You're only 45 once, so I thought the occasion merited a special birthday dress. The fabric came first, bought on holiday last month at Rainbows in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight. It's from Michael Miller's Jug or Not? range and this design is called Retro Kryptonite.
It's reminiscent of two iconic mid-century textile designs, Stig Lindberg's 1940s Pottery fabric (below left) and Sanderson's Hayward (below right). Hayward was originally designed in the 1950s but was reissued as part of Sanderson's Revival collection a few years ago. I made my first ever ukulele gig bag out of it!
Having Googled other people's Peony dress makes I wasn't sure how I'd get on with making the bodice which comprises four notorious darts. I sensibly made a toile of the top half of the dress and found the tight, darted bodice too stifling. Really I should have learnt my lesson from attempting Simplicity's 1800 Amazing Fit dress before choosing another fitted dress pattern. Realising that I'd be extremely unlikely to wear something so constricting (I burnt my bra decades ago), I minimised the front body darts to give myself room to breathe and slouch around. I found I could easily get into the bodice with the back seam sewn up, so cut the dress back in one piece (kinder to the fabric design) and dispensed with a zip. Finally I added a good five centimetres length to the skirt pattern piece, then cut into the precious Jug or Not? fabric.
The Peony was easy to sew and I loved making the matching belt. It feels comfortably soft with a bit of ease, so doesn't strain at the seams even after eating large pieces of lemon drizzle birthday cake.