Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

St. Trinian’s


How many of you look at a pattern, select the perfect (or not so perfect) fabric and think –
“I’ll look like I’m a 10 in this?” 
“I’ll make this and when I wear it I’ll be 3″ taller.”
“In this dress my neck will look like a swan’s.”
“I’ll be 10 years younger in this little number.” 
Is it only me who has these fantastical images of my alter-self in home-made clothes?

One of the challenges of dressmaking is selecting the right fabric for the right design.  I’m almost convinced that those high prices that Valentino and Gucci and the like charge are worth it because of the perfect fabric choice with the perfect dress. Read on……..

In my most recent project I saw my alter-ego back on Madison Avenue with martini and cigarette in hand, wiggling my way across a busy office floor. It is of course Vogue’s 1121, Badgley Mischka: fitted dress with lots and lots of panels and respectable but you really want to see down there! neckline. I’d lengthen it too to below knee – in keeping with my personal style and 1960 professional decorum. Perfect wiggle dress.

I noticed that JuliaBobbin is running a Mad Men lookalike challenge and thought to add this dress. While Joan has not worn a frock (1960s lingo) that closely resembles this design, I thought that I’d play the Mad Men inspired card.

I really wanted to make this in a black and white hounds tooth finely woven crepe wool but none was forthcoming so played it safe and went the old favourite of a navy wool crepe – v. expensive but beautiful fabric. Presses like a dream and frays like a nightmare.

Half built and hanging on Doris I noticed something frightening…. those multi panels at the front sort of resembled pleats and with all that navy wool all I could think of was GYM SLIP!

Those of you reading this who never had to wear school uniform may not appreciate the trauma of this revelation.
While in perfect keeping of the 1960s it was NOT what I had in mind. All I need is my son’s white school shirt underneath this to look like like the second from right with her legs crossed. I want to look 10 years younger, not 10 years old!

Then I remembered St. Trinian’s!
Back in the days when the world was black and white I was reared on Ealing comedies and the wayward school girls were one of my favourites. As a non-compliant uniform wearer – me and my little gang used to tie our ties with giant or tiny knots depending on our mood; roll our knee socks down to our ankles; fold our shirt cuffs out over the jumper sleeves; shorten skirts to well above the 5″ above knee rule – anything to make our uniform unique to us. But those girls of St. Trinians knew how to do it for real.

The St. Trinian’s sixth form were the best –  almost, but not quite, unconscious sex appeal in a gym slip.

So, I ask you –

school girl gym slip or sexy Mad Men dress?

What about sexy gym slip or school girl dress?

There’s a fine line here!

It might look better when I get the sleeves in?????

Thanks for reading. Ruth

17 thoughts on “St. Trinian’s

  1. Well is certainly makes you look lovely and slim, so am sure it will be befitting of Madison Avenue with martini and cigarette in hand

  2. Definitively sexy Mad men style! I never had "the chance" to wear a school uniform, but your dress have nothing to do with such clothes.And for the sleeves, i'm not sure it would add something to this dress, she looks great this way… Or it would look too formal with those 3/4 sleeves. Or you can just get long gloves like Audrey Hepburn. Very Chic 😉

  3. I think it looks gorgeous on you! I love the shape of the neckline and the bodice fit looks perfect. I actually have had this pattern for ages and think I might have to haul it out and get started on it!

  4. Oh, horrors! Your gym slip was my regular warm-weather school uniform! (Canadian Catholic school, ca early 1960's.) You do NOT want to know about my gym slip. Purple and white and absolutely hideous. Your dress, on the other hand – gorgeous! No gym slip references At All.

  5. Aye, best put the sleeves in!

  6. Oh, we had nylon shorts attached to a zip front striped t-shirt. EEK! I love the shape yours is giving you- I think it's going to be lovely!

  7. Giggle. I love the reference to gym slips, although your dress is reminiscent of a goddess gown instead, all long, columnar and elegant. The dress is sexy but the first word that comes to my mind is "regal". I share Blanche Neige's concern that sleeves may add a matronly vibe. It looks lovely so far.

  8. Wow. I totally love the way this dress looks on you! I echo everyone else's comments here about it making you look tall, slim, regal… Mad Men sexy! And I also don't think the sleeves are necessary. I just bought this pattern in the clearance sale too. With your post it suddenly jumped about 10 steps in my priority list…

  9. My uniform was a brown skirt with green shirt and jumper! There was some reference to us being like tree samplings and growing into mature responsible women – ha ha ha!

  10. Apologies if I brought back traumatic memories.

  11. Thinking back now that's what I did when I was at school!

  12. Yes – I don't do sleeveless, I'd feel more comfortable.

  13. We'll try them out and see but I do like sleeves in everything.

  14. Please do try it out, I'd love to know what you think about it.

  15. I like the neckline too – quiet unusual. Go for it. I'll be doing a review when it's finished.

  16. C'est gentil à vous de le dire, merci. Je préfère sexy mature de fille de l'école.

  17. While 'gym slip' is a new term for me, and I never had to wear a school uniform, I do not see that in your dress. It is not finished, nor accessorized. The dress will be quite lovely and, being navy, will be able to handle a plethora of accessories depending on the occassion. Smile!

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