This is a project I made for the book last year. Isn’t it a lovely dress? In the end you don’t see a lot of this dress in the book, which is a shame as it’s very pretty! (It was a contender for the cover but I think they made the right choice with the pink dress.)
I think this dress is great! I feel like Charlotte from Sex and the City in it.
(Anyone else take photos of their TV for sewing inspiration?)
The trim is rickrack, looking a lot less zigzaggy with half of it enclosed in the edge. This is how it’s done – centered along the seamline. Baste right down the middle, where the finished edge will be.
You can see the line of white stitching down the middle of the black trim. Ideally, that’s exactly where the seam allowance is folded back so only half of the rickrack shows.
I would never use this rickrack detail again on a strapless dress. Never again! It’s super uncomfortable under the arms. The dress is anchored at the waist, but when you move your arms or twist your body the rickrack rubs against the skin. It looks super cool, but it is not great to wear! Rickrack at the front neckline and all across the back is fine, it’s just under the arms at the front that is annoying. Black piping would give the same look but end up softer to wear.
I was hoping for wind in the skirt, but ended up with hair in the face. Ah well!
Back view. I like how the back scoops down, just a little.
Photos are great because you get to see things you don’t notice in real life. You can see the belt is creeping up a little in the back, which often means the back is a little too long. Or it could be how I was standing. (I felt the back of my dress while sitting in my chair to check, and it does feel just like this photo, with the belt about 1/4″ to 1/2″ higher than the seam.) Also, if you look back up at the very first photo in this post, the belt is just a little higher in the front too. That’s a good sign the bodice is just a bit too long! (I am pretty sure I added about an inch to the bodice length, but cannot find the pattern piece to check.)
The fabric is a polyester from Telio, but it looks much fancier than that! It was pretty easy to work with. In fact, it’s the same base as this black polka-dot Rae skirt!
The skirt is just gathered rectangles, easy. It’s unlined, and I finished the hem with seam binding in a matching green.
I hand-picked the zipper but that might not have been the best decision as it’s under a lot of strain at the waistline.
Strangely, it calls for a centered zipper on the left side, not a lapped one. There is boning hand-sewn to the zipper along one side of the zipper tape. I’ll hopefully make this one again and take some photos of the construction as it was quite interesting, but I was in a hurry when I sewed it!
Here’s a quick look at the inside:
It’s lined with bleached muslin so it’s soft and cottony against the skin.
I was going to skip the inside photos so I didn’t have to take off my dress at work.. except that I had to do something about those scratchy edges!
I trimmed closely to the edge of the rickrack, being careful not to cut the dress fabric. So much better! (It’s still in the rest of the photos below, but by the end of the day, the trim had to go!)
Here is the original pattern envelope:
This is the one I found the newspaper clippings in! I usually look online to see if anyone else has sewn this one up and posted photos, but nope! Just me so far.
I think this would be a lovely dress to wear to a wedding, or on a special date. It would look fantastic and more authentically vintage with a big petticoat underneath, but still looks nice on its own.
Here’s an in-the-mirror shot from last spring when I was sewing this sample. I’m wearing a petticoat and you can really see the difference! Your waist looks so tiny when your skirt is huge.
Back view – you can also see all the book fabric in the background, on top of the bookcase!
I didn’t feel like wearing this dress full vintage-style for work, so I skipped the petticoat. It’s pretty awesome though with that much poof. I feel like Marty McFly’s mom dressed up for to the Enchantment under the Sea dance, the part where he looks inside the car and it’s all petticoat. That’s what would happen if I got in a car wearing this dress and a petticoat. Not enough space in a Smart Car for all that!
It is very tight in the waist, so if I gain even a little bit of weight or if I eat a big meal, it doesn’t zip up. (Back in the day women probably wore substantial foundation garments to keep things sucked in underneath, taking the pressure off the zipper.) Not the greatest for all-day wear but fine for short-term wear and special occasions!
Have a great weekend, everyone!