When I visited my dad in Michigan in January I found myself with not a lot to do. I had seriously injured my hamstring while ice skating and it was snowing so driving wasn’t an option. I was starting to get a case of cabin fever so I decided to dig through the drawers and closets to see what I might discover.
I found a bag of patterns in the closet. Some were things I had sewn when I was in high school. Some were dresses my mother had sewn for herself at some point in her life. Needless to say none were my current size. I found some fabric that wouldn’t have been my first choice for just about anything but the rose and grey colors were good and the print was fairly small. I picked the dress pattern with the least alteration needed and began to measure and make the changes I hoped would create a dress/long open top that would fit me. I took the waist darts out and moved them to try to make it large enough for me around the waist. My other issue was a sewing machine that had only basic stitches. This meant I had to use an overcast stitch on my ravelly seams. And the needle could have been a little newer so the inside of the dress was a mess. Once I took everything home it was better with new needles and a serger.
It has some nice details that you can’t see with this print. The collar is nice and large and could stand up if I used a thicker interfacing. The sleeve is not set in and makes a quick sew.
As you can see this first effort ended up being too big around the waist and looks pretty dowdy. I already feel most vintage looks dowdy on me as I become vintage.
But now that I have a shape on a dress form I can start to play around and make changes to turn it into something a little more stylish. (I hope). My first step is to add some darts to the bodice so it is not so huge. I also noticed I am longer waisted than this dress form. Not sure how to fix that on the form.
I set the opening a little lower and I am in business.
Now for my favorite part! I dig through the button tins – most of them from my mother’s stash and select some. I don’t pick my absolute favorites because I am not sure I will actually ever wear this dress (if I do I will share). I was also delighted to figure out how to use the buttonhole setting on my new machine. It was actually a joy instead of a pain to do buttonholes.
And the best part is finishing a project that was clogging my flow. I put it on for Easter but couldn’t style it quite right to be comfortable wearing it. Will I ever wear it? Still not sure.
Do you sew vintage patterns? If so what do you find to be your biggest hurdle?