Monday, February 19, 2018

Butterick 4792 (plus my Year of Vintage Sewing)

Now, it may look to the untrained eye that I am standing in some random Melbourne laneway, looking awfully dressed up with nowhere to go, but nothing, my friends, could be further from the truth. For I have embarked upon a Year of Vintage Sewing - anything I make for myself needs to be from a vintage pattern (original, reproduced or reissued, just as long as the original design is at least 30 years old), and this is my very first vintage make of the season. Sewing pals, the below pictures you see are me totally fulfilling my FASHION DESTINY!!!

Blue Halter #3

Sorry about the caps - I'm just pretty darn excited about this year long experiment, and sometimes it comes bursting out! I've always been a sucker for vintage glamour. Personally, I blame the 'Midday Movie' - when I was but a wee lass growing up in the country, we only had two channels on the television. I know - poverty, right?!? Anyway, one of these stations always showed a movie at 12 noon, and I presume they chose really old movies from the 1930s through to the 1950s because the showing rights were as cheap as chips. I don't recall many of the film titles or names, but I do recall that whenever a lady strolled onto the scene she usually looked incredibly glamorous (unless she was the housekeeper. That poor dear usually just got saddled with an apron), and from there, methinks, the love of vintage glamour was planted within me.

Fast forward to my present day. I don't own a television (and haven't for 19 years now!), so I have no idea if the Midday Movie is still a thing, but what I do own is an awfully impressive pile of vintage patterns, so this is my year to celebrate them!

Blue Halter #5

First cab off the rank is Butterick 4792. Normally I'm not one for halters, but halters from the 1950s have a glamour all of their own, so resistance was futile. I opted out of making the matching bolero, because it's one thing to wear a vintage silk dress in a laneway, but even I know that wearing a matchy matchy bolero is just taking things too far.

I didn't make any major modifications to this pattern, but I did omit making the petticoat layer, which was actually sewn to the skirt. The silk fabric I was using is stunning, but unforgivable - there are no hiding your indulgences with this sort of material, and I didn't want any bulky seams showing through. Plus one day in my vintage-coloured future I hope to be the proud owner of an actual skirt petticoat, so I figured that if I wanted volume in the skirt I would wear it with that. Personally, I quite like the flow the skirt has without the petticoat. The silk falls like molten metal. Ah, be still my beating heart!

Blue Halter #6

I had a wee bit of hassle with the hem. I usually do a double hem, but when I tried it on this fabric it did not want to play ball. The hem was curved, and doing the double hem resulted in a very lumpy hem indeed. With a sigh I got out my old pal the quick-un-pick, and unstitched what felt like miles and miles of heming. I then repressed and did a simple narrow hem instead, which falls beautifully, so it was worth taking the extra time to get it right.

The pattern came with instructions for a belt, but I decided to up the glamour and pair it with a glittery bejewelled belt from Forever New. I love it! Normally I don't go for that much bling, but this dress, being the brightest electric blue you ever did see, was more than capable of handling hundreds of glittering faux diamonds.

Blue Halter #7

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to trot off to the hairdressers to have my hair washed and set, then I might pop into town to find the perfect pair of gloves to go with this frock. Ha! I know the 1950s were not a blissful time of Rockwellesque prosperity for one and all, but in my opinion they sure got the fashion right!

Project Details
Pattern - Butterick 4792 (vintage pattern reproduction), size 8
Fabric - Silk/lycra blend from The Fabric Store
Notions - 35cm invisible zipper

Blue Halter #4

Monday, February 12, 2018

Yellow Lace Dress

I'm a bad 'un, and I'll never ever be any good. I've had this dress made for months now, and have only just got around to getting pics done!


And when I say months, I mean it was actually a possible Frocktails contender - and that was way back in November - yikes! Still, better late than never, so feast your eyes, sewing peeps - just make sure you put some sunnies on first, cos this bad boy is BRIGHT!


I made this dress using my trusty Vogue 8184 pattern. Figuring out how best to incorporate the lace, I decided to layer the lace pieces straight onto the bodice pieces, sewing them together using a 5mm seam allowance. For the skirt, I kept the lace pieces and skirt pieces separate, only sewing them together at the back seam, as I figured it would make inserting the zip much easier that way. I wanted the lace skirt to hang free from the base fabric skirt, so I sewed the base fabric in the usual way, but did French seams for the lace seams. It worked a treat - I'd never sewn a French seam before, and was belabouring under the illusion that it was a super tricky couture technique, but it was surprisingly easy, and rather satisfying to do.

Instead of the usual straps, I decided to create lace straps by using the scalloped edge of the lace fabric, for it was far too pretty to go to waste. I inserted one edge into the top of the bodice, then criss-crossed them over the from of the decolletage, before straightening up past the shoulders to the back bodice. If I do say so myself, it looks rather spiffy, and gives the dress an extra-glam edge! I also shortened my front bodice by 1.5cm to ensure more room for the lace cross over.


Hmm, what other alterations did I make? That's right - I also cut my lace skirt pieces about 5cm longer, as I wanted a see-through lace edging to the skirt. I left it the skirt edge raw, as the corded lace would have resulted in a lumpy thick hem, which would have ruined the whole look of the skirt. No lumpy hems around her, thank you very much!

To be perfectly honest, it's not exactly an 'everyday' dress, but I've always wanted to sew myself a fancy lace dress, so even if it never gets a lot of wear, just having it the wardrobe, ready for glam duty, is enough to make me happy. I really needn't worry about it not getting worn, though - Tyger has told me that she intends to grow into it, and fast, so that she can wear it to all her high school parties. Good grief - I've created a mini vintage-loving fashionista!


Project Details
Pattern - Vogue 8184
Fabric - Yellow lace and yellow cotton, 2m of each, both from The Fabric Store
Notions - 35cm invisible zip