Help! I want to sew a winter dress!

It seems at the moment that I am only able to dream about sewing that perfect winter dress.  You know the one that is stylish as well as warm?  I’m thinking long sleeves too.  Fabric is a bit of a dilemma for me though.  What would be warm, have enough drape as well as being totally machine washable?  Perhaps some flannel?    Perhaps I need to look at my stash & start from there.  No new fabric buying allowed except for Christmas pressies (yes Croft Mill you might be hearing from  me – I have some PJs on my list & this flannel is top of the leaderboard.)

If my winter dress options might be limited by my fabric options, I have the opposite conundrum with pattern choice.  Check this beauty out – swoon- inverted pleat, collar, single button & curved yoke & kimono sleeves.


This is my newest addition, being very kindly given to be as a present (yes, how lucky am i?) by the gorgeous Magpie Mimi.  I LOVE it!  And particularly with being a keen Pan Am viewer I want to wear it with the gloves like on the envelope!!!  And a handbag caught in the crook of my arm!!

Pan Am: Click for source

Now, as part of the provenance of this pattern I must recall our Saturday.  Mimi & I spent it together at the “It’s Darling” vintage craft fair in Bath (sorry I didn’t bring my camera for photos – how rubbish a blogger am I?!)  We drifted amongst loveliness & inspiration, purchasing the odd Christmas present & treat for ourselves :-).  We talked to stallholders who filled us with envy, making this their living.  I know it’s very hard work, with little financial recognition & that the run up to Christmas must be crazy…… but  #wistful# ….how I wish I could live such a life of craft….We chose to recuperate from all of this heady excitement by taking tea & crumpets/ teacakes at a suitably traditional English tearoom.  We also caught some (so predictable I bet you can guess) …local wool & fabric shops, with the odd charity shop thrown in for good measure.  I think buttons featured most highly within our haul of the day – buying some wooden buttons from “It’s Darling”, & then we also collected a fair few in the charity shop.   All in all a lovely memory that will always be associated with any dress I make from this pattern.

Anyway, apologies for the slight detour, we’re talking winter dress patterns, aren’t we?  Here are some more that I am drawn to & have in my hot little hands:

Simplicity 7845 – I bought this from Ebay a while ago & adore the frills on the long sleeved versions.  The black with aqua bow belt screams “Make me for Christmas” at me.  Oh, should I, shall I, can I???


You know about this one – still in its envelope, but drawn out at times & stroked with love (sorry Bella)!  With its welt pockets & cute collar & bow…..It will get made….

How about this one – it’s not vintage – a New Look 6000.

You know how much I love the cowl neck look, well this has a cowl-ish kind of collar.  Even though it is a 2010 pattern, it’s so 60s.  I’d make a version for the office in a plain colour, without the side gathers, but most definitely with the collar & ¾ sleeves & cute cuffs.  I think there’s something very Joan Holloway about it.  And then I could make another out of loud curtain fabric, just for fun.

Here’s another beauty, I think also with a Magpie Mimi pedigree if I am not mistaken.  I was lucky (again!) to come away from our Birmingham blogger swap with this adorable pattern.

The version I like best has the peter pan collar, & long sleeves.  I can imagine it with the contrast collar too (don’t you Roobeedoo?!).  In some kind of jersey it would be so practical & stylish.  (I also like the puff sleeve variety for spring).  What I had been thinking was to make this as a blouse in the first instance with some poly mix fine striped fabric (also from Birmingham Rag Market) – with a contrast or lace collar.  But now that I have the vision of it as a jersey dress in my mind I can recognise the first signs of obsession ….

Finally for the office check out the 80s sailor dress- what can you see it being made in for winter?  Another candidate for jersey possibly.  Flannel? Plain or patterned?  Hmmm….I’d SO love to shock everyone at work by making it up in navy with a white collar & splashes of red.   I’d love to see them miss the homage to the retro & try to work out whether they were thinking “Kindergarten” or just plain “odd”!

Now I’m not just fixated on smart wear.  I could really enjoy a comfy, cosy (let it all hang out- “flob”) dress for the weekends & working from home.  I have also this New Look 6863.

I’m only considering the long sleeved view this time around.  I can imagine it with leggings & chunky boots.  And don’t forget if we are talking dresses for the home rather than the office I am also storing up the Lisette Portfolio tunic/ dress – maybe in ditsy needlecord with piping.   Or will I decide to make it as another Rooibos?

Oh I sometimes feel like saying “woe is me” for having too much choice – how lucky am I? What is it with me.  Anyone would think it is easier to sit on the internet & buy the darn things rather than get sewing!   Oh how am I going to work out what to make first?  Do you have any tips for prioritising your sewing?

Remember I am having to focus on Christmas makes for others.  I also need to make some trousers & have fabric lined up too, but the lure of making a winter dress or two is so strong…. (like the moths/ fire flies in a Bug’s Life around the electric light at night time “Keep away from the light, keep away from the light” says one moth.  “But I can’t…. it’s so beautiful ….” Says the other as he hits it & sizzles a bit ….

36 thoughts on “Help! I want to sew a winter dress!

  1. Catherine

    I am always looking for that perfect winter dress that will keep me warm and snuggly.My vote is for Simplicity 7845 for the frill factor and the long sleeve dress with collar…maxi length version obviously.Ditto fabrics has lots of nice jerseys at the moment.I have my eye on some for a pattern I am waiting to arrive any day now.Good luck choosing!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Catherine, I appreciate your views, & wish I was as glam as you!! Thank you, I’m not a convert of the maxi dress – unlike your gorgeous self …. although I can imagine wrapping myself up with a nice long skirt on the sofa …! (But feel too short to wear a maxi in the real world!)

  2. Suzy

    I really struggle to decide what to sew and what not to sew. I seem to start off the season (as in weather season) with a few items I want to sew. I often post about it on my blog but ultimately always sees to change it. At the moment I am prioritising patterns I can sew with fabric currently on my stash. Nothing else will fit in my cabinet so time to sew. I bought some wool flannel which I will make into a winter dress. Currently doing the toile for that. I also want to wip up another shift type dress using some of the jersey I managed to accumulate. Doing a wearable muslin at the moment with two colour jersey I have.

  3. Kerry

    Ooh the agony of choice! I love the first pattern and the New Look 6000. But I agree that the choice of fabric is a tricky one. I’ve never sewn a proper winter dress before but could do with one. I think the New Look pattern is a great, versatile choice that could be made in a variety of fabrics. You probably won’t get quite the same vintage glam feeling tho! 🙂

  4. Sølvi

    hm…oh, the choices! I have made NL6000 and can absolutely recommend it both for jersey and for wovens. A great pattern, indeed. But I must say I love that first Vogue pattern as well as Simplicity 7051. Gorgeous choices! I am no good at advising on prioritizing sewing, as I tend to make a list, and then change it over and over again. 🙂 Good luck!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Suzy & Solvi,
      I’ve made lists too, earlier on in the season. But not quick enough progress means it’s gone out of the window to the thrill of the whim-make!
      Wool flannel & jersey sound like great cosy choices, & if NL6000 is tried & tested you’ll get me thinking on that one too. However, like you Suzy, I’m trying to use the fabric I have … not sure how much jersey I have – might have to go two tone!

  5. tamsinwp

    A very fortuitous post. I am having a similar problem myself. I wrote a list the other day of what I would like to make fairly soon, and the total was about 13 things. I don’t know what to make next – I have a couple of things cut out…

  6. dibs

    Oh ….so many goodies. I love the 80’s vogue dress pattern. I have so many things I want to sew but I am limited by the simple matter of an elongated belly. So not cool.

  7. Allison

    I have New Look 6000 – its all cut out, but the fitting required for the giant all in one front scared me. however, I’d love to see you make it up. Otherwise, I vote for the first one – I like the neckline a lot.

    Have you considered polar fleece? some sorts look a lot like wool, but they are far easier to care for.

    can’t wait to see what you choose! (also, you guys should travel across the ocean so I can play too! stupid geography…)

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Kerry, Allison & Joanne & Alex,
      You’re persuading me to the NL6000, especially as Solvi has tried & tested it. Fleece is an interesting concept … but then Allison, that does seem to be your fabric at the moment! We’d love there to be a cross Atlantic meet up – how cool would that be?!
      Joanne & Alex, I’m also thinking S7845 …. it could possibly be my Xmas dress ….;-) – with a nice contrast big bow belt like a Xmas parcel 🙂

  8. Joanne

    Oh my god you HAVE to make both the New Look 6000 and the Simplicity 7051. I’m going to try and find both those patterns right now! I love them both so much. I’ve been looking for that particular neckline (7051) for ages – it’s so flattering. Lucky you!

  9. Alexandra Mason

    I love New Look 6000, i have it cut out too. I was thinking of making New Look 6922 in jersey with long sleeves, to wear with tights and boots. I love the black dress with the aqua bow too!

  10. Roobeedoo

    Ooh – that New Look 6000 is a temptation indeed! I’m not so sure about the wider-skirted dresses – they make me think of “Lady Di” :S
    Wool crepe would be a winter option – though you would have to pre-shrink it. Fleece might be tempting for home-wear as long as you aren’t in an all-electric home and at risk of static shocks every time you move! Cord is always good for a cold-weather laugh. I may have splurged on some shocking pink jumbo cord myself 😀
    Anyway – my navy polyester crepe is hanging over the banisters to dry and I have some white waffle-weave for my collar, so if you fancy joining my School for Wayward Girls we could make matching dresses! 😉

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Roo, I so know what you mean about Lady Di, but I was pushing to the back of my mind! Fabric wise I hadn’t thought of the static factor with fleece – how funny – have you exeprienced this yourself?!! Was it fun!
      Shocking pink jumbo cord …. lovely! I’m only beginning to imagine what delights you’ll turn it into.
      I am SO tempted to join your school for wayward girls …..very tempted indeed!

  11. Lysy

    Ooh, I made the New Look 6000 last winter and it’s lovely. I used a burgundy wool I got at the Walthamstow fabric frenzy and it’s just the thing to wear with boots when it’s chilly. In fact I must get it back out of the wardrobe – thank you for reminding me!

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Sounds perfect Lysy! And from Walthamstow too (I can’t remember what you bought – wish I could then I’d get a proper picture) NL 6000 is becoming a bit of a winner ….I bet as long as the fit is OK, it’s a quickish dress to make being a one piece front pattern ….

  12. Law

    Yeah i say make them all! I am terrbible at prioritisng my sewing, I have fabric ready to go for another ginger but now have two dresses i want to make, plus christmas pressies for the special peeps in my life. The trick is to be harsh with yourself and pick one thing and focus on that. You could make the “flobby” new look pattern first as that looks quite simple then focus you time on one of the fancier dresses (i vote for the Magpie Mimi pattern).

  13. Tanit-Isis

    Hmm. “Winter” and “Dress” don’t go together for me, but I shall try to suspend my own prejudices…

    I was going to suggest wool crepe for a wintry fabric with good drape, but I suppose that’s not really washable, is it? And non-wool wouldn’t be nearly so warm.

    You have way too many lovely patterns. I was trying to pick a favourite, and failed completely. So I’m no help there. So I’ll just wish you good luck, and say I can’t wait to see what you choose! 🙂

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I know Tanit Isis, the winter dress is something that at the moment only exists in my wardrobe in knit (as in knitting) form. But. ! Surely …… dresses aren’t just for summer. We shall see!!

  14. Pingback: It’s just all about me, really « Stitch and Witter

  15. Debbie

    How about the NL 6000 for a quick gratification make and the first simplicity for christmas?? Definitely with a bow. Just to add to the discussion the lisette portfolio dress is very quick to sew up. I like a bit of knit jersey for a winter dress, washable, non ironing and super quick to make. I have some beautiful raspberry wool crepe but cannot face the washing and ironing that goes with it, not to mentionthe danger of shrinkage.x

  16. Law

    Ok Update! I know think you MUST sew New Look 6000. I’ve checked the interweb and the versions I’ve seen of this dress rock. In fact I may do a Joanne and pinch the pattern!!!

  17. Bella

    Bella here: OUCH!

    Make 7501 with thin-wale corduroy! They have it at liberty! It’s all cotton, warm with a nice drape. I’ll be even more envious & you’ll look great.


  18. Sigrid

    I do love the top pattern the most, with the great yoke design. But I also agree with the other that NL 6000 looks like a fabulous simple design to rev up with. Oh and the one right below it with the soft look could be the perfect winter dress, espcially in B&W. Oh yes, I do this too. There is no better way to stop sewing than to become over-inspired!

  19. Jane

    I tried and tried but couldn’t stop myself…. just bought the New Look 6000 too! I’m hoping to make the 3/4 sleeve version in a double knit – I’ll use it as a kick up the bum to myself to try and get to grips with my new overlocker! x

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      I my word! There’s a new look 6000 frenzy. That shall be my first make. Let’s have a show and tell…. I’ll be on everyone’s doorstep collecting progress …… Good luck all. May your thread run smoothly and the fit be kind 😉

  20. LinB

    I’d plump for corduroy, my ownself. Something in a fine wale and a solid color. It’ll be warm on its own, and you can fling on tights and a sweater or sweater-vest (weskit?) for additional warmth. Which means you ought to aim for a slim silhouette for the sleeves, to fit under a cardigan or jacket. The Simplicity 7845 that you put up first in this posting would get my vote. A plain-ish dress that you can dress up or down, with that very flattering neck ruffle. Does it pop over your head, or close in back with a zipper, or in front with snaps or a zip? Can you find a wig to duplicate the hair-do on the blonde in the black long-sleeved view?

    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Very funny on the wig idea! That would be a laugh …just given me ideas for the photo shoot when I make it ! I’ll have to check out the closure. I think it’s zip, but might be wrong. I am partial to the ruffle …..

  21. rehanon

    Hey there,

    I’m so up for this. I read stitch and witter’s post where she spied the 6000 on your blog and I had to send for it straight away. I’m thinking green and white polka dots for a Christmas birthday party I’m off to.

    Can’t wait to see everyone’s lovely wares 🙂


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