The Texan Gingham dress

The Facts

Fabric: 3 metres of green and white gingham ~$12
Pattern: McCall’s 3394, gift from Sew Weekly Sewing Circle member Crissy as part of the 2011 pattern swap
Year: 1955
Notions: 55cm invisible zip ~$5
Time to complete: 5 hours (including 1 hour of alterations)
First worn: 7 January 2012, to yum cha with friends
Wear again? Yes, though ironically not with the belt

Total price: ~$17

The Theme
The first of the Sew Weekly challenges for 2012 was Accessorise. “This week we draw inspiration from an accessory — be it a pair of shoes, jewelry, bag or hat. Anything goes.”

Hmmm, but which accessory to choose? I decided to go with a blue and white floral waist belt that I bought a few months ago and have never worn, mainly because it doesn’t really go with anything in my wardrobe. (Yes, that’s right – I have things that don’t go with anything else. Quite a few of them, in fact. What can I say? I’m a magpie for colour and print.)

Belt in hand, I hunted through my fabric stash and lighted on this green and white gingham. Blue and white floral, paired with green and white gingham? Seemed like a good idea at the time. Now I know better.

The pattern was a gift from Crissy from Texas (hence the ‘Texan Gingham’ dress) as part of the pattern swap some of us girls from the Sew Weekly community did late last year. So much fun! I’ve been looking for a chance to use this pattern, and with the combination of the accessory challenge on the Sew Weekly, and the Sew Grateful week that the fabulous Debi is running again, it became the first pattern used for 2012. Thanks, Crissy! 🙂

The Pattern
The pattern itself was pretty easy to sew up, despite the huge number of pleats in the skirt, combined with this gingham not holding creases very well at all. They managed to stay for long enough for me to sew the pleats down, then they all fell out again. Repeated pressings didn’t get them to stay, either. Guess this is destined to be a soft pleated dress. I can live with that.

I was a bit surprised by the sizing of this pattern though – I’m not sure if it’s meant to flare out a lot at the hips, or if it was just the cut, but there was quite a lot of extra room there. Which meant it didn’t sit so well under the belt, so had to be adjusted. I took it in by a good size-and-a-bit down the length of the entire bodice to make it sit right (even though the pattern was technically half a size too small for me in the first place and I got lazy and didn’t bother adjusting it). Which meant the pleats at the hips are a bit denser than those elsewhere, since there was no way I was going to unpick and re-pleat the entire skirt just to adjust the bodice. I also adjusted the bodice darts – they were far too wide near the bust point and also too high on me, so I lowered the points by about 1cm and tapered them off a lot more gradually. (I got rid of the side darts for a small bust adjustment when cutting the fabric.) I must admit to getting slightly carried away with the adjustments though – although it fits, it’s a little bit tight around my ribs, so I’m going to let the side seams out about 0.5cm on each side (2cm in total) around the top half of the bodice.

The Verdict
Will I wear it? Yes, I will. I’ve always avoided this type of pattern, with a drop waist, as I thought they’d look horrible on me. Being given one from Crissy and giving it a go, I’ve changed my mind about that though. Bring on the 1950’s drop waists! After all, they still fit snug around the waist and hips, before flaring out, so they’re fine to wear. 🙂

I won’t be pairing it with this belt though – while the combination seemed to work while draped over my sewing table, it’s just a bit too busy when made up as a dress. Guess I’ll need to come up with something else to make to go with this belt……


4 responses to “The Texan Gingham dress

  1. A really lovely dress Kat, I also think it would be better without the belt, although I’m not one for extras any way. What a plain Jane I am !!

  2. What a gorgeous shaped dress. So lovely in gingham. Not sure it needs a belt at all to be honest. The bodice is so beautifully fitted and flattering in itself. 🙂

  3. Love it, with or without the belt!

  4. Pingback: A family of Christmas stockings | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

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