Tag Archives: Marlene Esser

Wearable fail, a 60ies pattern

Some years ago I found a hardly used 60ies pattern in a charity shop for the steal of 50 cents. It was opened, but not cut, so if it has been used somebody has carefully traced the cut parts.

The pattern is for a classical mod dress to be made in a multitude of variants. It was part of a pattern line of a german TV seamstress, Marlene Esser. She had her own sewing show in German television in the 60ies and 70ies.

I chose a fabric I had bought in Lyon last fall, a dark blue piqué with small twigs and birds on it. It is a rather stiff fabric and a very cute pattern, so I wanted a very neutral cut and nothing too girly. Additionally the fabric pattern calls for a garment with only a few seams.

The pattern is already a multisize one, but because too many lines would have been too unclear and difficult to tell apart (as said in the pattern desciption), they only traced every second size (they should see our modern ones). The instructions say, if you need the size in between, you should trace your own line half a centimetre beside the printed one.
Now, the smallest size on the envelope was 38, the smallest size printed was 40. Even considered that sizing used to be different back then, 40 is still a little large. So I did as I was told and made my traced pattern a little smaller. I knew it was too large, but because the front was only made from one part with very large darts I decided to give it a try, before manipulating the pattern. And of course, afte having sewn together all the pieces it was way too large. To turn it into something wearable I pinned it onto my mannequin and removed a lot of fabric from each seam.

And unfortunately it was so much that I had to add a seam in the centre front. In fact, this is one of the variants given (see first picture, the dress on the very left), but it completely destroys the pattern.

*shy look at my shoes*

*bad model-me doesn’t know how to pose*

The result looks more like on of those fitted chinese-style dresses than a 60ies-A-line-dress, so the fitting changed the style of this dress significantly. And though there are some minor flaws (like the neckline, which sticks out on one side, fortunately not visible in the pictures), I think it is wearable and even if it won’t become my favourite dress, it will move into my wardrobe and is most likely to be worn every now and then.

I used light pink bias binding for the arm and neck openings and a pink zipper I still had in my stash.

The traced pattern is already in the waste-paper collection. If I am really to make a second version someday in the future, I will try to make a fitting pattern based on the original one. The one I made was too far away from anything I could wear, so the best would be to completely restart.

Improvised beehive only for you, I am sure I could do better. 😉

(headband: i am, belt: 2nd hand/h&m, tights: ?, shoes: deichmann, fragrance: j.p. gaultier – madame)


I hope you have a nice sunday, see you soon,