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.