This pattern looks like it’s from the early to mid-60s. I loved the cowl neckline when I bought it, and determined to make it for a special occasion. I found some rather fabulous floral viscose discounted online, and raced against the clock to complete the dress in time for a friend’s ordination last July. I did everything but sew down the lining – even hemming and adding the zip – but then realised it wouldn’t work. It wasn’t lying right on me, the colour wasn’t quite perfect; it was a dressmaking fail. I cast it aside in disgust. It lay in my unfinished pile for nearly a year, then my friend from Oxford came to stay, saw it in my room and had it pulled out and tried on faster than I could say “that might fit you, actually”. It did fit her – all the issues I had with it were resolved on a slightly different body, and the flowers really popped with her colouring. More than happy to get rid of a failure to a loving home, I quickly stitched down the lining, tidied up the top of the zip, and sent it home with her. She loves it, and wore it to a dinner at Christchurch this week – excellent modelling, I hope you’ll agree. I could wish she had shown us the back, which has a funky red exposed zip (just to stop the floral being too sugary) but hey, I think it still looks pretty good!

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