Posts Tagged 'dress'

Vintage Vogue 8875 – Cherry Blossom Dress

I mentioned a while back that I wanted to make up Vintage Vogue 8875 in a silky poly floral fabric I had been saving for a special project, and I decided to jump right into it and make myself a new dress for my cousin’s wedding. The wedding was set to be a very classy affair in black and white — much fancier than the usual Southern Baptist weddings I’ve attended where people sip punch made from ginger ale, pineapple juice, and orange sherbet while nibbling on a cake baked by the bride’s aunt.

In other words, MUCH fancier than my own wedding.

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Altering a Ready-to-Wear Dress

In some ways, I am still a slave to ready-to-wear.

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Busting through the FBA Hurdle! And Some Exciting Vintage Pattern Finds!

Excitement! Enthusiasm! Exclamation points galore!

Thanks to my amazing teacher Claire Kennedy, I can do an FBA for myself!

It turns out I was doing the FBA correctly, as I thought, but I needed to do a second FBA to the piece, moving it only 3/4″ instead of a full inch, and add a second dart in order to make it fit. I was soooo close and definitely on the right track, so that was a relief to know. She also very confidently and sincerely stated that I can do this, which meant a lot to me. We talked a bit about adjusting princess seams, and while those are a little intimidating, I think I can handle it.

My “homework” is to do a double FBA to the blouse I’ve been working on and make a muslin. I think I can make it fit this time!

In other news, I’ve just acquired some more vintage patterns…all for free. It’s kind of a funny story. The other day at a fabric store, I was considering getting a reprinted Vintage Vogue pattern and a sweet elderly lady commented on it. We started talking about vintage patterns and she mentioned that she had a bunch of them at home. She said she wanted to get rid of them, and I asked her how much she wanted for them. She said I could have them for free because she was thinking of just taking them to a thrift store.

Yes, I nearly passed out.

She gave me her contact information, and I went over to her house last night to check out the patterns. She had three file cabinet drawers full of patterns! Many of them were from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s — styles that I don’t particularly like — but I rounded up two grocery sacks full of patterns from the 1950s and 1960s! Almost all of them are too small for me, but I don’t mind. I can grade them up or set them aside for my daughter when she’s older, especially the ones that are too “youthful” for me anyway.

Here’s a sampling of what I found.


And this is the grand prize of the entire haul.


I did a happy little dance right in the middle of this lady’s sewing room when I found this one! I’ve been wanting a dress like this for quite some time. It’s very 1950s — a la I Love Lucy — and the lines are quite flattering. According to the back of the envelope, you can make it up in almost any kind of fabric: cotton, shantung, rayon, crepe, linen, gabardine, and much more. So, it’s a very versatile pattern. Dress it up for a go-to-town or church look. Dress it down for a summer picnic or relaxing at home. It’s in my size and it should fit well once I do an FBA. Look at the buttons all the way down the front! Look at the little pockets! Wouldn’t they be lovely with contrast piping? Look at that collar! And the little cuffs on the sleeves! I can just picture this one in a pretty little print with solid color piping on the pockets (and maybe the cuffs and collar as well) and a matching bakelite buckle and button set. Add shoes, a purse, gloves, and a broad-brimmed straw hat and the look will be complete!

Sewing Project: Blue Watercolor Easter Dress

Yesterday afternoon, I finished making my daughter’s Easter dress. For once, I actually finished something several days ahead of schedule instead of the night before the event, so that’s a major accomplishment for me!

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New Look 6577 – Pattern Adjustments

I’ve been working on my daughter’s Easter dress using New Look 6577 and gathering the materials here and there. I had to make two muslins before I found the right fit for her. The first muslin was in size 2, and while it fit her through the shoulders and chest, the bodice was very short. The bodice was 2 – 2 1/2″ above her belly button instead of only 1 1/2″. I made the second muslin a size 3 so that she would have a tiny bit of room to grow. I also extended the bottom of the bodice an inch. I’m very pleased with the length and mostly satisfied with the fit in the chest and the shoulders, so I’m ready to make the actual dress.


Now for the fabric! I will be using a lovely blue and green floral cotton print for the bodice and the skirt, and I’m using a coordinating deep blue cotton solid for the yoke and the flounces. I’m planning on making a blue sash as well. The dress looks so lovely in my head, so I hope I can make it just as lovely in reality!

When Vintage Patterns Go Wrong

Time to chalk up another learning experience.

I’ve been working on a muslin of this adorable 1940s Mary Dunbar toddler dress. I love the sweet little scallops! I could just see it made up with a pink and white stripe fabric for the main body and a light breezy floral print for the scalloped sections with coordinating buttons down the back. I almost used this pattern last year, but I decided that the scallops looked too intimidating and I put it back into my pattern drawer. This year, armed with new knowledge about sewing curves, I decided to give it a try.

1940s Mary Dunbar 2013-02-24 003

Unfortunately, this pattern is more flawed than any pattern I have ever used — and believe me, I have used some really crazy patterns.

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Sewing Project: Matching Mother and Daughter Easter Dresses

This entry will take care of two of my 2012 sewing project goals — a 1950s pink “housewife” dress and making matching Easter dresses for my daughter and myself — because I ended up combining those two goals into one. Sounds clever, right? I actually had no other choice. I kept running into problems that forced me to change my plans. The best-laid schemes o’ mice an ‘men / Gang aft agley, as Robert Burns once wrote.

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Sewing Project: 1860s Day Dress

This is the entry that I don’t want to write, but I have to. It’s important for me to admit my mistakes and to point out potential pitfalls to anyone else who tries this particular pattern.

I decided to make an 1860s dress for a living history abolitionist character and as costuming for some upcoming Civil War-related events at the museum. I wanted to make the dress in worsted wool because some abolitionists avoided the use of cotton, which was mostly planted, harvested, and processed by slaves, as much as possible. I ended up selecting a lovely dark green worsted wool and some nice black buttons. I also used black braided trim that somewhat resembled a chain around the cuffs. This was a reference to one of the abolitionists’ favorite Bible verses, Hebrews 13:3, which says “Remember them that are in bonds [chains], as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” My character would have “chains” on her wrists to help her remember the plight of slaves during her time. As for a pattern, I thought that the Laughing Moon 1860s Day Dress would be great and I knew that Laughing Moon had a pretty good reputation. I was right about the latter but not the former.

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Sewing Project: 1880s-1890s Corset and Dress

With only three days left in the year, I have a lot of catching up to do if I want to cover all my 2012 sewing projects!

Today’s entry will focus on an 1880s-1890s corset and dress that I made for historical reenactment purposes. My character is a fictional 1890s schoolteacher from Illinois who travels to Oklahoma to participate in a land run. She stakes her own claim and manages a small farm while teaching school in a nearby town. Bonus: she carries a revolver for protection. She’s based on a real person named Elizabeth Cunes, and you can read her fascinating story here. It’s a lot of fun to pretend to be this character and entertain groups of children and adults with the story.

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Little Girl’s First Easter Dress & Pattern Review of Simplicity New Look 6792

Having a baby means that you have an excuse to sew lots of adorable things. The downside is that having a baby sometimes keeps you from sewing. Nevertheless, I managed to sew a dress for my daughter’s first Easter. I want to sew her a dress every year so that she’ll have a collection of pretty dresses and memories…at least until the dreaded day when she says, “Mom, this year I want to buy my Easter dress in a store.”

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