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Sew La Di Da Vintage – my Christmas Party outfit

I met Caroline, the talented designer behind Sew La Di Da Vintage at the West Country Patchwork & Textile show in November and whilst there is a whole other post (probably residing in my head) about the inspiration I felt at seeing quilts so up close in all their glory, I have to say I was delighted that Caroline was there showcasing her patterns and fabrics.

Her stall was gloriously vintage with an old large & most likely very heavy shelf unit stocked with her sewing patterns. Oh my I was in heaven!

Check out her store to ogle and dream…

Dress forms were showcasing some really authentic vintage inspired outfits – sailor suits for kids, nautical chic to the max with navy linen, touched with white & just the right amount of gold braid to touch up the Margo playsuit, one of Sew La Di Da’s patterns.

This is the 1950s Rose dress and I was taken by the secret flowers!

There were some beautiful frocks on display also, and I loved the attention to detail, some really clever embellishment that I have to confess I will steal. I was also hugely excited to learn of the sewing courses offered by Caroline – she is based in Lyme Regis, (it’s by the sea J ) not so far from where I live, so I might have booked myself on one as a bit of a sewing holiday too ….


After much admiration & deliberation I walked away with the Humbug cape kit and a rather gorgeous dress pattern, the 1950s Rose dress. Now I promise I do not have anything quite like this in my rather extensive pattern collection – sounds unlikely but it’s true. (Princess seamed bodice with sweetheart neckline and box pleats ….swoon).

Let’s start with the Fur Cape baby!

I think you can get the kits at exhibitions and shows.  The kit is beautifully presented with enough fabric, outer & lining to make your cape, plus paper pattern (reusable hehehe can I have more than one cape in my wardrobe do you think? ) and black & white instructions with photos. There is also a fur hook (I can’t say I have any of those in my fastenings stash and when I read that one would be needed I panicked thinking I’d have to delay my finishing until one such was acquired. ) The panic was unnecessary though – this really is a kit with everything you need except thread. There were different options and I chose black fur (which has a gorgeous ‘wave’ effect in its lustre), and silver polka dot lining.

Caroline suggested this would be a quick make – no kidding. The cape has three pieces – two fronts and one back – cut out of lining & fur. You then sew the side seams of lining and fur. The next step is attaching the fur to the lining around the outside & ‘bagging the lining’. Pulling it right way out through a gap you have cunningly left in a lining seam.

I knew that whatever my time shortages were going to be before Christmas that I would be able to knock up one of these beauties. I have left it on my dress form since I made it, giving it the odd stroke in appreciation. Me, a fur cape?! How exciting. Caroline dropped another idea into the mix – wearing this on top of a tweed jacket. Now that sounds rather chic. I had better make my tweed jacket, hadn’t I?

The cape is shaped in a curve over your shoulders. I have embellished it with a brooch but my fur hook stitching was done super carefully so it doesn’t show.

This complemented the Rose dress for the work Christmas party. It was so lovely to dress up. I made it in satin backed crepe (or crepe backed satin) from Fabric Godmother in the wine colour. Top tip – getting swatches is essential as you have to see colours in real life.

This dress is a dream to sew and to wear. Its princess seams make it really lovely to fit (I needed to take my usual narrow chest/ back adjustments at centre front & back. It is also pretty forgiving if you have a bit of a tummy with the line that the box pleats take from the bodice.

The seams finish above the waist but don’t appear as an empire line.   I extended the sewing line further down into the skirt – to emphasise my waist a bit more because that’s my figure.

Another clever thing about this pattern? The placement of the box pleats – at the back they are positioned so that even with sitting, they don’t get disturbed too much, helping them to keep their place.

Here they are being sewn & pressed

Believe it or not, this time I am wearing the dress after it’s been worn at the party. I always expect box pleats to get disrupted by wear, but I am delighted they have kept their place.

I am definitely making another version of the 1950s Rose dress, in a summer floral. But isn’t it just beautiful as a party dress?

The Humbug cape kit was given to me as a gift by Caroline so that I could review it, but all views are my own.

And, in keeping with bite size blogging, I put this post together over a few sessions.  Makes it more manageable!

So lovely readers, can I also say a massive thank you for your fabulous warm welcomes back at my previous blog post.  I have not been sat still enough to get to answering them all in any kind of decent time but I read them coming in through the day & the cockles of my heart were all aglow.  Thank you friends xx