The “Owls About It” Dress

The Facts

Fabric: about 3 metres of vintage black floral pinwale corduroy from an op shop in Milton for $5, and about half a metre of orange pinwale corduroy (gift from my mother)
Pattern: Simplicity 5368
Year: 1973
Notions: 9 blue heart-shaped buttons (no idea where they came from), some interfacing for the collar
Time to make: 6-and-a-half hours
First worn: to work on Friday
Wear again? yep
Total cost: $5
Bump: 23 weeks

If you read my previous post, you’ll know that I recently received a lovely parcel from Trish over in Aussie, with a bunch of maternity patterns in it. Well, here’s the first one that I made up! A “maternity mini-dress” from 1973. (Maternity mini-dress? Really?!? Such an odd concept that it demanded to be made immediately.)

Since it’s heading into winter here, I managed to restrain all my usual impulses to break out the novelty printed and floral printed cottons, and went for some pinwale corduroy instead. Because lovely though they are, lightweight cotton isn’t really all that good for winter. (Not that that stops me from wearing it nearly constantly, just with lots of layers over and under it, as evidenced in the Me-Made-May ’12 posts.)

Isn’t this just the cutest pattern? Peter Pan collar, little rounded patch pockets, and gathered puff sleeves. Too cute for words. And making it up in a printed pinwale corduroy reminded me of preschool art smocks and the like, which made me smile.

To go with the latest Sew Weekly challenge, which was to use at least two prints in an outfit, I went for two varieties of corduroy. The black floral I picked up from an op-shop in Milton during our southern road trip earlier this year, and had just enough for the dress. (Well, nearly just enough. I had to make it a couple of inches narrower at the hem than it should have been to squeeze it in there, but I figured with this A-line smock style, it wasn’t going to make a huge difference.) The orange-with-owls was a gift from my mother – she found it at Spotlight a while back, and when I was down visiting over Christmas she made the mistake of showing it to me. Home with me it went – thanks, mum! ;-)

I must admit to a bit of hesitancy about this fabric combo, especially with the blue heart-shaped buttons. It reminds me of something a 4 year old would wear. The shorter length and the art-class smock style don’t really help with that, either! Not that I have any issues wearing a dress that a 4 year old would wear, but occasionally I do wonder if I’ve stepped over that fine line to the ridiculous with some of my creations…… That hesitancy vanished after I’d been wearing it around work for a couple of hours on Friday though – now, it’s all good and I loves it. (Does anyone else get that with new creations, that moment of doubt, wondering if it actually looks ok or if you’re just making yourself think it does because you’ve spent a few hours on it? I get that with pretty much everything I make, in some form or another. Hmmmm….)

The pattern was nice and easy to make up – nothing complicated about it at all. I did feel like I was battling the corduroy at times though, trying to gather it, tugging hard on the gathering stitches (and hoping like heck the threads wouldn’t break). It was me versus the corduroy. Thankfully I won. And so many gathers! The front and back both gathered to the yoke. Pockets gathered to the pocket cuffs. Sleeves gathered to the sleeve cuffs, and again at the shoulders. Gathers, gathers everywhere. (Next time, I’d take out some of the volume in those sleeves. They’re just a bit hard to fit under a cardigan, you kind of have to stuff them in there and flatten them out a bit forcefully.)

So, the photos. We had a midwife appointment on Friday lunchtime (the day the bump turned 23 weeks!), so took the opportunity to get some pics down the road from the midwifes house. A gorgeous Wellington winter day, with brilliant blue sky, no wind (it’s so oddly peaceful around here when there’s no wind), and views over the harbour. You’ll have to excuse the sunglasses though – that winter sun is a bit too bright not to be wearing them. It was either keep them on, or squint so much you’d be unable to see my eyes anyway.

I’m still debating whether this works better with a belt or not. (Worn above-bump, of course.) Thoughts?

Oh yes, that this also fits the ‘Sew, Baby!’ challenge, into both the vintage and the dress categories. Just like everything else I’ve been making lately, it seems! ;-)

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13 responses to “The “Owls About It” Dress

  1. Pingback: Simplicity 5368 « Patterns patterns patterns

  2. I loves it and vote no for the belt, I think it is perfect without!

  3. This dress totally made me smile! I think I’m leaning towards no belt too.

  4. Oh Kat, this is adorable! I can’t decide on the belt- I like it both ways. The fabrioc combo is truly inspired.

    • Thanks! I can’t decide on the belt either – I’m thinking maybe some days I’ll wear it with one, and some days without…… At least until I decide one way or the other, haha!

  5. oh I love the contrast. you look great.

  6. I LOVE IT! I love the fabric combo and that it’s corduroy :) I cannot decide how I feel about the belt either – I like it both ways, but I especially love that you’ve matched the belt to those spectacular blue buttons :)

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