1950s | 1960s | Skirts | Vintage Sewing

A skirt turned dress

April 13, 2015

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I was hesitant to show you this skirt although I have already finished it about a month ago. I didn’t have the right photos to tell the full story. I’m glad I didn’t make haste because now you can see how important this skirt it. Now that I’ve found the right photo, you can sit back and enjoy!

 

Fast backward to a few months ago. I’m at my beloved Granny’s and we’re digging through her closet. We’re finding a lot of long forgotten treasures like old handbags and purses and vintage clothes and pre-cut sewing patterns. My Granny is a very crafty woman, has been so all her life, and that’s something I’m proud to have inherited from her. So we’re digging through all the stuff… and then there are some fabrics. Dusty, hidden away for decades and gorgeous. My Grandma looks at the blue and red striped cotton and says “This used to be a dress, you know, one of my favorites. After I’d ripped the bodice by accident, I decided to leave the rest of the fabric and sew something from it but I never got to it. You should sew yourself a skirt. Here, take it.”

 

And so I did. I sewed myself a skirt from a cotton that is over 50 years old, was loved and worn to bits, and then stashed away –because it was a favorite. This is so touching to me. The life of things in our hands is so precious and so complicated, and so full. We give them meaning and keep their stories in our minds. They live as long as we lend them some space in our memories. You can see my Granny wearing her dress in 1965 below.

dok015The sewing process was easy enough and there isn’t much to describe. I was aided in making box pleats by small cuts along the edge of the fabric that have already been there, certainly from the time it was a pleated dress. I cut away a small portion of the fabric to use for the waistband –I made it from the fabric put vertical instead of horizontal, as you can see. The fabric was already hemmed so I didn’t need to do anything else there. I might shorten it a bit since I’m not sure this particular length is the most flattering to my otherwise perfect legs. If I do, I’ll shorten it just by folding the fabric and hemming with a blind stitch (as it was originally done to the dress, I think, judging from some loose threads hanging from the hem). In the photo of my Granny you can see that the skirt was shorter by one white stripe.

You can see more photos on my blog.

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  1. Wow! Awesome skirt, awesome dress, incredible Granny/Granddaughter connection. What a gift! The picture made the story live.

  2. what an amazing story this skirt has, thank you for sharing. i think it looks lovely on you at the length it is without needing to be shortened 🙂

  3. What a great story! And I love that you included the picture of your grandmother wearing the dress.
    I think your skirt looks very good but, now that you mentioned the hem, it looks a bit more ‘finished’ with the red stripe at the bottom. So, especially if you think it’s a bit long anyway (I don’t really but I like long skirts), go for that.
    I hope you will wear and love this skirt as your grandmother wore and loved her dress. And I suppose you have already shown it off to her 😉

    1. Ahh, thank you Lauriana! I agree, it looks more finished with the red stripe at the bottom. I don’t mind longer skirts but this one, I think, calls for shortening just that little bit :).
      Oh, and I have yet to show it to Granny! I’ve only told her I made the skirt. I’m stressing a little about showing it to her becasue, you know, it was her favorite and I know it should be perfect! And I kinda messed up the buttonhole ;). Hopefully she won’t mind!

  4. its lovely – all clothes tell a story but yours tops them all! it just shows you how good quality fabrics can look after the years. your granny should be very pleased!

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