Gorgeous Gingham and Gratifying Gores

I can’t believe it has been so long since I uploaded a post to this blog! Where has the time gone? Since my last post I have been on a knicker making course (more to follow), lost a stone in weight (and put 5lbs of it back on), been on holiday to Spain for a week (seems like ages ago), sorted out my sewing space (which was threatening to engulf me) by having a ruthless clear out of excess patterns, fabric and yarn. I made £800 on eBay so you can tell how out of control it was all becoming.

I also sewed a couple of quickies in the interim. What is it about quickies? At the time they seem so satisfying but on reflection I thought I could have bought something similar for less money – this is not why I sew!! Anyway to catch up here is the first quickie I made which was inspired by the acquisition of an Enid Gilchrist pattern book.

Enid was an Australian fashion designer,  well known for her numerous self-drafting sewing pattern books which were very popular in the 1950s to 1970s.


This is a great publication if you are interested in drafting your own patterns -there are 52 pages which give you measured out diagrams to make your own basic dress pattern and shows you how to transform the basic pattern into countless different designs. The instructions show you how to manipulate darts, change necklines and countless other drafting techniques. It also includes instructions on how to enlarge or reduce the sizing. I got mine from a seller on Etsy but I think there are some free versions knocking about the internet.

I wanted to make a sundress with a square neckline so followed the instructions below to change my basic sloper pattern that I self drafted.


I used my own skirt block but created a fuller skirt using the slash and spread method of pattern drafting. I decided to do a wearable muslin in gingham.  I think we have to get past that image of checked tablecloths – there are some very fresh ideas out there using gingham:


So then I did a quickie sew – no fancy shenanigans although I did hand insert my zipper. I was really pleased with the result but decided at the last minute to add a frill to the skirt – oh so reminiscent of my 70’s sewing when I was obsessed with frilled skirts with a lace petticoat underneath – I must dig out some photos of my 70’s dressmaking. I had no idea about how to make something fit properly or how to adjust a pattern and it was all pot luck if something fitted. Of course in those days my motivation for sewing was entirely different – I wanted clothes cheaply and making your own was the way to do it. In my hometown we had a high street with a couple of fashion shops – Richards was one of them. Nowadays my home town has a huge shopping centre with so much choice.

Anyway back to the main topic – all photos taken on the balcony of my Spanish hotel by my ELP. I forgot to pack my red belt for my holidays but overall I was really pleased with the way it turned out. I am thinking of now doing another one but with a fuller skirt

Capture11 Capture6 Capture2 Capture1 Capture3

Just in case you were wondering the first photo is on the dummy – even I don’t have skin that white!!

The back isn’t really wrinkled – it’s just the way I am standing – honest vicar!

I will also show you another no-frills, no time-spared item – a self-drafted gored skirt. I have never tried inserting gores before and it was so easy. I loved this skirt while I was on holiday – very cool ( a bit like me then!)

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7 thoughts on “Gorgeous Gingham and Gratifying Gores

  1. Minnie Me July 30, 2013 / 11:59 pm

    love the Enid Gilchrist – my mother used them extensively when I was a child – she would trace out a pinafore pattern on newspaper and whip it up in an afternoon.
    Your sun dress looks lovely and has got me thinking about my spring/summer sewing!

    • gillymakes July 31, 2013 / 12:30 pm

      Hi Minnie – I had never heard of Enid before – I saw a posting on wesewretro where the blogger had used the book. I sometimes wonder whether spring/summer sewing is worth it in the UK. We are at the height of summer and all I can see are grey clouds and rain outside!

  2. Gjeometry July 31, 2013 / 1:56 am

    Oh, it’s lovely! I like the square neckline and that you drafted it yourself. I’m going to have to have a look at used book stores for that book. I have had good luck with getting gems of old sewing books in my local thrift shops.

    • gillymakes July 31, 2013 / 12:28 pm

      Thanks for your comment – if you go to the perfect nose blog and complete her bra sewing survey she is giving out a free pdf copy – http://theperfectnose.wordpress.com/?s=“Friday+Freebies” is the link if you are interested.

      • Gjeometry July 31, 2013 / 6:33 pm

        Thanks, I’ll check it out!

  3. Kat August 20, 2013 / 12:03 am

    YAY you’re drafting more too! The fit is superb, of course, and I love the square neckline in the back too! What a great design touch. I especially love the frill on the skirt…must try that for my next sundress. Yeah, I’ve been shying away from gingham too, but it looks really nice on you..the black and white is actually quite classy and really does look great with red. I hope you enjoyed Spain, I’ve never been. I’ve never heard of Enid, and being in Australia, I should probably check her out! I’m addicted to patternmaking books now…but I hope it’s not just a passing thing…I don’t think it is. Will look at that bra sewing survey. Thanks a bunch!

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