1950’s Housewife

Another week, another Sew Weekly challenge!

This week the challenge was one that was suggested by quite a few of the Sewing Circle members – Kiss The Cook! The challenge details – make a vintage apron (or at least a vintage-inspired apron) and also make a 1950’s-inspired dress from the Burda Style website. (Wow, there were a lot of links in that paragraph! Phew!)

I started off by making the dress. I figured that the dress would always take a set amount of time, and if I had time after making it, I was going to make a 1940’s style pinafore apron. And if I didn’t have time, I’d do a simpler apron. Sadly, it was a crazy busy week at work this week (note to self: aim to work no more than 2 10-12 hour days this week. Must spend quality time with my house), and I didn’t get a chance to make the pinafore apron. I’m thinking I’ll go back to it one day, though. Coz it really caught my imagination. I reckon it’d look great as a dress – just change the back so it does up with a zip rather than a tie, and you’ve got a cute wee pinafore to wear over shirts. Joy!

I found the Burda Style pattern a bit odd – the instructions were really oddly written, and I found it easier to just throw them away and make the dress without the instructions! I found it a bit strange as well that on the webpage for the dress pattern it specified that there was no seam allowance, but on the printed pattern it implied that there was. As a result of which, I went back-and-forth between the webpage and the printed pattern a couple of times, to make sure that I was meant to be adding seam allowance myself.

The pattern itself was very simple to make up – just four darts (two at the front, two at the back), an invisible zip down the back, and a rectangle that was gathered at the waist for a skirt. I made a couple of adjustments to it – I did a small bust adjustment and took out about half the width of the darts in the front of the bodice (which means it now fits like a glove – yay!), and I also went for small box pleats all around the waistband instead of gathers. (Mainly because I felt like it, but I also justified this decision with the fabric I used – it has embroidered flowers and stars all over it, and it would have been a bit of a nightmare to gather I suspect.) If I made the pattern up again there’s one more adjustment I would make – I’d shorted the bodice by about 1 – 1.5cm, as the waistline currently sits a bit below my natural waist.

I actually meant to adjust the neckline on this dress as well – since I didn’t get a chance to start it until quite late in the week, I got to see what issues some of the other girls had encountered, and the low neckline came up quite a lot. I saw this feedback, I went “a-ha! I’ll adjust that when I cut my fabric out so I don’t have the same issue!”, and I completely forgot when I went to cut my fabric out and did the exact same neckline as everyone else. It doesn’t seem to be too low on me, though – probably a combination of the small bust (i.e. nothing to push it outwards!) and my height. Or maybe I just got lucky with it. 😉

Anyone want some tea?

The Facts

Fabric: Dress: 2 metres of black lightweight cotton with embroidered flowers/stars ~$16. 0.5 metres of grey taffeta lining ~$2. Apron: Scraps of pink floral quilting cotton left over from my March Dress, and some scraps of pink cotton drill.
Patterns: Dress: Burda Style 02/2011 #101. Apron: none, I made it up as I went along. 🙂
Year: Both 2011, but inspired by the 1950’s.
Notions: 40cm invisible zip ~$5 and a hook and eye for the dress. None for the apron.
Time to Complete: Dress: 3 hours. Apron: 1 hour.
Will I wear it? I’ll wear the dress again, definitely. I’m still debating whether to keep the apron or give it to a friend….

Total cost: Dress: $21. Apron: nothing coz I used up some scraps!

I’m actually pretty happy with how this outfit turned out! The apron was a just-under-an-hour rush job tonight using the first appropriately sized scraps I located and no pattern, and I think it worked out quite well. 🙂 I kept the selvage visible on it at the base, with the fabric prints name centered on the front as I quite like having those bits of text visible. It’s not as easy to see in the photo, but there are two pockets, one on either size and placed on an angle. Wearing the apron over the dress makes me feel very much like a 1950’s housewife. Especially with the polka-dot head scarf and high heels while doing dishes, haha!

The dress turned out a lot better than I was expecting, considering how much trouble people have been having with it this week! I’m feeling glad that I’m tall, as I suspect that’s what saved the neckline for me. I made a bit of a muck-up with the lining around the armholes, but since it’s black you can’t really tell, which is kind of handy. 😉 It does look a little harsh being fully in black, but with a little red belt around it I quite like it. It’ll go well with lots of my coloured shoes as well. Then add a cute little coloured cardigan, and I’m all set! 🙂

A triangle of cats - Kitty-cat, cat-painting, me-Kat

(PS Please excuse the quality of the photos – poor Steve wasn’t having a lot of luck with lighting in the house tonight, so the colour has come out a bit weird! We’re going to try for an outdoor photo shoot next weekend for the next challenge since the last couple have been inside and he hates taking photos inside.)

8 responses to “1950’s Housewife

  1. Brilliant job!! Your black dress is beautiful (love it with the red belt) and that apron is so cute!!! I wanted to sew along this week, but life had other ideas – LOL!! Plus, I noticed that I already have 5 handmade aprons. Oops!

  2. I love this dress on you. I wish I had done pleats instead of gathers. I did think of doing that lat night, but just wanted to get it done. We had the same problem with the apron – lack of time – but I like the results.

    • Thanks! I think you did fantastically with your dress – it looks fabulous on you! Seeing it is making me very inspired to go and get some black-and-white polka-dot fabric. 🙂

  3. Love this dress Kat – I think it may actually be one of my favourites that you’ve made! I think it really suits you – especially with the red belt!! I love statement accessories 😀

  4. Pingback: MPM – anchoring lining on a dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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