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the cyanide secretary dress

Added Aug 1, 2011

by Passiona Cottee

Sydney (Inner We...






ink navy and acid yellow*

100% merino wool
[except for the thread (there is no merino thread – why is that?)]
acid yellow in jersey
ink navy in ribbed jersey

This is my creation for Week 4 of the Project Runway Australia Sew-a-long I am hosting on my blog

The brief is to make something from the ‘60s; ’70s; ’80s; or ’90s and make it fashion forward. You get 70’s bones in modern colour blocking! See the second photo for the full-length shot (finally, I changed camera lenses and you can see my shoes!). And the 2nd last shot shows the yoke is a full length tie – not just a sewn on bow ;)

All major seams constructed with the overlocker for durablity. Cuffs finished with the stand-alone coverstitch machine.

Surely, Secretary 101 in the ’70s involved ink and acid!

*cyanide is a colourless, odourless gas. But it is an acid… and I LOVE acid yellow

Material Notes

100% merino wool jersey (the finest fibre in the world!)




Spring, Fall, Winter
Garment Type

12 Comments Sign in to add a post

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    Jan 6, 2013, 06.31 AMby razieh khalili


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    Aug 2, 2011, 07.52 AMby carolyn-s

    Looks really fabulous, I love the colours and the bow on the front is a gorgeous touch! And I really love the little skinny sleeve cuffs too. (And, hydrogen cyanide is a colourless acidic gas… but cyanide itself is just an anion.)

    1 Reply
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      Aug 3, 2011, 11.02 AMby Passiona Cottee

      nerd alert
      my, oh, my… if it isn’t the analytical chemist!? excuse me my dearest Carolyn!
      I have just now seen mention of your skill set in your recent blog entry. Now that I am more aware of my audience I will fact-check my references to the elements (and chemical compunds etc) more thoroughly! I promise!! Please don’t think any less of me for it, you clever cookie!

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    Aug 2, 2011, 05.51 AMby Ralf Schmitz

    stylish, elegant and such a great color combo! love it!

    1 Reply
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      Aug 3, 2011, 10.58 AMby Passiona Cottee

      Thanks Ralf! So glad you like it! Jerseys are so easy to work with… and so easy to wear!

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    Aug 1, 2011, 10.05 PMby freakusbzzz

    very groovy pash. will you wear it?

    1 Reply
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      Aug 3, 2011, 10.57 AMby Passiona Cottee

      Well Miss freakus…. if you read my blog you would know darn well I am going to wear this baby!

      Thinking of coming to see you Thursday evening hon!

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    Aug 1, 2011, 03.48 PMby Anne Wagenhauser

    Very cool! Spot on!

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    Aug 1, 2011, 01.17 PMby mlichtenwalner

    Love it!

    1 Reply
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    Aug 1, 2011, 12.46 PMby genovah

    I love the dress & the colour!

    1 Reply
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      Aug 3, 2011, 10.56 AMby Passiona Cottee

      the colour would look great on you, too!

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    Aug 1, 2011, 12.12 PMby pambox

    i can really see this on a runway in paris in the early 70s. quite amazing.

    1 Reply
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    Aug 1, 2011, 10.51 AMby keren

    Wow, it’s great! Your best yet for Project Runway! I love the style and that yellow looks smashing with the black. I just love it!! Normally I don’t like bows but I really like this one! Did you draft it yourself? [BTW the link to your blog from this project’s description is broken]

    1 Reply
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      Aug 3, 2011, 11.34 AMby Passiona Cottee

      I love the new name of your blog! And, wow, you’ve really been setting the pace with all your posts.
      I am glad you like this dress. And thanks for letting me know about the broken link – two http’s will do that!
      In answer to your question. This is the first dress in the Project Runway sew-along that is not 100% my own pattern. I modified a vintage vogue pattern to make this. I did hope to design each one myself. But I also have to be realistic with my skillset (and my time!). Also had that vintage pattern lying around and I was dying to try it.

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    Aug 1, 2011, 10.47 AMby dottty

    Wooooooooooow thats great jj:)x

    1 Reply
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    Aug 1, 2011, 10.28 AMby Ruffles Gazebo

    i really like your solution to the challange! the colour blocking is so effective! although acid yellow is not quite my colour, you look totally rocking in it! and the best part? it must be super comfy! win __

    1 Reply
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      Aug 1, 2011, 10.38 AMby Passiona Cottee

      You pull off some pretty amazing colours yourself, Missy!

      You got it right, comfort factor of 10 (as my brother would say “win detected”).

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    Aug 1, 2011, 10.24 AMby tirrs


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