Sunday, September 16, 2012

The 7-month 40's dress


Some dresses just don't want to be made.  This is one of them.  I started this project back in February because I wanted a "quick and easy" vintage project to do as a break from more elaborate historical stuff.  It started out well enough, and I was thrilled to finally be able to use some vintage sheer dotted swiss fabric that I had been hoarding for years along with a cute DuBarry pattern dating from 1940.  But then disaster struck when it was time to add the sleeves - I had accidentally cut out 2 left sleeves and I didn't have enough fabric to cut another one.  ARGH!!!

Okay, I admit it.  I totally overreacted.  I had a big "woe is me" meltdown and then proceeded to angst over what to do with those the stupid sleeves for the next 5 months.  I intended to wear this dress to 3 different events this past year, but each time I would pull it out of the naughty pile to finish it, I would get all worked up over the sleeves again and then put it back away.

But finally last month some sanity came back to me and I thought to myself: "what would a woman in 1940 do if she had cut the pattern wrong?"  Well, duh - she would have pieced together scraps of fabric to fix the sleeve and moved on!  So that's what I did.  Can you see my horrible mistake?  My tragically ruined sleeves?  Neither can I.  Lesson #1 learned from this project:  CHILL OUT!  A little bit of piecing never hurt anything, and it probably looks more authentic now because of it.

Lesson #2 was something that I should know my now, but apparently I don't.  If you don't make a mockup, at least be sure of your size.  I almost never make mockups with vintage patterns, and I thought this pattern was close to my size, but it really wasn't.  It was massively huge on me, so basically I made the dress, took the entire thing apart, re-cut the pattern, and then made it all over again.  It wouldn't have been that big of a deal, but I had been hand-finishing all of the seams as I sewed, and it almost killed me to have to unpick all of that beautiful finishing work.  *sigh*  But it finally fits right and I think I have a better grasp of what size I really am now.  

So 7 months later, and my "easy" vintage project is finally done!  I finished off the outfit by wearing a little tilt hat that I bought in a local antique store, a $10 corde purse from Etsy, a vintage navy slip, some vintage seamed stockings, and some Madden Girl brand shoes that I found on the clearance racks at DSW last year.  The shoes originally had a very modern flowered fabric on them, but they were such a great shape, so I painted them blue with acrylic paint to match my outfit.

WWII era fashions have never been my favorites, and I was a little worried that this outfit would feel too "prissy" with the little neck bow and the poofy sleeves.  But I really loved wearing this dress and I'm itching to make more things from this period now.  If you are interested, you can see a few more photos on my flickr.









10 comments:

Sarah W said...

I LOVE that dress!!! Dresses from the 1940's are a favourite style of mine. And I can see myself freaking out over something not going my way, and forgetting about it for a long time before picking up courage to work on it again :)

cathgrace said...

You look adorable as always!(and so tiny!)

Aubry said...

Such a gorgeous and flattering dress! Bravo for making it work! :)

wearwhenwhy.com said...

You look picture-perfect (as usual). Good job reviving this project!

Lindsay Lane said...

Stunning!!!

Lauren R said...

It's a delight! you've accessorized it perfectly as well, and achieved the perfect 40s silhouette. I appreciate your sharing the difficulties of the project too - you're human! I'm glad it all came out right in the end :-)

Eva said...

You look gorgeous, the dress likewise, and I LOVE the hat.

Cathy Raymond said...

It looks really great, and it looks great on you! I'm glad you finished it, and shared photos with the rest of us.

Loren Dearborn said...

I love this! The polkadots are so fun and the details and how you styled it all look so period correct.

Claartje Steenbergen-Dekker said...

I think this dress is really wonderful

Post a Comment