Thursday, April 21, 2011

Learnign to Sew: Sundress: pretty good

Pattern: this one from Etsy, year 1974, $5.25
Material : Ikea fabric, $14.81, lining fabric and ribbon from Jo-ann, $11.52
Total cost: $31.58
Time to complete: lost count. More than 10 hours
Results?  I like it. There are some issues. (shocker.)

This patterns was meant to be easy, good for my first time, self-affirming. Well, we can't have that, so I traced the pattern onto tracing paper, used fabric that was see-through and required lining, and altered the shape, narrowing the sleeves and waist. Lining this dress was a chore, because I couldn't figure out how to get everything--fashion fabric, lining, interfacing, ribbon--to meet up around the sternum area. It should be an easy join with three pieces of fabric. With six plus ribbon...well, there was some quality time spent with the seam ripper. It still puckers oddly at the join, but I cannot figure out how to fix it so for now I'm letting it be. (Suggestions, anyone???)

I love a dress with pockets, but these are a little oddly shaped: a big triangle centered over an opening in the side seam and sewn down, which means the pocket is symmetrical to the front and back of the side seam. As soon as I figure out how to comfortably stand with my hands in my pockets pointing backwards, I will let y'all know.

The point of this pattern is it's 70s loose-sleeved look, and at first that attracted me. But then I watched yet another episode of Martha with this guy and started slicing away at the fabric to un-caftan myself.  I tightened up the sleeves and waist, and the result is summery and casual without being sloppy, I hope. In making these alternations, I may have un-seventies-ed my pattern, begging the question of why buy a vintage pattern? I have no answer to that, but I did style the photo shoot with some of my mother's jewelry from the 70s, to atone.

 This pattern called for gathering the bottom of the hem so it'll fit when you turn it up. Again. I considered this for all of five seconds and then just pressed the hem up with some "pleats" to compensate for the A-line. I may be overly ambitious, but I'm not masochistic.

I think this dress will see a lot of wear with flip-flops or boat shoes this summer, for casual bumming around. It's super comfy and I don't think it screams "homemade" so I'm happy.

Next up? I've been eying this over at BurdaStyle, but I've seen some bloggers complain that their directions are a little scant, so I might get a little more practice before tackling one of their projects.


  1. that dress is a) adorable and b) is begging for a big, chunky belt. That will COMPLETE your 70s look. Oh, and bug sunglasses. :D

  2. Thanks Blair! You're so right: I used to have a big leather belt, also handed-me-down from my mom, but I wore it to death :(. Perhaps a matching flower painted on my cheek would up the 70s styling?