Monday, August 6, 2012

Another summer dress

I've been meaning to post about this one for a week, but the back-to-school sewing (of which I'm not done with yet because Gracie could use some school clothes) got in the way!  I found this one sometime last winter and decided that Gracie had to have a scalloped shoulder-tie sundress.  And lucky, lucky me, I had the perfect fabric!  See, I'd fallen in love with the Robert Kaufman Vive La France fabric last February and had to wait, not-so-patiently until got it back in stock. I'd intended it for a sundress for Bit, anyway, but time got away with me. Due to Nikki's arrival, I wasn't really sewing much at all!  So this year, I knew I needed a different sundress pattern, and Simplicity 1149 was my answer.  It fit with my current scallop fascination,  and it had the shoulder ties that my favorite go-to simple sundress has. (Butterick 3477)

I added a band of contrasting fabric that coordinated with my ribbons, and did the scalloped pockets in the same fabric.  I was worried that the fit might be too tight, but it was actually a fairly nice fit on her--though that could be due to the fact that I slimmed down the darts! 

Unlike the modern Butterick pattern, this one buttons up the back instead of sliding over the head.  Makes it a lot easier to see which side is front!  I liked that this one had a sash, too.  And the way the belt carriers were handled was interesting--the raw edges were completely encased in the waist seam and then it was hand tacked in place. 

The most interesting part was in how the pattern handled the scallops.Instead of having a seperate pattern piece the way modern patterns would, they were all printed on the same pieces with instructions to trim away the excess after sewing through the pattern.

I didn't do that--instead I transferred the markings to the fabric, did the sewing, and then cut it away.  It had the added advantage of giving me a sewing line.  I also made the shrug, because it can get chilly in the church's building when the air is on high, as it often is in Georgia summers.  I omitted the collar because I didn't think Bit would want to wear it with one, and widened the neckline. 

She actually ran off with the jacket before it was done!  And she loved her new dress because, being pink, it's a favorite color.

Gracie is all little girl, too, so the ribbons on it made her extra happy!  Unfortunately, we didn't have a crinoline that day (it was at her house) so the skirt isn't as poofy as the pattern envelope would suggest.  I saw a complaint about that once--vintage pattern illustrations always show the skirts as being very full, and the results don't look like that.  I guess what most people don't realize the extent of the starched cotton and netting petticoats they wore underneath.  My mother grew up in the 40s and 50s and remembers having a race with her sister--whoever got up the earliest got the most petticoats!

Lately I've been noticing that most of Gracie's new dresses look better on her than on the hanger, and this is no exception!


  1. FABULOUS..........!!! Thanks for sharing such a great idea.

  2. I found you through We Sew Retro :)

    It's really adorable and really lovely to find someone else making classic dresses!

    I made something very similar for my daughter last year ( and the one thing I did find was even though I made a 3T when she was 22 months was terribly short! I know that was the style back in the day, but I think I'll definitely extend the length for future dresses. Luckily with the one I made, the fabric along the bottom is doubled up, so I can unpick/resew for some added length.

    I'm going to add you to my blog reader and I look forward to seeing more lovely dresses!

    1. This is where the finished length measurement is so important! Right now, to hit her in the knee area, Grace needs 26 inch dresses. Typically, vintage dress patterns in her size are only 17-18 inches long... which would barely cover her behind!