Built by Wendy meets Puce Floral

Do you remember the Built by Wendy sheath dress I started back in September?  Unfortunately I only got as far as a toile fitting before being paralyzed by fabric and styling indecision.

Since then, though, I’ve dug through my extensive fabric collection and come up with a very old cotton sateen pink/purple/puce floral.  I can’t remember its origin but I’ve had it maturing in the stash for at least ten years.  It’s old though (1960’s I’d guess?), and only 86cm wide.  I remember considering it for a maternity dress during my third trimester when the weather suddenly turned hot and I was sick of wearing the same thing every day.  However, I dilly-dallied so long the baby was born before I cut it out.  I had made a start though: in with the floral was a matching plain cotton and reel of thread.  All fabrics pre-washed, too.

Built by Wendy meets Puce Floral fabrics and thread

I had tossed up using chambray for this dress (I had some) but I was afraid it would look too “canteen lady”, although choosing a floral risks the dress looking like a nightie, if one isn’t careful.


I gave some thought to a quick style brief, since I know from experience that if the design and details aren’t resolved before beginning, the project never gets finished and is doomed to live in the UFO bag forever (does this happen to you too?).

  • Simple dress
  • Must have a collar
  • Ditto sleeves (short ones are ok)
  • Ditto pockets (in-seam)
  • Have some sort of front detail (in this case a button placket)
  • A-line so I can wear it on a bicycle
  • Must not require any special undies to wear (eg natural coloured underwear, slip for opacity, a particular bra etc).

Here’s a quick sketch:

Built by Wendy meets Puce Floral sketch

Collar and cuffs in plain, dress and placket in floral.



Therefore, I made a few pattern changes before cutting out:

  • Added more flare to the sides to make it properly A-line
  • Converted the baggy front neckline into a small bust dart (look at the original post to see what I mean)
  • Made a Peter Pan-style collar.  Yes, Peter Pan collars on adults can look very Mary Quant, but I thought it might suit the fabric.


Next challenge: there wasn’t enough fabric to cut the sleeves out unless I gave the dress a central back seam.  Not keen on this but there weren’t other options.  The sleeves had to be cut singly since the fabric was too narrow to cut them folded.  I worked it out in the end.

Funnily, I found myself humming hits from the 1960’s as I cut it out.  Years of factory work with enforced “Hits and Memories” radio have imprinted these ditties in my head…Gerry and the Pacemakers, Marvin Gaye, The Rolling Stones, The Supremes, The Kinks, and a bit of Elvis.


And….that’s as far as I got this week, just a cut out dress.  But I have momentum and commitment!



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