Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Violets are Blue and Purple Birthday Dress

Another overdue post! But it's OK because there are lots of photos to make up to it. I call this my "Violets are Blue and Purple Birthday Dress." It was finished just in time to wear for my birthday outing the last week of May. The dress was made from two different vintage patterns. The bodice was made using McCall's 8949 (from the 1950s) and the skirt from McCall's 5812 (from the 1960s).

A nice close up of the dress fabric.
McCall's 8949 and McCall's 5812
The fabric came from my mom's sewing stash. As a quilter she has an ever growing pile of fabrics to pick from for her projects. Many fabrics are gifted to her but not all are suitable for quilting. This was one of those fabrics. You'll see some more in my upcoming posts. If you look carefully at the picture below you can see some light staining on the fabric, probably from storage. It mostly came out in the wash. The marks were difficult to cut around but are not all that noticeable on the finished dress.

Here you can see the pieces for the bodice. My fabric for this project was limited so I had to cut carefully. If I had more fabric to play with I could have done a better job of matching up the print.

And here is the finished dress! I had the perfected lavender/blue colored crinoline to wear with this dress but because it's very short and full ( it was made for square dancing) it looked really funny underneath. There is a really good post here showing the difference between true vintage crinolines/petticoats and those made for square dancing.

For my birthday each year, Cori and I travel to one of our favorite antique shops in Quechee, Vt. The ladies who work there recognized us right away from previous visits (like last year's trip) and came over to chat. Afterwards we stopped for lunch and headed over to check out the Quechee Gorge. As you see we weren't exactly dressed for hiking so we only walked a short distance on the trail that leads down into the gorge.

You get the best view of the river below by standing on the bridge but I'm not one for heights so I didn't stay long. It didn't help that Cori was playing around and making me nervous.

It's sort of an odd family trait but two of my siblings and I seem to be able to find four leaf clovers where ever we go. I found all of these when we stopped for lunch. How many can you count in the picture below?

How many 4 leaf clovers do you see? :)
We finished the day with dinner and an ice cream Sunday at our favorite restaurant in town.

Summary of the Pattern
Fabric: Vintage cotton print
Pattern: McCall's 8949 and McCall's 5812
Year: 1950s and 1960s
Notions: Buttons, buckle, thread, fusible interfacing, zipper.
How historically accurate is it? Hard to say because it's two pattern used to make one dress.
Any tricky parts to the pattern? Fitting the bodice was tricky but it's hard to fit something on yourself without help. Once I worked out the fit issues the dress went together fast.
Did you change anything? Not really. I basically followed the pattern directions for pleating the skirt and the other directions for the bodice. Joining the two together was pretty straight forward.
Time to complete: About a week
First worn: May 2014
Total cost: All the materials were from the stash! Yeah! One pattern was free and I think I paid around $10 for the other.
Notes: If I had more fabric to play with I could have done a better job of matching up the print but I'm happy with it. Also I think the fit is still a little funky and could use some adjustment in the future.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Finished Breakfast at Tiffany's Dress for Prom

Hi All!  I'm back from the Reading, Pa airshow, what an awesome event!! I have so much to share but I want to get caught up with a few posts first. But before I forget, the winner of my surprise giveaway is ....

Brigid of the blog Boyer Family Singers! Congratulations! I will be contacting you soon :)

I have projects to share as promised. :) Today I have some photos of the Breakfast at Tiffany's dress I finished back in May for my friend Abby. You may recall the first post where we played with the pattern to get just the right look.

I first couple photos are ones I took with my cell phone so they are not all that great. (I have a new camera now so going forward photos will be much better!) The photos of Abby wearing the finished dress at prom were taken by someone else.

The final mock-up of the bodice back.
This photo, although very washed out, shows the finished front with some options for jewelry.

The finished back.
There were a few minor adjustments to make last minute, such as taking the bodice in a little more, but I think in the end it fit pretty well. Using my mom's sewing machine I was able to serge all the seams making the inside of the dress much neater. The fabric, although nice to work with over all, did fray quiet a bit.

Abby looks fantastic, don't you think?

Photo by Kate Garaffa

Photo by Kate Garaffa
 I love how the back of the dress turned out. :)

Photo by Kate Garaffa
Photo by Kate Garaffa

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Finishing Projects, Delays in Sharing

I've been a very bad blogger lately. I have been sewing like crazy for the last few weeks and have several finished projects but I have not shared them yet. Partly because I'm waiting for pictures from someone and partly because I've not had the time to upload my own pictures and create new posts.

Preparing to sew the pleats of the skirt for my birthday day dress.
 So what's waiting be shared?
- Abbey's finished prom dress. The construction post is here.
- My birthday dress! One construction picture seen above.
- 1940s blouse
- 1940s linen trousers
- 1940s red bird dress

Why so many 40s projects you ask? As I mentioned on Facebook, later this week Cori and I will be attending a huge WWII event in Reading, PA. It's the annual Mid Atlantic Air Museum's air show and WWII reenactment. We have several friends who go just about every year and have been telling us it the event to go to on the East Coast for WWII living history. While I have a fairly decent selection of actual 40s vintage I can wear, recreating pieces from my vintage patterns just seemed the way to go for this event. I don't mind wearing a 70 plus year-old garment for part of a day. But for this event I will be outside and moving around all day and into the evening (there will be a USO dance in the evening!). That's a lot of stress on an older garment, not too mention the added stress of sweat and environmental impacts like sunlight and dust etc. Don't get me wrong, I love wearing my vintage! I just like to save most items for special occasions and try to limit the amount of stress I put on them so they will continue to last. :)

I hope to have lots of photos to share sometime next week.

The back of Abbey's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" prom dress
With the exception of the first, I must apologize for the poor quality of the photos in this post. I finally have a new camera but I'm still learning how to use it. I used the camera on my cell phone to snap the other shots.

The awkward photo from Facebook of my finished 1940s blouse and trousers.
And a real teaser photo, the bird dress! :) You'll have to wait until after this weekend for pictures of the finished dress. Sorry. :) Everything for this dress came from the stash!! That's all for now. Off to finish packing.

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