Sewing Sunday – Vogue V8789 Dress

So, look away now if you don´t want to read about sewing!

Still with me? Good! On my last trip to London I treated myself to two very nice dress patterns and some fabric with the idea of making myself dresses to wear to weddings. There are an awful lot of large weddings to attend each summer as it´s typical to invite the whole village. Factor in the fact that Big Man is one of 10 children and you can imagine how many nieces and nephews there are to be married off over the years!

Wish I had a waist like that!

Last year I was in the UK and stumbled across a find of vintage fabrics which the shop owner told me had been found packed neatly away in a suitcase. The lady who had bought the fabrics had died and her son had been going through her things, a sad thing to have to do, but I am glad that her fabrics have seen the light of day again.

New and Vintage Fabrics

The son believed they dated from the mid 1950s, a time when rationing in the UK was being eased off and the rules which applied to dressmaking during the war we done away with. This is true, because of the chronic shortages of pretty much everything, there were even rules about how wide skirts and trousers could be, restrictions on pleats and darts..because it all used up so much fabric. Think about the tailored looks during the 1940s and then (especially for women) the full skirts of the 1950s. I can imagine a young woman going out and choosing some lengths of brightly coloured fabrics anticipating what she would make with them. I wonder why they were never made up?

There was not enough fabric for me to make up the Vogue pattern I chose with a full skirt, so I adapted. The photo doesn´t really do the fabric of the dress justice. It´s a grey Sunday here in Spain so the photos look a little dull.

Should have ironed it before snapping it!

The dress is a trial run for the Going to the Wedding Dress. The second one will be made out of a gorgeous orange and brown fabric and will be fully lined, and I will be using some techniques which are new to me. French seams, a grosgrain waistband and a horsehair braid hem.

I should finish it this week, so as soon as it´s done, I´ll post more photos.

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81 thoughts on “Sewing Sunday – Vogue V8789 Dress

  1. I absolutely adore your new pattern and what a clever girl you are to adjust the pattern! I haven’t used my sewing machine once since i have been home!
    What a treasure trove you have with those old fabrics and I too would love to know why the lady never used them.
    Can’t wait to see your next dress.
    Have a beautiful Sunday.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. I´m really enjoying making the “posh” version. Have even ordered a big-ish sticky out petticoat, but we´ll see how it works without the “frou-frou” as well! I am intrigued by the fabrics, they were still folded and packed as if they had been bought then completely forgotten about. If they could tell a story…Have a great Sunday too Mandy!

  2. I love that design… especially the one with the horizontal collar… I don’t know if it’d suit your body type, but I’d sure love to see you making a dress like that 🙂

    This dress is just gorgeous!

    1. Hi Fati! I liked the one with the straight collar too. Unfortunately I am rather “top heavy” so tend to usually wear v-necks which suit me. But I think I´m going to try a top using the bodice pattern, then if it looks ok I can make a dress, and if not then I haven´t wasted to much fabric…

  3. I don’t sew, but my mother did…I was FORBIDDEN to go through the Vogue pattern books, because she deemed all of them “too hard.” I expect that when the time comes to clear out her things, there will be lots of lengths of fabric she never found a worthy pattern for. I know for certain that there will be 6 yards of silk my father brough back from Tokyo when I was an infant…she could never bring herself to lay scissors to it.
    Kinda’ sad…
    Love the dress you made! Wish it would stay warm enough for dresses here!

    1. Wow – silk from Tokyo! I know how your mother felt though as for me the part I like least about making a dress is when I take the scissors to the fabric, It´s silly isn´t it – but it´s the point of no return and if you haven´t measured properly, or set the pattern out right, or if the end product doesn´t suit…well 😦 Have to say this is the first Vogue pattern I´ve ever used and I was really pleased with it!

  4. What fun Tanya! And wouldn’t the woman whose stash it was be so happy that her fabrics were being made into Go-To-Wedding dresses!? What a lovely fate is that! Anxiously awaiting your next dress – complete with petticoats? Get enough of those going and it has a way of “shrinking” the waist! 🙂 (but really, who’d want a waste That small? Wherever could you put a good meal?)

  5. How I remember spending hours upon hours with Mom as she shopped for fabric. OK. It was probably less than 30 minutes every time but it seemed longer. Honest! I bet she’d love both your dress and the fabrics you brought back. 🙂

    1. You are too kind John as I´m sure this is not that interesting to you 😉 You did make me laugh though as it reminded me of the way I feel when Big Man takes me to a DIY store….I always hunt out the kitchen or garden section while he gets excited over power tools!

  6. Really pretty! This pattern is still on my wishlist. Can’t wait to see the other dress you’re making, I like the colors of your fabric!

  7. What a great pattern, and a real treasure trove of fabric. I’ve had sewing on my mind for a while now. You may have given me the push I needed to get my mother in law’s old pedal driven Singer up and running again!

  8. I’m loving the fabrics! My mum used to have a trunk with fabrics in, bit’s of this, a ream of that. I loved messing about – sorry that should read dressngup/playing with them. And the pattern is just gorgeous too 🙂

    1. Thank you – it was rather an expensive pattern but I have already (almost) made 2 dresses out of it and I can see myself uhsing the bodice again so it´s ended up being good valiue. It is a simple pattern though – I really am no expert! Thanks for visiting and commenting 🙂

  9. My goodness you are clever, I’ve not made myself anything for years! Looks like youv’e done a great job so far. Can’t wait to see what the dress looks like made up in the other fabric.

  10. Wow!
    Me encanta Tanya. Tienes tanto talento… me estas motivando, si encuentro tiempo (muy difícil) es posible que me aficione a esto de coser 😉 Dónde compras los patrones?
    Saludos!

    1. Gracias Giovanna – tú ya tienes muchos hobbies con la cocina, las fotos, tu familia, tu cross stitch – te va a hacer falta otra día en la semana! Compro la revista Burda y los patrones en el internet.

  11. OMG. That looks just like the pattern I made my first dress with, when I was in sewing class in high school. It was white with green polka dots. And the full skirt had to have the really stiff petticoat under it. (didn’t do much for my stockings if I remember correctly)

    I always thought I was a chubby teenager, but I’d give anything to get back to that waist size. 🙂

    1. Ooh a sort of 1950s flamenco dress with polka dots…how wonderful! What an ambitious project (even though it´s quite simple) with all that fabric for a beginner. I think we started off with tea towels 😦

  12. I wonder if you have plans for any of the other lovely fabrics …..

    Gorgeous dress and isn’t it amazing that waist stays were needed – who’d have thought in this modern age of trousers and sleek lines and and. How lovely and, well girly.

    Have to look up ‘frou frou’!

    1. Not sure if frou frou is a real word! But amongst my girlfriends it´s something frothy and lacy and girly and fun! Have never used waist stays before, but am looking forward to seeing if it makes a difference to the finished look…

  13. With you sewing and me gardening, who is cooking? ;-p I can sew buttons back on (usually) but that’s about the end of my abilities. You wow me!

  14. I used to sew all the time.. there is a story there for sure, because choosing the fabric and the matching pattern is so exciting. Someone with those fabrics had dreams that never quite came true, eh? I love that someone like you finds them and brings them to life! Can’t wait to see it done!!

    1. How funny, I´ve been thinking along those lines since I wrote the post. I am imagining a Rosamunde Pilcher type short story (if you know that writer) about a war bride who dreamt of a beautiful summer dress but was too caught up in bringing up her children single handedly (sadly she was widowed during the war) and her dreams stayed locked in the case for 65 years. Then of course, I beautiful young girl (I´m just the narrator) finds the fabric, makes a dress and ends up marrying her grandson….!

  15. You are pretty talented with those dress patterns. It looks so pretty. Such a shame that although I may spend ages looking through the Vogue patterns in my nearest shop, my attempts somehow never look as chic. You have inspired me to perhaps give it another go! x

      1. How difficult 1-10 from an extreme novice being 1 and a seamstress being 10 do you think this dress was? You have really sparked my interest and I am googling fabrics like I have the time or skill to figure this out lol

      2. I´d say a 5 or 6 – the instructions were very clear, and if you´ve never done something like put a zip in before you can find some brilliant tutorials on the internet. It´s one that you can take slowly but see results quickly! I´d be happy to talk you through it if you decide to give it a go! I found I needed slightly less material than it said as I am not very tall and only wanted the dress to hit my knee, so it could also be done more cheaply.

  16. Hi Chica, this looks like a really fun project – I’m looking forward to seeing how it pans out later – gonna send the link to my wife too as she’s really into sewing and crafting.

  17. I did not know you were a seamstress too! What a wonderful job you did Tanya and I especially love the second pattern. The first one is really nice too! You’re just a jack of all trades eh? Hehehe.

  18. Sewing…sewing? That’s that thing you do with a needle right. I think I sewed a button once. Great job! Can’t wait to see more. I admire your skill!

  19. This is so beautiful dear Chica, I love sewing too but I am not good as you… I loved it so much, you made me excited now…. fabrics, and sweing these are so enjoyable… Thank you, with my love, nia

  20. I found this post so interesting…I had no idea that the way clothing was made was influenced by rationing. You will be so lovely in your new dresses and the envy of the village.

    1. It´s very interesting – I bought a book called “Make Do and Mend” which is a collection of the guidance leaflets issued by the British government during the war years…lots of interesting info in it!

  21. I haven’t used the sewing machine in a long time, but I do remember (as somebody said above) that those Vogue patterns were the really hard ones. So impressive what you’ve done!

  22. this looks amazing! I share the same hobbies as you – cooking and baking and sewing! waiting to get a sewing machine of my own so I can make dresses like this too. is it very complex? (i am relatively decent at sewing but have never made clothes!)

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting! Dressmaking can be as straightforward or as complex as you want it to be. If you start with simple patterns I think you would quickly build your confidence..let me know if you do start on any projects and hope you get that machine very soon 🙂

  23. Gorgeous. Despite the inclement weather this looks absolutely beautiful. I love that print. I simply cant wait to see the ‘posh’ version made up. That fabric is stunning.

    1. Thanks Evie – I am having problems with the waist – it´s a little high on me and is giving me a suspicious looking bump up front…hopefully I can sort it out today or people at the wedding will think there´s soon going to be a christening too!

  24. How lovely! 🙂 And how I look forward to having time to do more time-consuming projects like this! Now you just have to show us a pic of you in your pretty new frock! 🙂

  25. I’m making this pattern for my wedding dress. Its beautiful and I plan to have a layer of lace around the skirt. And I love your vintage fabrics, what a find!!

    1. I am surfe you will look stunning – it´s a wonderful dress and so lovely to wear! I am looking for some black silk to make an evening dress in the same pattern … Congratulations on the forthcoming wedding!

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