Modern Vintage Cool

simplicitypatternsvintagetealdressI am not a vintage dresser but I love going to vintage stores to look for one of a kind fashion pieces. Having a wardrobe with a mix of handmade, designer, RTW and vintage working together to tell the world a story & mood is fun, creative, exciting…


My perception of style is constantly evolving as I grow more aware of what I love wearing. I would never had imagined I would love wearing something with this particular shape.


I was drawn to this dress mainly for the colour and print with the intention of refashioning. Drop waist, midi, long sleeves… Imagine to my surprise once I tried it for the first time, It was like “I cannot believe how cool this dress is… ” I love it. The colour, print and shape captured my imagination. The only alteration was to remove the shoulder pads.


Surely with so many patterns available I would find a suitable sewing patterns to explore this shape a bit further. Oh Hello! Cynthia Rowley 1939.


This dress pattern actually was taken from Cynthia’s 2011 designer collection after a competition hosted by Simplicity. The outfit with most votes was to be made into a sewing pattern. The design process is explained on a series on Simplicity’s blog. 

I love the notes between simplicity team and design team at Cynthia Rowley. I wish all the sewing patterns design collaboration would be so open about their process.


I did some research on the original dress dating it around 70’s/80’s based on other designs available online. To my surprise the brand Gina Bacconi is still trading. “Gina Bacconi, founded by Jack Offenbach in 1913, focuses on the modern and elegant 30+ woman and covers an array of occasion wear and evening wear…”


The dress doesn’t feel expensive enough for occasion wear but perfect day dress to wear during our spring, when the weather is not warm enough for sleeveless summer dresses.  The mint pastel and this crazy brushstroke inspired print just make me happy.


For my version I plan to make a few alterations between the vintage original and the simplicity pattern like; reducing the amount of fabric from the top, adding a french dart, changing to an invisible zipper. I will keep the length as is and will try to find a similar fabric.


Ohh and how lovely the fabric flows…


  • I agree it is absolutely beautiful, and I can just imagine how lovely it feels to wear. Where did you find it? and dare I ask how much it was? [feel free to keep that last bit quiet if you want to] Maureen

    • Hi Maureen, it wasn’t very expensive and I got it in a vintage market in France. When looking at those places you got to keep an open mind.

  • judy

    Rachel, it is beautiful and looks fantastic on you.. Cant wait to see , the one you will make..

    • Thank you Judy, I have a feel fabric options but cannot decide yet.

  • I love this dress and print so much and am glad to hear it’s going to be worn as is! Look forward to seeing a new version too x

  • Very cool. The dress looks 80s to my eye.

    • I’m a child of the 80s. My mom dresses me with neon tops, puff sleeves, gold ruffles and side pony tail. Lol not near as cool as this dress

  • Tor Freeman

    Can’t wait to see what you wait with this pattern!

    • Thank you. I will try a few muslins until I get the fit right.

  • What a great find! It looks like it was made for you. I, too, am in love with that color and pattern of the fabric. Can’t wait to see how your knockoff version goes! And thanks for sharing that Cynthia Rowley pattern – it’s a gem!

    • The funny thing it’s that I won this pattern years ago and almost gave it away because I didn’t see the potential.

  • What an amazing find! It fits you so well too. I agree that taking out some fabric from the top will make your version look great.

    • Yes, I will remove just a little without removing the balance. one of the charms of the dress it’s the contrast. Makes the hips so slim.

  • Wow! This is so fabulous! I love the shape and the print and am so excited to see your remake version. That Cynthia Rowley pattern looks so cool- I love seeing the behind the scenes process info!

  • You rock this dress. Stunning outfit.

  • Fantastic! I love the print and the style!!

  • I love the fitted waist to the drop hip… very lovely on you!!!!

    These kind of colours & brush stroke type patterns are very 80s, but this dress seems to carry across decades totally fine!

  • Kate

    I just found this post and wondered if you ever made a dress from the pattern? I love it!