Thursday, May 5, 2011

Inspiration from a famous bear or my 1967 mod dress

This week's theme over at the Sew Weekly was drawing inspiration from a children's book (in honour of Children's Literature Week).  Guess which books I choose?

Awww...Paddington Bear...isn't he such an adorable character?  What I didn't know is that the first Paddington Bear book was written in 1958.  Paddington also didn't get his trademark Wellington boots until 1964 in the book 'Paddington Marches On'.  Did you ever read these books growing up or as an adult?

This week I decided to give it a go at making another 1960's dress.  This one is from 1967:
I love views A & B--but decided to go with View B for my dress.  There is something about the boat neck collar that reminded me of Paddington's Coat.  I also knew that I wanted to make this in the iconic bright blue that Paddington wears.

In the spirit of Paddington, I wore my red rain boots and trekked over to Edinburgh's Waverly Railway Station for some photos :)

Some pictures show Paddington with a red hat, some with a black hat--well, I have a black hat!!

The dress is made out of cotton broadcloth and I also underlined the entire dress following Tasia's method.  I really like how substantial it makes the dress feel.  That's great for Scottish weather--so now I can wear the dress in spring, summer and autumn!!

  I underlined the dress in a soft brushed cotton.  I love the way brushed cotton feels!

I also got to use two amazing buttons I got as part of the Sewing Circle notion swap.  I think they fit perfectly! I love them!!

What about you?  What was your favourite children's book growing up?  Did any characters especially stand out to you?



  1. Great dress! Iluuuuuuuurve your 30's-40's stuff, but this mod dress is delightful! The fit is great. Could you wear it over some K. Hep pants for a sort of 30's long tunic with pants sort of look?

    My favorite was The Little Princess, I used to pretend I was a princess and still look to a lot of the lessons in the book. It's not all fluffy skirts and tiaras, I guess that's what I liked about it. I don't know how I'd go about dressing like Sarah Crewe.... Maybe a grown up version of the pintucked, dropped waist dresses so popular for girls of the era?

    I have to say I admire your creativity keeping up with all these challenges. My my...

  2. A lovely dress and cute with your red wellies! Great location for your photoshoot too. When I went to London last week our train went in and out of Paddington and I was a giddy kipper when I saw the Paddington Bear statue - I literally turned 3 again.
    My favorite books were by Enid Blyton and I particularly enjoyed The Wishing Chair and Famous Five.
    What's next on the Agenda Debi?

  3. You look adorable in your Paddington dress! And the red wellies are so cute! Love Steph´s idea of wearing the dress with pants!

    I read a lot when I was little, and so it is difficult to pick one favorite. But my all time favorite children´s books writer (he´s written tons of books) is the Norwegian writer Thore Hansen, unfortunately I don´t think he´s translated to English, but he draws the most amazing
    pictures of fantasy creatures!

  4. Paddington was a great Idea!
    So cute! x

  5. Cute dress, I love it with the red boots!

    My favorite book as a child was called "The Monster at the End of this Book" and featured Grover. It was so cute, Grover "talks" directly to the reader and is SO SCARED that there is a monster at the end of the book and he begs and begs you to stop turning pages. It's fun and now my kids love it. Any time I hear someone is having a baby, I add this book with their present!

  6. How fun, looks like the 60's for sure. the blue is great. Underlining is worth time, no slips needed! Great job!

  7. I didn't know it was a RAGLAN sleeve dress, for some reason they seem so much more trickier that a normal bodice/sleeve combo!


  8. How cute! When I was little, my dad did a string of business trips to London and he brought back my little sister Paddington Bear stuff and I got a couple Famous Five books. :)

  9. Awwwww - spot on tribute outfit! Grown up and girlie, but totally paddington! And I love the wellies!

    eileeneileeneileen!!! I LOVED that book and I make references to it all the time by telling my husband that there's a BASSET HOUND at the end of the HALL!!! or something along those lines. And I know I've told him the story a bajillion times (And then, and then, he ties down the PAGE!!! But I'd turn it ANYWAY!!) I need to find a copy so he can read it too!

  10. You look awesome. Love your dress and the color you chose and love it with the red boots. I read Paddington Bear to my children. We love him.

  11. Aww, I haven't read Paddington since I was little. I feel bad now, I totally failed to pass that one on to my kids. As to my favorites, it's hard to pick just one, but if pressed I'd have to go with Jelly Belly by Dennis Lee---awesome Canadian children's poet. I loved all his stuff but Alligator Pie and Garbage Delight had sorta mod/70s illustration that I didn't like even as a child.

    @Steph: yes! I can't tell you how many times I read that one. Although I only discovered it after I'd read The Secret Garden umpteen times...

  12. Hi Debi,
    I've been following your blog for a little while and finally decided to stop lurking and comment. This dress is adorable! I love how you took the inspiration and made it into something really awesome. (Not that Paddington isn't really awesome, but he's not as stylish as you!) And the train station for a photo location is just plain fun.I really enjoy your blog! :)

  13. What a agreat idea! The dress is adorable. I had a stuffed Paddington when I was very small, but I called it Paddy-ent. My parents must have thought it was cute, so that's what they called it, too. I didn't make the connection with the books until decades later!

    I loved Nancy Drew, and really, way too many books to list.

  14. Thanks everyone!

    @Steph...ooohhh fab idea, I'll have to try it as a tunic...oh, love the little princess!

    @PinQueen..thanks so much! the next project is going a decade earlier--I'm dying to make a late 50's early 60's suit!!

    @Solvi...That book sounds amazing!

    @ Eileen ...omg. that books sounds awesome. I would totally keep turning the pages :)

    @Patty...that is a hilarious story of the basset hound at the end of the hall...made me giggle!

    @Tanit-Isis...I'll have to check out Dennis Lee--especially the mod illustrations!

    @mala-14...thanks so much for your sweet comments--they totally made my day!

    @ Veronica..yeah..raglan sleeves are interesting. It was slightly bizarre sewing them on but for once I was glad to not have to 'ease' a sleeve into an impossible small sleevecap!

  15. @Joy...I loved Nancy Drew too! I love your story about your stuffed bear!

  16. I love it! What a great inspiration piece and I loved your translation of it. Too cute!

  17. Hello -I just saw your post on Sew Retro and I was so impressed by all the patterns you had made. The Paddington inspired dress is very similar to one I made in the 60's. I always sewed most of my own clothes from the time I was a teenager until my children were born in my early 30's. Congratulations on all you've accomplished recently!

  18. How cute! I wonder if anyone who has been you in this ensemble has looked and thought, "Paddington Bear??"

  19. I sang my praises of this cute outfit on TSW just wanted to add that I really like the train too. What a great place to take pictures.

  20. Christine, Sheila and Sue: thanks for your sweet comments!
    @Lizzie: I wondered if folks at the train station thought that!

  21. Too cute!

    I loved Where the Wild Things Are!

  22. Squee!!! I love Paddington! This outfit is spot on - brilliant all around! I just adore the color and style of the dress, and your red boots are fabulous! Fantastic work, dear!


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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