I am well over due for a blog post. This may be a bit rambly, I am out of practise ;)
It’s been a crazy few weeks around me lately, work has been ridiculously busy and at home Demolition Husband and I have been ripping into our house and starting to put our own personality into it.
I have been sewing, but working on a new project that’s a bit top secret so when I get the all clear I’ll share it with you. This project interrupted my current dress project and then I interrupted it again. You see I needed a new vintage dress, don’t we all?
On Sunday there was scheduled another Wellington Sewing Bloggers group date, this time at the Museum of Wellington City & Sea with the intention of checking out the pop-up Britannica exhibition. “Vintage” was decided upon as the non-compulsory theme for the morning.
I love vintage fashion, any era really, but I’ve never really worn it or sewn it if I am honest. I guess this has been mostly due to lack of confidence so the idea that there is safety in numbers (as opposed to looking kooky all by myself!) now was my time to give it a proper go!
I was initially planning to stitch up this:
It is a Home Journal pattern (5609) which I acquired during our very first blogger meet, you remember, the creepy one with no mouths.
It would need some grading and the idea was already forming in my head to choose a modern looking fabric for the pattern. I managed a sneaky lunchtime dash to Fabric Warehouse with accomplice Nikki where we both scored a couple of bargains at their 40% off sale but I found nothing for the dress.
The following week I went into Arthur Toye but since they had just finished their 50% off sale for the season and were in the process of swapping the whole store over for Autumn mode I came away empty handed from there as well. Spotlight in Kaiwharawhara also let me down…what was wrong with me? I never have this much trouble finding fabric normally!
I was running out of time and with work so busy I was also losing the battle for time to grade the pattern so I decided to reduce the stress and swap it out.
Instead I selected the everyone-else-has-made-a-fabulous-version-but-me Butterick 4790, aka “The Walk-away Dress”. I’ve had the re-issued pattern in my stash for so long that when I pulled the tissue pieces out of the envelope I was surprised to find it mostly already cut out in my size. Did I do that? I can’t remember but it saved me some time! ;)
On the Saturday morning before our meet I raced out to Spotlight in Porirua and found the perfect printed cotton sateen (on special too! Which was awesome since this pattern is known as a fabric-hungus!!) and contrast cotton for the bias.
Now here’s a little Spotlight employees say the darndest things! tale: I asked the cutting assistant how wide the bolt was since it didn’t have a tag. She measured it as 127cm. My pattern envelope gave me meterage for 115cm and 150cm wide fabric and I mentioned this out aloud and then said, “I think I’ll still get the 115cm meterage since the skirt pieces are really big, I don’t think the extra width will help me save any fabric at all”…to which the assistant replied, “Well this fabric does have some stretch…”
Umm what? How is that going to help me?
Moving right along…4.5 meters was purchased, I drove home and got to work.
I’ve read a lot online about fitting issues for this pattern, but I just dived right in with the hopes that all those darts would give me enough flexibility to correct any fit issues. I tried the dress on regularly during the construction and believe me or not, it fit perfectly right off! To steal a quote from one of the Wellington girls, I must have a 1950s “historically accurate ” figure! I am not kidding, just lucky, this pattern is definitely drafted for me!
So I worked on and off from 11am on Saturday and gave up just before dinner (husbands apparently need regular feeding) with everything but the closures done. On Sunday morning I got up early and attached the back button, snaps to the front, and buttons over the top to hide my super awful hand stitching.
I don’t hate hand stitching, I do find it tedious, but mostly I just seem to be really un-co and terrible at it. I bought some beeswax recently which I tried for the first time. It really helped stop the treads from twisting up and getting in the way but I guess I still need practise.
So, enough boring words, you want to see some photos? Aww it’s a shame I don’t have any…just kidding! The great thing about the Sewing Blogger girls is we all appreciate a good garment photo and I got lots on Sunday! Big thanks to Kat and Nikki for their excellent photography skills:
If you are wondering about the Britannica exhibiton…well we kind of never got around to looking at that. We were having far too much fun chatting, overwhelming the part-time barista, trying on all the crowns and playing with the green screen camera, photos from which will hopefully get emailed to us sometime soon.
I quite enjoyed my little dress up, I never thought I could pull a vintage/retro look off but it’s amazing what a bit of red lippy will do for your confidence! ;)
This dress was really comfy to wear all morning and early afternoon. The only thing I need to change, and it is an easy fix, is to snug up the waist a bit more. I did get a little bit of bra showage through the arm holes but that’s because I forgot that the centre front and back have no seam allowance and I was overlapping while trying it on. So I just need to remove the bias and buttons, cut them both down about 1cm each side and re-attach everything.
If the neck looks a bit funny on Scarlett it’s just because she doesn’t have “historically accurate” shoulders like I do ;)
And some detail shots:
We are famous now by the way, taking over Wellington with our crazy stitching ways so watch out for us next month! ;)