Vintage Sewing

Fryerstown Fourth Birthday Frock

January 31, 2008

I went to Fryerstown Antique Fair on the weekend (near Castlemaine, in Victoria, Australia) and gots me a pattern.

From the pattern I made me a frock. Fabric is from Spotlight, and since I didn’t buy enough (grrr), I cut the collar and hem from an old pair of linen trousers that had a hole courtesy of my bike. The buttons are old vegetable ivory. I like it. I feel like I’m wearing a giant version (sans lace, ribbon, and pinkness) that I might have been dressed in for my 4th birthday party. Which is quite fitting since my seamster mother made me some quite fabulous clothes when I was a wee thing.

I also picked up this cool little skirt marking device that places a line of chalk – poof! – as you squeeze the rubber bulb and spin around in front of it. So ingenious.

Incidentally, following on from my early question about what’s a good soundtrack for sewing retro, I thought I’d post what I was listening to as I finished this one up. It’s one of my very favourite genres of bad LP – the stereo demonstration album. The sort of thing you’d put on to show off your speakers when you’d finally ditched your mono system. Ooooh, listen… strings in the left speaker! Cymbals in the right! Courtesy of muzak-ed pop songs! So good.

OH! And I meant to say. This pattern nearly killed me. I like to think of myself as reasonably competent with the sewing and the dressmaking. But. A combination of the most awkward and clunky English in the instructions and an unprinted pattern riddled with perforations, only some of which actually corresponded to points that required marking and matching, meant that I made countless mistakes and actually cut the skirt out upside down. Too bad, I told the pattern, it’s going on upside down and no one will know.

Except if I post it on the internet. Ooops.

  1. Before I read your post I was thinking what genius to make the contrasting collar and hem band. Then I read your post…accidental genius still counts! It looks fabulous! And I am pea-green with envy about the hemming device. I make the smallest hems in the world, so I would probably never use one, but, want!

  2. What a fabulous frock and well done. Looks very “Our Miss Brooks” if you know what I mean. You put your Ma to shame – sewing yes, clothes, no.

  3. Ooh, turned out very well! I concur that the contrast collar and hem band look most intentional (and what better thing is there than intentionality-ness?).

    I hope you did space-moves to the stereo soundtrack LP. While making chalk marks on your skirt. I know I’d want to.

  4. Very cute, and you do know that wee ones get all the great clothes, don’t you?
    I love firstly the contrasting bands, and secondly that they came from old trousers! You’re a genius!

  5. You did a great job, and the dress looks wonderful.

    You’re also not the first person to cut something out upside down… or install it backwards. Not naming names *ahem*

    I’ve always wanted one of those skirt-marking thingies.

  6. I too say hooray for the accidental genius (and the intentional genius of using bike-eaten pants! very recycley of you)!

    This is also the kind of pattern that I like better “live” than in the envelope illustration – you look much more competent than that indecisive lady with the gloves. The boots help, too: you look like you’re ready to kick some ass! And so you did – good work!

  7. That dress is adorable. I just started sewing. Us gals took “tech ed” in high school and we carved wood and engineered things while the guys learned to sew. Craziness. But I really am inspired and want to learn. So far…well…I’m struggling, but hopefully I’ll catch on.

  8. It’s *gorgeous*, and (if you ask me, which you didn’t) even better for the contrast collar and hem. No one will ever know about the skirt.

    So much dress envy!

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