Latest Sewing Project – Stephen Burrows Dress

I’ve had this 1974 pattern by designer Stephen Burrows hanging on my idea board for some time, and last week I finally got around to making it.  Burrows was one of the bright young designers who designed clothes that were perfectly in step with the late 1960s and into the 70s.  I’ll be writing more about him this week, as I feel like he is not as well known as he should be.

I fell in love with this pattern the minute I spotted it.  I did have concerns about the collar, as I usually don’t like anything quite that big.  But it didn’t *scream* 1970s, so I made the decision not to alter it.  I’m glad I did, because it is just right with a scarf tied beneath.

And that, dear friends, is why Burrows is a designer and I am not.  Just because one wears clothes does not mean one can design them.  (Are you listening, celebrity-designer-wannabes?)

I made this from a wonderful double knit cotton jersey I had stashed away.  Don’t hear double knit and think , “Yuck!”   This fabric is a very far cry from the double knit polys of the 1970s, though I’d bet that most incarnations of this pattern were actually made in poly double knit.  Double knit merely means that the fabric is knit with a double stitch that makes the knit the same on both sides.  There honestly is not a wrong side to this fabric.  It was knit as a tube, and is probably the nicest cotton knit I’ve ever sewn.

Note that the pattern cover features this dress in bright colors and in white.  1974 was not a big year for the little black dress, and Stephen Burrows was known for his use of exciting color.

The pattern, McCall’s 4089, was simple to make, and went together in just a few hours time.  I really recommend it if you are in the market for a simple, but not plain, knit dress.

15 Comments

Filed under Vintage Sewing

15 responses to “Latest Sewing Project – Stephen Burrows Dress

  1. Cute! I admire your ability to whip up something like that.

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  2. Fabulous job but I am not loving on that pattern. :) Those large collars look awful on me!

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  3. What a great job of restyling a vintage look, love it and I bet it looks fabulous on.

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  4. That “V” shaped front placket without buttons really is genius!
    and FYI: I’ve noticed that double knit is making a big comeback right now in cottons and wools for shapes that don’t cling, so you are on trend with that idea.

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  5. Gail Ann Thompson

    What an inspiration. I jumped on Esty and ordered a copycat for myself. I’m having a bit of difficulty finding cotton double knit, though. Remember “Imitation is the sincerest form or flattery”. Thanks, g

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  6. Gail Ann Thompson

    Never Mind (in a whiney voice).
    Trim Fit has LOTS of choices of cotton double knit, including some fabulous reds.

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  7. What a great result! I think double knit hangs well- slightly heavier maybe, and you are right the collar is totally in keeping with the style and works perfectly with a scarf. Designer patterns often have a little extra touch like the v placket instead of a straight one that adds a little Je ne sais quois!

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  8. Bijoux

    Well done, looks like you did a great job. However good it looks on your dress form, hope we get to see it on you. ;)

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  9. I’ve only recently come around to early 1970s designs, it was the decade I was a child and when I got fashionable in about 1979 everything from earlier in the decade seemed so awful. (Esp knitted polyester!) But this I love, not too extreme
    in fact rather elegant.

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  10. What a fantastic dress pattern, I love it! And the collar does look fab with a scarf under it.

    I have a few vintage patterns that I’ve been meaning to use too but just haven’t gotten around to yet. I hope to soon!

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  11. Love that collar. The dress looks beautifully stylish AND comfortable at the same time. What a success!

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  12. Your dress is so evocative of the early 70’s . I can see Ali McGraw in it! I am starting a sewing linky party today called Sew & Tell Saturday at my website and I am hoping to get some vintage sewists aboard to post their projects because there aren’t any sewing linky parties to show off vintage creations. I hope you can come over and post a link to your blog today! Thanks so much!
    Justine @ Sew Country Chick

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