Thursday, March 29, 2012

Retro Style Dress, A Sewing Project

As I have mentioned before (and you can see in my profile), I love fashion.  Especially the beautiful clothes from the 1940's and 50's.  Women just looked so elegant and chic even during wartime.  I gaze longingly at the vintage inspired clothes in the Anthropologie catalog and online at ModCloth and ShopRuche.  Though beautiful, their prices don't exactly fit into my clothing budget.  For the last few years I have bought most of my clothes at Forever 21, but sadly I am slowly realizing that I am getting too old to shop there.  Their dresses are ridiculously short on me and completely not age appropriate.  Yes, I'm only 28, but still I need to have a certain amount of modesty for my own self respect!

Luckily for me, I know how to sew.  My mom used to sew most of my clothes as a kid, so I learned the basics of sewing pretty early in my childhood.  Then getting a degree in fashion design forced me to sew as well (oh, the nightmare of all those muslin samples!).  I am signed up to receive all the sales flyers and coupons from Joann's, so I keep my eyes peeled for when patterns go on sale for $.99 or $1.99 and then stock up.  A couple of the pattern companies even have 'retro' pattern sections.  Even in the regular dress sections there are plenty of dresses that could be considered vintage inspired.  In fact, today Simplicity and Butterick are on sale and I'm going to head over to Joann's and get more patterns.

The sewing project I want to share with you today is McCall's pattern M6503.  Please excuse the scarf and t-shirt on my dress form, she has lots of pins stuck in her that like to snag on my knitting.  I used view A with the sleeves from View B.  It is an empire waisted dress with a surplice bodice, fold back collar with a ruffle trim and gathered skirt.  I used a floral print fabric in bright aqua with pink flowers.  I love calico, just about everything I sew comes from the quilting section.  It's been that way since I was a kid, some habits are just too hard to break!  I had a heck of a time sewing this dress.  It wasn't hard really, it just wasn't working out for me.  Especially the ruffle, sandwiching it between the dress and facing was proving more than a bit difficult for my little brain.  I felt like I spent more time ripping out seams than actually sewing them, but I was quite pleased with the end result.  It even has a knee length skirt so I don't have to constantly be pulling at it to make sure all the appropriate parts are covered.  I had to make a few adjustments to the sizing.  I am a size larger on bottom than on top, so I had to let out the waist seam a bit.  Also the surplice kept flopping open so I hand sewed it shut.

Last week I had a 25% total purchase coupon and stocked up on lots of fabric, enough to make my summer wardrobe.  Dresses in the summer are an easy choice for me; I love not having to think about coordinating anything, just throw on a dress and go.  Hopefully more sewing projects will be soon to follow.

Lastly, I am currently working on a new knitting pattern.  This one is a striped vest with bias pockets.  I'm hoping to release it in the next week or two, so stay tuned.  Here is a sneak peek!

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