Woo hoo! My new laptop has arrived!!! And you know what that means? I can start catching up on my backlog of blog plans. Plus, I can start to catch up on my backlog of reading of other people’s blogs. Yay!!! (Sorry real life, I’ll be busy doing online stuff for the next few days. See you in a bit.)
To start with, here’s one I’ve been wanting to share for a while. It’s been surprisingly long since I made something using a vintage pattern (back in September, in fact), and even though I’ve been loving working with indie patterns, I’ve also been missing the vintage action. December seemed like the perfect time to break that drought – there was a picnic-in-pretty-dresses with the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network, it was ‘Celebration’ challenge month on The Monthly Stitch, and I wanted a new dress to wear for Christmas. Cue cherry print fabric, and a pattern I’ve been wanting to make for a while – Academy 3377 from sometime in the 1950s.
Such a cute pattern – I’ve been wanting to make this one for ages! Check out those sleeves – they’re cape sleeves, which attach with buttons, so you can wear the dress sleeveless or with sleeves. So cute! (Has anyone ever seen this sort of detail anywhere else? I haven’t, would be curious to know if it’s on any other patterns anywhere….?)
Since the dress was kinda for Christmas, I went with cherry fabric. Being down in good ol’ New Zealand, cherry season is right on Christmas time for us, so I always associate cherries with Christmas as they tend to be a Christmas-day treat. And, you know, they’re also red and green, Christmas colours and all that.
The fabric is a basic cotton from Spotlight, that I impulse bought one day when I’d been standing in a queue to buy 1m of interfacing for nearly half an hour. I felt I had to justify the time spent there a bit more than just by spending $6 in interfacing, so when this leapt out at me from the clearance table for $8 per metre (woo hoo!) it kinda accidently slipped into my stash. Conveniently, just enough of it to make this dress. Clearly it was meant to be, right?!?
Being a typical 1950s pattern, and a typical Academy pattern, the instructions were somewhat sparse. I still have no idea what direction I was meant to fold the front and back skirt pleats in – I just picked a direction and went with it. *shrug*
I didn’t make many changes to this. I graded out at the waist (since I’m a bigger size in the waist than I am in the bust). And I added interfacing down the front button plackets for a bit of reinforcement. I also added an in-seam pocket on one side – skirts with pockets are the best, yes indeed. Oh, and I still haven’t gotten around to finishing the belt – I’m considering leaving it as a tie belt, what do you reckon? Or should I make it a typical belt instead?
Now, I kinda-but-not-really apologise – this is going to be a picture heavy post, due to the sleeve variations. You see, I can wear this sleeveless, or with the sleeves buttoned on. And since the sleeves are identical back and front, and button on, I decided to make them reversible – with the contract chocolate brown fabric on one side, and the cherry print on the other. So, you know, I have to put up pics of all the variations, right? (Especially since I’d like to know – which way does it look best? I can’t decide if the sleeves stick out too far or not – what do you think?)
For the fun of it, I used contrast fabric for the inside collar and the belt. I also used the same fabric to make bias binding and used that to make piping for contrast trim along the shoulders and the sleeve edges, so when I wear it sleeveless or with the cherry print side out on the sleeves, there’s a bit more contrast brown to go with the collar and belt. Since the dress is covered with cherries, I went with the theme and used a chocolate brown poly-cotton (from a duvet cover actually, and left over from one of my maternity dresses). Coz it’s fun to make dresses that remind you of chocolate bars.
The buttons down the front are vintage self-covered buttons, which I covered in the cherry print fabric. I went with plain red buttons (purchased from Made Marion) for the sleeves though, as a) I didn’t have enough vintage buttons in the right size, and b) I wanted them to lie flat for when I wear this with cardigans or jackets).
I used vintage green cotton tape for the hem. The pop of green on the inside makes me happy, yes indeed. (Hem tape – so much fun!)
Despite all my efforts, I didn’t get this made in time for the sewing bloggers picnic. Or for Christmas. I was so tempted to rush through it, but I decided to take my time, get the covered buttons right, make the piping, etc, and I’m so glad I did – it’s those little details that I’ve discovered make me appreciate my me-made garments more. So this dress’ first outing was in early January, to the wedding of a lovely lady I’ve been friends with since we were 13. She got married in First Church in Dunedin – a pretty Gothic style church where our high school used to have yearly events. It was a beautiful day – there was a piper piping us all into the church (can you spot him in the photo below?), and the ceremony and reception afterwards were lovely – happy and relaxed and perfectly suited to the bride and groom. I love weddings like that.
They also had a gorgeous vintage car, so I got a photo taken with it. Coz, you know, 1950s dress and a vintage car – it would have been wrong not to use the opportunity, right?!
The rest of the photos are taken out at my parents place, just outside of Dunedin. (Thanks to my father, who played photographer for me in between brilliant sunshine and bursts of rain. Strange weather that weekend, it was.)
Overall, I’m pretty happy with this dress. It’s a cute print, and I enjoyed wearing it. (And will wear it again soon!)
I’d make the pattern again too. Although next time, I’ll lower the waist by about an inch, as it’s a bit high on me. Aside from that though, it fits pretty well, so overall I’d say this one is a win and a good start to 2014.