Wednesday, March 27, 2013

the 50s Day Dress, part 1

Hello again!

I've had these photos for ages, but to be honest, my sewing has not been my top priority recently--I've been busy watching Pretty Little Liars with lots of schoolwork since the semester is almost over!

In my quest to have some tried and true patterns I can turn to again and again, I've been experimenting with a few patterns for a 50's style day dress. You know the one: jewel neckline, fitted bodice (pointy bra optional), sleeveless or short or three quarter length sleeves, and a gorgeous swishy skirt. My accidentally-Amish dress fit the mold perfectly on the pattern envelope, despite it being a train wreck sewn up in a heavyweight material:
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Although I may return to this pattern at some point--I would really like to know if it looks better in a lighter fabric with some body--I've also been testing some alternatives.

The first is my chopped-and-screwed shift dress pattern, made into a bodice only, with a simple dirndl skirt attatched, and manifests in my beautiful skeleton toile from Alexander Henry. Remember when I said I bought it, and I was going to make a Halloween dress? I did, and I never blogged about it until now. Oops! I wore it for Halloween, and then again for a Mardi Gras celebration (and some other times, of course).

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exceptionally unenthusiastic pose
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no photoshopping c/o no photoshop skills
I'm fairly happy with this pattern, and very happy with this dress. I took my time on it and did a lot (for me) of hand finishing: the arm hems (whatever, arm hems is a technical term), the waistline interior finish, and a beautiful handpicked zipper. I centered a hilarious picture of skeletons carousing on the front:

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and did my best at pattern matching on the back:

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handpicked zipper obscured by pattern
Things I love: The fabric. My lining: The skirt is unlined, the bodice is lined and has a neck facing in self-fabric. Also, I made the lining too short (forgot to add inches to the bottom that I added to the dress fabric) and I remedied this by adding a strip of dress fabric there, so you get a little bit of fashion fabric at the neck and waistline: it's cute. My handpicked zipper! Waist fit is perfect.

Things I wish were better: The fit through the shoulders. The sleeves attach a little weirdly, because of all the pattern mucking-about-with I did. Obviously my pattern matching at the back seam could be better, but its still better than 95% of ready to wear, sadly. My horrible "I'm so freezing and not wearing shoes" poses. Punctuality of blogging.

The second option is the ever-popular Simplicity 2444, the Project Runway dress made up with much success by sewing/vintage bloggers everywhere. Wait until you see it! Its cute.

xoxo, miss allie



PS: Is anyone else watching Pretty Little Liars? I don't think of myself as a tv watcher since I really only have a few shows I watch consistently, but I do enjoy teen shows--I liked all four seasons of the OC, and watched Gossip Girl for years before it got too redundant. Pretty Little Liars totally fits my criteria: beautiful people, dramatic but not too dramatic, not overly "problem novel-y."

14 comments:

  1. Hi! I just hopped over here from Sew Retro, and I am so in love with pretty much everything you've made! I especially love the pink shift with the white trim down the front--so cute. Keep the awesome dresses coming :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I've added you to my bloglovin feed--i think we share a similar aesthetic and I'll be excited to see what you craft in the future :)

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  2. so happy to find your blog, another 60s fashion lover and sewist! I was admiring your dress, thinking what a good idea it is to use toile de Jouy for a dress, when i noticed the skeleton heads! heeee, brilliant! where did you find that fabric?

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    1. It is called Midnight Pastoral and it's by Alexander Henry. You can find it on his website here: http://www.ahfabrics.com/collections/category/227-midnight-pastoral

      I love it when people compliment my dress and then, later, realize its secretly SKELETONS!

      I'll have to follow your blog! So many of the retro sewists are 40s fans, and that is not the most flattering era for me :)

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  3. Hi! I too have just popped over from Sew Retro....what a gorgeous dress! It fits you perfectly and your pattern matching at the back is seriously impressive. I would never have thought of doing that, so you've seriously raised the bar for me ;o) Can I ask if you know what your Alexander Henry fabric is called? I really want some now!

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    1. It is called Midnight Pastoral. I was seriously tempted to buy a whole bolt and make curtains or something, it's such a sneaky print that I think would add some spooky charm to a traditional room!

      The pattern matching was a huge pain, but I think it was worth it, even though it is far from perfect :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Thanks Allie, off to google that fabric now ;o)

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  5. really cute dress and it fits very nicely!

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  6. Love this! I really want to make a toile print dress!

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  7. I've always been in love with those prints but couldn't figure out how it would translate to a dress (or anything, really) but I just LOVE it on you. Maybe I'll have to go shopping this weekend...

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  8. i just saw this over at project sewn..... LOVE. that pattern & print are a perfect match. those skulls!!!

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    1. Thank you miss oona! I consider you somewhat of an expert on prints, so that is very nice!

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  9. This is darling on you! I also bought some of this fabric after seeing it on Modcloth on a dress for $160. Yep, $160. And it think your is cuter than the one they had. What a great job you did.

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    1. I just looked that up and wow! $164! And thank you for the compliment! I'll be looking forward to seeing what you made with it.

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