cotton dress

First, some background. Four years ago, right after I got my sewing machine, but before I started really sewing, I attempted to make this dress, the one shown in blue. I did such a horribly sloppy job cutting it, the skirt was all I could save from the pattern. There were literally inches of fabric that did not line up on the back of the originally cut bodice.

After about two years, I finished it as just a skirt, but it was pretty hideous- there’s no other way to describe it. Fast forward to this weekend. I pulled out the last of my black cotton broadcloth from my stash and I re-cut the bodice, this time going for the view on the right in white. I ripped out all the seams of the skirt and ironed them all. I re-stitched everything with French seams. I made a few changes to the design as I went (you can see them listed here on my blog) and when I was finished this afternoon, I had something not only wearable, but likeable.

The empire waist I ended up with and the cap sleeves along with the almost A-line skirt shape give this a kind of 70′s feel, similar to what you see here and here, though I think the shorter length is reminiscent of children’s dresses.

My fabric choices are far from that era though, and if I did this again, I’d still make the same changes I did to this now, but would choose less loud and busy pattern for my fabrics- probably a solid color. Either way, I have a feeling my altered version of this dress are more my style than the original intended design.

I’ve also just won a lot of 60 women’s patterns off of eBay for about $15. All I know about the lot is most of them are uncut, so maybe I’ll find some treasures in there when they arrive! I may have a pattern buying problem.

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Two Christmas Dresses

by hulagirl on January 6, 2013 · 6 comments

in 1950s

Hi Everyone, Here are two dresses I made for Christmas, which I know is a little excessive but you can’t help what fabric you fall in love with.  Please forgive the dodgy victory rolls, it was a first attempt.

I found this fabric way back in July or some such inappropriate season and thought it was soo cool.  I had been wanting to make a 50′s style shirtwaist in a kitschy print, having see a couple such fabulous items on this very site.  I made the pattern myself, but I did use vintage buttons that I got from a friend who was closing her vintage store.  She sold me this giant jar of gorgeous buttons for a very reasonable price which I carried home on the bus like a baby and proudly presented to my boyfriend who, in a Herculean effort, pretended to be interested.

This dress was my Christmas party dress this year so I actually got quite a bit of use out of it.  The print is of little birds and berries which I love.  This one is self-drafted as well and was inspired by a dress I saw in a vintage store which cost far too much.  As I was looking at the picture I thought ‘aww the buttons didn’t show up’ which turned out to not be surprising since I never sewed them on.  Oops.  There were supposed to be covered buttons in the purple abouve the flappy wing parts.  Oh well, maybe next year.

Also behind my right knee are some Christmas stockings I made out of the leftover fabric from the first dress.

More on my blog, A Sewing Machine and an Umbrella. Cheers

 

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Past Pattern 801 blue stripe dress by Kelina Lobo

Past Patterns #801, fan front bodice, 1844 – 1850s. – The skirt is big and fun, made with nine yards of cloth.

Retro way back to 1840 – 1860! A while back I made these two historically accurate reproductions of Victorian dresses. I used Saundra Ros Altman’s Past Patterns #702 and #801. Past Patterns’ tagline is “The Historical Pattern Company Dedicated to Accuracy” and it is true – Past Patterns always has excellent patterns with very informative and detailed construction notes and historic notes. I did not encounter any fitting issues with these two. None of these photos show these dresses with the correct accessories, so I really should go out and take some new photos.

-KL

You can find more information about Past Patterns below:

Past Patterns #801 – fan front bodice, 1844 – 1850s.   – According to Saundra Ros Altman’s Past Patterns, “This fan-front bodice and single skirt were fashionable between 1841 – 1847. It may also be worn as an 1850s gown because daguerreotypes abound of women wearing the fan-front bodice in the 1850s.”

Past Patterns #702 - 1850s – 1863 dart fitted bodice with full pagoda sleeves - According to Saundra Ros Altman’s Past Patterns, “…full pagoda sleeves [were] fashionable from the late 1850′s to 1863 …modified pagoda sleeves were popular from the late 1850′s though 1863.”

I have more sewing projects on my blog, WesternSpinster.

Past Pattern 801 dress sewn by Kelina Lobo

Past Patterns #801, fan front bodice, 1844 – 1850s. – Why did I have to hold my arms over the fan front? The fan front turned out well, but unfortunately you can’t see it in this photo. I know, I know, the hairstyle is not historically accurate 1844 – 1850s, and only vaguely late 1860s in silhouette.

Past Pattern 702 pagoda by Kelina Lobo

Past Patterns #702, 1850s – 1863 dart fitted bodice with full pagoda sleeves – This bodice is nicely and accurately fitted, showing off a lovely hourglass figure, especially when viewed from behind, and it has the characteristic dropped shoulder seams.

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Advance_8617_view_1_1958_vintage

View 1, Advance 8617, from 1958 – I made this dress first. It has gussets in the sleeves.

Here are two sheath dresses I made from a vintage 1958 pattern, Advance 8617. The yellow “tropical dress” has kimono sleeves and the fitting is more relaxed in general, and I think it is better for it. The blue dress has gussets in the sleeves and a more fitted bodice. The original 1958 pattern was much too big and I re-sized it to my size. My weight has shifted slightly since cutting the pattern, so the fit was longer perfect, a good learning experience for the next dress.  (Don’t wait 8 months between cutting and sewing!)  I ended up taking in the bodice side seams a little and lengthening the darts slightly.

Advance 8617_view3_1958_vintage_sewing_pattern

View 3, Advance 8617 from 1958 – my “tropical dress.” I made this dress second. The kimono sleeves give it a more relaxed fit. Notice that the waist falls in the right place in this version.

What I found in the test run with this pattern: This dress is best in a very lightweight cloth with good drape, especially silk, chiffon or rayon.  The pattern is more roomy than expected, leaving space to take it in or let it out later.

The inspiration was Joan’s dress from the accordion scene in Season 3, Episode 3 of Mad Men, see photo below.  But obviously I am not shaped like Joan, and few people are.

Tropical dress – I imagine myself wearing this dress lounging on a warm and breezy veranda sipping hibiscus cooler.  Since I’d be lounging, who needs a belt?!  So I set aside the belt hardware and I did not make the self-fabric belt.  But maybe I will make it later.  What do you think?

Blue dress – I like the shorter sleeves and the more fitted upper body, but the extra time to do the gussets was not really worth it.  Short cap sleeves or very short kimono sleeves might look just as nice and save a lot of time.

To see much more technical detail on alteration and fitting issues, please go to WesternSpinster.com

-Kelina

Advance 8617_view_3_1958_vintage_sewing_pattern

View 3, Advance 8617, from 1958 – my “tropical dress.” I made this dress second. The kimono sleeves give it a more relaxed fit. Nessa has the best expression in this photo! She looks skeptical.

Advance_8617_View_1_1958_vintage

View 1, Advance 8617, from 1958 – I made this dress first. It has gussets in the sleeves and a more fitted bodice. This blue cloth is a more retro look, but the yellow West African print was probably around in 1958.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joan_accordion_Season_3_Episode_3_Mad_Men.

Joan’s accordion scene in Season 3, Episode 3 of Mad Men.

Advance_8617_vintage_sewing_pattern_from_1958.

Advance 8617 vintage sewing pattern from 1958. The very stylized illustration make it look like Joan's dress, but the actual dress is a bit different. Also notice that the sleeves in this illustration look much shorter than in the complete dresses. I did not change the sleeves for these dresses.

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