“Sew La-Di-Da” 1952 French Gypsy Dress

You know, you get “Indie” pattern companies that are quite well known in the social sewing world; Colette; Tilly & The Buttons; By Hand London; Sewaholic – to name but a few. And then there are tons of other companies which are less well-known. This, I think, is one of them – Sew La-Di-Da Vintage. If vintage-inspired dresses are your thing, you should check them out.

I was given the 1952 French Gypsy pattern for my birthday back in February, and I thought now was a good time to sew it up! I love 50s style circle skirts, and I was drawn to the straight neckline because I’m not a busty person so it suits me (I think?!)

Here she is…

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

The sleeves can be off the shoulder (as above), or up, which I think I prefer:

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

The Fabric

I spent ages choosing a fabric. I wanted something with a French twist to tie in with the pattern. This navy/white stripe polycotton was actually a backup in case the other fabric I ordered wasn’t as nice as it looked online. As it happened, my original choice never arrived because it was out of stock so I’m glad I ordered the backup!

Of course the stripy fabric is very French – and also very ‘me’ with it’s navy blue! So I think it worked out well. The only negative is that it is very cheap and very light. It wasn’t the easiest fabric to handle – well, it would have been OK if it didn’t have stripes that I was trying to match up. The cheap, light fabric was slippery.

Check out how perfectly they match up on one side seam of the skirt.

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

But unfortunately the other side totally doesn’t match up. I couldn’t cut the piece so that it would match on the side as well as the back. So I opted to match it just at the back, which I considered more important.

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

I hope you can see that the stripes are matched around the sides of the bodice, and sleeves – so it’s not all bad!

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

Considering the fabric cost £2.99 a meter, I’m really impressed with how well it suits the dress. It’s comfy, and it’s light and swishy. The circle skirt works really well with it.

Oh and by the way, I did cut the lower bodice panel to have the stripes running vertically, on purpose. Just to break it up a bit!

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

The Pattern

I must say that this pattern is not for beginners. It’s a good pattern all in all, but some steps are not all that clear. For example, there is no mention of gathering the sleeve hems; no notches or anything. There is no mention of cutting interfacing until you get to the stage of sewing the interfaced piece in. They kind of explain how to cut the bias tape, but not clearly enough for beginners. There aren’t consistent reminders to finish your seams.

But it was rather nice to sew from a pattern aimed at intermediates. I understood what I was supposed to do, so that’s saying something!

The neckline is bound with bias tape threaded with elastic, and the armholes are just bias tape (although it’s constructed in a funny way to how I would usually do it). The tape is slipstitched in place on the wrong side, giving a nice finish.

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

I like the slightly poofy sleeves!

I only made three minor changes to the pattern; I took a chunk out of the centre gathered upper bodice – I needed to gather it quite a lot to make it fit and there’s a limit to how much fabric you need! – and 2cm out of the lower bodice. I was very good and made a muslin of the bodice so it fits nicely! And I added a hook and eye to the back, above the zip – although it’s now impossible to fasten it by myself… next time I would put the zip pull right at the top and ignore the pattern’s photos which show you to sew the zip further down the centre back.

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

I didn’t take the easy option for this challenge, did I? Totally new-to-me pattern (and pattern company). Lightweight, stripy fabric. Time pressure; big circle skirt to hem; handsewing. But I did it! Hooray!

Sew La-Di-Da French Gypsy Dress

I feel so dressed up when wearing it. Dressed up with nowhere to go. Will someone please invite me out to some kind of vintage themed party?!

That’s it from me – I hope to “see you” on my blog – here’s the juicier post if you’re interested!

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