Another Anniversary, Another Dress

My husband and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary last week, and I just whipped this little number up (I’ve always wanted to be able to say that!) to wear out on our first child free over-night out in two and a half years.

The pattern was frankensteined using a modern strapless sweetheart bodice and a skirt from a 60s dress pattern that was shortened significantly. Obviously, I wasn’t going for vintage authenticity this time, just trying to hang on to a bit of my fading youth….

It is a great fit and the fabric is really cool. I used two identical 40s (?) feed sacks I purchased at an antique mall in Maryland when I visited my mom back in March.

So, the fabric is definitely vintage, and cutting into 70 year old fabric is a bit nerve wracking. It’s always a fun learning process though. I first ironed  my clean fabric, and then carefully inspected it for stains and holes. There were several. I marked each with a bright purple disappearing ink pen, and then folded my fabric and made sure the grain was straight. I pinned the pieces to my pattern, avoiding the purple marks on the top layer as much as possible, and then I gently flipped the fabric to see where the marks were on the bottom layer before cutting. I was unable to avoid a few faint stains, but as I placed them in inconspicuous areas and was aided by the busy print of the fabric, I am glad to say they are not very noticeable.

The other fabric consideration I made was to fully underline all of the pieces using a good quality cotton muslin. As little coverage as this dress provided, I wasn’t going to take a risk with 70 year old fabric that might tear and reveal even more than I intended!

I also put spiral steel boning in the bodice, moved the zipper to the side seam, lined the bodice,  included a waist stay, and sewed the zipper and hem by hand. Of the waist stay and boning, I must say I don’t think I would have been comfortable in this dress without them. I am one of those gals who always thought I didn’t meet the requirements for holding up a strapless dress, if-ya-know-what-I-mean. Thankfully good engineering kept everything in place.

We had a great time, and I felt like a million bucks in a dress that was exactly what I wanted it to be, which is exactly why I sew.

More photos and info can be found on my blog, Farmhouse Garden.

• Meet the Author • A.J.A.



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6 comments… add one

  • Too cute! I’m curious as to what was in the feed sacks originally.

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  • you and your dress look gorgeous

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  • The dress came out wonderfully! I just love the pride you feel when wearing something you’ve made! It makes all of those “what was I thinking sewing this thing?” moments all worth it! :)

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  • The fabric design looks like it could be earlier than 1940s, perhaps mid- to late-30s.
    Deb, “feed” sacks were used for flour as well as things like dry chicken feed.
    A,J.A., you did a beautiful job using the interesting vintage fabric for a gorgeous dress.

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  • fantastic and you look amazing too!!

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  • Thanks a lot for the kind words, all!

    Elle, I suspected it might even be a bit older, but I don’t know much about vintage fabric, so I thank you for your insight.

    Reply

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