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The Porsche dress

28 April 2008, 12:10

What a difference a week makes! Spring has finally come to London, meaning I could wear my new dress outside without fear of goosebumps (the reverse – I actually got a bit sunburnt!).

If you recall from earlier, I bought a vintage Porsche cotton duvet cover and pillowcase off eBay for £8 (including shipping). It was in great condition and even had a full wraparound print which meant I had a lot more fabric to work with than I ever imagined when I clicked Bid Now…

I decided it’d work best with a suitably vintage pattern, so I decided to use Simplicity 3780, using a bit of careful pattern placement to get the most out of the different printed areas of the duvet cover (so the stripes along the bottom of the duvet became the red halter straps, for instance).

I made a few changes to the original pattern, the most obvious of which was to shorten it by 9 inches so that the hem falls above my knees rather than at the incredibly dowdy mid-calf length. I followed Simplicity’s almost magical bodice lining instructions (which were fantastic at encasing all the seams and making an immovable lining layer) but added three lengths of vertical boning to the front of the bodice lining (under the black “Porsche” letters) in addition to the two lengths called for in the back bodice seams. The boning really helps to keep everything in place and stop wrinkling when I sit down, and isn’t uncomfortable in the slightest – I don’t even notice it’s there!

I also opted to have a standard centre back zipper application rather than the intended lapped zipper because, well, those really annoy me. Since I knew the zipper topstitching would be pretty obvious, I took the time to actually hand baste the zipper in place before sewing it down with the machine, which really helped to get a clean finish. The back neck band fastens with two button loops sewn into the seam, and I chose two fantastically vintage white plastic spherical buttons to finish off the look, hiding a snap further down to keep the “tail” of the band from showing, as I had about 3 inches too much length there.

I decided to stick with the original pattern and not line the skirt but instead flat-felled the skirt’s side and centre back seams to make a clean finish, and I hand stitched white lace around the waist seam in the inside to hide the seam allowances there. My new rolled hem foot even got a workout on the hem, but my god that was a frustrating experience! I thought the point was that the foot did all the work for you, but I really had to continuously hand fold the edge and feed it into the foot. I couldn’t take my eyes off it for even a second or it’d all go pear-shaped, but at least I’ve got lots of curved hem practice now!

So for the recycled fabric-spotters amongst you:

And since it was so gloriously warm and sunny on Saturday, I’m afraid it may have all gone to my head a bit and for a split second I worked the 1950s pinup girl pose, which James happen to catch!

It’s definitely either the sun or the dress’s influence showing through, but I’m just not sure which!

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  1. Excellent! I never thought this would be as cute as it is! I also like the tip on boning. Why or why don’t we use it more often in modern clothing. You look sleek and fun! Hmm, like a Porsche!

    Cidell    Apr 28, 01:07 PM    #
  2. How clever! I think you need to send these photos to Porsche’s magazine.

    Lindsay T    Apr 28, 02:21 PM    #
  3. I love it!!! It’s cute, fun and sassy – perfect for when the sun comes out again.

    Cassie    Apr 28, 03:03 PM    #
  4. Wow…another masterpiece! I love the way you’ve got the lettering on the sash.

    Abi    Apr 28, 03:08 PM    #
  5. So clever. And I like that you added boning (something I must get around to trying).

    christina    Apr 28, 03:13 PM    #
  6. Oh! What a fun dress! I love vintage Porsches, too, so that makes it even more fun! Thanks for sharing.

    Nneka    Apr 28, 07:16 PM    #
  7. Love it!

    Terri    Apr 29, 09:51 AM    #
  8. I love your dress! So fun! And, thanks for dropping by my blog — how funny that we have the same labels! I love them. :)

    Emily    Apr 30, 04:55 PM    #
  9. What a fun dress!

    Reethi    May 2, 12:28 AM    #
  10. Absolutely gorgeous!!!
    Love, Jodi

    Jodi Renshaw    Jul 16, 11:06 PM    #
  11. I can´t belive how fashionable are all the dresses, i want a catalogue right now !

    — Alex    Jul 30, 09:09 PM    #
  12. AMAZING! You are my hero! Can I purchase this from you?

    — jaki    Jul 18, 07:52 PM    #

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