A Perfect Holiday Dress From Til The Sun Goes Down

Here I review the Beach Pyjama and Holiday Dress Pattern by Til The Sun Goes Down. For this version, I made the shortened Holiday Dress.

In my previous post, I discussed¬†the recent discovery that I needed to incorporate more plain/solid colours into my wardrobe. Whilst this is still true, it doesn’t mean that I won’t every now and then deviate from this course – especially when bright bonkers prints are involved! Also, I actually bought this fabric a year ago, so in a way I feel my recent make is validated and excluded from my recent sewing epiphany ūüôā

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the fruits of my labours Рthe Holiday Dress by Til the Sun Goes Down. This pattern contains a total of 3 completely different versions/looks. First up is a pair of beach pyjamas (has anyone else noticed that beach pyjamas have recently enjoyed a massive surge in popularity over the past 2 years or so? Not only are more pattern companies adding beach pyjamas to their collections, but reproduction clothing companies are releasing various versions too. Personally, I am loving this renewed interest in this fabulous garment). The next version is a full length holiday dress Рwhich, as the title suggests, is perfect for wearing on holiday/on the beach. The final variation; and the version I chose to make, is a pattern hack to shorten the holiday dress to any desired length.

Part of my decision to make the shortened holiday dress was due to the fact that I wanted to use¬†this particular fabric. Of which, I only had 2 metres at 60″ wide. So straight away I knew I wouldn’t have enough to make the full beach pyjamas, but a knee length holiday dress? Yes!

The pattern is comprised of only 3 pieces Рfront, back and a separate pocket. The front and back pieces actually have grown-on pockets, so initially I was confused as to why there was a separate pocket piece also included. But, ingeniously, the separate pocket piece is for use when the width of the fabric is too narrow to include the grown-on pocket options, so you have a ready-made pocket piece which is good to go! Excellent idea, and goes to show the thoughtfulness that has gone into the production of this pattern. The front and back pieces have the bodice and skirt/trousers cut as one whole piece, so you may need to be mindful of the fabric requirements based on the size of your material.

The back of the pattern envelope outlines body measurements and corresponding sizes, fabric requirements in both yards and metres, and finished garment measurements (something I always find incredibly handy!) The envelope contains an A4 booklet, detailing pattern layouts and a step-by-step guide for making the differing versions.

The pattern itself was clear to read, containing instructions not only for the beach pyjamas and holiday dress, but also a guide as to how to shorten the dress to any desired length. As I decided to effectively take the pattern-hack option of shortening the dress, this required some preparation work on the pattern prior to moving onto the next stages.

Firstly, the pattern front & back pieces have a line from the CF & CB down to the hem. This line is the cut line to make the dress versions РBUT I strongly advise not to cut this at this line Рsimply fold it under so that you can retain the original pattern to make the beach pyjamas version if you so wish later on. Next, the pattern needed to be shortened at the lengthen/shorten line on the skirt sections. For this, I folded the pattern underneath itself, then measured from the waistline down to the hem until I had the desired length. For me, this was 30 inches, leaving a 1 inch S/A on the final hem. I then used re-stickable Washi tape to temporarily hold the fold in place.

At this point I traced the new shape onto fresh paper, creating a new side seam line running straight from the pocket down to the new hemline. For this, I used light pencil marks only Рas there is still a final stage to be undertaken before the pattern is complete. The final alteration, is to add size back into the pockets. The new side seam runs through the original pocket position, which means some of the size has been taken out. This was simple enough to do, and the pattern instructions provide an illustrated guide on how to do this. Now that I had all my new lines finalised, I then went over my newly traced pattern pieces, making the lines bolder with marker pen.

Ironically, after carefully making the size alterations to the grown-on pockets on my newly traced pattern pieces, when it came to laying out the pattern on my fabric – I didn’t have enough fabric length to accommodate them! So I simply folded under the grown-on pockets on the pattern, then used the separate pocket pattern piece instead. At least I have the grown-on pockets pattern for future use, when I am using¬†longer lengths of fabric ūüôā

I calculated that I used 1.4metres of 60″ wide fabric to make¬†the shortened¬†knee length dress variation, with¬†the pockets cut separately,¬†at a UK size 10. This excludes the tie belt, of which I used 75cmx20cm on the straight of grain, also from the same fabric. The neckline and armholes are finished with bias binding, which takes around 3 metres of ready-made binding.

The Holiday Dress by Til the SUn Goes Down РThings to Note

  • Be careful with the bias binding at the CF – leave enough at the ends to tuck it to the inside.
  • When shortening the dress, use the lengthen/shorten here line as just that – a guide as to where to apply any length alterations. Do not just cut on this line as the pattern will likely end up way too short!
  • Use tracing or pattern paper to trace the pattern in order to keep fresh versions of each variation. I traced off the knee length variation so I still have the complete pattern should I wish to make the beach pyjamas or full length holiday dress later on.

Total time to make – it probably took me around 1 day, which includes altering and tracing off the pattern.

Would I recommend this pattern to others? ABSOLUTELY! In conclusion, I think this pattern is quick to make, comfortable to wear, and extremely versatile. The shortened knee length version really reminds me of 1930s house dresses, whilst the beach pyjamas are full-on holiday glamour. I also really like that the skirt portion of the pattern is stitched together at the CF & CB – so it is effectively a half wrap dress. I do really like wrap dresses, but the skirt section of wrap dresses usually have me worried that in the wind they will whip open to reveal all! This dress has all the advantages of a wrap dress, but sans the worry of a windy day drama.

I can really see multiple versions of the knee length dress version, and I think a pair of beach pyjamas (perhaps with a little matching jacket/bolero) would be so smashing!

Has anyone else tried Til the Sun Goes Down sewing patterns? What did you think?

Also, in case you are not aware, Til the Sun Goes Down produce amazing reproduction vintage fabric prints, along with some true vintage fabrics. Rather ironically, I actually purchased some of their fabric 2 years ago to make – lo and behold – a pair of beach pyjamas! Check out that post & the fabric I used here.


Until next time dears!


Reproduction Vintage Hats with The Heritage Milliner

I really believe that accessories can go a long way to making an outfit complete. Hats have the power to elevate an outfit, providing that all important final flourish. Original vintage hats in good condition can sometimes be difficult to obtain, which is why reproduction hats are so appealing.

The Heritage Milliner is a UK based label, specialising in authentically styled women’s hats. Owner of the label Karen, produces hats based on vintage styles, with particular focus on the 1930s and 1940s.

As the owner of a few original vintage hats, I know how difficult it can be to find particular styles. Original pieces can sometimes be distorted out of shape, trims may be missing or damaged, and (usually the case with earlier styles of the 1920s); the fit may be extremely small. However, choosing a style of hat from the Heritage Milliner was a completely different experience for me. Firstly, Karen worked with me in order to decide on the style, main colour, trims, and any additional design details.

If you have an outfit or colour in mind that you would like to match – the Heritage Milliner can make that possible! I actually met Karen in ‘real life’, at the Festival of Vintage up in York. Whilst at the festival, I purchased a 1940s suit jacket in a lovely duck egg blue. I showed Karen the jacket, and decided that it would be so lovely to have a hat to match – so we designed a hat together! The end result is absolutely beautiful – but that is perhaps for another blog post a bit later on.

For this hat, I thought it would be a good idea to keep the trims minimal, and to stick to harmonising tones. The russet shade works beautifully with many colours Рnavy, as pictured, browns, yellows, greens, etc etc. I was tempted to go for a yellow hat (OF COURSE I WAS. I am obsessed with yellow after all), but I then thought it would be a better idea to go for a tone that I knew would work across the board.

This particular hat is called the Winnie style, fashioned from russet felt with brandy petersham trimming. As this style of hat is intended to perch on the head, there is¬†elastic on the inside in order to secure it in place. I must admit, I was dubious about the elastic, as I have never really found it to be useful in my other hats. BUT – somehow Karen has figured out the perfect placement and length of the elastic to make it¬†an excellent¬†fit! I placed a hair grip either side of the elastic just to ensure it didn’t slip, and¬†finished with¬†a hat pin (which I purchased from Karen).

I highly recommend having a look at the Heritage Milliner’s website & store (details below). The quality of this hat and indeed the other hat I ordered are incredible. Currently, there are some styles ready-made available from the Heritage Milliner’s eBay store. For custom orders, allow 2-3 weeks. As I was unsure on what design or type of trimming I wanted for this hat & my other one, I let Karen decide to go ahead with whatever she thought would look best. Both hats look incredible, and – Karen encourages each customer to be unique and individual. This warms my heart, as part of the allure of true vintage is the level of uniqueness it affords. The Heritage Milliner allows customers to express their individual style & tastes – using high quality materials and techniques. I for one, shall definitely be placing more orders in the future!

The Heritage Milliner Details

  • Find the Heritage Milliner’s website here
  • eBay store here
  • Interview with Karen at 12mins.24secs in¬†here¬†(For mobile devices, view here instead)

Outfit Details

And lastly, I couldn’t resist including this picture of Kieren and I (the advantages of having a self-timer on the camera!) Kieren is wearing a beautifully tailored suit from Chester Cordite. Earlier in the year, we visited Chester Cordite’s HQ to sort out Kieren’s wedding suit. We were so impressed with the quality, cut and workmanship of the suits & shirts, that Kieren ordered¬†this additional suit (the wedding suit has been squirreled away until the wedding!)

Disclaimer – the hat pictured and featured in this blog post I received in exchange for review purposes. The additional hat mentioned I purchased myself, and as mentioned, I’m sure I will be purchasing more in the future!

Until next time dears!