Dresses

Yay, dress muslin #2 from this project is finished!

Here is a photo of the original, which shows how important fabric choice is: (source here)

Dress #2 is a wrap dress with the front bodice on the bias, skirt is made of three layers. Layer 1 is a very wide heavily gathered rectangle, Layer 2 is another gathered but narrower and longer rectangle is on top, and Layer 3 are two bubble poofs, each made of 3 gathered pieces of fabric. The top of the bodice back, front, and neck strap have fabric roses attached to them.

This dress didn’t fit me initially (tears!) but I added 3 inches to the CB as well as 5 inches to the bodice front – WHEW! Then it fit, but barely as you can see. Not a bra friendly dress.

It has great swish factor because of the 2 back poofs, but the dress really becomes something else once you discover that you can put your arms through the poofs and turn them into sleeves. Magic! Probably unintentional, but a fun discovery nonetheless.

The roses were created by a Vionnet Rose Pattern from the Center for Pattern Design:

If you’re interested, I’ve more photos and construction information on my sewing blog here: http://cathywu.com/journal/kalali/2014/06/17/vionnet-dress-pattern-2-1917-wrapped-with-roses/ I also made an animated gif of how to wear it, which I tried to post here but didn’t work.

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This year was my husband and my 5th wedding anniversary and we decided to do a vintage vow renewal ceremony on the beach!

I decided to make myself a vintage wedding dress! I decided on this late 40s pattern:

Especially after I found it’s vintage doppelganger!

As you can see, my version of white cotton lawn turned out quite like the original!

It was such a wonderful event! I was so bummed that I got married before I discovered vintage so this was my do over dress.

I shared a ridiculous number of photos from the day over on my blog. General vow renewal shots are here and my dress diary is here.

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Hello friends!

This year I participated in MeMadeMay for the first time. Since 80%-90% of my wardrobe is already me-made I could be said to participate year-round anyway, but now that I have a blog I wanted to do so more officially. However, MMM is supposed to be a challenge and just wearing me-mades everyday would be a cheat for me, so I gave myself the challenge of wearing clothes made with Indie Patterns at least once per week and sewing only with Indie patterns throughout the month. This means that none of the patterns used to make the dresses I’m posting today are vintage, but it turned out that a few were made from vintage fabric! Also, the Indie patterns I gravitate towards tend to have a vintage vibe to them.

All three that I’m posting here were made with Colette’s Macaron pattern, but modified to greater and lesser degrees.

This first one was made with one of my favourite cotton fabric sources – a vintage bedsheet!

The little green buttons are also vintage – oh – and so is the purse!

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This second dress is basically a copy of the one above only with a somewhat less full skirt (fullness ends up depending on the width of the fabric as I’m lazy and just use selvedge to selvedge rectangles).

The print fabric is a piece of vintage cotton I scored at the Textile Museum of Canada’s annual “More than a Yard Sale” fundraiser last year. I’d had the solid cotton sateen for ages already and what a lucky co-incidence that they matched so perfectly! Incidentally, the green buttons are the same ones as on the dress above; I had 6 of them, they worked a treat for both dresses, and that meant no odd numbers left over!

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The third one is the most modified and I even gave it a name: The Mod-Maca-Thorn. It’s inspired by a design I saw on Modcloth + a modification of the Macaron bodice + the skirt pattern pieces from Colette’s Hawthorn pattern.

And it’s another vintage bedsheet!

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If you’re interested, you can see more pictures and more of my Me-Made-May’14 makes on my blog here, here and here

 

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Rock Your Orange

by Joni on June 14, 2014 · 9 comments

in 1950s,Dresses

Ever since I learned how to sew I’ve wanted to attend Zoobilation, our local zoo’s black-tie fundraiser. (I’d always look at the photos from the event in the newspaper and notice how many women were wearing indistinguishable black cocktail dresses. As a person who sews vintage, I’ve always thought I could do better than that.) This year my husband finally scored tickets and I immediately began dreaming up my outfit. The theme this year was ‘Rock Your Orange’ in honor of the brand new orangutan exhibit our zoo has just opened. As it happens I look terrible in orange, so I decided to make a blue dress and accessorize it with orange.

I had a dickens of a time finding the right fabric (thank goodness for generous return policies) but I finally found a cobalt blue taffeta at JoAnn’s that I liked. It’s got just enough sheen to be formal but not tacky, and the heavier weight gives it a nice swish. (Ten dollars a yard but I bought it with a coupon, of course!) Surprisingly I didn’t have a pattern I wanted to use already in my stash, but I’ve been eyeing Retro Butterick 6018, circa 1952, ever since it came out. I actually think the pattern illustrations are kind of ‘meh’ but the pattern has really nice lines, especially View ‘A’ with the dramatic wide lapels and pointy sleeve cuffs. Incidentally, the line drawings are kind of misleading -

There is, in fact, a center seam in both the skirt front and skirt back, making the skirt eight pieces instead of six. On the front of the dress the center skirt seam lines up with that seam/faux button opening on the bodice, a touch I really appreciate, I should probably drop Butterick a line and see if they want to fix the misleading illustration.

Anyway, the construction of the dress itself was pretty uneventful until it came time to attach the skirt and the bodice. I found that the skirt side back panels were about 3/4″ too wide, meaning they wouldn’t match up flush with the bodice (and the skirt seams are supposed to match up with the bodice darts, naturally). At first I tried easing it in but that looked horrible. So then I undid the top 6″ or so of those skirt seams and re-did them with an adjusted seam allowance so everything would fit together nicely. Fortunately I had serged the raw edges of the pattern pieces individually before assembling (normally I sew and then serge) or I would have had a ravelly nightmare on my hands. It only took an extra hour or so, I just wish the pattern had worked right on the first try. This was also my first time doing covered buttons – I thought they’d be a fiddly nightmare but I got a kit from Hobby Lobby but they were really easy and – dare I say it – fun.

Enough talking: Pictures! I look a little weird here because I’m looking down at my 9 year old son who was holding the camera (I do have a neck, I promise). At least it’s not my usual bathroom mirror selfie.

With the husband. He got an orange tie and a new dress shirt with French cuffs for the occasion (mmm, I love French cuffs). Like anyone was looking at HIM.

I accessorized with a Malco Modes crinoline in a shade of orange that’s even more obnoxious than it looks here. (Obnoxious being a compliment when it’s coming from me.) Funny how their picture shows a petticoat that’s nearly ankle length and on me it comes just past my knees. I think I must have freakishly long legs or something. Also, my shoes don’t show up in any of the pictures but they are like my favorite shoes ever: Nina Crystah pumps, don’t they just scream 1950s? (Best part is I got them on eBay for just $15!) I couldn’t find any blue or orange shoes that I liked, so I went with an iridescent metallic which picked up the gaudy hues of my ensemble. And the low heel was practical for all the walking we had to do.

My dress was a huge hit among the thousands of well-dressed people at the zoo! I got a ton of compliments. Probably my favorite five words in the English language are “Thank you; I made it.” One lady even said my dress was the best outfit of the night! Here are some candids so you can see it in action. With an actual orangutan (he was sprawled out lazily on the ground but seemed interested in my crazy orange petticoat):

Roller coaster selfie (oh yeah, we rode the zoo coaster in our fancy clothes. It was awesome.) Also, you can see here that I really don’t know how to apply false eyelashes. I probably should have practiced more.

And this is my husband’s favorite shot of the night. We took a break on the playground that is very explicitly intended for kids age 5 and under, but it was an adults-only event. :) Tons of restaurants from around Indianapolis had booths set up with small portions of food and drinks (all of which was included in the cost of admission). Even the famous St. Elmo’s Shrimp Cocktail. I think I was eating a fancy bread pudding here – we looked at the map later and realized we tried something like 30 samples! Yum! Also you can see here that I accessorized my hair with an orange silk flower the size of a grapefruit, because why on earth not?!

All in all, I am VERY pleased with how my dress came out – it’s exactly what I was picturing when I first found out about the orange theme. I’m already plotting to wear it again to other events – maybe I can drag the hubby to the symphony? And I’m glad I’ve only got about another five years before I get to start making prom dresses for my girls.

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