Yay! My fourth vintage pattern this year!
My Husband and I were invited to a wedding at the weekend in North Yorkshire and although I probably did have something I could wear I wanted to make something. Actually, I think I wanted an excuse to sew one of my vintage patterns up and if I'm going to put time and effort into fitting something properly (or haphazardly in my case) it has to be for something special!!
The pattern I used is Butterick 7648 from 1956 which I have had in my drawer for a while. I think I probably got it on eBay as part of a batch buy but I can't really remember. I had never really looked at it with a view to making it before until we moved and I was going through all of my patterns, then it stood out and suddenly I desperately wanted to make it. I had originally wanted to make the fuller skirted version but after canvassing a few people (Husband, parents and Marilla) I decided to go with popular opinion and make the slimmer skirt. I still want to make the full skirt at some point so I am glad I took time to fit the bodice (kind of!).
I made a trial version up in some quilting cotton I have had in my stash for about 5 years because I knew it would have a similar weight and drape to my final fabric. I may go back and finish this at some stage because I made it quite neatly, never wanting to waste my sewing time on things I can't wear! The main fitting issues I had were that it gaped at the neck and was tight at the waist. I know I took a pretty slack route to fixing this so please don't judge me! I rotated the pattern piece slightly along the centre fold to add to the waist and take out of the neck. This did fix the neckline but on trying it on I realised I had excess fabric at the waist, so I then added two waist darts which seemed to do the trick. I know there were plenty of better ways to do this but I am intrinsically lazy and needed a quick fix!! And actually I think I would make it the same way next time because I am happy with the fit.
I also changed the order of construction and would alter it further next time I make this. The pattern originally has a side zip and the facings are all sewn in before the shoulder seams are sewn together. Because I altered the pattern to have a back zip I then changed the order of construction and couldn't figure out how to finish the armholes. I know there is a proper way but really my brain wasn't up to thinking and I've been quite busy lately so didn't have time for some research so I bound the edges of the bodice with bias binding. This is not ideal and definitely not what I would do next time but it worked. In fact, I think next time I would a) make this dress in a fabric with a bit of stretch and b) fully line it.
The fabric I used for the dress is a Liberty Poplin called Carline. I saw Helen (Just Sew Therapeutic) had bought some in a different colour way off eBay and being a bit of a sheep about things like that I followed suit immediately! I bought three metres thinking I was going to make the full skirt but in the end only used two so I have some left to do something with. I was thinking of a skirt for me but may be tempted into making a matching dress for the Child. The fabric is lovely and crisp with a slight sheen that certainly felt special enough to be wearing for a wedding.
The kimono sleeved jacket was much more straight forward. I didn't make a trial version trusting that it would fit straight out of the packet as the dress fit was quite close. I used some pretty eyelet fabric I got in Goldhawk Road last May and have been waiting for the right project to use it on. I like the contrast in textures between the two fabrics. The sleeves have three darts on the elbows which work really well to give some movement but which would show up much better in a different, plainer fabric. It was fairly fiddly to sew down the facings onto the eyelet but I got there in the end.
To finish my outfit off I decorated a hat to match. The hat itself came from eBay (for about £7 - so quite a bargain!) but I didn't really like the flowers, they looked a bit sad. Luckily they were sewn on so I removed them then with a mixture of sewing and superglue (I really wish I had a glue gun!) I attached a bow made of three rectangles of fabric - one for the lower bow, one for the higher and one for the central piece. I was quite pleased with my efforts!
The wedding was wonderful, very personal and moving, and I am so pleased the Husband and I made the trip up there. We had such a fantastic weekend and were very fortunate to have my Mum to stay so she could look after the Child for us while we were gone. She also hemmed my dress for me while I fiddled about with the jacket and hat so thank you Mum!!