The V&A Mary Quant Style Minidress

I’ve never had the opportunity to visit the Victoria & Albert Museum, as I’ve never been to England.  A visit to any museum of art and design sounds fabulous!  I spent hours and hours wandering through the Chicago Art Institute about 10 years ago and would gladly visit again.  Being able to stand mere feet from priceless Monet’s and other treasures is fascinating.

A post on one of the Facebook sewing groups I belong to noted that as part of a Mary Quant exhibit at the V&A, there was a free Mary Quant Style Minidress pattern and tutorial available, designed by Alice & Co Patterns.  A-line dresses are a generally flattering look, so I thought I would give it a try.  The pattern includes plenty of options, so you can personalize it to suit you.  A keyhole neckline or zip front; a rounded or pointed collar, or necktie; curved or angled pockets; and sleeveless, or fluted or gathered sleeves.

It’s warm pretty much year round where I live, so I went with sleeveless, and adapted the front to be a slight V, rather than zip.  The angled pockets are a unique look, and more than large enough to hold my phone.  Taking care to line up the stripes on the pocket pieces with the stripes on the dress paid off.  The pockets are nearly invisible!

VAMQ pocket

My measurements fell between two sizes, so I printed the larger size, knowing that I could take it in as needed.  I definitely should have gone with the smaller size.  Even using extra large seam allowances wasn’t enough to make it fit.  Putting the dress on inside out and pinning and sewing the excess fabric gave me a much better fit.  And tracing the change onto the pattern gave me a reference for next time.  Since I have long arms, lowering the pocket placement 2″ worked out best for ease of use.

VAMQ pattern

I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t need to lower the bust dart.  I was unsurprised that I had to make the same shoulder adjustments as I did when using The Tunic Bible pattern.  Namely, narrowing the shoulders in the front and changing the angle from the top of the shoulders slightly in the back.  Using a smaller size would have helped, but I still think I would have needed to adjust.

The pattern includes an all-in-one neck and armhole facing when making the sleeveless version.  It gives a clean finish, and you get to practice your burrito roll.  Since the fabric I used frayed terribly, I was glad that I had taken such large seam allowances.  It meant that I could trim off the frayed edges, and wrap them in bias tape.  This gave me a clean finish, and kept the fabric from fraying further.  A wider bias tape probably would have been easier, but I just used what I had on hand.

VAMQ frayedVAMQ biasVAMQ bias wrap

The fabric is an unknown blend, probably some combination of polyester and cotton, that my Mom gave me when she was clearing out her house.  It was quite old, since the tag that had been stapled to the selvage was from a store that hasn’t been around in 30 years! 🙂  The fabric is rather stiff, and had probably been purchased to make curtains, rather than a dress.  Whatever!  It was on hand and it worked.  And I think it suits the style of the dress just fine!

VAMQ back

It’s a fun dress pattern, and will give you a chance to use up some of the woven fabric in your stash.  Happy sewing!