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Seamwork 23: Get Dressed Up


October is a magical time. Almost half the world feels the retreat of summer and the approach of chilly autumn. With the foliage changing, harvests in full swing, and nights getting colder, why not celebrate those seasonal parties with a slight twist to your wardrobe?

For the October 2016 issue of Seamwork, we took some inspiration from Biba and the 1970s glam to create two dresses that will add flare to your wardrobe. Plus, the issue is packed with some great articles that will let you go behind the scenes at The Royal Shakespeare Company, perfect the fit of your knit garments, and take a glimpse into the life of a Hollywood seamstress.

Here are the two new quick-to-sew patterns in this issue:



Arden is a babydoll dress reminiscent of late 60s London street wear, but with a modern twist. Arden has a contrasting yoke, shawl collar, center front bow, and full sleeves with cuffs. The dress hits at the knee, and has long darts that create the bell shape.

With all the ease that Arden provides, there is no need for a closure. Make it from silk or rayon challis to create a beautiful, drapey dress. Or add some structure to Arden by using a lightweight flannel or cotton lawn. Experiment with different colors for the front and back yokes, or try an eyelet or a fun print. Paired with some tights and boots, Arden makes a fabulous fall outfit.



Winona has a variety of design options that will transition you from summer to fall, day to night. First, it features bell sleeves and a full, floor-length skirt constructed from four panels. Version 2 has seam lines in the sleeve and bottom skirt panels, so you can add a contrast fabric to the sleeve insets and bottom skirt panels. Play with some stretch lace, or a fun, vibrant color, or opt to remove the bottom skirt panels altogether and make a shorter dress.

To create a fitted sleeve and V-neck version of the maxi dress, see this month’s article of Block Paper Scissors. This month’s article of Sewing Specifics will show you how to apply appliqué to the neckline to add some fun to your wardrobe!

A Peek Inside the Issue:


“Choosing to sew one’s clothing is all about prioritization. Prioritizing creativity, prioritizing time for a hobby, prioritizing the importance of knowing where one’s clothes come from and how they’re made, and lastly prioritizing which garments to bring into your life and why. Vintage-inspired clothing and a minimal wardrobe don’t have to be mutually exclusive. By prioritizing which retro elements to evoke, you can have a closet that’s varied, fun, and filled with favorites.” -Jessica Yen, Slow Sewing


“The task of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s costume department is daunting: to create a full suite of costumes for multiple plays simultaneously, ones that require anything from weaponry to full Renaissance-era detailing to the ability to withstand rain and mud and blood, while maintaining high enough standards that costumes can be used hundreds of times. How do they do it? And what techniques have they developed that sewists can borrow?” -Charlotte Powell, Behind the Scenes at The Royal Shakespeare Company


“Have you ever watched a movie and wondered how the costumes were made, where Superman got his cape, or if Cinderella’s dress was really assembled by her faithful mice? We may not be fairy godmothers, but hidden away in Los Angeles behind secret doors are the seamstresses, patternmakers and tailors of the Motion Picture Costumers Union, Local 705.” -Jessica Lawson, Stitching for the Stars

Also, Also, Also, there’s a new episode of Seamwork Radio!

In 1999, Kristine Vejar took her first trip to India. There, she met the Rabari, a small community that changed her perspective and direction for the future. In this story told by contributor Jessica Yen, Kristine shares what she learned, and how that informed the direction of her growing business, A Verb for Keeping Warm. Listen to the new episode here.

Read the whole issue

You can visit to read the issue, download it from the current issue page, or subscribe to get the patterns.

Meg Stively

Communications Manager

Meg is here to help you. She's the smiling face behind our customer service and social media. Keeping in touch with our family of stockists, and shipping your orders all across the world, she loves seeing what you're making with our patterns.



October 1, 2016 #

The greatest quote from this issue has to be “Even if the muslin doesn’t fit all that well, it could be worn while cleaning the house or look great on a scarecrow.”

I want to see lawn armies of knit muslin clad scarecrows.


October 3, 2016 #

Me too! Oh the possibilities!


October 1, 2016 #

OMG!! Love the look book!!!!! The vintage picture with the 1970s jacket described is not quite showing in the yellow panel FYI. Otherwise, awesome publication as it is every single month. I love the patterns!! Every last one!!!


October 3, 2016 #

Thanks for pointing that out! We are glad you love this issue as much as we do!


October 1, 2016 #

I have a black maxi-dress from 1994 almost identical to Winona, but with straight sleeves and no fabric blocking. I haven’t worn it for years, but I kept it for sentimental reasons. I’m inspired to try it on again, and if it doesn’t fit I can simply make another one, thanks to your pattern!

I like the baby doll dress very much. I find short, flared silhouettes practical with tights and boots as I walk everywhere but don’t like activewear. I like how it looks with the Delavan blazer, which is my current work in progress.

Now all I need from Seamworks is a pattern for loose pyjama pants.


October 3, 2016 #

Your wish might come true soon enough ;)


October 2, 2016 #

I have Simplicity 7672 – the blazer and culottes – Mom made the blazer for me in teal corduroy when I was in high school, but she used a size too big and did something odd with the FBA (which would only have been necessary if she’d used the smaller size), so it was a lot boxier than it should have been. A quarter-century later I re-made it into a RenFaire bodice. Which is why I found The Problem with Personal Style interesting – my personal style doesn’t change because it’s never really settled down to one thing – I keep adding random items and only get rid of stuff that’s worn to threadbare.
I very much like Winona – it may be on my list.


October 3, 2016 #

Katie – love the article on fitting knits. Very helpful and specific walk through of common problems. Keeps we on track with enjoying my knit fetish!

I think steps 5 and 6 should read E, not B, for the arm gap instructions. B was a line from bust point to arm, whereas E was from bust point to waist.


October 3, 2016 #

Thanks for noticing that Robin, we are on it!