Take One Dress Sewing Series: Mara Blouse and Pleated Skirt

Take One Dress Mara Blouse and Pleated Skirt 10

In case you missed my latest creation, you will find below my guest post that appeared on As It Seams last week.  I was first  up on Victoria’s sewing series Take One Dress and received very positive feedback for this little outfit I made for Gaëlle.   Seriously, the comments left on Victoria’s blog were rocking and a week later, I am still blushing!!!

And as this week’s theme on Project Run and Play is Winter Wonderland, I thought this long sleeved corduroy number fit the bill!  So I am linking up…


Victoria wrote to me in early December and showed me this amazing vintage dress that she picked up in New York City in October.  I loved it immediately!  (And WOW VICTORIA!!! You look amazing!!!)

And when she asked whether I might be interested in creating something for one of my girls inspired by this garment, I was all over it!

This is how Victoria’s dress inspired me to create an outfit for Gaëlle, my toddler:

  • vintage 60s vibe
  • solid colour
  • fabric covered buttons positioned in a retro fashion
  • striking bodice insert
  • full skirt
  • sleeves

Based on those elements of inspiration, this is what I created…  Taa-daa!!!!!

Take One Dress Mara Blouse and Pleated Skirt 2

As soon as I saw Victoria’s dress, I knew I wanted to try out Compagnie M.’s Mara Blouse pattern. Although not triangular, the yoke was perfect and definitely gave the garment that vintage feel.  For the main fabric, I chose a soft green corduroy that I had on hand at home.

I was all set on using some plain white cotton fabric for the yoke but then a little package arrived in the mail all the way from England:  you see, a few weeks earlier, I had won a fat quarter of Kokka fabric on Victoria’s blog and it was so lovely that I knew I had to use it here.    Look how sweet it is!

Walking in the frest with friend

(giggle giggle, love those Japanese fabrics, typos and all!)

Take One Dress 1

I made zero changes to the Mara Blouse pattern as I felt it had the exact vibe I wanted for my garment.  Lovely yoke, long sleeves, sweet buttons, a bit of piping, some home made bias tape and voilà!  (Short sleeves would have respected the inspiration dress much more but as it’s insanely cold in Canada right now, long sleeves made way more sense.)

Take One Dress Mara Blouse and Pleated Skirt 4

I was planning on making a simple a-line skirt from the same green corduroy fabric, to resemble the inspiration dress.  But after finishing the blouse, I completely changed my mind, dug through my pattern stash and came upon the Girly Pleated Skirt by Heidi and Finn. Perfect!  Those darn little knife pleats took forever to make but were so worth it!  I decided to add two fabric covered buttons in order to rock the vintage look even more and tie it in with the blouse.

Take One Dress Mara Blouse and Pleated Skirt 3

I really dig how this turned out!  I love how it looks on Gaëlle (who was moving so much during the photo shoot that it was completely impossible to get a full body shot of her… sigh…)

Take One Dress Mara Blouse and Pleated Skirt 5

Take One Dress Mara Blouse and Pleated Skirt 6

Take One Dress Mara Blouse and Pleated Skirt 7

Take One Dress Mara Blouse and Pleated Skirt 8

Take One Dress Mara Blouse and Pleated Skirt 10


My Inspiration Dress

So now, in turn, I am passing on the baton to Marta, an amazing sewist from Guincho, Portugal.

Marta, this is a very special little dress here… It might not look like much but I wore this dress as a little girl, almost 40 years ago now.  In turn, my daughters have also worn it (as well as a small fleet of dolls along the way).

Retro Inspiration Dress1

 Characteristics of this dress:

  • Style:  Vintage from the early 70s
  • Designer: tag removed but was purchased at a local northern Ontario (Canada) store in 1974
  • Fabric: polyester (and a bit itchy)
  • Key features : solid pale pink bodice; pale pink and white houndstooth skirt, sleeves and collar;  contrasting navy blue stitching;  visible navy blue metal zipper; navy blue piping on front bodice and around collar;  box pleats on skirt; peter pan collar; short sleeves folded over.

*The piping and zipper look black in the pictures but they are actually navy blue.

Retro Inspiration Dress2

Retro Inspiration Dress3

Here I am celebrating my 2nd birthday in 1974 with my cousin Josée.  Her dress is really sweet as well, no?  And how about that stylish wall paneling?

Retro Inspiration Dress4

I can’t wait to see what you come up with Marta!  I know you’ll give it your Do Guincho twist and it will be phenomenal.

And if anyone else feels inspired by this vintage little number, sew along and show us what you created!


Sharing this creation here:  The DIY Dreamer


8 thoughts on “Take One Dress Sewing Series: Mara Blouse and Pleated Skirt

  1. Every time I see a version if the Mara blouse I’m reminded that I need to see one myself! I love your version and those knife pleats in the skirt are gorgeous!

    1. Thank you April! Marte does need to come up with an adult version of that blouse… I would love that too! And I am a bit addicted to those knife pleats… in fact, I am working on something else at the moment that has, of course, knife pleats! A new staple for me??

    1. Victoria’s idea for this sewing series was indeed a really good one! And it’s funny… I never realized how much my little one looked like me until I found this old picture of myself… kind of neat! Or is it just the haircut, hahaha!!!

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