Vintage McCalls 6587, the reversible wrap dress

With the crossover at the front. Vintage McCalls 6587, printed in 1979.

With the crossover at the front. Vintage McCalls 6587, printed in 1979. I vintaged my photos a little to match an old pattern envelope. Just for fun.

I’ve gotten myself back into a work-work-work rut. So in an effort to drag myself back to ‘me’, I’ve committed to sewing – or doing something sewing related – for at least 10 minutes a day. This is the first outcome of that little promise to myself.

It’s strange how some patterns seem to fall out of the sky and I think this one is ‘meant to be’. With a huge thank you to Kat of Seamstress Fabrics whose internet sleuthing uncovered some copies of this rare pattern creature. The pattern back describes it as a “turn-about wrap-sundress”.

McCalls 6587, printed in 1979

McCalls 6587, printed in 1979. Size: small

I sewed this up quickly with a fine stripe cotton I’ve had maturing in the fabric stash for years. I wasn’t sure it would work or fit… turns out that I think I’ve met a new best friend in this pattern.

With the crossover at the front, square back neckline. Vintage McCalls 6587, printed in 1979.

With the crossover at the front, square back neckline. Vintage McCalls 6587, printed in 1979.

I’ve sewn this in a woven – and I think you need to be careful not to choose a fabric with too much body as it does need a little bit of softness or drape as the lower bodice and skirt are gathered and then sewn together. The bodice has a soft blousing effect at the waistline.

With the crossover at the back. Vintage McCalls 6587, printed in 1979.

With the crossover at the back. Vintage McCalls 6587, printed in 1979. Hair everywhere – thank you sea breeze!

The skirt pattern pieces had been shortened by two inches – and I sewed it up with this alteration as I’m 5 foot 4 and I decided it was probably going to work.

I took up the straps 2 inches(!) to fix the very low armholes and bodice gaping.

I suspect the skirt has pocket extensions (based on the instructions) and these have been trimmed off the original pattern. I just inserted side pockets in the usual way. Seems to have worked.

Vintage McCalls 6587, printed in 1979.

You can see how the underarm and back gapes a little. I think you need to accept to achieve a reversible dress that unless it is in stretch, it’s going to be a roomier fit. Vintage McCalls 6587, printed in 1979.

There isn’t much to say about this except it’s really sweet and I love wearing it.

Vintage McCalls 6587, printed in 1979.

Vintage McCalls 6587, printed in 1979. Square neck.

And I think I need more…

That, my friends, is all.

With the crossover at the front. Vintage McCalls 6587, printed in 1979.

With the crossover at the front. Vintage McCalls 6587, printed in 1979.

Pattern: McCalls 6587, printed 1979
Fabric: Fine blue/white striped cotton, with a slight crinkle. I think I paid $3 a metre several years ago at Spotlight. It was an unlabelled fabric on a bargain table!

Also see: Tessuti blog


Vintage custodian? Or weakness?

I’ve been sewing quite a lot lately. I’ve got at least three projects waiting in the wings.

Opportunities for taking photos has been limited and, to be honest, I’m tired. I hate photos when I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. So I’m resting (ok, being lazy) and quietly sewing – I’ll be back shortly.

I’m in Tamworth at the moment with my girls. I’m typing this post on my iPhone as I feel compelled to write tonight.

Today we hit my favourite vintage/op shop – and it was a treasure trove.

I found some beautiful silk, 5 metres for just $6. I feel a decadent kimono or some loungewear coming on… 


The real joy for me was finding a collection of vintage sewing patterns.









and this beauty, a damaged but magnificent Vogue Courtier 208.   

I believe that most, if not all, came from the stash of a lady called Mrs Williams. The collection was considerable, predominantly women’s dresses with a bust size of 34-36 inches.

It’s silly but I love knowing who vintage patterns belonged to. It makes me feel very attached to them. I’ve been gifted many patterns, including a number from Busy Lizzie , Suzy Bee Sews and a work friend who gave me her mother’s patterns from the 1940-50s. I treasure them all.

I grew up surrounded by lovely furniture that came from mainly my mother & grandmother’s home. I studied at my grandmother’s desk, I slept in a cedar bed made for my mother, I sat on a settee from my grandmother’s home. 

Now I sit in my great grandfather’s chair every morning as I drink my coffee.

My mum & dad often told stories about our furniture and other pieces in the house. I loved that these things that belonged to my family and the people that came before me. I felt connected. I grew up with a sense that everything was imbued with people’s lives and their stories.

I know it’s completely corny but there is part of me that feels a strong sense of sadness when I stumble across someone’s sewing collection tucked away in a corner of an op shop.

It’s not the possible monetary value that motivates me to take them home. It’s not huge and I’ve never been able to make myself to sell any I’ve purchased at op shops and garage sales. I have gifted a few of my finds to other passionate sewing friends. I’ve never parted with a vintage pattern that’s been gifted to me. I feel like a custodian. I know. Silly but that’s just how I feel about them. Perhaps I’m a curator at heart.

I gather them up and take them home for other, perhaps irrational, reasons. It’s that someone didn’t see that these weren’t just patterns. They didn’t see or understand their real value. These were very much part of who Mrs Williams was and her life. As much as her jewellery or favourite chair might have been. Perhaps I’m wrong but the extent of this collection and the nature of it spoke volumes to me.

Sewing was clearly a passionate hobby, something that filled her life with joy, creativity and satisfaction.

And that’s something beyond measure. Something to be celebrated and treasured.

So Mrs Williams, wherever you are, your hobby lives on.

Do you collect vintage sewing notions? And if so, what motivates you?

Focus Lizzy… Focus!

I tend to talk and write a lot. What can I say I talk, I type and words just come out!

So I’m attempting to rattle on less tonight, it’s getting late and I need to sleep 🙂 otherwise I end up SewCrankyLizzy.


Voting is now open on the Pattern Review website for the RTW competition. I’m quite sure that there are a few entries there that are going to smash my humble little gingham shirtdress but I’ve decided that if by some miracle I do win the $200 Mood voucher, I’m going to buy something (in addition to my dream Anise fabric) to giveaway on my blog. I figure you all want something from Mood Fabrics just as much as me – so part of being happy is about sharing it around 🙂 You are all so generous and kind to me, I would like to give a little back in the form of Mood fabulousness if possible. I guess that would be interpreted as an enticement but it’s not intended that way. A lot of what I have achieved has been inspired by your kind words and encouragement, you are all as much a part of my sewing as me. Maybe I should have wait til after the competition. Ah, I prefer to be upfront and just say things like they are. It’s just something I want to do & it’s not an afterthought Read more about this project here.

My Shabby Apple RTW dress

My Shabby Apple RTW inspired dress – I love it with my dark red belt, patent red slingbacks. I have worn this A LOT. Making it a sewing win regardless of Pattern Review competition outcome.


I’ve also made up a vintage pattern – see if you can pick which one…. Thank you SuzyBeeSews! The bodice of this is very much like the Peony but it fits without alteration. I made this from an old doona cover from a charity shop – I as nervous about the fit but it fitted perfectly. The skirt is a little too gathered for the dress, I just used all the leftover fabric once I cut out the fabric. I didn’t have enough doona cover for the flared skirt in the original. I love this bodice. I want to make the dress again – sleeveless version.

Vintage McCalls

Vintage McCalls. That’s one of my beloved pieces of furniture, a early 1900s settee, from my childhood bedroom.


I’ve been distracted by Sewalongs. I can’t help myself. I have almost finished my New Look 6000 for Scruffy Badger’s Polka Dot NL 6000 sewalong. It’s more splodge-a-dot but I like it. I love this pattern. I confess I had been put off it because the envelope was so thick LOL. The neckline on this is not playing nice, it looks smashing but the facing does not want to stay put – damn you drapey fabric… although the pleats look lovely… I want to make it in a ponti fabric for work. Love this pattern.

New Look 6000

New Look 6000

Despite having the perfect pattern for the Sew for Victory Sewalong…

Sew for Victory

Sew for Victory. An original 1044 pattern.


I’ve decided that my London trip is too close and I would like to attempt to make a jacket to take. Hmmmm, I know ambitious….

Burda 03/2013 jacket

Burda 03/2013 jacket. A pretty wool blend.

I also got this raspberry stretch lace and would love this little cardigan from the latest Burda magazine. Don’t you think it would look fabulous with a black Charlotte skirt and a skinny belt…

Burda 03/2013 lacy cardigan

Burda 03/2013 lacy cardigan

Focus Lizzie. Focus!

Oh and my Tessuti competition fabric arrived…

Tessuti package

Tessuti package – how awesome is that packaging!!

Fashion Star Winner… London calling… vintage patterns…

Quadruple whammy post of extreme excitment!

The Fashion Star Draw

Yes I finally got around to drawing the McCalls 6611 Fashion Star jacket pattern. I admit some of the delay may be due to my sewing room transforming into a complete war zone (me vs the stash – we are currently negiotating a truce).

Shut up Lizzy we don’t care about your messy sewing room just tell us who the winner is… *sniff* OK I get the hint…

The winner is… (courtesy of good old


Blogless Anna wins the chance to become a FASHION STAR!

Blogless Anna wins the chance to become a FASHION STAR!

just goes to show that karma is real! Blogless Anna sent me the most amazing length of silk DKNY last month (that’s it in the background) what goes around comes around!

And in more exciting blogging news (well exciting for me)…


The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro is organising a bloggers’ meet-up on 20 April at the V&A. We can pretend to be genteel while drinking tea (with some hugging, giggling and squee-ing thrown in). Then onto Goldhawk Road where I shall be happily led astray (really ELH they made me buy it).

Anyway, hop over to House of Pinheiro as Rachel is the fabulous organiser and needs numbers etc. So if you are in London or nearby (which is pretty much anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, after all I’m flying for 24 hours straight just to get to London, thank goodness they allow knitting needles these days) please come along, I’d love to meet you!

The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro

The gorgeous Rachel of House of Pinheiro (IRL I probably only come up to her kneecap)

So I must race off and start sewing a squillion things (I never exagerate) as I’m sure this will lead to a wardrobe crisis like no other!!


A delightful work collegue gave me the most beautiful vintage patterns this week. It was such a surprise – they were her grandmother’s. Her generosity is overwhelming. How precious are these??

Grandma's patterns - too precious!

Grandma’s patterns – too precious. She must have been a snappy dresser!

Grandma's patterns - I've just realised what the blog accessories department is lacking! GLOVES!!

Grandma’s patterns – I’ve just realised what the blog accessories department is lacking! GLOVES!!

Grandma's patterns - this one is a magazine pattern from Australian Home Journal. I just love that advert!

Grandma’s patterns – this one is a magazine pattern from Australian Home Journal. I just love that advert, who would have thought a rollette rolled on??

I’m so grateful to have them and can’t wait to try some of these vintage numbers out. I hope I do grandma proud.

And just before I left for Tasmania I receive the most awesome package from the Trouser Making Champion herself – Suzy Bee Sews! After my vintage Jiffy post, Suzy contacted me and asked if I would like her collection of vintage patterns that were not her size. I’m still in shock, awe and amazed. However I did pass on one of the patterns Suzy sent me to Pretty Grivenances… it was not my size and she was tweeting about making a jacket and it was just so it just seemed right to pop it into the koala canoe and send it over to her.

Patterns from Suzy Bee Sews: How cool is that skirt pattern!

Patterns from Suzy Bee Sews: How cool is that skirt pattern!

Patterns from Suzy Bee Sews_web 2

Now I just adore that envelope that reads “the envelope contains ANOTHER RELIABLE DRESS PATTERN.

And what did I send to Anne?

A Coat for Anne

A Coat for Anne

Can’t you just see her now, swanning about, gesturing grandly with the adorable German hounds?

As much as I loved and adored this coat… it was destined for another 🙂

And that’s what makes our sewing blogsphere so cool…

I’ll be with you in a Jiffy… with a Pattern Pyramid!

Simplicity Jiffy 4977 - at the Lighthouse

Simplicity Jiffy 4977 – at the Lighthouse, this is only a few minutes from my home… I really do sew by the seashore!

When I said I’d be with you in a Jiffy… I really meant it!

In November I won a Pattern Pyramid on Made by Trisha’s blog. I managed to keep quiet about it as I knew it would take while to arrive from USA. Trisha was off at a conference, check out the dress she made to wear to it here.

The pyramid arrived this week… and you will be pleased to know that I’ve already made two things! Hey don’t look so shocked, I’m not SewBusyLizzy for nothin’! LOL.

OK I know that you ain’t so interested in my sewing as you are in the Pyramid itself, huh? *sniff* After stalking many a Pattern Pyramid I understand, really I do *sniff*.

And yes, it’s a pretty good one.

Pattern Pyramid

The jury is still out, I can’t decide what to keep. At the moment I’m a little bit in love with the very simple Jiffy 60s number. And yes, that’s the Jiffy that I’m wearing at the top of the post 🙂

Simplicity Jiffy 4977

Simplicity Jiffy 4977

I made the Jiffy on the spur of the moment. I was digging through the stash looking for something else and stumbled across this vintage fabric (you know how that happens) I picked up at an op shop for $3 for 3 meters. I suspect it’s a 70s print. I have no idea what it’s composed of… but it’s quite heavy, a twill weave and has a fabulous drape. It just felt ‘right’ and in a jiffy – or a few hours – the Jiffy was born. Miss 9 and ELH decreed that I should make the sleeveless number so I obliged. I even had some vintage hooks & eyes to close the back (it’s supposed to be a button & loop but this felt ‘right’). So total cost (excluding electricity and cotton etc for those auditing types) was $2. I have enough fabric left to make an Alma with this 🙂

My modern cheating touch was to use my brand new overlocker/serger to finish the seams – this fabric is a ‘frayer’.

Simplicity Jiffy 4977 - interior

Simplicity Jiffy 4977 – interior

Verdict? Jiffy = lots of fun and a very comfortable dress!

Now I had thought I would keep Simplicity 4687 – the shift, jacket and overblouse. So cute! It seemed the perfect solution to my Christmas dress dilemma. I thought I would make a red dress with a green lace over blouse.

Simplicity 4687 Pattern Pyramid fail

Simplicity 4687 Pattern Pyramid fail

Glad I muslined this. It’s too big. Yes, yes, yes. I could grade the pattern. I could make alterations. And I really admire people that do that. However for me… there is a world of patterns out there that fit me and I’d rather fritter away my time with those 🙂 This was nice enough to sew but a major sewing/fitting fail. I could not even be bothered to tidy up the hem for the pictures 🙂

Simplicity 4687 Pattern Pyramid fail

Simplicity 4687 Pattern Pyramid fail – back view – it’s huge!

Verdict? I’m not a vintage size 12. Lesson learnt. It’s staying in the Pyramid.

I’m still dying to try the 6512 pants… they might be too small though. And trust me you don’t want to see my stretch marks in that crop top. I am a small person and had two babies around the 9 pound mark – scarred for life I tells ya. I’m sticking with the dresses.

What am I keeping? I don’t know!!! Decisions!! I thought about tracing off the pattern but decided I will just throw a few more in. I have plenty of vintage patterns and I actually love seeing how the Pyramid morphs and changes with every blog it passes through. At the moment the Jiffy is definitely the front runner. I can see myself making this up many times…

What should I throw into the mix? A jacket? A Vintage Vogue? An 1980s fashion crime?

Excited? Wanna win? You can find the rules of the Pattern Pyramid here – when it was started by the lovely Karen of Did You Make That? In a nutshell you must have a blog to participate (sorry non-bloggers!). Leave a comment and let me know if you are in!

The Pattern Pyramid winner will be chosen by a lucky draw on December 23, 2012. Good luck!

Pattern: free
Fabric: $2 op shop.

Tacking Point Lighthouse, Port Macquarie

Tacking Point Lighthouse is Australia’s third oldest lighthouse. It was built on a rocky headland about 8 kilometres south of Port Macquarie in 1879 by Shepherd and Mortley, to a design by the New South Wales Colonial Architect, James Barnet. It is classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW). Tacking Point was named by explorer Matthew Flinders in 1802 during his 1802–1803 circumnavigation of Australia
(source: wikipedia)

Oh and if you have read this far it was WINDY today. Really windy… we were lucky to get these pictures… some of them looked like this…

bad hair day jiffy

I’ve been nominated for some blog awards – more on that later… oh and I made the Sewaholic Lonsdale dress. Verdict: sewing WIN! Photos soon.