Christmas here in Australia is always very hot, so we can’t wear formal dresses made of luxurious fabrics like velvet or taffeta. But a cotton summer frock always comes in handy this time of year, and this is my christmas party dress:
I made it from Simplicity 3918 (view 3 the white dress), bought from an op shop and which was still factory folded (what a find!). It is undated but I’m guessing early to mid 60s maybe? It’s a pretty simple shape, a bodice with a side zip, and a large rectangular skirt gathered around the middle, I didn’t make any changes to it at all, although it’s a little puffy around the bust darts – I think a conical bra may make the most of the bodice shaping!
The red panel at the front, called a ‘vestee’ on the pattern, is actually designed to be detachable, perhaps so you could make a neutral coloured dress and a whole series of vestees in differing colours. It’s supposed to be held in place by a number of press snaps but I just sewed the vestee to the facings instead.
I also lopped about 6 inches off the bottom because this reached mid calf on me, even though the pattern envelope shows the dress sitting on the model’s knee. I know that women from decades ago weren’t freakishly tall, so it always mystifies me why the sewing patterns are so long.
The fabric was an ebay purchase a few years ago, so it’s of unknown vintage. It’s a very crisp medium weight cotton which means the full skirt flares out nicely without the need for a petticoat underneath.
All in all, I love this dress – it’s not too costumey so I won’t feel self conscious when I’m wearing it but it’s also unique enough that I won’t look like everyone else and isn’t that why we all sew our own clothes?
Kristy @ loweryourpresserfoot.blogspot.com