Yet another addition to my new lineup of green garments this spring (funny how I tend to sew in spurts of color and/or era!) is a late '30s/early '40s house dress, in a leaf-green and white large flowered smooth cotton that reminds me of feedsack fabric.
It can't get much simpler, or be quicker to make! 5 pieces to cut out in the whole dress, two small darts, no facing!, princess lines so there is no waist seam to match up and it's easy to fit. I did everything but the sleeves and hem in less than an hour, and cutting out didn't take long either. Yet still that cute vintage detail in the gathers on the bodice, top-stitched center panel, and the sleeves.
See? You can also omit the belt for added comfort, especially in warm weather.
The pattern called for novelty ruffling sewn to bias double fold trim, or if you didn't have that, separate ruffling and bias double fold trim. I ended up making my own bias trim out of the dress fabric, which both trims the neck and sleeve edges and finishes them. No facing needed at all! (Okay, so I don't hate facing. But it's one of the less-loved steps in sewing and I'm happy to omit it.)
The ruffling is vintage, purchased at a lovely sewing booth in the antique mall Gina took me to. Such a fun find! I had just enough for this project. I usually prefer trim-less dresses, for the most part, letting the fabric and pattern details do their work, but this time the ruffling seemed to add the right sunny touch to a springy house dress - like daffodils in a green lawn - and duplicated the look on the pattern drawing so it felt like the right thing to do.
The few inches of leftover ruffling I pinned into a removable little frill to wear at the neck's V.
It was on the short side even though I lengthened the skirt pieces by an inch or so, so I ended up serging the hem edge, turning it up about a half inch, and topstitching it, since there was already topstitching on the center front panel - and anyway, for an everyday dress in a busy print I figured a topstitched hem would be fine. And save time.
After doing my headscarf hairstyle post, I decided to make a matching headscarf for this dress in case I wanted to do a similar hairstyle with this dress sometime. My hair was not behaving the day I took pictures so I used my instant hairstyle-fix hairnet and the scarf turned out to be just the thing to hide the elastic on the net.
I wasn't sure if I would like this shade of green on me, but I like it better than expected and it's a nice change from my favorite blues. It is a very happy dress and makes me feel perfectly in tune with the long sunny days and plethora of blooms and new leaves everywhere. So I had to showcase the spring feeling with a photo shoot in our little rock pathway, beside low banks of flowers that were exactly my colors.
I'm also happy about my shoes. I've been looking for a pair of white shoes or sandals suitable for wearing out-and-about for a long, long time. These Aerosoles I found on EBay were just what I have been wanting. The wedge makes them a little more casual, and the heel is the right height for spending hours walking without discomfort (I do not like wearing flats if I can avoid them); not too high or dressy.
These looked whiter in the picture, but while they are a little more buttery in person they aren't so beige as to be brownish, or so ivory that wearing them with white makes them look yellow. And - added bonus! - the front has a very 1930s vibe! In fact, if the heel was the same color or material as the shoe tops, instead of that faux stacked wood look, I could wear them for costume wear. If only the heel was real wood, I'd consider trying to match the color and paint them. As it is, they are close enough to wear them with vintage-inspired outfits for the retro look I gravitate towards every day.
I haven't made such a comfortable dress in a while. A lot of dresses from vintage patterns have some amount of constriction across the back or are too fitted for unrestricted movement. Which is fine, but some days I just don't feel like wearing something constricting. This one fits the bill for a simple, bright dress that is thoroughly comfortable to work in without requiring too much thought or frequent maintenance during the day.
It's funny how sometimes a simple pattern that is in my "someday I'll make it, it's kind of nice" category can turn into a definite winner. There's a good chance the pattern will be used again before summer's over!