As much as I’d like to believe that the universe gives you what you ask for, I haven’t often found it to be true. But I’d been in the mood for 70s styling and wanting a patchwork dress since the start of autumn, and lo and behold, when I walked into Savers recently, look what was there.
Of course it didn’t look quite like this. The universe isn’t that generous!
In fact, this is how I found it.
I’d like to think this is an original 1970s souvenir from India… it has that kind of vibe, although I don’t know if this is how it started life. My suspicion is that someone put two different dresses together, as the blue top didn’t quite seem to match with the skirt section. Also, the hem had been taken up in a bit of a weird way with the fabric doubled over and then folded back on itself.
However the dress looked when it was new, it had obviously had a lot of wear since, as I could see when I unpicked the bodice from the skirt and saw how saturated the colour was in between the gathers… and how frayed some sections were. I had to reinforce some parts with iron-on interfacing because they were threatening to give way at any moment.
I wanted a completely patchwork dress, so the blue bodice had to go… (it hasn’t gone very far, only to the sewing table, where it will remain until I use it to make another dress). After unpicking the waistline, I let down the folded-over material in the hem section to see what I had to work with – basically a long patchwork tube with no shaping, so I cut off the top of it to make a new bodice. For the back, I used a bit of fabric left over from a previous makeover project (this is why I never throw anything out!).
Being too lazy to make proper facings, I dug into my considerable stash of bias binding to edge the armholes and neckline (I feel like it has literally been years since I made proper facings! Don’t judge me!).
Although the fabric is cotton and much more suited to Indian heat, with a bit of layering I can wear this new version of an old patchwork dress year round. I feel like this dress had a lot of adventures… let’s hope it lasts long enough to have many more with me (I might just need to stock up on interfacing!).