Thursday, February 16, 2012

Miss Millie, Will You Be My Valentine?: Simplicity 4987


Friends, this is an exciting week. Not, as one would think, because of Valentine's Day. Sure, I love flowers and hearts as much as the next girl, but there are more exciting things. Like...vintage patterns!

That's right. I, Mary Danielson, finally made a vintage pattern. Well, mostly. The bodice is vintage, anyway. (We'll get to that.) Why is this such a big deal? Many sewing bloggers use vintage patterns. Between Etsy and estate sales, they're not exactly hard to find. And found them I have. Y'all, I have a ridiculous amount of vintage patterns, but...I've been too afraid to do more than caress their lovely envelopes or unfold their library-scented pages. What if I damaged one while sewing? What if I made one up, only to have it be horribly unflattering? All my vintage sewing dreams would be crushed!

They were not. My first foray into vintage patterns was a success! Hooray! Does anyone have any confetti to throw?


So, what finally made me take the plunge? This week's Sew Weekly challenge and some really fabulous fabric. Since this week is technically focused on Valentine's Day, the theme was red and I had the perfect yardage - this red striped cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics. It's been hanging out in my stash since last summer, when I snapped up it and its black striped sister fabric. How could I resist its pinstripe and bold stripe mix? So interesting! So...striped!

It was a perfect match for Simplicity 4987, a 1963 lovely with a six-gored skirt, bow collar detail, and matching jacket. Of course, I ended up making it with a dirndl skirt and no jacket. Let's be honest. A striped six-gored skirt? Can you imagine a first vintage project with more headaches? I am not a sewing masochist, friends. So, I switched to the nice, easy, no-matching-required dirndl.
 
For the bodice, however, I kept it original. In order to keep the stripes from overwhelming my face, I used a red twill for the collar. Not only does it have the lovely bow detail at the front, but it made the finishing of this dress so simple. Used just like bias tape, it is top-stitched to the bodice, circling both the front and the low scooped back. Isn't it lovely? I can easily imagine it in white on a blue dress, as a lovely Alice-inspired detail.

 Bow-type-thing collar!

Scoop! And horrible, blurred picture! Backs are hard to photograph, yo.

As for other construction details, everything was rather straight forward. It only took me four episodes of Downton Abbey to finish the whole dress, from cutting out to hemming. The armscyes are finished with red bias tape and all the inside seams are overlocked like crazy. Instead of the prescribed lapped side zipper, I took the easy way and used an invisible zip. It was all ready for a night out on Valentine's Day...you know, all romantic-like, eating hamburgers and chocolate pie. I like to think my peppermint striped dress classed things up, naturally.


 The Ever-Important Details...

Things I Love:
  • The lovely neckline! After all, that is why I bought this pattern in the first place. I'm so glad it turned out as beautifully as on the pattern envelope!
  • The fabric! I've been waiting to use this fabric and I'm so glad it was on this pattern. It really needed that coordinating bit of red, to make it work perfectly.
Things I Changed:
  • Switched from a six-gored skirt to a dirndl, because I am easily daunted by pattern matching.
  • Switched from a lapped zipper to an invisible zip, because I am lazy.
  • Omitted arm facings, in exchange for bias tape, because I do so hate facings.
Things I Would Change, If I Made It Again:
  • Keep the original skirt. I'm dying to make this in a solid color, to really take advantage of the six-gore skirt. It seems to have such a lovely bell skirt quality to it on the envelope.
Notions & Fabric:
  • Red striped cotton - Gorgeous Fabrics - $8/yard
  • Red cotton twill - JoAnn Fabrics - $9/yard
  • 12 inch invisible zipper
  • Self-made red cotton bias tape
Construction Time:
  • Precisely four episodes of Downton Abbey. What, you don't measure your time in Lady Mary/Matthew Crawley scenes? Well, then. Three and a half hours.
There's something about the stripes that makes me pose like a superhero. I swear, 98% of pictures from this shoot involve me putting my hands on my hips, as if I'm posing for a statue. Super Sewist! Seam rip, rip, ripping away! Yikes.

19 comments:

  1. Like you, I love the neckline on this dress. I'm especially glad you snuck in that picture of the back - I just ADORE that swooping back.

    hehe... I'm watching Downton Abbey at the moment... whilst I try my hand at a period-appropriate technique - fagotting! Wierd name, beautiful stitch. And you made this in just four episodes? Wow, you are one speedy gal.

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    1. Poppy, isn't this pattern's back GORGEOUS? I normally hate taking pictures of my outfit backs, but I couldn't resist. Swooping is the perfect word for it

      Hooray for a fellow Downton sewist! Fagotting may be a horrid word, but - you're right - it is a lovely technique. I can't wait to see what you do with it!

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  2. Oh wow, this is such a fresh and fun dress! The collar in particular is super cute and it looks so neatly finished! The perfect dress for a Valentine's date ;o)

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    1. Thank you, Marie! The way this pattern joined the collar to the dress was brilliant. Not only is the effect awesome, but it really finishes so neatly. I can't say enough good about this one!

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  3. I am in love. This dress is perfect. It's so springy and fun.

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    1. Hooray! Thank you so much, Natalie! I'm so glad you like it.

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  4. It's super cute, the stripes are delicious and that collar detail is just lovely! I have also resolved to sew more of my vintage patterns--I have so many but have only ever tackled one, from the 1970s!

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    1. Thank you, Mikhaela! We'll have to conquer our vintage patterns stashes together. This first one has give me at least a little confidence to try a few more.

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  5. Oh so cute, especially the bow detail at the neck!

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    1. Thank you, Jill! That bow detail is my favorite. :D

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  6. Oh man, I've looked all over for that pattern and all I get in my searches is a whole lot of apron pattern and an old etsy listing. I'll keep looking though, your dress has me totally inspired. Perfect addition of the red collar!

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    1. Oh no, Kirsten, I have a feeling I was the one who stole that Etsy listing. If you'd like, I could trace the pattern off for you and send it your way!

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  7. This is so fantastic! I love the bow at the neckline. It adds a dainty and fun touch! I wish I could make a dress this fast. I am the slowest sewist ever, lol. :]

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    1. Thank you so much, Rebecca! Normally, I am so, so slow as well, but this dress went by so quickly. It's such a surprisingly simple pattern...which is always helpful.

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  8. This is so cute!

    F.Y.I., the sewing gods wouldn't fault you for not matching vertical stripes on a gored skirt. In fact, I'm not even sure that would be possible since the pieces would be elongated wedges. So next time, just go for it! ;)

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    1. Thank you so much!

      Also, I'm so glad you said something about the sewing gods. I was convinced I was missing something about how to match up those stripes all the way down. Perhaps "just go for it" should be come my new sewing mantra!

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  9. This is super cute! And I see no reason why measuring time in Downtown Abbey episodes is unacceptable... isn't there someone we can write to about that...?

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  10. I realised I hadn't left a comment neither here nor at the Sew Weekly and I had to tell you how lovely this is. That collar and the stripes are totally adorable and you look as sweet as always in this dress. You have yet to make something I don't utterly love ^_^

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  11. fab dress! and i love that you used Downton Abbey as a unit of time measurement. i should start using that phrase myself! congrats on your first foray into vintage!

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