I've finally gotten interested in sewing again after a few rather unproductive months at the sewing machine. Before warm weather fully arrives, I made a transitional late 1930s dress that is in fall and winter colors, but with short sleeves and lightweight fabric so it can be worn all year.
I used some rayon suiting with a fine plaid pattern, and was very pleased with the fabric and how it behaved during the construction process.
The dress is unique - it has no waist seam, but rather front and back panels are gathered into a round yoke. A belt at your natural waistline makes the waist. That is very handy for a good fit, but you do have to keep checking to make sure the gathers remain even. Another plus is that with both bust and waist free, if you can fit it to your shoulders you don't have to worry about sizing. A few inches more or less wouldn't be a problem.
The yoke construction was easy to do - though I didn't help myself by sewing the sides together as if they were the center front first and needing to undo an entire serged seam!...
I double stitched the yoke for trim and to keep it lying flat. The embossed antique buttons are a thrift store find and likely older even than the original pattern. I had four tiny ones, so they were a perfect choice.
Sewing the wrong seam was my fault...but the other headache was working with the velvet for collar and cuffs! After ripping the lining seam several times I had to hand baste the layers together before stitching them on the machine. Then I finally gave up trying to put on the collar the way they told me, hand basted the collar in place, then did a bias neck facing over it all. The cuffs I didn't even try to face after the collar fiasco - I just serged the edge, turned it up, and hand stitched it underneath to make a band instead of a flip up cuff. So much easier, and though it's narrower, it has the same basic look.
With velvet, a serger is your friend!
Because it's a late '30s pattern, the skirt is longer and a lot wider than styles both before and after. I imagine in cotton it would be too poofy, but the limpness of rayon makes it hang nicely, with graceful movement when I walk.
I need more black and/or elastic belts, so I don't keep wearing ones that look a little too...1980s. But I do love my 1930s original gauntlets! The brown leather inserts into the thin black rayon gabardine make them a perfect match for the dress. The fingers are a little worn and mended, but I still like these gloves - a find at an antique store years ago.
And - I'm so excited - I finally have a pair of Miss L Fire shoes! I've been watching Ebay for years to find one of their lovely reproductions in my size and a low price range, and my patience paid off when I finally scored these beauties. I was a little concerned that the tan would be too orange in person and I wouldn't end up with much to wear them with, but after seeing all the outfits Lily accessorizes with her pair like these, I decided to risk it and am glad I did!
They have the classic 1940s shape (with a tad bit of adjustability thanks to the strap and buckle), but with the diamond motif on the toe I think they also have a 1930s flair - certainly suitable for late '30s like this dress. They are comfortable too. I absolutely love my collection of vintage heels, but it is nice to have a reproduction pair with modern comfort for wearing in rough weather or all day. And they fit perfectly too! Now I look forward to discovering what I can wear them with and hopefully find some new and adventurous wardrobe combinations.
Now for the confession...I've had a secret, and won't be able to keep it much longer, because it's a secret that becomes self evident, if you know what I mean. I've had this pattern for a while and probably would not have bumped it up to the top of my sewing queue, except that my sewing queue for the next year or so suddenly needed certain adjustments. It's time to sew maternity friendly vintage, as we prepare to welcome a new little member of the family in September!
(And this one, while not intended to be maternity, works perfectly. I can use a narrower belt, or leave it off altogether as the months progress and because of the shaping it shouldn't look like a tent.)
I'm just starting to get a little bit of a baby bump now! Over the next month or two it should grow a lot more noticeable.
So suddenly, all those dresses I made just a few months ago don't fit, and might not again for a long time. (So much for trying my Christmas dress with summer accessories! :-) And all the maternity or could-be maternity patterns in my stash got a top place in my sewing priority; also for a while after the birth, I'll be limited to patterns that open down the front.
However, I've already found a lot of fun in being creative about it. Quite a few patterns that don't open down the front can be altered to do so. This dress is one of them - under the yoke I added a short invisible zipper. So I should be able to wear this dress both now as non-maternity, throughout the entire summer as I grow, and after the birth. Definitely making the most of my sewing time!
I know...these pictures look like drab winter. Spring really is almost here, but the grass hasn't greened up quite yet here at the ranch. So the colors of the dress are still appropriate. All my next projects, though, are floral and light colored cottons and rayons! Because it's almost April! And it's time to plan an Easter dress!
Aside from the few hiccups that slowed the process, I enjoyed sewing this dress (finished in two days) and am glad to get back to the machine. Already I can tell the next few weeks will be a lot more productive!