Romantic Tulips dress

This week’s Sew Weekly challenge was Seeing Red – all in honour of Valentines Day. Coz love it or hate it, Valentines is a great excuse to sew a red/pink/white/lace/floral/hearts romantic dress or outfit. So our challenge was to make something using the traditional Valentines colour palette.

I actually had a bit of trouble finding fabric for this challenge. Since I’m committed to using only what’s already in my (far far too large!) stash this year, and at the moment I can’t access most of that due to the renovations that are underway in my house at the moment (and are centered around my bedroom/craft room), I sadly discovered I had very little red, pink, white or floral fabric that fit the challenge theme and was the right weight and big enough to make a dress. (Coz lets face it – a Valentines challenge has to be a dress, right?!) So this week’s creation is all centered around the one thing I did find in the accessible part of my stash that fit the bill – 2.6 meters of white tulip-printed waffle-weave cotton. Which had been in my stash for many years, and I must admit was something I had never planned to use for myself, since it’s not at all my style!

With my 2.6 meter limitations, and yet wanting a nice, romantic style dress for the challenge, there was one pattern that matched the criteria that I hadn’t already used – one of my recent vintage acquisitions. Simplicity 3230 from 1950. This is the oldest original pattern I’ve ever worked with, and I must admit to being rather nervous as the paper was so brittle. Sometime very soon I’m going to invest in some top-quality tracing paper and trace out some of these vintage patterns so they last another 60 years! (Yikes – I can’t believe I used a pattern that’s 61 years old! Eek!) The pattern was very easy to make up, despite the not-so-clear vintage instructions. I found it fits me well without any adjustments (although I’d add 1cm to the bodice length next time to lower the waist slightly). Although the pattern calls for a side opening with domes, I really dislike side openings as I find it nearly impossible to get my (rather wide) shoulders through them, so I put an invisible zip down the center back instead.

Simplicity 3230

Simplicity 3230

I’m really happy with how this dress turned out. Considering that this fabric isn’t what I would have ever chosen for a dress for myself, I really like it! I think it’s one of my favourite Sew Weekly challenge outfits yet. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Facts

Fabric: 2.6 meters of white waffle-weave cotton with a big red tulip print. ~$5 a meter (been in my stash so long I’ve forgotten!). Approx 0.5 meters of red cotton drill for lower bodice bands, ~7 per meter.
Pattern:Simplicity 3230 $15 from TradeMe
Year: 1950
Notions: Invisible zipper ~$5, hook and eye ~$0.10
Time to complete: 3 hours
First worn: Valentines Day 2011!
Wear again? Yes!!!
Make this pattern again? Yes! Although next time I’ll probably add 1cm length to the upper bodice as it sits slightly too high on my waist.

Total cost: ~$36

Between Memorial pillars

Between Memorial pillars

My boyfriend Steve and I went on a big night-time mission on Valentine Day to find the Massey Memorial so we could try taking photos there. I felt it would be a good location for the Valentines Day dress, since it’s where my friend Susan’s new husband proposed to her, so it had romantic connotations. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Wellington in the background

Wellington in the background

There was a gorgeous view over the harbour to the bays and the Wellington CBD over to the side. So we sat and admired it for a while.

At the Memorial at night

At the Memorial at night

It was a bit ghostly wandering around the Memorial at night. We saw a white rabbit on the lawn out the front as well, which added to the surreal aspects of it all.

Massey Memorial at night

Massey Memorial at night

The moon above the Memorial, the trees sihlouetted against the night sky, and the lights all around the harbour made for a magical place.

Miramar Heights bus shelter

Miramar Heights bus shelter

While we were driving around (in the wrong direction, as it turned out) trying to find the road to the Memorial, we found this bus shelter. Amazing views over part of Wellington at night, while being more-or-less in the middle of nowhere at the very end of Miramar Heights bus route. Judging from the amount of spiders and spider webs, it doesn’t get much use!

6 responses to “Romantic Tulips dress

  1. Oooh I am an ex-Wellingtonian, (now in Sydney), so nice to see the Massey Memorial – would be a speccy location for a daytime photo shoot too – don’t you think? Love the tulip print and the pattern. It fits you very well – where did you learn to sew? Cheers Trish

    • Thanks Trish! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m hoping to get there one day for a daytime photo shoot as well.
      I learnt the basics back when I was 10-12 years old, then promptly forgot everything and taught myself again when I was about 19 and I got tired of not finding things that fit me! (I’m quite tall, so it can be hard finding things with long enough legs and sleeves.)

  2. Your dress is just lovely! You did a wonderful job on it. I love the style, the print and the belt. Look forward to seeing more of your sewing!

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