Monday, February 23, 2015

• Broccoli and Gingham 1940s Dress •

Otherwise entitled, Make Do & Mend, Of Fruits and Vegetables, How to Get a Dress Out of Two and a Half Yards, or Historical Sew Monthly #2.

Now that all that's settled, I can continue. :)
This dress is indeed a tale "making do and mending." Making do because of a definite shortage of fabric, and mending because of some mistakes that I made.

I originally intended this fabric for a blouse, but I loved it so much that I really wanted a dress out of it. I laid out pattern after pattern, thinking that there had to be something that would work out of 2 1/2 yards. No. Nothing would, it seemed.
But, stubbornness prevailing, I had one last pattern to try laying out. Vogue 8728. It almost fit on the fabric, which gave me enormous hope. Determined to make it work, I decided that I could use a contrasting fabric for parts of it. Enter the famous blue gingham! That fabric has been used for so many things, it's just crazy! My mom has a 1950s dress that has a gingham belt and piping, I made a blouse out of it ages ago, and recently, a baby dress.
Obviously, after all of those projects, there was not much of it left, but there was just enough to get the front and back bodice bottom (on the bias) and seam binding! I never thought of the two fabrics matching before, but they really do go together beautifully. It's ironic, because the broccoli fabric itself is on a light diagonal gingham background. It seems they were made for each other!

I had to make several alterations to the pattern; since the pattern sleeves are awfully short and large, I extended them up and out into kimono-style sleeves. I also made the neck about 1 1/2" higher.

Through trying to remember to do all of these alterations, I managed to forget one very important one; making the neckline narrower! I was so mad at myself. I was beginning to detest this vegetable-laden dress! What would fix the very wide neckline? A neckband? Big bias binding? (Wouldn't that look just lovely....)

I finally decided to sew in a piece on each shoulder in order to make the neckline narrower. It seemed like a rather ludicrous idea at the time, but it actually worked quite well! It is not, perhaps the most desirable thing to have to do on a dress, but under the circumstances, I'm pretty happy with it!

We found this delicious green bakelite buckle at a local antique shop recently, and it adds the perfect touch! I just love it. And it's our first bakelite item of any kind, so it is definitely exciting.

I pieced the back of the bodice out of necessity, but I'm actually very glad it worked out that way. It makes it look like an intentional continuation of the contrasting bodice front. 

My mom decided to make a dress out of this pattern as well, using some gorgeous matching fabrics that she had in the stash. I just love those fabrics together! We affectionately named our dresses "Blueberry" and "Broccoli."

Oh, and did you see her shoes??!! They are too stinkin' cute! I realllllly want them. I'm not entirely jealous, however, because I actually have a little surprise of my own in the shoe department. But that will have to wait until next week when I have a matching dress to photograph them with. Bright orange somehow doesn't quite match this dress. *tear*

Yep. We're weird like this. Proud cow pose followed by Roman soldier. How delightful.

And now, for the delightful HSM details!! I have been frightfully delinquent in participating in the HSM this year, so I am excited to be back into it! 

The Challenge: Colour Challenge Blue
Fabric: Cottons purchased at two different quilt shops. 2 1/2 yards of the broccoli, and leftover scraps of gingham.
Pattern: Vogue 8728
Year: 1943
Notions: Zipper, thread, belt buckle
How historically accurate is it? Mmmm...85-ish%. There is some serging, and the zipper may or may not be correct.
Hours to complete: 8(?) It would have been less if I had not taken some detours into mistake-land.
First worn: Last Sunday, to church. (And this past Sunday, to church.) I guess I like it. ;)
Total cost: $35
I'll be back on Friday with either another Excerpts From the Past post, or an apron!
Thank you all for the delightful comments on the magazine scans - it gives a girl the incentive to keep it up!
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  1. What a lovely set of dresses! I'm insanely jealous of your mothers shoes, that and the gorgeous fabric. Makes me feel like going and buying up big at my local fabric store, but I've told myself that I have to sew more than I buy this year.....I wonder how long that will last :P

    Alecia xx

    1. Thank you, Alecia!! I can totally relate - buying fabric is SO fun!! Fortunately (or unfortunately), I don't have a very giant stash, so I actually need to buy fabric quite often! :)

  2. Aww, those photos of your mom and yourself are really cute and funny; it's nice that you have matching dresses! I wish my mum liked those kinds of clothes, but she's too much of a tomboy to wear a dress, let alone a vintage-styled one. ;)
    I just love the two fabrics together. I would have thought they'd clash, but here they don't and look great!

    1. Thank you, Milky Usagi!! We do have a lot of fun goofing off. ;)

  3. Oh your dress turned out lovely Esther! And you and your Mom are so comical, if I may be permitted to say so. :)
    I couldn't even tell that your dress was pieced on the shoulder, wonderful job!

    the Middle Sister and Singer

    1. Aww, thanks, Brigid!! You certainly are permitted to say so. We are quite the pair! ;)
      I'm glad to hear you couldn't tell the dress was pieced! I'm so relieved that it worked!

  4. The contrast here orks so well. Glad you were able to rectify the dress

    1. Thank you, Kaitlyn! I am very glad as well!

  5. Sweet dresses. The fabrics are so pretty.

  6. I think it was a blessing in disguise that you didn't have enough of the main fabric for a whole dress - the gingham adds so much! Great job! =)

    1. You're so right, Miss Michelle! It was a blessing in disguise! Isn't God great?
      Thanks for the comment!! :)


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