Saturday, August 18, 2012

Spotted Summer Ensemble

This post includes a few different projects, all of which started with the same piece of fabric as inspiration. Some of you may remember this dress that I made last summer.

The pattern was one of the Butterick re-issues, and the fabric was a birthday present from my mom a few years ago. It was a vintage cotton, almost lawn in weight, with flocked dots in red. When she gave it to me she said "I know there are at least four yards". Great! Just enough for a dress. When I went to cut this dress out, though, as I unfolded my yardage to wash it, it just kept unfolding further and further. You were right, Mom. There were at least four. In fact, there were FOUR-TEEN yards of this stuff. It was great because as vintage yard goods, it was only about 36 inches wide, but still. Fourteen yards is quite a hefty amount. I had so much left I decided to make another dress out of it, but using the reverse side of the fabric this time for a slightly different look this go around.

The pattern that I used was Vogue 1137.

I was immediately in love with this pattern. After measuring all of the pieces and comparing the body measurements and finished garment measurements I cut out a size 12 at bust and hip, and a size 10 at the waist. This is a pretty standard ratio for me on modern patterns, especially from the any of the Big Four companies. I also shortened the hem a few inches, another common adjustment I make in order to accommodate my 5'4'' and a more modern hem length. I made a few other adjustments as well, to suit my own taste. I eliminated the front darts in the skirt, pinning them out before I cut my fabric. I did this first of all, because I like a flatter fit in the front, but also to keep from interrupting the grid of red dots as much as possible. I also changed the neckline, raising it to a boat neck in front and a much deeper V in back. The entire dress is lined in white muslin, because this fabric is so thin. The pieces all fit together beautifully, even after my alterations, and the fit is perfect. While I liked the original style of the pattern to begin with, it makes a wonderful base for adaptation.

Once I had the dress nearly finished, I pondered what kind of embellishment I wanted to do. I knew I was going to make a coordinating belt from some stash red cotton, and my first idea was to run thin red piping around the neckline. My mom suggested instead making button tabs on the shoulders, which turned out to be the idea I went with, also adding some at the side vents in the skirt.

 I finished the belt with a vintage shell buckle I found on Etsy a long time ago, which matches the mother of pearl buttons on the tabs. The belt carriers are thread loops.

I'm pretty sure this is my new favorite dress. It's so summery and comfortable, but can still be very dressy if I need it to be. I love the way it fits as well. It's an extremely flattering dress, and I will be using the pattern in future without doubt. I would love to do a dress and coat ensemble like the envelope, but that will have to wait, as I don't have any coat fabric in my stash and am not permitting myself to buy any quantities of fabric until I've finished several more projects.

Continuing my stash busting efforts, even after making this dress I had enough fabric left to do something with, so I decided to make a playsuit. The pattern I used is an original that I found at a local antique store a couple of years ago. I haven't been able to pin down a specific year, but it appears to be from around 1940, give or take a couple of years.

And here is the playsuit....

Again, I apologize for all the wrinkles. I took these pictures in the middle of moving into the new house, and didn't have my ironing board yet, nor the time to iron everything anyway. The bow is a detachable pin, which I have also worn pinned at the center back of the V-neck on the previous dress, and their are thread loop belt carriers on the playsuit as well so I can also wear the belt with this if I don't want to wear the overskirt.

My bound buttonholes on the skirt didn't turn out perfectly straight, but there was no correcting it once I realized it. Oh, well. The bow distracts from that slightly so it's not too bad. I usually end up wearing the playsuit without the skirt anyway, so it doesn't bother me too much. The skirt is lined with the very last bits of the red and white cotton. The playsuit is also fully lined due to the sheerness of the fabric, and I ended up putting a much longer zipper in the side so that it opened all the way to the top in order to make it easier to get in and out of. It's very comfortable and is one of my new favorite summer garments. I'd like to make another one in a more practical color for running around when it's 95º out.


  1. Its great to see you posting again. Love the stuff you make.

  2. All your finishing looks perfect! Beautiful work.

  3. Oh my, these are all just gorgeous! I love that fabric so much, everything you make in it looks stunning!

  4. the fabric is gorgeous I would be so pleased if my mum gave me 14yards of it!!
    Good work on all garments I particularly like the playsuit it looks so cute and chic and the red bow really sets it off!!

  5. Fourteen yards! That is quite a haul. Love your dresses and playsuit so far.

  6. I can't tell you how into all of these creations I am!!! So interesting to see what different looks you can get from the same fabric. xxx


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