Love sewing? Love Mary Quant? We need you!


Digital Media
July 22, 2019

If you enjoyed sewing your own 1960s-style minidress inspired by our Mary Quant exhibition, now’s your chance to get involved with our second Quant dress pattern, soon to be released on our website.

Our Mary Quant-style minidress pattern has been so popular (20,000 of you have downloaded it so far) that we’re teaming up with Alice & Co Patterns once more to bring you a second ‘sew your own’ Mary Quant design, which will be free-to-download online. This time we’ve got exclusive permission to reproduce an original Quant design from 1962 – the bold and beautiful ‘Georgie’ dress, currently on display in the exhibition.

The Georgie dress
The Georgie dress, designed by Mary Quant, 1962, UK. Museum no. T.74-2018. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Given by Sarah E. Robinson.

This stylish design features a wrap-over bodice, large sash and statement striped fabric, originally inspired by a butcher’s apron. Of course, if stripes aren’t your thing you can use whatever fabric you like and customise your dress so it’s the perfect fit – that’s the joy of home-sewing.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the pattern, why not apply to be a pattern-tester, and be one of the first to make the Georgie dress? We’re looking for sewers of all abilities, experience and sizes to try making the dress at home and give feedback, before the pattern is released. Visit Alice & Co Patterns to apply and find out all you need to know. Be quick – the deadline for applications is Friday 26 July!

Want to know what’s involved? We asked four of our minidress testers, Di, Joy, Victoria and Dita, to send a pic of their dresses and tell us more about pattern-testing…

Dita, USA

Pattern tester Dita modelling her Mary Quant-style minidress
Photo courtesy of Dita

I adore 60s fashion and was having a difficult time finding vintage patterns that would fit me. I love being able to ‘test’ patterns because I get an opportunity to be a part of the design process. It’s a great way to provide vital feedback to designers. I also love that it lets me channel my love of prints and textiles to create one of a kind garments.”

Di, UK

Pattern tester Di Kendall models her Mary Quant-style minidress
Photo courtesy Di Kendall

I hadn’t pattern tested before, but this design immediately piqued my interest. I was a young teenager in the 1960s, so grew up with Mary Quant’s influence on fashion. I love her simple styles that are so easy to wear.

I really enjoyed taking part in the minidress testing. It gave me an opportunity to draw on my skills to analyse the whole process, identify positives and negatives, then offer possible solutions.”

Joy, UK

Pattern tester Joy modelling her Mary Quant-style minidress
Photo courtesy of Joy

I’m a creature of habit and tend to make the same patterns over again so I’m a sucker for anything with lots of variations. I assembled the PDF, made a toile (practice version) of the top half of the bodice to iron out some fit issues I often have, but then the actual dress came together really quickly.  It was particularly satisfying seeing the collar take shape as I’ve never sewn one like this before.

As well as the ethical and environmental advantages of making your own clothes, you never have to worry about turning up in the same dress as someone else!”

Victoria, USA

Pattern tester Victoria modeeling her Mary Quant-style minidress
Photo courtesy of Victoria

Pattern testing is exciting and an amazing learning experience! I love being a part of something new and unexpected. My advice to testers is to envision how you can make the pattern come to life! Be willing to communicate with the pattern designers if you have questions. Also be very detailed in your feedback, as this is very helpful for the designers.”

Look out for the Sew your own: Georgie dress pattern on our website this autumn. In the meantime you can explore more Mary Quant articles and videos online.

Minidress testers modelling their dresses at the V&A.
Our minidress testers visiting the V&A. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

A big thank you to all of our pattern-testers, Alice & Co Patterns and Ray Stitch.

UPDATE: The wait is over! The ‘Georgie’ dress pattern can now be downloaded – enjoy!

About the author

Digital Media
July 22, 2019

I've created digital content for the exhibitions 'Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion', 'Ocean Liners: Speed and Style', 'Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up' and 'FOOD: Bigger than the Plate'.

More from Holly Hyams
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Comments

Any chance you can get Butterick’s permission to reproduce the pattern on display in the exhibit? It’s Butterick pattern number 3287. My mom made me that dress in cranberry cotton with pale pink organdy ruffles. I wore it to see the Beatles in Toronto on September 7, 1964. Would love to make it once again. To me it is her most beautiful design!

Hi Susan, that sounds like an eye-catching combo! Sadly, we’re not planning to reproduce any of the Quant-Butterick designs, but I hope you will enjoy trying out the Georgie dress pattern when we launch this September!

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