I’m kind of pinching myself – I made five dresses this month. Well, four if we want to get pedantic about it – the second one from the left was finished in April. But I finished them all within four weeks, even if the calendar designation shifted. Special interests, man. Sometimes Asperger’s pays.
Anyway, I thought I’d do a round-up of my monthly makes. Patterns used, total cost, difficulty level, and anything else you’d need to know to attempt these projects yourself.
Pattern: self-drafted via Leena’s tutorial
Materials: green Walmart cotton (dress), vintage tablecloth (jacket & trim)
Cost: cotton $12, tablecloth $8, pattern free
Difficulty: minimal! This was the third dress I made from my self-drafted pattern, and I already had it down to a science. The cotton was crisp and sturdy, easy to cut and pin. I did accidentally sew an extra fold into one side of the waistband, so the bodice wrinkles unevenly. That’s entirely user error, though. Nothing to do with the pattern or the material.
Overall: Nothing too special, but a nice solid dress that can go fancy or not. I’m looking forward to wearing the set with rich browns and oranges come autumn.
Pattern: self-drafted via Leena’s
Materials: king-sized cotton sheet via Goodwill
Cost: sheet $4, pattern free
Difficulty: minimal. Drafting the Leena’s pattern took a solid three hours, but it wasn’t confusing, just very specific. If I read the instructions carefully, I had no trouble. Putting together the dress was also somewhat painstaking – I cut out panels of border print and interspersed them with regular, which took another hour or three. No major hurdles, though. Just the normal fiddly bits of sewing.
Overall: Honestly, I don’t love this dress as much as I thought I would. I was going for speed and decided to gather the skirt instead of pleating, which makes a big difference. Gathering reminds me of doll dresses and small children; I really prefer the precision of pleats. Moreover, in my excitement over this fabric, I forgot that beige isn’t my best color. I’m not a big fan of nudes. Give me boldness! But I do really love the fabric. I’ve never seen anything else like it, and it delights me to own such a singularly unique dress. And as I’ve said before, it’ll be perfect for the summer Renn Faire circuit.
Pattern: Simplicity 65C
Materials: vintage cotton curtains I’d had in my stash for years
Cost: fabric free, pattern $2
Difficulty: moderate. Vintage patterns are cut very differently from modern ones. I knew that going in, but I wasn’t prepared for just how roomy the bust turned out to be. I used the size 20, ostensibly 40-32-free, and I still had to take in the bodice a good six inches. Those housewives’ cups runneth the hell over. Better too big than too small, though. After a few pinnings, I got a perfect fit.
Overall: My photos of this dress were some of my favorites from this entire year so far, so I’m just a little biased here. But seriously, I love everything about it. The cap sleeves, the pleating at the hips, all the colors. And this dress is soft. Those curtains must be ancient – the fabric feels brushed and worn in the best way. This is definitely a dress to pull out for summer’s finest.
Pattern: self-drafted via Leena’s
Materials: vintage cotton via Jubilee Street
Cost: fabric $52, rickrack $12, pattern free
Difficulty: moderate. I used my trusty self-drafted pattern, but I made a few modifications that proved tricky to fit. I wanted cap sleeves and a v-neck, both of which I had to stitch and unpick multiple times. Sleeves, man. Not my favorite. Plus, I only had three and a half yards of expensive vintage fabric, so I had exactly zero room to mess up.
Overall: So…I know I’ve said this about a lot of dresses, but this really is my favorite dress. Ever. Period. It’s everything I want in a dress distilled into one perfect garment. I’d wanted a vintage fruit print for ages and ages, and this one is plucked right from my dreams. Seriously, it’s exactly what I’d imagined. And it was damn well a labor of love: I sewed all the rickrack by hand. I love knowing that I own such a perfectly me dress – and that I made it myself.
Pattern: Vogue 2960
Materials: cotton via Jo-Ann Fabric
Cost: fabric $17, buttons $6, pattern $5 (on major sale – vintage Vogues usually go for $30+!)
Difficulty: maximum. Oy. That’s about all I can say – and the worst part? Most of it was my own damn fault. I detailed most of the problems in the original post, but I’ve thought of more since. First of all, like I said above, I should really size down when it comes to vintage bodices. That goes double for sleeveless ones. I have narrower shoulders than my bust and arms would suggest, so while this pattern fits me there, it keeps sliding off my shoulders. A little Googling told me that multiple people have had this problem with Vogue 2960, though. A fellow sewing blogger drafted a back dart to keep the straps in place, which I plan to try out. (Reason seven billion why I love the blogosphere. We’re a human search engine.)
Second, I’m not usually one for facing and lining. Unless it’s the dead of winter, I can’t help seeing it as a waste of time and fabric. I can usually get away without it, but…not this time. I really should have used the facing. The low-cut bodice plus the flimsiness of the cotton plus the mandated bralessness means I’m basically seconds from popping out. I need some reinforcement. I think I’ll go back and add some when I work on the back darts. I really do like this dress, and I’d like to wear it without constant adjusting.
Overall: An ambitious project! I’m proud that I finished it, even if I did spend over two hours cursing my buttonhole attachment. I love the full skirt and the big white buttons. And it’s my first light purple garment, like, ever. I developed a recent hankering for the color, only to find I had absolutely none.
And that’s my first Me-Made May! What about you? Any projects you’ve undertaken this month that you’d like to share?