Fabric: Grey suiting from the usual place. I have no idea what this stuff is made of, but there’s a lot of man-madeness going on there. It’s stiff and stretchy at the same time, if that is ever possible. It was half price and I bought the most humongous piece for just under GBP 7.00, made trousers from it and still have enough for a skirt after this dress.
Pattern: Simplicity 7073 (1975)
Notions: Thread. Bias tape made from those curtains. 1 invisible zipper in white, from stash
Time to complete: once traced, less than 6 hours
First worn: Saturday 26.05 for a long day of much partying!
Wear again: Yes. This thing really won me over.
Cost: I’ll call it GBP 2.00 to account for the zipper.
I must have mentioned this already, I have gone a little crazy buying vintage patterns lately.
I have only recently cancelled a saved search on eBay. You see, whilst I love coming home from work and finding an envelope waiting for me, maybe too much of a good thing is for real. I haven’t counted how many I have, but I know I have enough. Dresses, tops, trousers, skirts, underwear – for my current skill level I have all basis covered.
I tend to work on a pattern in stages: check the pieces are all there, read instructions to check for anything odd, compare pattern pieces to body measurements, trace with adjustments, cut (at last!), sew.
On Wednesday I realised I was at the initial stages with too many patterns, and that meant no real sewing was happening. So I went back to Simplicity 7073, which I had traced last week:
There are two sets of the main dress pieces: A and B for the round neckline, and C and D for the square neckline. Unfortunately A and B were missing from the envelope (the vendor has apologised profusely) but I spent an evening widening the hip part and reworking the flare of the skirt for C and D.
Once again I omitted all the facings. I did the bias tape trick, but the other way around – sewn them from the wrong side then folded over to the right side and finished with top stitching. Meaning it looks like this:
Because I wasn’t using the facings nor the sleeves, and because I have my own TNT way to insert a zipper, I got rid of the instructions after “Stitch CB seam to small dot.” I have a semi-industrial table machine, meaning no chance of freearm, so I prefer to insert the zipper sooner rather than later.
I also chopped off about 5 inches from the skirt just to make it as long as the one on the envelope (just how tall are those fictional ladies?). Forgive the creases, this was after 8 hours of walking, sunbathing, dancing and assorted partying:
I wasn’t really sure about this dress.
I finished it out of principle (Pig-headed? Moi?).
I kept telling myself that if I saw something like this in a shop I wouldn’t be mad about it, but I would still buy it to wear to work.
Still, I fell progressively out of love with it. I didn’t even pink the seam allowances, let alone neaten them on my machine. But as I wore this yesterday, first at a barbecue at my friends’ and then at the world’s most nerd-tastic wedding reception, it won me over.
It’s not as close-fitting as the envelope, and I am fine with that, as I don’t like sweating in man-made fibres. I don’t like sweating full stop, actually. I also don’t like a close fit in case I fancy eating a lot. Which I often do.
There is something slightly odd about the front, because I didn’t quite cut it on the fold but at least 5mm away from the fold line.
I don’t mind the square neckline at the front but I find it completely unnecessary at the back.
And yet, thanks in part to the strange stiffness of the fabric, this looks pretty awesome on me.
It flares and skims in all the right places. The skirt is my favourite length, right at the top of the knee. It brings out the best of what I’ve got. I’ve got lots, and this dress emphasises everything just right. Does anyone ever get used to the amazement of something that might not be perfect but fits just right?
It’s also perfectly appropriate for work, but the trims make it less boring and suitable for leisure time too. I am glad I have finished it in time for the, erm, “heatwave” that is gripping the UK at the moment!
Incidentally, yesterday I finally managed to attend a wedding without having to nurse a broken heart at the same time. That happened in 2009, 2011 and earlier this year – just don’t ask me about it!
Instead I had a magnificent time with some truly special people.
It was also a steampunk wedding, with some awesome outfits. The budding seamstress in me was blown away, but I managed not to freak anyone out by closely inspecting their dress whilst in the middle of the dancefloor.
And actually, the state of my own heart doesn’t matter – I love a good wedding!
Seeing people you care about being deliriously happy.
Families brought together from far and away.
Being so close to the love, the courage and the hope that you think it might one day work out for you: there is nothing like it!
The next one this year is in July, and it will be another very special affair.
In the meantime, I don’t like the thought of a June without weddings, so if you know of anyone who’s getting married in June and has room for an extra-awesome extra guest, drop me a line!
I promise to make a dress for the occasion.