The Black Jiffy Dress – the Fall For Cotton Just in Time Post

The black jiffy dress in all its glory

I was using Simplicity’s Retro Jiffy Dress pattern, 1609, and plain black cotton drill. I wanted the appeal of this dress to lie in the embellishment. However, the embellishment isn’t going to be happening in September, unfortunately. It will happen soon, just not in time for the FFC deadline.

I adapted the pattern by adding an FBA, lowering the neckline slightly, and lengthening the hem, because I’m not 22 any more, and I can’t get away with flashing that much leg! And I wanted this to be work-appropriate.

Stuff I did that was new for me:
This was my first FBA. I researched it like billy-oh, and I think it came out ok.

Also I did a toile for the first time in my life, although I’m determined that the toile will become a wearable garment in its own right shortly.

And I hand-picked the zip. I was worried that my hand-sewing wouldn’t stand up to the rigours of actual wear, but actually I think it’s looking robust and I’m happy that it will bear up. I will do this again. I like the control that it gives me.

Stuff that stressed me at the time:

I did the toile, and made the resulting adjustments to my pattern and nevertheless I *still* had to adjust the dress again once I had started sewing it. I don’t mind that it got more adjustments, because that makes it a better dress. But I found it annoying at the time, and that reflects my basic desire to get things made quickly. I try to be patient, I try to remember that the seam-ripping and re-sewing is all part of the whole process. But inevitably this bugs me.

I usually have a To Do list for each sewing project, so that I can tick off all the things as I complete them. This To Do List just seemed to get longer & longer. I started out listing things like “sew darts”, “sew front seam”, “sew shoulder seams”, etc. Then as I got going, I kept realising that “sew front seam” also meant that I needed to neaten the seam edges, so I had to add a new To Do item for the neatening. And some of the darts needed neatening, so I had to add an item for “enclose dart seam edges with the bias binding”. Then there were all the “resew top of front seam, and re-neaten” type items! I need to chunk down my To Do Lists a lot more!

The bias binding I used was pretty but not really very practical. It was too wide, really for the arm & neck binding, and it certainly wasn’t bias-stretchy enough. So the more curved parts of the neckline & armholes are not as flat as I would have liked. And I will know next time, to be more careful about cutting bias binding narrower- it’s all over the shop! You live and learn…

What I love about this dress:

Stealth Zebra Print! I got this zebra print bias binding a while ago, and realised it would go perfectly with this dress. So I used it for neatening the raw edges of the darts that needed it, and for the neckline & arm holes, and for the hem.


And the hem

This dress reminds me a bit of a black linen dress I once paid about £80 for, it’s just shorter. I spent about £15 on making it, so I’m happy with that comparison! I’ll be even happier once I’ve got the decoration on it that I’ve got planned.

And now for the obligatory goofy shot! I’m channelling Una Stubbs in Summer Holiday!

A Proper Sixties Pose!


3 thoughts on “The Black Jiffy Dress – the Fall For Cotton Just in Time Post

    • Aha! It’s a secret until the Big Reveal Post! But I’ve got started on it, and it looks like it’s going to work out the way I wanted it to work out (that’s not always a given!) and it won’t take too long.

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