A while back my Mum’s friend had gifted me some vintage fabric that her mother had in her cupboard. From looking at the fabric I suspect it was from the fifties – the print, the width, the feel, all had 1950’s written all over it. Lucky for me there was about 4 metres of it so plenty to make a full skirted dress of some description. It was a super pretty fabric, I don’t think you could have gotten more girly if you tried. After a quick look through my existing vintage reproduction patterns from the 50’s, I chose Butterick 5603.
I thought this pattern would be a nice change as it has the empire waist line just under the bust and then the skirt bottom flares out from there. I cut out a size 12 to ensure it wouldn’t be too tight around the waist as vintage patterns can be that way. I had pre washed the fabric to get out the musty smell it had from years kept in a cupboard. Washing it ended up making it feel quite crunchy, so it felt like I cut almost cutting out paper when I cut out the pattern pieces. Thankfully once I got the iron onto the fabric it softened it. I opted to use contrasting matching pink satin for the neck and under bust trim so it stands out a little more. It was a process finding a pink that I liked that didn’t have that tacky polyester satin feel about it. I ended up finding a fabric I liked in Lincraft. This is a nice pattern to sew up for a newbie to vintage sewing patterns. The skirt bottom is very straight forward, and I only had to take it in a little towards the top of it. I ended up taking it in the at the side seams under my arms but otherwise it was a pretty good fit. I lined it with a pink bemsilk lining which was a bit of a pain to stitch down near the gathers under the bust but I got there in the end.
I gave horsehair braiding a go for the first time on this dress skirt hem too and I love how it turned out. I read Gertie’s book for advice on how to sew on the horsehair braid and it was a doddle. Except for the fact I ran out of it and had to rush back to the store again to buy more – d’oh! I’ll blog about my horsehair braiding soon so I can try and persuade you to give it a go. It made the skirt flare out more but didn’t look too much.
More pictures on my blog: http://www.bobbinandbaste.com/2013/11/pink-roses/