That 50s Dress With The Collar {Vintage Anne Adams 2056)

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Another irresistible choice from my rather large box (es) of gifted patterns. Oh how I love these old mail order patterns. Ordered from the newspaper and posted out to you in your size. I have 5 or 6 of these, all with a handwritten address on the front.

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This one was a relatively quick sew, all over in a couple of hours. Like all old patterns, this one assumes you know how to sew so the instructions are vague at best. But it’s not a big deal, it’s quite an easy pattern (no collar stand!) and I changed the skirt to a basic gathered one which makes it even easier. I know from past experience that those narrower skirts aren’t my jam.

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I added interfacing to the collar and facing pieces because that’s just what you do. The instructions didn’t mention it, but I’m not sure if that’s because sewists back then just knew too or it wasn’t a thing. When was interfacing even invented? Before that I’m sure collars etc had something in them (different fabric, maybe?).

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Fabric is Birch Organic Maritime which was purchased locally from East Coast Fabrics.ย  This is it here if you’re keen for an online source. Funny it’s listed as very light weight because I feel like it’s a bit heavier than other quilting cottons I’ve used.

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Was it a success? Well, not really. There are multiple fit issues and some weird drag lines. Part of it I was blaming on the fabric, but I have used quilting cottons for shirt dresses without a problem in the past, so I don’t know for sure.ย  The most obvious problem in the bust darts are suuuuper high. Also the bodice is a bit short so it’s sitting higher on my waist than usual. That’s a very strange problem for me as I’m quite short, so I generally have to shorten my bodices. The bodice has tucks too and I think maybe I’m just not used to the shape of them, I prefer darts. I do like the shape of that neckline and collar though. Plus mega angled pockets.

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It feels simultaneously too big and too small in different places. So weird.ย  All in all, not the greatest but I’ve definitely made worse. I generally wear belts with most of my dresses, so that helps. I found a narrower one this morning which works better than the wide one in the images. If I don’t end up wearing it, I’ll save the skirt and add a waistband. If nothing else, Sid enjoyed his walk and the photos look pretty.

High five, buddy.

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That 70s Dress With The Frills {Vintage Simplicity 6396}

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Remember those boxes of vintage patterns I was gifted? This dress has been sitting close to the surface of my MUST MAKE pile ever since they made their way into my home and heart. Isn’t it fun? I love the way it wraps around the bodice. And we all know I do love a good wrap. This one has a zip in the back, so doesn’t have any adjustment for food babies – it’s just a cool design feature. Actually there’s a number of different wrap variations in the 70s patterns I was given, they were getting creative back then. So there will be more. Oh yes.

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I grabbed this leopard print chiffon (? I think) from the bargain table at Spotlight recently for the grand sum of $5/m – specifically with this dress in mind. I couldn’t remember exactly how much was required so bought 4 metres. As it turns out, I was slightly short on the bottom ruffle, but being a toile it’s not a big deal. I know, me making toiles again, who am I? But being such a fabric hungry dress, I didn’t want to waste 4+ metres on something that didn’t fit.

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It looks like the bottom hem is so wonky hanging there, but I swear it’s not.

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Obviously I made view without any changes (besides being one panel short on the bottom ruffle). Because it’s such a sheet fabric, I lined with cotton lawn – but not the full length. So I guess that’s a change too. You construct the dress bodice as you’d imagine, then the collar with frills gets added.

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As you can see, my copy is for a 36″ bust. I do not have a 36″ bust, mine is more like 40 – 41″. Once again, I added 1.5cm to the side seams and hoped for the best. In the end I had to remove that because it was too big, especially around the back. So I could have just made it straight off the pattern without any adjustments. Again proving that vintage patterns have a heap of ease. And this is a dress that really has to be quite fitted, the ties don’t have any tightening effect on the back.

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I did have this one in mind as another option for the wedding we’re off to in November, completely disregarding the fact that I get irrationally annoyed by most things halterneck. Especially when I have a camera hanging off my neck too. Halterneck bras and swimmers are a hard no, but dresses seem to annoy me too. I don’t get the same headaches, but I feel mildly uncomfortable.

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I’d put up with it if I was totally in love with the dress, but the Sew House Seven Tea House dress is still the front runner (and I ordered some amaaaaaazing pink silk for another one today) so this one can be a back a plan if required. It’s still pretty cool. And I can wear it for a few hours if we have something a little bit fancier than normal to go to.

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I’m glad I made it. I love how different it is, yet in a way still quite modern. Vintage patterns are funny like that. Take away the hairstyles, shoes and prints and you’ve got something that can be worn today without screaming “OMG LOOK HOW 70S I AM!’

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I even did as I was told and did some hand stitching. I must admit, it does look a heap better that if I’d machined it.

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I think a lot of the time with these old patterns, I just sew them simply because I want to. And I do truly learn something every time, so it’s worth it.

Party In The Back {Vintage Simplicity 6926}

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You know I love a vintage pattern. Oh yes I do. It’s always a bit ofย  gamble picking them up at op shops because sometimes they incomplete or torn, but for 50c it’s worth it just to look at the cool illustrations on the envelope. I got so excited when I found this one because (a) it’s not that far off my actual size and (b) I am on such a pinafore kick right now. I think they are called a jumper in the US. And our jumpers you call sweaters. Confused yet?

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I’ve actually been searching high and low to find a reissued version by one of the Big 4 pattern companies. Come on guys, do it for me?

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The owl fabric is by Art Gallery Fabrics, most likely I bought it from Hawthorne Threads, but it was a while back (oooh – click on the link, they still have some!). I love it but was super paranoid about getting owl boobs due to the size of the print. I managed to avoid it though.

webDSC_1059The buttons are fabric covered and another op shop find. I found a bag of mixed ones but didn’t have enough of the white for the front two buttons, so used pink instead. I wish there was ten of the pink ones because I definitely prefer them. The square white ones tip and tilt a lot and sort of remind me of chewing gum. I might end up changing them for something else.

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Pockets!

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I made version two and really didn’t change much at all besides cutting the front piece on the fold so I didn’t have that centre front seam. It would have been a shame to cut up the owls. I finished the hem with grey satin bias binding (which you can see peeking out in the pic above).

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Fit-wise I cheated and added about one centimetre to each side seam after comparing the pattern pieces to my current dresses. Vintage patterns do seem to have a lot of ease. This one is for a 36″ bust and I’m about 40″. There is a slight gape under the arms but I’m very happy with the fit considering the hack job I did.

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It does look slightly apron-y, but I don’t mind it at all. In winter I’ll be able to layer it with long sleeve tops and in summer it will be perfect as is. She will be known as my mullet dress, party in the back!

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