’d wear a lot more interesting and colourful things, especially in environments where we’re so used to being careful about our choices (work, school, formal events.) Even opening up our minds to think – what’s stopping us? and what would we wear if the invisible forces stopped getting in the way?

          • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

            Whoa, I wrote a novel! Guess I think a lot of things about this topic!

            • Stephanie July 12, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

              I haven’t lived in Vancouver for a long time (I lived there in the late 1990s), but my family currently lives there. In my humble opinion, the feeling you have of being judged negatively for “standing out” in your clothing choices is something that is self-imposed. (I don’t mean that as a criticism, but rather as a gentle suggestion. I’ll explain myself below.)

              I’m originally from Toronto, and within Canada have also lived in a number of small towns in Ontario, in Montreal and currently live in Ottawa). I’ve also lived and worked in Australia, the U.S., Asia and Europe. I’ve always been a dressed-up person with a hint of vintage and a love of colour and texture because my grandmothers were my role models when I was a little girl in the 1970s (always in chic tailored silk or wool dresses, hats, coats, mohair sweaters, pretty handbags and shoes, etc.).

              I think the idea that you can’t wear colourful clothes, petticoats, etc., anywhere in Canada without being judged negatively is generally not true. I work as an economist, i.e. in a typically “blue suit” kind of a world, and the fact that I wear colourful, playful but ladylike styles has never once impeded my career (in fact at times it has helped it, in making me approachable, interesting, etc.).

              I had an interesting time in Vancouver in that people often commented on the way that I dressed, but always in a complimentary way. I even had someone come up to me in the supermarket one day and tell me that my style was very European and a delight. One day, someone tried to buy the buttons right off of the vintage coat I was wearing (apparently they bore a symbol with a significance I can’t currently recall). Even in Ottawa, in my very very conservative job, people comment in a positive way on the patterns, bright colours and vintage shoes that I wear to work and often ask me where I got the items! I was wearing a pair of vintage Ferragamo spectator pumps in red and white the other day to an important meeting with a very senior official and he gave me a nod of approval. (I bought them on Etsy for $35.)

              I think you should definitely consider wearing the petticoat with a smile if you like the way it feels. There’s absolutely too much fleece in Vancouver and if I could personally ban the public wearing of skin-tight yoga pants everywhere I would. ;) I think we impose too many rules on ourselves about fitting in, when honestly most people admire a person who has a clear sense of her own identity (I also get a lot of kudos for confidently not colouring my hair as I’m starting to get a few grays!)

              At any rate, your dress is lovely, with or without the petticoat!

              • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

                Thank you so much for this comment! I enjoy the response that this petticoat discussion has prompted. I thought that I would get a bit of feedback along the lines of ‘yes, you can’t wear that every day but it does look cool’ and perhaps a little bit of ‘you look a bit silly playing dress-up but hey at least you’re having fun.’ It’s very cool to hear you guys say ‘go for it! wear it if you want!” And I agree, a lot of the judging is probably in my head and if it’s there, it’s not from people who matter. And I doubt it would affect my career at all, in fact it would probably draw even more attention to the freedom of sewing your own clothes! (Besides, that thing is warm. It would be awesome to wear a petticoat in the winter so I could keep on wearing skirts and dresses.) I’ve started wearing nylons with seams and I love the look, baby steps I suppose!

                Love that you wear vintage shoes in a conservative role! They sound appropriate and striking, different from the standard modern office shoe.

                I love that you mentioned grey hairs as well. I’ve started to get quite a lot (stress perhaps?) and for the last couple years I’ve been dyeing it regularly. Going forward I’m also going to rock the grey and stop worrying about it so much! I’m glad to hear that you’re getting kudos for owning your greys. Personally I’m going to think of them as silver highlights – doesn’t that sound more desirable and unique?

                Thanks for the encouragement! I didn’t really think about where the hesitation was coming from but you’re right, less fleece and yoga pants (as that’s not my thing) and more fluffy dresses and bright colours (because that is SO my thing!)

                • Stephanie July 13, 2013 at 4:58 am #

                  Woo hoo! I love that, Tasia! So far I am comfortable in my greys, as I don’t have too many (although this year I have started getting more and more). :) That said, I think role models help as my mom and both of my grandmothers did not colour their hair. As I mentioned above, I always thought my grandmothers (and of course my mother) were/are chic and gorgeous.

                  I understand why women colour their greys in their 30s (I’m 43 and just getting my greys now), but after a certain point I personally feel it’s 1) not a good use of time or money; 2) involves slathering the head with chemicals regularly, which does not make sense to me, either health-wise or environmentally; and 3) doesn’t say to the world that as women we can be gorgeous and fabulous and also look our age. I have no desire to be or look 20 again, because I’m not. I’m much richer as a human being for my experience, in almost every way.

                  All that said, although I joke around about yoga pants and all the rest, I am someone who believes in freedom to choose and do not impose my beliefs about clothing or hair colouring on other women. For some women hair colouring is an important part of feeling confident and more power to them! At the same time, a small part of me hopes that more and more women will start to buck the fashion trends that send older women crazily searching to look like twenty year-olds!

                  Anyhow, your dress is gorgeous, as are you, and I know you’ll rock it whatever way you wear it!!

                  • Stephanie July 13, 2013 at 5:03 am #

                    PS The nylons are lovely. I might try wearing those myself! Also when I said “crazily searching to look like twenty-year olds” I meant the “Housewives of …” type of look. I hope everyone knows what I mean!

                    • Tasia July 17, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

                      Oh yeah! Try them. They’re stockings, so much more comfortable than tights! (Bonus: if you snag one leg, the other is still wearable!)

                  • Tasia July 17, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

                    I’m glad to hear you’re comfortable with the greys! It’s encouraging for me. Mine are about an inch long or so, mostly around the temples and back from there. My mom colours hers but I do remember growing up, my sister’s friend’s mother had silver hair in a bob and it was very elegant. Chic and gorgeous is a state of mind and so much more than hair colour! (I think so anyways!)
                    I agree, those are some strong chemicals to have on your brain, and it’s expensive! Think of the fabric, or yarn, or vacations that could buy instead! I’d rather take that $$ and take an extra holiday – peace of mind, rest and relaxation is more important to my well-being than hair. (That being said, we’ll see how I feel when there are greys as long as the rest of my hair, or when it’s half and half..)

                    And yes, freedom to choose! We’re all allowed to have our own views on clothing, hair, and every other way we express ourselves. As long as we’re not hurting anyone we can make whatever choice are right for us, just us and no one else. It’s sort of a neat thing anyways for me. I’m ok with the contrast of silver streaks and a young-looking face!

                • Nadia Lewis July 13, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

                  I live in East Van, work a corporate job for the Engineering Licensing Board in Burnaby, ride a Bobbin Birdie (quite similar in style to your bike) all the way there and do it in 1950s lady dresses with often multiple petticoats! In nylons! In make up! In a wasp-waisted corset! It can be done!

                  I have never ever not even once been policed for being too fabulous. Maybe because I have the personality of Mary Poppins meets Wednesday Adams; maybe because everyone secretly is afraid — but wants! — to dress in a way that their inner five-year-old would approve of but doesn’t; maybe because it just looks so great!

                  If you want to try it out in the real world, you should come down to Commercial Drive (where the dress code is already Burning Man Lite all the time) and we should grab a tea. I’ll field the comments from the crazies. ;)

                  • Cyndi July 13, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

                    You are my hero for what you wrote! I love wearing styles from various period and here in Portland, Oregon you have to really TRY tostick out. Dress for yourself… just don’t wear your hoopskirt in the canned goods aisle ;)

                  • Tasia July 17, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

                    You sound incredibly cool and confident! ‘Policed for being too fabulous’ – love it! I think you’re right, there are probably people that wish they could dress a certain way, but don’t because they are afraid. Over the last couple of years I’ve worried less about what others might think and focused on what I feel good in, and I think why not, petticoats are part of that! A petticoat tea meetup sounds fun, I’m in!
                    Do you ever get your petticoat caught in your bike parts? That would be my concern about wearing it all to cycle in! And a corset – ever have trouble breathing? Do you just slow down then? Curious to hear what it’s like from another ladylike cyclist! I bet you get a ton of intrigued looks from the lycra cyclists.

  40. Carol July 12, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    I love the dress! My husband asked about the purchased belt and gave me a dirty look! LOL! I guess I have to take them all back!

    No really – Great Job! It was fun seeing it go together and watching someone else run into the same issues I do.

  41. Sandra July 12, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    This dress is beautiful. I love it with the petticoat.

  42. Sarah July 12, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    oooo what a fabulous finish it looks awesome on you! I LOVE the petticoat, I needa get my hands on one of those. Congrats on a beautiful ‘instant’ dress :)

  43. Virginia July 12, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    I just want to sing Doris Day songs when I see you in the petticoat version. And i LOVE Doris Day! Gsoh, it does look beautiful Tasia. Well done.

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 9:06 pm #

      Ahaha, I love it! I’ve only seen one Doris Day movie, the one with Cary Grant where they go to a hotel on holiday. This one – – A Touch of Mink, so that’s what I think of! Wrong era though. Thanks for the compliment! I do feel like a movie star, until I remember that I’m posing in a back alley next to the sewer drains.. :)

  44. Sherri July 12, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    Extreme cuteness, Tasia!

    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 9:03 pm #


  45. Lora July 12, 2013 at 8:36 pm #


    Another success!! I love the dress and the flouncy petticoat. It looks exceptionally nice on you as well.


    • Tasia July 12, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

      Thank you Lora!

  46. M July 12, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    It looks great on you! Tasia, you’re such a pretty lady! :-)

  47. Abi July 13, 2013 at 2:29 am #

    The dress turned out so well! I’m glad you found a better match for the bias, it really makes a difference in how you feel about the finished product. And following your progress on your dress has really got me itching to dive into my vintage pattern stash and sew!

    I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here about the petticoats, but I wear petticoats on a very regular basis, so they’re kinda my specialty (I make and sell them, so it’s my business to know petticoats!). Even though I wear them all the time, I definitely understand the not wanting to look to costumey feeling! I very rarely wear huge petticoats, really only to special events, or for actual costume purposes (which is my other business, making costumes!). I have a couple of ‘Everyday’ petticoats, which I love wearing under my circle skirts especially, but they also look pretty good under a half circle too. I just find they give that little bit of structure to my skirt, but they’re not full enough to look too out of place, and they’re definitely not ‘knock everything off the tables’ full! Here’s a photo I took of a circle skirt with each of the petticoats I make, to show the difference in fullness: So it’s definitely possible to wear a smaller petticoat and not feel too out of place!

    (I hope this doesn’t come across as a sales post, I promise I’m not trying to sell you petticoats, I’m just trying to encourage the wearing of petticoats, because petticoats are fun! And definitely can be worn every day! :D)

  48. Karen July 13, 2013 at 4:01 am #

    Really lovely, loved your photo shoot session.

  49. Jo July 13, 2013 at 4:08 am #

    Well isn’t this cute?? I’ve been pondering petticoats lately. I think it would froth up the wool circle skirt I made, ooh and this dress with a full, gathered skirt too! The fabric I used is kinda limp. I love the idea of adding volume.
    I think going for a petticoat with quite minimal volume would add floof but not look too costume-y :)
    Gosh I love the bias trim at the neckline too :D Total sucker for neckline bows over here.

    Well done!!! :D

  50. Wanett July 13, 2013 at 6:40 am #

    It’s so pretty!! I love how full it looks with the crinoline on!!

    But, I know that I could never wear one. I think feeling comfortable is more important and I KNOW I would feel really, really uncomfortable! LOL

    • Tasia July 17, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

      I agree, feeling comfortable and natural is important! If your clothing doesn’t feel like ‘you’ then you’ll feel like a phony all day. (Been there, felt that!)

  51. Meredith July 13, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    I love your dress! It looks fantastic on you. I completely think you should make a slip with a ruffled hem. The full petticoat is probably a bit much, but just a little bit of extra volume would be amazing!

    Thanks for sharing!

  52. July 14, 2013 at 2:17 am #

    so gorgeous! I love the dress! It’s perfect for wearing it with a petticoat.

  53. Li Ann July 14, 2013 at 3:46 am #

    Tasia, this is definitely one of my favourite sorts of dresses – the side and front darted bodice with a circle skirt! Congratulations on producing this little winner! I love your blog and your patterns, your insight into Vancouverian life (I live in Melbourne, but have cousins in Vancouver). I’ve read your blog faithfully for about 2 years, and really appreciate the thoughtful tips and ‘how-to’s you leave for self-taught sewers like myself, especially the one about sewing in your lining into the invisible zip! Come to think of it, my circle skirted cambie is definitely one of my favourite dresses! Long live the circle skirt!

    • Tasia July 17, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      Thank you! I like to share little details of each project as much as I can, it’s helpful when you can learn a little bit about the making of a garment instead of just seeing the finished product.

    • Tasia July 17, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

      I have to try a circle-skirted Cambie, too!

  54. ZoSews July 15, 2013 at 5:25 am #

    Beautiful on you! Styling is fabulous – the tights, the lippy – love it!

  55. June July 15, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    Cute! Congrats on making your wonderful new dress.

    The lampshade analogy is a very good one, I feel like I understood exactly what you are trying to say.

    Re the hanger appeal – I forget who talked about (K Fasanella, maybe?), but the point was that some clothes are designed for maximum hanger appeal (ie, as a 2D object), with less emphasis on how good (or bad) it looks on a 3D body.

  56. Rachel In Red July 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

    my god, I love this dress! It is so great on you! The colours, the print, the dots… just. yes! And I love that you paired this sweet dress with those thights. The black line along the back makes them supersexy I think.

  57. Carolyn July 17, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    Tasia, you are hilarious! : ) I love the petticoat and how much fun you had taking these photos. So glad you’re enjoying the finished “instant” dress – it looks great on you!

    Also, it’s great to see that you make time for some fun/personal sewing among all your business activities. I admire your multi-tasking!

  58. KendinDik.Com July 20, 2013 at 1:49 am #

    if only we had more excuses to wear those petticoats!
    luv from Turkey!

  59. Lori July 22, 2013 at 6:48 am #

    The dress is fabulous! Great job, Tasia! The petticoat looks fun to wear although, the feeling of treading into costume territory with it on would be my same feeling. I love your blog and am finally diving into sewing a couple of your patterns. Woot! Woot! Hopefully, I’ll get to tackle them this summer yet. Can’t wait!

  60. Alexandra Drake July 22, 2013 at 7:52 am #

    I love this dress! The fabric you chose it gorgeous, fun and compliments your coloring beautifully! Looks fabulous with or without the petticoat (obvs petticoats make everything more fun)!

    You’ve done a beautiful job shaping the neckline, too! Thanks for sharing!!!

  61. Shirley Dehmer August 2, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    Absolutely perfect! I see you got your feet placed in the adult position. Great! You look like a beautiful young woman who is “with it,” and going places. I’m proud of you. These are really nice pictures and the dress is really outstanding.

  62. Jackie Sorich August 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    The dress looks great and you look darling in it. The petticoat is fab, what a different look.
    Hope you go dancing and have big fun!

  63. Donna Gleeson August 26, 2013 at 1:55 am #

    Oh Tasia,
    It’s really, really, really gorgeous. I want one! I’d be wearing it with the petticoat equally as often as not.


  64. Allison September 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm #

    I have just discovered your blog and patterns and I’m really enjoying it! I am coveting this dress like you would not believe! I happened to buy material today that would be perfect for it and went on a hunt for the pattern. It looks like it’s quite difficult to find. You should print your own version of the pattern. I’d buy it!!!!

  65. Jeff October 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Tasia, I just stumbled on your blog and this gorgeous dress today. Wow! Super pretty. I love the full skirt, the fabric, the petticoat underneath, the stockings and, of course, the stunning model!

    I am not an accomplished sewer, but since retiring, I have tried a number of projects – mostly vintage pleated or gathered full skirts. Now, after seeing this finished project, I find myself scouring the internet for a similar vintage dress pattern :). Like Allison above, I’d buy this pattern if I could find it.