Sewing Sunday – Fifties Franken Frock

Morning! Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.  Just a quickie from me today, another of my little sewing projects.

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This summer dress is made from a beautiful vintage fabric I bought in a second-hand shop in Hastings Old Town over a year ago, when we were house hunting in the UK. The shop sells bric a brac, crockery, books etc and I just happened to ask if there was any fabric tucked away. Luckily for me the owner told me that a man had come in that morning with a suitcase full of fabrics he had found when clearing out his late mother’s effects. He believed the fabric had been purchased in the 1950s and then never used. What a find, I snapped it all up.

I was happy to think that I could turn this beautiful, summery fabric into a Happy Dress, I hope the original purchaser would have approved.

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The dress is a bit of a Frankenstein, in that it has been made up from parts of different patterns. The top of my Vogue Going to the Wedding Dress and the skirt (with some added pleats) and pockets of my recently made Tiramisu.

I know I will enjoy wearing this dress the whole summer through.

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Going to the Wedding Dress 1

Sewing Alert –click away now if you´d rather read a recipe. Why not try this one for a cold, rainy Saturday?!

So, the Vintage style dress is finished and I have to say I am really very pleased with the way it has turned out.

The pattern is Vogue V8789, view A.

Wish I had a waist like that!

I have also made a silk shawl with a hand rolled hem to go with it, to cover up my shoulders.

I tried out a few new techniques (well, new to me). A horsehair hem, hand stitched to finish it off. This adds a little body to the hem. I had bought a net petticoat to wear underneath but when it arrived I looked like a giant meringue so back it went into the wardrobe.

I sewed a satin bias binding in a contrast colour to the lining.

I hand stitched the bodice lining to the bodice. I really enjoy sewing by hand.

A grosgrain waist stay (I think that is what it is called) was hand stitched around the inside and this really adds shape to the waist when it is worn.

But…the weather has turned cold and damp. The wedding is next Saturday so I have started work on the other Vintage style dress I had planned to make as it has sleeves. It´s the Butterick 5556…hopefully I´ll have it finished this week and then depending on the weather I can decide which one I´ll wear.

Meanwhile, the dogs snooze in the not so sunny sun room while the rain comes down, and I´ll get on with my sewing.

Yes, that is a jamon bone on the sofa which they had clearly dragged in out of the rain and which I only noticed when I downloaded the photo! Naughty pups...

And now, if you enjoyed seeing my Going to the Wedding Dress, why not check out my blogging pal Evie´s Actual Wedding Dress.  What a very talented and beautiful bride!

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.