Hey groovy kids!
I’m back with another Sweet Sew! This time around, I wanted to make this dress from a very cute looking vintage pattern called the “Style 4002.” I don’t remember if I got this from Etsy or eBay, but when I saw it I just knew it would make a great little 60s/70s-inspired mini dress. I also had the most adorable retro floral print from Spoonflower that I got for Mother’s Day back in May which I thought would go perfectly with style #2 on the pattern:
I choose view 2, which is a simple A-line dress with a center zipper, short cuffed sleeves, and patch pockets. I made several changes to my dress as I was sewing. Along with the usual length cutting, I also shortened the sleeves and got rid of the cuffs. It ended up looking a little odd on me. After a lot of thinking, I decided in the end to eliminate the patch pockets as well. I had contemplated at one point moving the zipper to the back, or else eliminating it completely, but then I decided against it because by that time it was as if I was moving completely away from the pattern and constructing an entirely different dress, right?
Oh, before I continue, I’ll be referencing my experience sewing with Spoonflower fabric throughout the rest of this post. I’ve had several projects in the past that I’ve made with prints from the company, and in doing so, I’ve noticed little things about them that I thought I would share. I guess this post will also be somewhat of a review of Spoonflower—mainly about their print quality using their Petal Signature Cotton and Cotton Poplin.
So, for starters, Spoonflower is this amazing fabric company that offers artist-designed printed fabric for you to purchase, or even better, personally designed prints that you can create and upload to the site, and have made just for you to sew with. I’ve yet to design my own print, but one thing I loooove about Spoonflower is that they have this HUGE selection of prints to choose from. And when I say huge, I mean they have an overwhelmingly massive choice selection of virtually any print you can think of. If you want to browse their collection of prints, it would be wise to create an account so you can save all your favorite prints for reference. I think I have around 30+ collections of prints that I have organized by theme on my account for when I find sewing inspiration and need unique fabric.
Another nice thing about Spoonflower is that they have a wide range of fabric types to choose from for your project needs. Most of my Spoonflower projects have been aprons (at one time I was going through a vintage apron phase, and wanted to sew as many as I could in really fun patterns, so who better to turn to than Spoonflower for those fun prints, right?), but I’ve had other makes (like my donut potholders and my most recent sewing machine cover). For those projects I’ve pretty much stuck with their Petal Signature Cotton, but for this first Spoonflower dress, I ordered a few yards of their Cotton Poplin.
One thing I do want to point out about SF is that they are a little on the pricier side. Whenever I need fabric from them, I will usually wait until I’ve saved enough, or use special occasions like my birthday, (or in the case of the Style 4002, Mother’s Day) as my excuse to buy fabric from here. That being said, I want to comment a little bit on what I’ve noticed about sewing with the fabric in general. As far as their Petal Cotton and Cotton Poplin go, both fabrics are a joy to sew with. They are very sturdy and behave quite nicely on the machine. The only thing I notice that I don’t really like about them is that they seem a little stiff to me. Even after pre-treating with washing and drying, I still feel they aren’t as soft as I would like. I think this may be due to the printing process. Before purchasing, I like to read reviews that others have posted about using all the different fabric types SF has to offer, and I find that when it comes to how their cotton feels, some react the same way as I do, while other’s feel differently, so I guess it is truly a personal preference. For me, I figure that with the price point I’m paying for this fabric, I expect the quality to be a little higher, but I guess your money goes more into the prints and patterns and whole “personalization” aspect, rather than the substrate itself. I dunno. Correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t mind.
Another thing I want to get out of the way about sewing with SF Cotton Poplin is that when I was trying on my dress for fit, I guess I pulled my fabric the wrong way because as I was reaching the fabric over my upper body I heard a loud “rrrrrippp!” I was immediately mortified! I was hoping it was just the seam, but no. The rip was located near the top of the center back of my dress. I’m guessing because the neckline wasn’t properly hemmed yet that it ripped on the raw edge. I was devastated and shocked. I don’t have a photo of the actual tear, but here is where I had to do some fast mending to close the rip up:
The tear occurred on the left of the center back. Thankfully, it wasn’t as large, but it is annoyingly obvious. My hair will cover it if I leave it down, I guess. Now, I’m not sure if this is the fault of the fabric, or my clumsiness. I don’t think I was being too aggressive when I was placing my garment on. But it’s also never happened to me before with other fabric so I dunno.
Oh, another thing I noticed that is notorious with Spoonflower fabric is that when you rip out a seam, no matter how fine your needle is, it always leaves noticeable stitching holes. You can see the previous stitch line holes where I took out the back seam and sewed it up again. This occurs with the Petal Cotton as well. I’m sure the holes will close up when this dress goes through the wash, but still. I noticed this on SF fabric respectively and it’s always been a little daunting to see. I also heard this happen to others, so I know it’s not an isolated case.
Ok, Spoonflower talk over, back to sewing my dress. Like I said, I used SF Cotton Poplin, and I actually kinda like the stiffness of the fabric this time around because this type of dress needs to have a little bit of structure to it. I regret that I didn’t take more “before” photos of the dress after it was finished because I did make some significant changes to the neckline and the sleeves, but I guess you can refer to the pattern photo because my finished dress before the changes looked just like the picture (only without the pockets).
Here is my fully finished dress on the dress form:
Now you can see where I made significant changes on the sleeves and neckline. While I really wanted to love the longer cuffed sleeves in the original pattern, it just didn’t look right on me, so I ended up cutting them shorter. You probably can’t tell too much from the pic, but they are a little lopsided because I got too scissor-happy while cutting. I fixed them the best I could.
Onto the neckline. The zipper is placed a little past the hips and continue to go all the way up to the top neckline. This was originally fine with me because I was planning on keeping it unzipped into a little v-neck, like the pattern picture shows. Well, when I tried on the dress, I found the neckline sat waaaaay up high on me. Too high for my comfort. Even with the zipper down a bit, the top of the neckline where the zippers stopped kept scratching me on the neck every time I moved and it became really uncomfortable. I was kind of disappointed with that because I really liked how it looked on the pattern picture. But what could I do. Sometimes these little details can’t be helped and it was either scrap the dress altogether or make it work somehow. And given that I had this super cute (and super pricey) SF fabric on my hands, scrapping the dress was definitely NOT an option, so I decided to make it work. I fiddled around with the neck while wearing the dress and found that I still liked the look if I folded down the sides into a little collar. It turned the dress into more of a v-neck and it was a lot more comfortable to wear. I sewed a little tack stitch on the corners of the collar so it would stay down and I went ahead and shortened the hem to make it more “mini.” and my dress was complete!
The pattern itself is so cute, and it was really easy to construct and sew together. My issue was that the style ended up not looking right on me, so I had to fix it until it did. And all the other stuff was fabric related and not pattern related.
So if I were to Spool Rate the Style 4002 I would still give it full ratings:
Overall Spool Rating: 🧵🧵🧵🧵🧵
The end result didn’t end up looking exactly like I had hoped, but I still like this dress. As you well know, I’m a sucker for 60’s and 70’s fashion, and this was too good of a dress to pass up sewing. It’s funny because when I see myself in this dress, I feel like I’m a 90’s teenager again. This pattern may be from the 70’s, but I’m just realizing how certain fashion aspects in the 90’s totally borrowed from the 60’s and 70’s. Even back in my teen years, I loved wearing retro prints, and I wore many “retro-inspired” collared shirts with flare pants, little A-line dresses and skirts, and platform shoes. Even now, I find it so crazy that anything “90s” is considered Vintage now. Geez, I’m getting old…..
Sew, sew, sew!