Things sewn in 2020: dresses

Monday, 4 January 2021

I had a very prolific sewing year in 2020 - I finished 62 projects, used up 87m of fabric (including all the pieces purchased in 2020) and only bought 56m of fabric. This wasn't reflected on my poor neglected blog though - too much sewing and not enough time blogging! But I do like to record my output for future posterity, either because I'm trying to remember what pattern I used for a particular garment or I'm about to use a pattern again and want to check how I felt about it previously. Plus I always google a pattern before I use it to see how it turned out for others, so I feel I should give back to the internets.

I don't have time to do 50 or so blog posts for each finished project though, so I'm going to wrap them up in one bumper post for each category. Today's post is my favourite garment - dresses! I made 12 of them last year, so this will be a longish post.

My favourite dress is this vibrant green and navy blue scuba fabric that I made into Vogue 9167 in early December. The colour is gorgeous, the fit turned out well with minimal alterations and it has pockets! I haven't worn it yet unfortunately because due to Covid I only had one very casual and small Christmas function to attend. This dress is quite simple to make, and has clever cut outs at the waistline pleats to reduce bulk which was important for this thick and spongy fabric.

a white lady posing in a green floral dress and pink high heels and the cover of a Vogue sewing pattern

My favourite pattern that I made three times is Simplicity 8014 - a shirt dress with an option for a straight dress, curved hem dress or flared skirt dress. This may be one of the few times I've made all views of a sewing pattern - I made it in a navy and red floral linen, a black linen, black and white flannel gingham, and a blue and white crisp cotton shirting fabric. All versions turned out great and have been worn a few times this year already:

a white lady posing in front of a rainbow wall wearing a black and white gingham dress

a white lady posing in a black dress in front of a tv in a lounge room

a white lady posing in a blue floral dress beside a pool

a white lady posing in a blue and white shirt dress with hat in front a paling fence

cover of a sewing pattern

My most frequently worn dress is a very simple dress made from gingham linen in a mustard colour. It's the Style Arc Olivia, which I changed up by sewing the bodice on the bias. I've made this previously and I knew I had to make some fitting changes to it because I find the neckline to be too low and wide, and the bodice too long on me. This is a casual pull on dress that was perfect for the stay at home casual lifestyle of the last year.

a white lady posing in a gingham dress in front of outdoor furniture

My least favourite dress is probably this very bright printed linen that I made into a vintage Simplicity from 1978. It feels a bit frumpy and the neckline feels like it is choking me so it's currently sitting in my alterations pile to re-do that neckline and possibly shorten it a little. I did like that the cut on sleeves have a sleeve facing, which is a more sophisticated finish than the Style Arc dress which just has turned under sleeve hems.

a white lady posing in a very colourful dress in front of timber stairs and a vintage sewing pattern cover

And finally some dresses that I really like but haven't worn yet this year because they are either work dresses or party dresses, and in a year of work at home / stay at home there was just no occasion (yet!) to wear these. Firstly, a fit and flare dress in Vogue 8667 made in a navy blue bonded crepe, which feels a bit like scuba but presses better:

a white lady posing in a blue dress in front of a yellow wallpapered wall

A swishy dress made in a red textured woven mystery fabric - I can't remember the fabric composition but it drapes well and holds a press. This is another vintage pattern, this time from the 1980s and it turned out surprisingly lovely. I did shorten the bodice because it was designed to puff out over the waistline but with the centre back invisible zip that just made me look like a hunchback. I also shortened the skirt because it was originally almost ankle length on me and then the hem drooped even though it wasn't cut on the bias, so I had to shorten it even more. Still looks great - I just need an occasion other than posing in front of my Christmas tree!

a white lady posing in a red dress beside a christmas tree

A fitted work dress in a black and white plaid bengaline made into New Look 6144 with pleats at the neckline that are only just visible in this busy fabric. I've made this dress before plus this fabric is quite stretchy so there were no fitting problems at all (not often I get to say that!):

a white lady posing in a black and white plaid dress and the cover of a sewing pattern

Earlier in the year I made a dress that I found super difficult with very puzzling instructions that I blogged about here. It's McCalls7429 made in a polyester knit fabric that I am still on the fence about:

a white lady posing in a blue and white twist dress and the cover of a sewing patter

And finally, I made a dress for my daughter's birthday in January as I do each year. This year's dress was not such a big hit - it turned out a bit frumpy even though she loves the fabric which is a cotton sateen with a cool pineapple border print dress. This is from New Look 6320 which I altered by making the bodice shorter so that more of the skirt fabric was used. I think it might be the sleeves which make it a bit boring - it looks like a bit of a corporate style sheath dress instead of an eleven year old summer dress, so I may modify it in the hopes she will wear it this year at least once.

a young girl posing in a pink and black dress and the cover of a sewing pattern


  1. They are ALL Beautiful! You are "Sew Talented. Thank you for sharing! Happy Sewing.

  2. they are all great, I particularly like the red vintage vogue - that is a winner and looks fantastic on you.

  3. An amazing collection of dresses and appreciated your critique of them. Fingers crossed you get to wear some of them this year.

  4. Well done! Some lovely dresses there. Hopefully you get to wear them all soon.

  5. You look really good in dresses I'm jealous : )
    I think you passed the gene onto your pretty daughter.

  6. You had a really good year! It's thrilling to see you sewing so much again and I love that most of your makes are not recently released patterns but ones that are classic and have been available for a minute. Hope 2021 is as good to you!

  7. Such pretty dresses. I am grateful that you have posted them for us to look at, I am feeling quite inspired. I love your red 80's dress, it looks very modern and elegant.

  8. I love your dress collection -- you are such a great sewer. Thanks for the inspiration!