Perth dress: #So50Visible

IMG_4344 2This new linen dress was inspired by the challenge on Instagram, the #So50Visible, created by the #SewOver50 gang.  The idea of the challenge is to find a pattern where the photo features a model who is over 50. Sounds easy, Right? If only…. In my search for a pattern, I couldn’t find any over 50 models in McCalls, Butterick, Vogue or Burda. Simplicity had only two. I was shocked.

When I turned to the Indie patterns, I found a few more, and I’m so pleased that my search led me to this fabulous pattern, the Perth Dress and Top by Carolyn and Cassie (Carolyn is from the blog Handmade by Carolyn). The photos of the pattern include Carolyn herself as a model…fabulous!!  I haven’t made a pattern by Carolyn and Cassie before (Cassie is her daughter), so this qualifies this make for the #BGchallenge (Breaking Ground Challenge) too!


The Perth dress is a shirtdress that includes some classic menswear details like a traditional collar stand and generously shaped collar. It has all the trimmings of a shirt dress, but without all of the buttons (yay) so if you’ve postponed making a shirt dress because of the buttons, this option is clearly for you!


Details: My favorite detail on this dress is the button and the front pleat. It’s so cleverly designed because, by buttoning the collar, you create the lovely pleated front of the dress.  There’s also a back yoke, a black pleat and lovely in seam pockets. The style looks structured but it has the ease and flow of a flouncy, fun dress. Because the dress is loose fitting, you choose the size by your bust measurement.


The pattern is expertly crafted with some great constructions details that are carefully explained by Carolyn. The back yoke is constructed burrito style. If you haven’t tried it, it’s a fabulous way to get a clean finish on the inside. The front pleat and collar and stand look much harder than they are. There’s one button, but two buttonholes, and it was fun to see how, by buttoning the dress, you suddenly have this wonderful pleat in the front. The only modification I made was to the dress was to shorten the collar points by about a half of an inch, just because I like a smaller collar.


The success of this dress depends in large part on the fabric. In order for the dress to have some lovely movement, you need a fabric with the right amount of drape, but also with enough body to support the precise construction required for a collar and stand. Linen is perfect for all of these tasks, so I chose a lovely mustard linen from the Mill End Store here in Portland as well as a contrasting white linen for the collar. This fabric was amazing to work with – – it has a slight texture to it, a rare find that I wish I had more of.


I love my new poufy dress and am so happy that this challenge led me to a new, fun pattern. Thanks to Carolyn and Cassie for bringIMG_4344ing this pattern to life with a real life model who is over 50. And I’m so grateful to everyone involved in the #So50Visible challenge. It’s fun, and informative and it made me much more aware. Let’s hope pattern companies take notice…

Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by.

15 thoughts on “Perth dress: #So50Visible

  1. This dress is…Adorable! I had seen this pattern by Carolyn but it took your dress to make me stand at attention and resolve to make one. I love the contrast collar I like pretty much everything you create. Thanks!

    1. Thank-you Fran! Carolyn sews such amazing things – so glad she took her skills and created this pattern too. I’m contemplating another version of this pattern, perhaps a linen top like the one she models on her blog.

  2. Cute dress and a great color for you. And thanks for drawing attention to the So50Visible challenge. One of the first indie pattern designers who drew me in was Maria Denmark, because she’s about my age (I’m 48) and she models all her designs. Sandra Betzina’s pattern for Vogue often use older models (though maybe not 50+, hard to tell). Also, the Italian sewing magazine La Mia Boutique usually has some 50+ models. Sad that there are so few though!

    1. Oh,I’m not familiar with Maria Denmark, must check that out. Yes, I expected the Sandra B. Patterns to feature older models, but they all looked really young to me. Disappointing…but So hard to judge age though. I haven’t heard of La Mia boutique either, must go check them out now. Thanks for the info!

  3. What a great look on you Linda! Your dress is beautiful and crisp looking and the fabric colour is fabulous. I’m starting to love the mustard yellow tones (just bought some sandals in the colour). Bravo!

    1. Thanks, Diane! I think I need your mustard sandals to go with my dress! I think this dress is all about that fabric—good linen always makes my sewing efforts look better:)

  4. Love your make….now I want to try it. BTW specializes in linen…..wonderful color selection

    1. Thanks, Linda. Me too, about the new pattern designers! To me, that was the coolest thing about the challenge…it directed me to new people and places, while bringing attention to an important issue, double win!

  5. What a fabulous dress! It looks like a very clever design. I do remember seeing the pattern when it came out and was interested in it then. Thanks for bringing it back to my attention. I love the colour of the fabric and the contrast collar!

    1. Thanks! I’m sure you’d love it! It’s such a well drafted pattern probably in large part because Carolyn’s sewing skills are phenomenal. The contrast collar was a last minute thought. I’m glad I went through with it!

  6. Speaking of breaking ground, I didn’t know that Carolyn has a line of patterns! Also, this pattern might just be the one I’ve been looking for for quite some time – a straight silhouette that accommodates my hips, courtesy of that pleat. Thanks for sharing! Your version is so chic. 🙂 Also, very interesting about the #sovisible challenge is that I’ve learned all sorts of people I follow are over 50, but I wouldn’t have thought so without being told.Tricky! Maybe that means the hashtag is more needed than we realized.

    1. Oh, I’m so glad I could introduce you to Carolyn’s lovely pattern. I’m already planning another version. I agree the sew over 50 hashtag has been a revelation…and is so needed!

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