Around Thanksgiving my mother in law sent us a package from our late Grandma’s house of a few odds and ends she thought we might like to have. Among them was a piece of paisley fabric, 45” by about 3 ½ yards. I loved it immediately and knew I would want to use it for my next project, a long sleeved blouse, Simplicity 4606.
I sewed view 3 in a detailed muslin because I figure I need all of the practice I can get. Well, although I sewed it to (very near) completion, and I do like the look and fit, it was still a fiasco, and I am saving it for another day as there is still work to be done. I was trying to do this thing where I sewed practical stuff that is needed in my wardrobe, but it turns out that just isn't where my heart is.
So, along the way I decided I wanted to do something more special with the paisley fabric and determined that I had enough for a dress. “Wouldn’t it be cute,” I thought, “to sew a Christmas dress for me too, and baby A and I could have our photo together with her in hers?” I hatched this plan a few days before Christmas, and rooting through my patterns 10 times, I found a suitable dress, Simplicity 5914 from 1965.
The pattern was a bit too small at a 34" bust and needed to be sized up to accommodate my still there baby belly. So, I did some pattern work. I sewed up a mini muslin with a shortish skirt, and found that I had over sized the pattern and it needed to be sized down again. Plus there was this weird wrinkly thing going on over my butt. I dismissed it as a poor zipper basting job and charged on.
After making the mock up, I found that the dress went together without too much ado- I am not an extremely experienced seamstress, and I did a fair amount of seam ripping, but I did remember to back up on my darts correctly, the facings came out very pretty, and the collar gave me very little trouble. I was excited to see the dress going together as I had envisioned it. Then I sewed the skirt on. Ick. Again I had that dreaded “v” shape over my rear and below the zipper. I referred to my 80’s Vogue Sewing Guide, and was diagnosed with a “flat derriere.” Right. Whatever. I don't remember having a flat butt, but if Vogue says it, it must be so. So I pulled out the stitching and took out some of the bulk from the skirt back redistributing the gathers. I re-basted. The dreaded “v” was still there, but the skirt fit everywhere else. I finally got the idea that if I had too much fabric in that area, I needed to pull some from the waist seam to get the back to lay flat. I tried it, and voila! No v-butt.
Next I took on the self fabric belt. This was a first, and I used a belt kit. It was really freaking easy , and it came out really well. The bonus was that I got to use one of my hoarded vintage belt slides. It goes beautifully with the fabric. Then, I sewed in twill tape for a waist stay, another first. I also hand picked the zipper following the Threads tutorial I have seen other blogging seamstresses rave about, and I understand the hype- mine’s not perfect, but it's not puckery, and I am sure I would have had pucker problems if I had sewed it by machine. I attached a hook and eye at the top of the zip, and Threads Magazine diagram be damned, mine looks nothing like that. Nothing. But it’s in. Finally I slip stitched the facings together and hemmed the skirt up with some pretty, hoarded hem lace. I love thrift stores for this stuff.Oh yeah- I forgot to mention that all of my notions, excepting the thread, were vintage and possibly from the correct era. I used seam binding, hem tape, and a metal zip that cost me pocket change. So, with the gift of fabric, this dress cost me almost nothing but my time, and I that was all fun to me, a true nerf-herder. So, without further ado, here are some shots of my finished dress.
|The reel to reel is not a prop- it sits there in our living room all the time. |
We have no TV, but we have the reel to reel. Are we living in the past?
|The lighting with the candles makes me look nice and glowy, but you can't see any of the details of the dress. |
That is why we later moved outside...
|These are the shots we get when I follow my husband's directions ;)|
|Baby A, a.k.a. "Gremel" always wants in on the excitement.|
|I guess it's art-fart of me, but I always thought it would be neat to have a photo where I am|
dressed formally, and Gremel is in her diaper.
I can now cross that one off the list!
|We moved outside, where it was frickin' cold, but the lighting was way better.|
See? The dress has a collar.
|Keeping it real country with the cold frame and dead fall garden in these shots.|
|Love that barn!|
|Here is a back view showing the zip and back collar. Neither of us realized my hook and eye were undone,|
so the facing does not actually hang out like that. Too cold for a redo!
|A close up on the belt and slide|
|Hem tape- ooh la la!|