1950s | Dresses

Christmas dress

December 18, 2014

A few weeks ago a friend bought the Vintage Burda for me and I already tried a couple of the patterns. I instantly thought that the Grace pattern would make a very classic and feminine christmas dress, not least because it has long sleeves (I just can’t wear short sleeves in winter, even with a cardigan). I used a berry colored cotton for my “muslin”, hoping that I could use it for a real dress if it turned out ok. I cut size 36 and it fits as I suspected – the waist of the bodice is a bit too wide and the bust slightly too tight but overall it was quite ok and comfortable to wear in spite of the non-elastic fabric. I had originally planned to make a christmas dress of a beautiful taffeta that I had received as a gift a couple of weeks ago but time was getting short and so I decided to work with the muslin. It was not quite surprising that I was time-pressed – I usually don’t read the instructions before I actually start sewing and I had failed to notice that the pattern asks for underarm-gussets, an advanced technique that I had never done before. The instruction in the Burda issue consisted of two brief sentences that are probably very comprehensible if you are familiar with this technique but I was completely in the dark. I skimmed through my sewing books and looked for online tutorials and finally guessed what I had to do and cut in the fabric and set in 4 gussets – it looks really ok and I guess my next attempt will be even better.


I had already bought a piece of ruby-red dupioni silk several months ago and made a gathered skirt of it because the colors looked looked great together. The fabric has a very nice drape and shimmer but looks slightly crumpled even directly after I ironed it which annoyed me a bit. To counteract this I enforced the hem with a red velvet trim and a double layer of silk, the shape of the skirt looks way better this way. I also used the velvet trim as a neckband, made two little bows at the front and back, and finally also attached it to the belt. I made the belt to mask that the waist is a bit too wide but when I looked at the pictures I noticed that it rather emphasises it. I really liked the common thread of the red trim though so that’s ok in the end. The sleeves are supposed to be 3/4 sleeves but are more like 7/8 on me, I will make them a bit longer next time. The zipper is handpicked, which was quite time consuming but looks so nice (unfortunately I have no detail pictures of it!). All in all I am really happy with my “muslin” christmas dress, even though it is not perfect. Last weekend we took a few pictures in a forest near Bergisch Gladbach, next to an industrial facility with ice covered gas tanks. It was just above 0 degrees celsius and I was so cold but am quite relieved that the pictures don’t show that all too much… 🙂

You can find more pictures on my blog!

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  1. Loooove the red skirt with the raspberry top. Bows really pull it all together. Looks lovely on you. I wouldn’t have thought of the hem treatment, but it gives it some needed body and works really well. First picture especially is enchanting!

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