Do you like vintage sewing patterns? I certainly love all the pretty envelope illustrations, but I try to be picky when it comes to actually buying them (they have to be in my size and a style that I can imagine myself making) - even when they are crazily cheap in charity shops! Even so, I now have a small-but-growing collection of vintage patterns, so this year I decided to join in with #vintagepledge. I pledged to make just one item because I didn't want to put any pressure on myself (sewing is meant to be fun after all!), but somehow it's still taken me to the end of the year to actually follow through on my pledge. Here's my dress...
This is made using McCall's 5863 from 1961 - a shirtwaist dress with a deep oval neckline, Peter Pan style collar and straight or full skirt options. It will probably surprise nobody who has been reading my blog for any length of time that I went with the full skirted option!
The pattern was just right for my bust size, but the waist was slightly on the small side. Thankfully enlarging it was easy - I just took 1 cm out of the two centre front pleats (they're still plenty big enough) and added 1 cm to the centre back of the skirt. Rather than having waist darts, the bodice gathers into the skirt to create a bloused effect, so to account for the extra width I'd added into the skirt, I just gathered the bodice waistline slightly less. This reduces the blousing in the bodice somewhat, but that's fine by me.
Other than that, I made my standard adjustment of adding length to the bodice (an inch in this case), and I also massively shortened the skirt. Straight out of the envelope, the skirt would have been hitting well past my mid-calf so I removed 6 inches, and also made the hem slightly deeper than called for.
I deliberated about what fabric to use for the dress, and was ultimately swayed by the envelope illustration (I told you I love them!) and decided to go with a plain blue dress with a contrast collar, but switch the white collar for pink. The navy is a poplin from Minerva Crafts, and the pink is a quilting cotton with a slightly mottled effect that I found in a local shop.
I love the way the colours look together, and I love the idea of the dress, but unfortunately I just feel a bit underwhelmed with the dress itself (as indicated by the fact it's taken me about a fortnight since taking these photos to actually write this post!). I don't hate it, but usually when I put a new dress on I feel all excited about wearing it and this time I just felt a bit 'meh'.
I think a large part of that is probably because it's quite a plain dress, and I'm used to fun and pretty prints, but I think some of it may also be the collar. I love the way contrast collars look on other people, but when I wear them myself I feel like I've got some odd kind of bib on or something!
I wouldn't go as far as saying this is a failure - I'm definitely going to try wearing the dress, and hopefully I'll grow to like it a bit more as I do - but it's not quite as great as I'd hoped it would be. That's OK though, the sewing process was still fun, and not every dress can be your favourite dress, can it?