Hello all! I’ve recovered from my extremely busy December and am back with a finished make for myself.
This dress was a rather spontaneous make as I was lucky enough to try on a finished version we had in the office! This meant I quickly worked out the couple of tiny adjustments I’d need to make it fit me. I could then cut out with confidence and whizzed this up in a day. In fact I made the yellow version you’re seeing on the new pattern envelope! We’re now making the designs in UK fabric and reprinting the envelopes. Squeal!!
The pattern is M6891 which is on the front of Love Sewing 63 on sale from tomorrow! It’s double stuffed so you get sizes 8-24 in one envelope and the issue includes tips on collars and cuffs if you haven’t made them before. I love a notched collar and The McCall Pattern Co instructions direct you to make theirs differently to other brands like Simplicity or indie designs.
As normal you position the collar between the facings and shirt neckline, instead of sewing over the seam allowance they ask you to push it out of the way and stop at the seam point marked by a dot, then sew on the other side in the same way. Here’s a diagram to explain a bit more:
This reduces bulk as it means you can grade the seams and trim a bit more freely as the seam allowance isn’t trapped… But this technique seems more beneficial on thicker fabrics like coats really. Unless I’ve missed another reason for this technique.
It’s not a surprise I like this pattern, as retro style shirtdresses are a big proportion of my wardrobe. They’re both smart and casual – perfect! I made view C and love the full skirt. The darts give a nice shape and of course the notched collar has a lovely vintage feel. It needs a reverse button/hole at the waist point for extra security but I can add that any time.
Now of course the Ultimate Shirtdress which is my favourite shirtdress pattern but in truth I’ve never got on with the sleeves. On the McCall’s design the sleeves fit great so maybe I need to try and merge the armscye and sleeve of this pattern with the Sew Over It pattern in the future.
I made the size 10. The bust fits my 36a-cup really nicely so no SBA here. I just adjusted the waist at the side seams to fit my 32″ tummy and the wide flare of the skirt is very roomy on my hips.
You might be wondering about the fabric… well to that I say, “Sewing friends are awesome”. They are especially great at birthday time because they think like a sewist when getting you a present and remember what things you say you like! This gorgeous Robert Kaufman spotty chambray was a gift from the darling Marie! Creative mind behind blog www.astitchingodyssey.com, Marie is such a lovely soul so I highly recommend you follow her inspiring blog/social media accounts and if you run into her at an event you’re guaranteed to leave smiling.
If you clicked into my shirtdress tag you’ll see I now have two spotty Robert Kaufman chambray dresses. Well I actually have a third UFO of Vogue 1102 cut out in the black colourway but I messed up some of the pintucks and have been putting off fixing it for months. Maybe 2019 is the year you’ll see that dress appear.
I’m currently trying to plan some sewing for the coming year. There are some lovely fabrics that have been in my stash for way too long. I’d really like to fix that and not be afraid of making the wrong thing anymore. I have my dressmakers ballgown to make too. Will I see you there?
Happy weekend everyone. I’m laid in bed feeling sorry for myself as I write this. I have a cold with a painful cough and am distracting myself with blog reading and Web surfing! So I thought I’d write a post about the Dress Like Your Grandma challenge hosted by Tanya of blog Mrs Hughes than ran this past month.
This is a vintage sewing challenge where family history can inspire your wardrobe. You take a photo of your grandma (or your granddad, great-grandma, mum, auntie, someone else’s grandma – you get the idea!) and re-create an outfit or piece that they are wearing using vintage or reproduction patterns. It isn’t a competition but a way to challenge yourself with a special project!
My Grandma, was called Euphemia Gertrude Thomas (nee Nutt). She lived with my Grandad in a little village called North Ferriby in Hull. This picture is from one of my Grandparents regular trips to the coast – we think Scarborough. They always liked to dress up for a trip to the coast and walk the promenade. I love this photo so much. Look how committed to each other they look. Perfectly in sync.
To recreate the dress I used Vogue 9127 and rose print polycotton from Birmingham Rag Market. I used poppers instead of buttons at the front and kept the dress a little shorter. I added red shoes (my Grandma wore red shoes on her first date with my Grandad) and curled my hair for a similar look without chopping it all off. Sadly I couldn’t make it to the coast in time for a photo.
I ran out of material for the sleeves as this dress is fabric hungry and couldn’t source more which was disappointing. I also wish I’d made a front fastening belt like my grandma is wearing but I’m generally pretty happy with the result!
To see my previous version of this dress see this post.
My grandma was also an avid dressmaker and probably made her dress from the photo. The sad thing is I only found this out at her funeral. For most of my life she had severe alzheimers and she was here until her early 90s. It was so bad she couldn’t talk to anyone coherently or make sense of the world so I didn’t really know about her wonderful skills when I started sewing. I knew she had a sewing box but assumed it was for mending and small projects. However I did inherit her hand crank machine that my Dad discovered in the loft. Plus a pair of pinking shears with her name tag on them which my mum had been using but Grandma used to take to a social sewing session at her Church. These two items are a great way to feel she’s helping me sew and like I know something real about her. Decades apart we’ve followed the same actions; cutting fabric, stitching darts, sewing on buttons and even pinking seams with the same shears.
For years I’ve wanted to make a replica of this dress for The Vintage Pledge but could never find the perfect sewing pattern or fabric. I think I came close in the end though. My poor friends (including Marie, founder of the pledge) got dragged around so many fabric shops to find this material. They were really supportive in finding the right rose design so thank you ladies!
This was a really great challenge to help feel connected with my Grandma so thank you Tanya so much for giving me the push I needed. On my next free weekend I might try and head out to Scarborough for a photo on the promenade just like this one. Wish me luck!
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.
Colour blocking doesn’t seem to be fading in popularity. It definitely isn’t in my house.
I’ve been waiting to sew this cute little vintage pattern since I gleefully picked it up at a sewing meet-up/ swap. A May Minerva Blogger make seemed like a good opportunity!
There are three really good variations in this pattern but I was smitten with the inset variation seen in yellow.
This was a pretty simple make but I think it looks really effective. I used two colours of 56 inch wide plain viscose.
The back and outer front bodice are made from the navy blue and the inset from the purple, which is actually a really pretty violet colour.
I have to say the navy feels wonderful. I know they should be exactly the same handle in slightly different colours but the navy has a slightly softer hand. It’s also lovely and cool the way viscose should be.
As you can see these sleeves look different to the pattern. Because it’s quite loose fit in the bodice I felt a bit boxy in the grown on sleeves as well, so I removed them and added a fluttery cap sleeve. I even lined the sleeves in purple so every now and then they show a peek of colour.
And because the team at Minerva are so good they included the perfect colour match in gütermann thread for me to use – colour 718 matches the violet and colour 387 matches the navy. Perfect!
So this is the story of my new jacket.
We’ve had a bit of a rocky time getting to completion but we made it out the other side.
Meet Style 2563, a vintage jacket and skirt suit pattern dated at 1969. The cover art is misleading – three women on the envelope, but no variations in the pattern pieces, just additional cutting layouts for plaid fabric.
I picked this up at the Knitting and Stitching Show last year as there is a regular stall holder with giant plastic tubs full of vintage patterns and I usually spend half an hour combing through it hoping for buried treasure in my size. A quick muslin confirmed it was a pretty good fit and only needed a few tweaks!
The outer fabric is a textured wool from Barry’s Fabrics. I picked it up at SewBrum with the cheeky discount that had been arranged for us — thanks Charlotte! There was a fault running parallel to the selvedge about 30 cm along so I was actually given a further discount. Making this something like £9 a metre.
The lining fabric was an eBay find! The seller had called it “stilletoes” print by mistake so it’s good I stumbled onto it. Such pretty colours! It’s a lovely satin that probably isn’t silk (even though she calls it that) but feels as nice either way.
Aaah those buttons. These were the most expensive part of the jacket. Can you believe there were £3 each!? But since the other supplies were a steal, and wool covered buttons were ruled out, I wanted buttons I’d love and would LAST.
So here’s my two pence about this jacket.
- It’s too short. I lengthened it a lot and it’s still just a bit too short. Very frustrating. I get that it’s supposed to be worn with a dress or skirt but at its actual length your belly button would show.
- The princess seams on this jacket are a bit crap looking. If you’re going to draft a princess seamed back and a two piece sleeve, the princess seam should curve to the armscye not the shoulder and connect to the sleeve seam.
- There isn’t any allowance for the roll of the collar so the outer seam doesn’t roll under nicely. I did what I could with it but this is the best I could manage.
- Why no pockets? Shouldn’t every good jacket have pockets? I really should have added some so it’s partially my fault. Some cute welt pockets would have been nice, possibly even with a little pocket flap, right?
So there we go! A new jacket with a few problems but still pretty cute. I’ll definitely get a lot of wear out of it.
The only thing I can’t decide on is what colour this jacket is. I even got some paint sample cards from B&Q and it sort of falls in between their Teal and Emerald. Help me out here, what colour do you think it is?