Apologies for the radio silence last week but I had a really crappy week. I won’t go into it because it was all work related but needless to say I was a very happy bunny when 5pm hit on Friday. I had a weekend of sewing planned, something I hadn’t done for nearly three weeks and I was itching to get behind the sewing machine again.
At the beginning of the year I made a few sewing resolutions, things I really wanted to focus on over the year. My main one, and one that I have been exploring not just in my sewing but in my vintage purchases too, was to choose different colours. My wardrobe seems to be filled with lots of red, navy and blue and sprinklings of white and green and I was getting bored with it. I’ve already managed to add lots of lovely burgundy (which you can see in previous posts here), as well as a few bits of brown (which I really need to get photographed), purple and green but this weekend it was on to my first yellow garment (I have others planned!).
I bought this gorgeous 1940s dress pattern from Rebecca at Kallie Designs on Etsy just after Christmas and I instantly knew I wanted to make it in something really summery. It would be perfect for the 1940s events I tend to go to over the summer but I also wanted to style it in a way so it could be worn as a 1930s depression era look. I came to the conclusion that it had to be floral and it had to be yellow, what could be more summery, and it had to be cotton to give it that handmade look, so I set about finding the perfect fabric.
After ordering tons of samples, none of which were quite the right thing, I finally found this beautiful fresh lemon yellow cotton. I instantly fell in love with it but then spotted that Heyday! were producing their gorgeous Fleur dress in it and I was suddenly torn between buying theirs or making my own. In the end the handmade one triumphed, mainly because I’d decided I wanted to add ric rac to it. The pattern mentions it as an option for the design but I also often see other sewing bloggers, such as Becky at Back to Blighty, using in their work and it looks so cute.
In the end I bought the fabric from C & H Fabrics and not from the original supplier of the sample because they had on it sale for £3.49 compared to £6.95, plus their delivery cost was cheaper. It’s a fabric shop I’d never used before but I was very pleased with the service and it arrived within a couple of days. The fabric itself is lovely, a good weight for cotton as it’s not too stiff and not too sheer, although I probably will need to wear a slip underneath for modesty’s sake.
My first toile (mock up) had quite a few issues that needed sorting out. The neckline was too tight for me. I know they used to wear them tight up around the base of the neck but this style doesn’t suit me all that much, so I took about 3/4 of an inch out of it for comfort and style. The gathering just under the yoke looked a bit odd when I put it on and I knew it would look better if it was moved further in towards the corner.
The centre front had too much fabric in it which made it look really bulky at the front, like I had a massive chest. That just wouldn’t do! The top section fitted absolutely fine but the skirt part from the waist down was far too tight and needed letting out. I used an original 1930s skirt pattern I’ve used a few times to get a better shape and fit, but made sure I kept more of the fullness of the dress pattern at the bottom.
There were so many adjustments to make that I decided it was best to make a second toile and it came out really well, despite the fact that I’d sewn the front yoke on incorrectly with the left side sitting over the right one. I also added the sleeves this time. I was unsure if I was going to use the ones from the pattern and had thought of doing a more floaty sleeve, like the one on this dress, but once I’d sewn them in and tried it on that idea went straight out of my mind. I love the small amount of puffiness in the sleeve heads and it certainly adds that 40s look.
The only adjustment I had to make on the pattern before cutting it out in the proper fabric was the overlap of the front yoke. I hadn’t shaped this very well when I removed the excess I didn’t want and so the neckline formed a gentle point. I made sure this was a proper round neck before continuing.
And here’s a sneaky peak of the dress so far. I honestly couldn’t resist showing you now rather than waiting for the big reveal because I just love it so much. Every time I walk into the kitchen (where I do my sewing) I look at it and exclaim in a Rachel from Friends manner when she shows everyone a photo of her new assistant Tag, “It’s so pretty!”. I love the ric rac edged pockets and the cute white bow, it’s like nothing like else I already own.
It’s only pinned to the dummy as the front and back aren’t joined and the yoke has just been placed on. Before sewing the yoke on I’m going to add ric rac along the bottom edge both on the front and back and possibly the edges of the sleeves, although I’m not sure if that would be over the top. The pattern suggests press studs at the side seam at the closure but I’m going to add a zip for a more secure finish. Press studs terrify me that they’ll come unpopped at the most inopportune moment!
I’ve not got a lot left to do as the the gathering and adding the faux belt was probably the hardest. I cannot wait to get it finished so I can wear it, all I need is some sun. And of course I will definitely be doing a photo shoot to show you it in all its glory!