I hate winter. I know it’s a magical time of year but I hate being cold, and needing sensible shoes, and getting dressed in the dark. I spend my mornings fumbling in my wardrobe, putting my make up on in low light and regularly throwing my hair up in a bun.
So winter florals are giving me life at the minute. Such pretty blooms on dark bases are again cropping up in the shops, magazines and fabric stores. They’re lovely to wear too.
During the summer I picked up this oversized 1960s cotton house dress. Looking at the internal finish there’s a good chance it was handmade. It was a throw over your head, size 16 shapeless tent with simple facings. I couldn’t resist the vivid coloured flowers and bought it without a clear refashioning plan.
I worked out I could squeeze a Sewaholic Cambie view B from the dress if I used the sleeve lining piece instead of the gathered sleeve. I added a green invisible zip and lined the bodice in some leftover anti static polyester from the stash.
I get so so so many comments about this fabric when I wear the dress. I think it’s the combination of orange and violet. If refashioning is this fun I’ll definitely do it again.
I love a good musical, especially a Gene Kelly musical. An American In Paris is completely fabulous.
When I saw Burda’s Viva La Diva spread in issue 11/2014 I fell hard for the AIP inspired dress. This collection featured iconic gowns from favourite films. The Eva Green Casino Royale gown and Marilyn Monroe Gentlemen Prefer Blondes halter dress are also gorgeous but the Leslie Caron dress had me hooked. Deliciously vintage looking and the perfect next #vintagepledge dress.
I haven’t bought Burda since a terrible incident with a dress in 2012. Those pattern sheets are HORRIBLE. But I’m a different sewist now… and apparently I can handle Burda magazines again! As luck would have it, this back issue was in the office so I borrowed it to get started on this dress.
I wanted to use this polka dot satin from B&M Fabrics in Leeds with its scattered spots that dissolve into almost solid red. The border actually runs across both selvedges but I bought 3m to account for that. I knew I’d use the border print along the skirt hem.
The bodice has an outer layer, an interlining which I interfaced and a lining. The drape is made by gathering three edges. The drapes look terrible when the dress is hung up but then when worn they sit really well on the body. The rouleaux straps and side zipper are the only support so I decided to add boding to the back bodice seams.
I didn’t use the skirt frills as I though that would be overkill and just used the gathered skirt underneath. I finished the hem with an overlocked rolled hem.
There’s actually a really nice version of the dress with a full back bodice that extends into sleeves. I might make this too at some point.
Overall I’m really happy with the dress. I wore it to a longtime friend’s wedding where I gave a reading about the cosmos (“we are all made of star stuff”) while I stood under a huge oak tree. It was a lovely day and the dress is now a lasting reminder of that. Maybe I’ll wear it to a showing of the live stage version of American In Paris one day! Or just out for dinner in Paris?! A girl can dream.
Here’s a little bonus cat pic since it went down quite well last time heeehee.