“Hollywood Ending” – Peggy’s Cut-Out Neckline Dress

The last scene of the last season of Marvel’s television show “Agent Carter” could not have went out with more of a bang when she wears a stunning mid-40’s dress of contrasting colors and pie-sliced neckline cut-outs.  Here is my version!  Where else but in the decade of the 1940’s will you find such unusual features, in a dress which is a mix of both fancy and casual, like this!

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Cut outs seem to be all the rage everywhere I look this year so far, and I’d like to think this is due to the last dress we see Captain America’s girl wearing in her own series.  So why not (as I thought) just go along with things courtesy of that awesome, indomitable Peggy Carter – a woman ahead of her time in many ways.  Now I can not only be fashionable in modern day but also back in 1946!

a-hollywood-ending-wiki-gallery-1cropThis is the one of the more difficult vintage patterns I have come across, and also I think one of the most dramatic and highly detailed of the ones that I own.  Leave it to me to only make this more difficult in an effort to be more like Peggy Carter.  I made all the contrast bias tape for the belt, sleeves, neckline and cut-outs, with way too much unpicking to get the top-stitching right.  Whatever!  This dress deserved all the attention it received at my sewing table to even get close to a “Hollywood Ending”.

THE FACTS:

FABRIC:  Two different colors of the all American-made 100% cotton sold at JoAnn’s Fabric.  The one is a deep navy which has a hint of turquoise (so I think) and the other is a baby blue color leftover from making my other Agent Carter project, a hybrid 1940’s style blouse.

PATTERN:  McCall #6728, year 1946mccall-6728-year-1946-envelope-front-comp-w

NOTIONS:  Well, I did need to go out and buy a special ¼ inch bias tape Dritz notion to make my own tiny single fold custom binding from the blue fabric.  Other than that I had all the thread, seam tape, bias tape, shoulder pads, and the zipper I needed. 

TIME TO COMPLETE:  My dress was done on August 8, 2016, after maybe 25 plus hours spent on it.

THE INSIDES:  All cleanly finished off in either French seams or bias tape.

TOTAL COST:  Not much for what I think it looks…less than $15.

Gigi Melton, the designer of the original “Agent Carter” wardrobe as seen on the show, now commands my great respect after making my own attempt to both replicate Peggy’s dress and stay historically authentic by using an old pattern.  She also deserves the credit for my inspiration.  Sewing this baby up was hard!  I have not come across many sewing project which so completely challenge me, even drain me, like this dress did.  Therefore, I am so very proud of this project, and I feel like a million in it!  Gigi Melton did indeed make a seriously complex, yet lovely version of a post-war dress for Peggy (actress Hayley Atwell) – it very much deserves to be part of the current FIDM exhibit of “The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design”!

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I know my version is slightly different when you get down to nitty gritty details, such as the sleeves and skirt front.  I could have made an exact copy, and considered it, too, but Gigi Melton deserves to keep the privilege of having her original stay one-of-a-kind…and besides I personally adore the details of the old original pattern I used.  Originally, I fully intended on making my version in a different color scheme, with blue contrast but brown overall.  When I found the exact blue-slightly turquoise deep navy cotton in my face at the fabric store, I couldn’t resist going with the same color scheme.

What I find interesting is that season two of Agent Carter is supposed to have taken place in 1947, but my dress is dated to 1946, as are many other similar neckline cut-out dresses from the 40’s that I’ve seen.  See my Pinterest board here for other related vintage cut-out neckline ladies’ garment patterns that I have come across.  Burda Style has recently released a few patterns which have features which are so reminiscent of this 1946 Agent Carter dress, such as the “Cutout dress, No. 112, 06/2016”, or “Open-Back Jumpsuit, No. 112 A, 04/2016”, the “Fancy Pocket Dress, No. 104 B, 10/2016”, and even “Long Sleeve Jumpsuit, No. 107, 10/2016“.

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Cut-outs are such a demure but appealing touch which instantly glams up a garment and turns it into something eye-catching and unique.  It’s also like getting to wear a high neckline without really having one…cut-outs keep skin in eye sight.  Outlining the cut-outs is a very bold touch that I would never on my own have thought could have worked so well, at least visually.  I can almost picture how the original dress has its contrast applied, but then I can’t imagine my attempt turning out that professionally.  My method was to have the neckline cut-out facing to be in the light baby blue with the tiny bias tape top-stitched along the very, very edge.  Many times I either gave myself a crick in the neck for leaning into the stitching (intense sewing sucks me in) or I would fall off the furthest edge (like walking a balance beam) while top-stitching the tiny bias tape.  Am I nuts or what?  I’ll do what I takes to be happy with something I sew, and that is frequently a hard order!

dsc_0155a-compwNow the pattern was technically not hard, just finely detailed work, in my opinion.  I also think its instructions are both well laid out and the method it is made ingeniously designed.  The top edges of the neckline cutouts get matched up with corresponding notches in the tiny bias strip which becomes the contrast neckline.  This way I knew how wide the tops of the opening needed to be.  However, the skirt front with its shirring and wing pockets is mostly the part of the design that I enjoy the way it gets made.  The skirt details were what mystified me about the pattern from the first I saw of it – how do the gather stay so nice and the pockets drape out?  The secret is an inner panel that fills in over the belly between the pockets.  By bringing together the pockets from inside, all the details of the skirt front are kept unstretched, the shirring gets a layer to anchor to, and the oversized pocket edges (stiffened with seam tape) then flare out.

This dress is the first time I’ve come across several different features, most of which I’ve already mentioned except for the sleeves.  I know they are out there, but this is the first kimono style with a full sleeve that I’ve seen in the decade of the 40’s.  I usually have a hard time keeping the inner curve of my kimono sleeves from wrinkling and bunching, even with precautions like snipping and such, but these sleeves turned out great.  Tacked inside are giant ½ inch thick shoulder pads to help define the shoulders, sculpt the silhouette, and give the impression of a defined sleeve seam.  I find it so curious that such bulky shoulder pads work so well and look so good with 40’s styles – maybe it’s just that I have the body type that (I think) can handle over-exaggeration of the shoulders which the 40’s does best.

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Now my belt was entirely self-drafted, and it merely two strips of fabric with a layer of “Stitch Witchery” bonding web ironed in between for a stable, one-piece of material.  Then the bias binding was sewn over the edge and the closure added.  Now, Peggy’s original dress as designed by Gigi Melton had as its closure a black buckle in what looks like leather.  I was inclined to use Vogue #9222, view B, since it looks like a carbon copy of Gigi Melton’s design (lacking the lacing over the edges, of course).  However, again, I went with my taste but still stayed a bit true to the original by having no buckle.  My belt has a ½ inch bias strip sewn to the inner center of one rounded edge, then about ¾ inch space away the other rounded end of the belt latches onto a sliding, waistband-style hook-and-eye.

I usually love making my own bias tape (no irony, really I do), but tiny ¼ inch single fold bias tape was living hell.  My hands received some very painful injuries from the steam of the iron and every seam line only made the folding even harder.  It wasn’t the tool – the Dritz tool worked great.  It’s just that the smaller the scale the more difficulty.  So my lesson was learned never do this scale bias tape again…until my next “very good reason” to suck up and make it again!  The finished look of some custom made bias tape is so worth whatever extra bother goes along.dsc_0118a-compw

Check out my shoes – they are so “mathy-matchy” I am a little embarrassed at myself and proud at the same time.  They are “Kimmy” ankle strap pumps by “Chase and Chloe” in light blue to match the contrast color in my dress.  These shoes are not leather and not that comfy for long periods of wear, but they were on sale for so cheap, have a vintage flair, and they have the same triangular cut-outs as my dress!  They are not what Peggy wore with her outfit, but hey, this outfit is for me to wear.  How could I resist the call of the perfect pair of shoes?  I rarely can…

Our background settings for these pictures are two of the historical theatres in our town.  season-two-hollywood-endingThis was meant to match with the “Hollywood Ending” in Agent Carter’s television show.  Jarvis drops Peggy off in front of the SSR’s “cover” shop front of a theatrical agency, catty-corner to an old movie theatre.  If you notice, our one picture of me has the dual masks of comedy and tragedy over behind me – a subtle hint to Peggy Carter’s nemesis Whitney Frost, a.k.a. “Madame Mask”.  The theatre with the masks on the front entrance box office box is the “Tivoli” theatre, built in 1924.  Here we were not able to take pictures anywhere other than outside.

However, the theatre in most of our pictures is from 1922, the “Hi-Pointe” theatre, the oldest and the only one built for showing movie films – not vaudeville acts like the Tivoli’s use – and done so continuously since its opening.   The Hi-Pointe theatre technically has won awards as having the best urinals in town (not that I would know), but – no really – I love the simplistic Art Deco Look of the front ticket office box with its streamlined metal sheeting.  The head employee so kind and helpful to let us explore inside and even pull the curtains and turn on the spotlights so I could have the picture perfect “Hollywood Ending” shot!  That’s all, folks!  Cue the happy finale…

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OO7 Halston-Style Maxi Dress

Allie J's Social Sew badgeWhen I saw Allie J.’s monthly “Social Sew” theme of August being “Hot, Hot Heat”, I picked up a project waiting in the works to sew up and finish.  I think my garment perfectly fulfills each word of her challenge theme – what else could be doubly ‘hot’ more than a 1970’s, Halston-style, “James Bond girl” movie dress, with the ‘heat’ being the weather outside that necessitates a maxi sundress.

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I have sewn plenty of garments from year 1971 patterns, but here’s another for this post that rather looks like a 1930’s does 1970’s.  My dress is directly inspired from a dress worn by the “Bond girl” Barbara Bach in the 1977 movie “The Spy Who Loved Me”.  Now that I’ve got this dress, all I need is some secret gadgets, a little intrigue, the classic theme music playing in the background, and a handsome chap in a suit.

Barbara Bach - close-up“Just call me Agent.”  Barbara Bach (“Agent Anya”) marked the beginning of a new type of “Bond girl”.  Post Barbara Bach, I love how Bond girls seem to share the same similarities of lovely garments, kick-butt moves, assertiveness, and thrilling action as my other favorite screen girl, Agent Peggy Carter.  Elegance doesn’t have to be prissy…it can be strong and self-empowering, especially when you have made your own outfit for the part!

Butterick 6671, August 1971, junior's-compTHE FACTS:

FABRIC:  Lightweight, 100% polyester interlock knit

PATTERN:  Butterick #6671, from August of 1971

NOTIONS:  Navy thread (which I had already) and 3 packs, same as 3 yards, of silver sparkle decorative elastic, bought from JoAnn’s Fabric store.

TIME TO COMPLETE:  My dress was finished on August 15, 2016, after a total time spent of maybe 10 hours (I’ll break down this time amount in an explanation down below).

TOTAL COST:  This interlock knit is cheap and cost even less with a coupon, but I did need a couple yards.  The three packs of elastic were a few dollars each – so I suppose my total is about $10.  Not bad at all!!!

I find it so curious how my dress is from a ’71 pattern and the only thing was the neckline which needed to be changed to make it up like a ’77 Bond movie gown.  Vogue even cameVogue 8449, early 70's dress out with similar jeweled neckline maxi sundress in 1972, too (#8449), more alike than my own pattern to the Bond movie costume.  I usually think of vintage movies as keeping pace with fashion or at least starting a trend, but here is a certain design out there offered 5 years before being made up for a noticeably major movie series.  Halston’s style of minimalist, elegant, body complimentary garments for women was already popular and available to the public by the date of this pattern, and well established by the release of the Bond movie “The Spy Who Loved Me”.  So, while I think the outfits of the movie are just awesome, I do not see them as cutting edge (what I would expect from a Bond movie) as much as my pattern is.  I also find it interesting that this pattern is in juniors’ sizing, appealing to teenagers.

The juniors’ sizing is something I had to adjust at the cutting/layout stage, but as many of my 70’s patterns seem to be in these shorter teen proportions, I knew what to do.  I add in 2 inches across at a line drawn horizontally across the chest somewhere between the end point of the bust line (or slightly above) and the bottom third of the armhole.  The chosen line to add in the two inches is then added in around the back to completely bring the bust, and all the subsequent proportions of the waist and hips, too, back down to normal misses’ adult size.  (See my first junior’s dress.) As this is a sleeveless dress, my add-in line was at the bust line point over to the point of the side seam.  Sure this makes the hem a bit longer, but a wide and thick hem helps to slightly weigh this dress down.

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As my dress is a knit, I eliminated the back center zipper.  However, I had problems fitting the back dipping arch of the dress and I can’t say if it’s because of the pattern, or the way I sized up, or from eliminating the zipper.  It was really baggy!  I added in three darts on each side of the back, which sort of mars the smooth simplicity I was hoping from this dress, but I would rather have a good fitting garment.  The high halter neckline of the original pattern was also cut down to just above the bust line and out over to the edge.

Movie still - back viewMy chosen fabric of the lightweight interlock was a great choice, if I must say so myself, but a surprising one.  Until now, I’ve only used this kind of interlock as a lining to back other fabrics as I am making a garment, so this is a first time for the interlock to be worn on its own.  I am quite pleased with it.  Polyester is my least favorite fiber material, but it is most tolerable to me in this light interlock form.  It creates hardly any static, has a nice flowing ‘hand’, is breathable with its tiny waffle weave yet silky in finish, super sheer by itself but opaque once worn, and with a stable stretch.  I’m supposing the original movie dress is either a rayon or a silk jersey knit.  However, this interlock was on hand in the house in a perfect matching color (a very dark blueish navy) and has similar but slightly less body-clingy properties…so it was used, and I’m glad I did!  Yay for stash busting!DSC_0215a-compfull dress shot -

The thigh-high slit helps amp up the hottie factor.  It also makes the skirt portion of the dress just beautifully move and flow around me as I walk as if it has its own independent mind and its own places to go.  I see in the Bond movie that Barbara Bach’s dress is the same way.  Her dress however has two off-center front slits up to the thigh whereas mine only has one on the left side seam.  At first I had it as a knee-high slit, but that just seemed to reserved compared to the rest of the dress, so I made it higher (but still not as high as the pattern called for)!  I can’t help but think of the ZZ Top song, “She’s got legs…”

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The neckline is pretty much the highlight of the dress, so I took extra pains to get it right. Now, of course the movie dress has diamanté straps and neckline decorations of real crystals, probably.  Mine is more of an everyday girl’s version.  The metallic elastic would not be sewn on by my machine, and neither would my machine tolerate metallic thread no matter what I tried.  (It was getting stuck in the tension feed.)  Thus, although the dress itself only took me just a few hours to make, hand sewing on the metallic elastic took me many more hours than that.  Argh!  Hand sewing is something my hand, shoulders, and neck cannot take without making my body miserable, so I did the sewing in stages.  As I’ve said before, the promise of the end look always gets me through the hard parts of finishing a garment.

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So does anybody know of a metallic thread that is decently sturdy?  I used a Coats and Clark brand and even hand sewing was hell with it.  I had to sew with little short lengths because after a dozen stitches the thread would fray and separate.  Is Gutermann better?  Or is there some brand better yet?  Or do the modern offerings of metallic thread just…well…stink, and should I try vintage metallic thread?

Making this OO7 dress makes me ponder a few things.  Again, this dress is one of the many I’ve sewn which amazes me at how easy and inexpensive fancy gowns are when self-made.  In the stores, I’ll bet buying a gown remotely like this, which probably would not fit half as well, would cost a fistful of dough to buy.  Again, another vintage pattern shows me how patterns, designers, and movies all have been so interrelated.  Again, I see film fashion and iconic designs transmuted to the public is generally so lacking nowadays (with a few occasional exceptions).  Glamour is easier to wear and more available in the hands of those who create with fabric than the greater populace reliant on ready-to-wear realizes.

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For more movie images, see Barbara Bach’s fan website here or ‘Classiq.me’ for a review of the movie fashions

The Late 60’s Three-Armhole “Wrap-arounder” Dress

Simplicity7572     It’s time to highlight an inventive fashion oddity from the past.  No, the three-armhole, wrap-arounder, Simplicity #7572 “Jiffy” dress pattern was not meant for ladies with three arms…just for the modern woman on the go.  In the blink of an eye, this dress is on and ready to be worn as is for and easy, breezy look, or accessorized in a myriad of ways for countless different options.

I maximized on the countless options of this wrap-arounder dress by going through the extra thought, fabric, and time to make my version reversible.  Two looks in one easy dress, in one simple pattern piece, using a small amount of fabric!  This is my first reversible clothing creation, as well as the first pattern I’ve used from my mother-in-law’s pattern stash which I now keep.  Although the instructions for Simplicity #7572 lists a date of 1967, the envelope says 1968 – and, considering it to be from ’68, would make it my third project from that year (click here for #1, and here for #2).  My #2 1968 dress is also coincidentally very close to being reversible, as well, while my dress #1 is another “Jiffy” pattern.

100_3206a     It seems that three-armhole wrap-arounder dresses were something of a fad in the late 60s.  A great page about “What is the three armhole dress?” can be found by  clicking here, where the “Patterns from the Past” shows at least nine (six for women, and three for girls) wrap-arounder dresses which were released between 1966 and 1969.  All nine of the dress patterns were all categorized as “Jiffy” projects, with minimal tissue pieces to use and relatively quick time to completion.  As is shown on “Patterns from the Past” blog, Butterick, McCall’s, and Simplicity all came out with their own versions of the three-armhole dress, but apparently the term “wrap-arounder” is technically a trademark of McCall’s corporation.  (“Patterns from the Past” sells patterns, too – see here – so she should know a thing or two.) “Woof Nanny” also has a blog page here about the wrap-around 60’s fad, and she shows a few more three-armhole patterns that aren’t seen on the “Patterns from the Past” page.  Some wrap-arounder patterns have collars, some have fringe, and some are made out of towel cloth…but they are all share the same basic, but short lived creative design.

100_3207b     As far as versatility goes, this dress design banks in on the ingenuity factor, quietly offering a seamstress endless opportunities for creativity and ingenuity with a seemingly mellow pattern cover that is not fetching, just curious.  Maggie at “Vintage Core Patterns” made herself a cute version of Simplicity #7572.  My hubby and I have come up with a plethora of ideas ourselves for this pattern, so I have a feeling I’ll have some more creative variations of the 60s wrap-arounder dress in my future.  Looking at some comments on this subject in the internet blogging world, interesting variations of the three-armhole dress have already been thought of years ago.  Both of the blogs I mentioned in the paragraph above (“Woof Nanny” and “Patterns from the Past”) have some comments at the bottom of their pages that are left by people who made these wrap-arounder dresses when the patterns were first released.  One comment said their three-armhole dress pattern was made to be a full body apron to cover their Sunday best clothes, while another comment said it made an easy-to-get-on dress for a girl with a cast on her broken arm.  Many of the comments were remembrances of how the wrap-arounder dress was their first clothing project for ‘home economics’ class in school.  Read the comments for yourself and be amazed, like I was, at how such a simple design brings back memories and brings out peoples ‘creativity.  It’s a shame these innovative wrap patterns are generally unknown nowadays!

THE FACTS:100_3218

FABRIC:  As this dress is reversible, it took two different fabrics: 1.) a cotton, embroidered border eyelet in a dusty aqua color, and 2.) a printed quilter’s cotton which has a solid blue on one side and a navy basket weave print on the other side.  Both fabric pieces are cut at just under 2 yards.  You can see, in the picture at right, what both fabrics look like in detail, and also how I lined up the embroidered border to end just above the bottom hem.

NOTIONS:   I bought a spool of dark aqua dual-duty thread.  This was the only notion I needed to make this dress. 

PATTERN:  Simplicity #7572, (picture at the top left) with a date of 1967 on the inner instructions and a date of 1968 on the envelope.  I chose to make view 2, the mid-length version.  I can tell from the markings and cuts that the pattern had been made up in the mini length version, and, as this comes from the stash of my mother-in-law, I wonder who in the family made and wore their version of Simplicity #7572. 

Simplicity7572 Jiffy close upTIME TO COMPLETE:  Making the pattern up exactly as instructed, I can see this dress being a 3 hour quickie project.  However, leave it to me to make this harder!  I ended up fitting the dress at the armholes somewhat (I’ll explain more down later), and the reversible part of the dress took extra cutting, top stitching, seam turning, and pinning time.  Altogether, I think my version of Simplicity #7572 dress was completed in 6 or 7 hours, and was finished on June 20, 2014.

THE INSIDES:  What insides?  All the seams (which aren’t many) are, well, tucked ‘inside’ both fabrics because my dress is totally reversible. 

TOTAL COST:  The aqua eyelet fabric has been in my stash too long for me to remember when I bought it or where it came from, so I am counting it as free.  The cotton quilting cotton for the other reversible side was bought at Hancock Fabrics just recently.  Thus, between buying the one fabric and the one spool of thread my total cost for my dress is under $10.00.

100_3120    The size of the pattern is a medium, and I really needed a small, so I correctly estimated I would have to do some fitting to trim down both the appearance and fit.  First, I cut out and sewed up the two different fabrics like two separate dresses making no changes to the pattern whatsoever.  The pattern piece is one, gigantic rectangular style shape which you cut on the fold to end up with six total armholes.  (Pardon all of our son’s toys in my layout picture).  Every two armholes get sewn together after a small shaping dart is sewn into each one of the six.  After this stage, I was able to try on a single layer of fabric and realize where and how much to bring in.  I ended up taking in my dress, just like a giant 100_3121vertical dart, from the center under arm down to an inch above the bottom hem.  This made (more or less) three giant side seams, and I had to do this adjustment exactly the same on both fabrics.  Personally, I took in all the darts at 1 1/4 inches for the first 5 inches down under the arm, then gradually tapering down to nothing, for a total of 3 3/4 inches taken in from the bust and waist of the dress (see picture at left).

Next, the two fabric dresses were joined, right sides together, and stitched all along the outside seam…all the way across the neckline between the three armholes, down the two vertical edges, and also the long bottom hem.  My pin box was maxed out!  A small gap was left open at the bottom hem to turn the dress right sides out and turn the edges.  Then 100_3217the same edge had to be top stitched all the way around again!  The last step was to measure and turn in the raw edges for the three armholes and top stitch them together, too.  The inner raw edges and the side darts I added for fitting are actually quit invisible through the eyelet holes of the aqua side of my dress.  All you see is the nice contrast of the dusty colored blue through the stitched openings of the eyelet.

100_3208a     Wearing this three-armholed wrap-arounder dress is a process as creative as the pattern itself.  Depending on how you initially wrap it on yourself, the third armhole of the dress doubles up on either the left or on the right shoulder, to “anchor” the dress closed.  The third armhole can end facing in front or in back of you, as you can see in the envelope cover above.  Anyway you wear it, you will always have two armholes/shoulders on one arm.  See my pictures.  Above, I’m demonstrating how the dress gets wrapped on by wearing only two of the armholes without the third.  We had to take this picture at home 🙂  If I wanted to wear the dress so that the third armhole opening would end facing the back, I would put it on exactly the opposite of how you see it in my picture.  (We didn’t get a picture of that…it felt indecent.)    In the picture below, I’ve switched sides fabric sides – I think I needed to sneeze too!  It took me a small amount of experimenting with the dress itself to understand completely how it gets worn, so if you don’t understand my attempt at an explanation, you’re fine!  You just need to make one of these dresses for yourself!

100_3212a100_3216a     As if I haven’t said enough good things about my wrap-arounder dress, I would like to add one more.  I was reluctant to use my aqua eyelet to make this dress, for after saving in my stash for so long I wanted to make the best possible project.  I did realize that trying to be the very best is me trying too hard, so I went ahead and used the fabric anyway because wearing it is always better than sitting for more time in the basement stash.  My husband also made the point that this Simplicity 7572 dress stays true to the engineer’s K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle, being practically a solid 2 yard cut, so if I ever do decide to make something else with the fabric for my dress, I can do so easily.  Read how I also followed the K.I.S.S. principle here.  How’s that idea for “reuse and recycle”?!

My outfit is matched perfectly by some retro aqua square clip-on earrings I found recently at an antique mall for $1.00.  I figured on stressing the pre-70s fashion of my late 60s dress by wearing my funky navy blue “Crown Vintage” brand wedges, which were a Christmas present from hubby.  A blue suede flower pin from Hancock Fabrics closes the wrap dress’ flap in most of my pictures.  I can’t wait to find more on hand to match and compliment my unusual retro creation.

Innovation is everywhere.  Most of what we wear, and posses, and enjoy is a product of someone’s inventive idea.  We just need to keep our eyes open to see, appreciate, and spread such creative ideas, such as the 60s wrap-around three-armhole dress idea (or see my post on knitwear).  It’s fun and worthwhile to let those creative juices flow!

Kelly’s “Happy in the Navy” Sundress

     Here’s my contribution for this week’s Sew Weekly challenge, done in a hue of blue.  This dress was made early/mid summer of 2011 and was the first project after too long of a remission from sewing.  I had just found a place for my old Singer machine and, of course, I needed to see how it worked.

I hope you can see by the pictures that I am very happy with this sundress.  The navy and white flowered rayon is super soft and flowing and I feel great wearing it!

     Needless to say, I’m also a big fan of this pattern, Simplicity 2362.  It is a very smart, very slimming, cute, and feminine – all in one dress.  The open, hidden-in-the-side-seam pockets are a clever design and were fun to sew.  Yay for pockets!  It’s a shame the print hides the cool details.  All those inverted pleats took time!

     I made view B nearly unaltered.  I graded the pattern, like I always do now, and I am glad I made the sizes I chose.  The fully lined bodice fits WELL, and any tighter it would probably fit like a corset…

I sort of feel bad making something directly from a pattern without adding something of my own to it (silly I know).   So, as a discriminating artist, I did find two problems with this dress which I fixed before it was considered fully “done”.

Problem #1) The sleeves had the tendency to droop off my shoulders.  The way I fixed it was to make a band, out of the dress material, and fit it across the back between my shoulder blades.  I sewed the left side down on the strap edge and other side closes with three snaps on the right strap edge.  I figured I didn’t want my idea to make the dress hard to get into with the back zipper below my band between straps. Does this make any sense?

  Problem #2) This dress had a cleavage exposing bodice.  Why didn’t I figure this out earlier!? Oh well.  I minded this “problem”, but the hubby probably didn’t.  So I sewed an insert that is not as professional as I would like it to be, but, I think, works very well because I can easily make it better.  I retraced the neckline from the pattern and sewed on an identical one a few inches higher.  As it lacks gathers or lining, I plan on fixing this insert when I have some free time (like, never!) to dedicate for finishing this part.  I just wanted to wear the dress at the time when it was finished…and I have been wearing this dress LOTS since last year.

Does  anyone else have any suggestions on how to keep the edges of my bias ruffled sleeves from rolling?  It seems like when I do those turns on the grain, my hems never lie flat.  That doesn’t keep me from loving ruffled sleeves though, because I plan on doing a 1930’s ruffled sleeve dress soon:)

THE FACTS:

FABRIC:  100% rayon challis (the soft and luxurious stuff) from my stash and some cling-free lining from the stash

NOTIONS:  I bought 1 zipper and navy thread

PATTERN: Simplicity 2362, year 2010

FIRST WORN:  to church and then to our local public library

TIME TO COMPLETE:  I don’t remember anymore, but not too long – at least 6 hours and probably more