Saturday, January 28, 2012

Stripes, Chevrons, and Crinolines, oh my!

Images from Timeless Vixen Vintage

As soon as I saw this lovely vintage dress, I just had to have my own.  And thanks to “Make this Look” via The Sew Weekly, now I do!

And does anyone else remember this dress?  I did not think of the connection until after I completed my dress, but clearly, it was in my memory banks.

The lovely Solanah of Vixen Vintage

I wanted to copy the rainbow stripe look of the original, but with less than a week, I was stuck with whatever fabric I could find at JoAnn Fabrics.

I started with the clearance section, but nothing was suitable.  Next, I headed to the quilting cottons.  While I would have preferred a crisp silk taffeta, I realize that was next to impossible.  Besides, I needed seven yards of 45” fabric to ensure that stripe matching was possible, and silk taffeta is a little too expensive for a project that I am not sure will work out!

After pulling every striped fabric off the shelves that was not completely hideous, I decided on this one.

The stripes are directional because of the thin navy line running through each stripe, which made my cutting layout a bit of a bother.  But I stuck with it. 

To keep myself from going crazy, I marked the turquoise stripes in chalk on each pattern piece for a frame of reference when cutting the second piece.

Well, I was so careful with my stripe matching, I forgot to flip one skirt piece over while cutting out my duplicate piece.  Whoops!  It’s been awhile since I made that mistake!  Good thing I purchased a little extra fabric!

The original inspiration uses a lengthwise stripe and a gathered dirndl skirt.  When I purchased Vogue 1172, I did not look very closely at the line drawing, and assumed that it was a basic circle skirt.  However, the wide hem is created by inserting four godets between front, back, and side skirt pieces.  So, the question was, do I go for an easy rectangle, basic circle, or hope for the best and go for the godets?

Before cutting, I drew some very rough sketches of the dress with crazy grainlines going every which way.  Most girls are told to avoid horizontal stripes at all costs, and I would normally fall into this category.  However, when multiple crinolines are involved, anything goes.

And since I was messing with grainline, I decided that lining the bodice with pieces cut on the suggested grain was a good idea.  Being in a colorful mindset, I went with a bit of color-blocking.  Actually, the navy colored cotton was out of stock, or at least, not to be found, and since I could not decide between the two colors, I went ahead and used both.

On my fabric searching expedition, I wandered up the button aisle, and found this lovely button.  It was the last of its kind, and I decided to rescue it.  I decided I would make a little brooch for my dress, which I had planned to place at the center front v-neck.  But it just did not look right with my red buckle (pulled from the stash) which worked to break up the stripes a bit.  That, and it was easier than using a kit to make a self-fabric one.

I cannot decide if I look like lawn chair furniture, or 1950s does nautical . . . but whatever it may be, I am very pleased with the outcome.

And for your twirling pleasure – this is what seven yards of fabric looks like!

Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 1172
Sweater:  Made by me, Lipstick Cabled Cardi
Shoes:  Seychelles “Babydoll” in Off White
Fishnets:  Hue
Crinolines:  Made by me + tea length crinoline purchased on ebay
Earrings:  Rummage sale.  (I really loves these earrings, but they have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that clip-ons are EVIL.  One of these days I will get around to swapping out the devil’s clip with a post.)
Ring:  Gift from mom, my Grandfather’s class ring
Purse:  Harveys Seatbelt Bag "Bow Tide Blue"


  1. I love this so, so much... It makes me want to knock off your knock-off! :)

    1. What a lovely compliment! Feel free to knock away!

  2. This construction is astoundingly beautiful. How awesome that you have the patience and skill to sew like this!

  3. You do not look like a lawn chair! Your fashion sense and style are way over the top for me, but on you, perfect! I so enjoy reading your blog and seeing all your lovely creations. Cheers for you!

  4. Fabulous. I love it that for the past couple of days the items I have liked the most on all the blogs I read have been made from patterns I already own. This is another one. I have no idea when, or if, I will ever sew it, but I love seeing it made up.

    I love the stripes - they don't make you look big - just the skirt, and it's a great way to emphasise the overly (by modern standards) flare of the skirt. I also have to agree that clip-on earrings are evil.

    (I apologise if this comment posts multiple times - I'm having problems getting my wordpress name to work with blogger today.)

  5. Beautiful! That dress looks simply stunning! And I am very impressed with your patience at lining up all those stripes.

  6. Whew! Nice work on the stripe matching! It looks great on you.

  7. Wow, I LOVE this dress. The colors are great. And now I really want to make one.

  8. Your patience, skill and taste continue to astound me. Wow. Truly a work of art. And of course you wear it beautifully.

    1. seriously. 7 yards. heroic! but i love your great detail shots of the skirt and the layout. those fabulous godets have definitely got my mind working on some new ideas...

  9. You are awarded the Medal of Perfect Matching. Fabulous.

  10. This dress looks so pretty! Wonder if we well see every week such stunning creations!

  11. Wow, now THAT is a dress. I think this is one of my all-time favorites, Laura Mae. Great job!

  12. Overheard Conversation #4:

    [scoff] "Did you see?"
    "Mmmm hmmm, and I madder than two hens. She just spun 7 yards of bait in our faces."
    "Look away. Clearly she is one who would insert a little unbridled angst along that hem line, one catch stitch at a time."
    [scoff] "What about the pursed lips, wrist fully extended, peep toes coquettishly pointed inward, and that gleam in her eyes? There's a gleam, I tell you! A GLEAM!"
    "How about legs trundled under a very full skirt on a chaise? She eats the scenery sitting still."
    ["pffft"]"Did you catch her catterwallin' about how the button in the brooch is a "rescue". Now she's a humanitarian in the notions aisle."
    "Please, she's more of a MANitarian, if you ask me."
    "Mmm hmm. Two crinolines and a nettlesome nature - you do the math?"
    "I have, and only her seams match up."
    [in unison: exhales of disgust]
    [in unison] "THAT Laura Mae!"

  13. Beautiful work!!!! I'm so jealous of people who have such sewing skills!!!!

  14. I'm running out of superlatives...totally smitten :-)

  15. Hi! Just wanted to let you know I was so inspired by your version of this dress that I've just gone out and bought the pattern (my local store was having a two-for-the-price-of-one on paper patterns), and some gorgeous stripy florally fabric to make my own version :) I've never sewn with a fabric with an obvious pattern like this before so I'm looking forward to the new challenges it will give me

  16. Visiting by way of Pattern Review. You can't see me now, but I'm frantically trying to scrape my jaw off the floor!

    I was looking at this pattern for my wedding dress. I think a plain white dress would (pardon the pun) pale in comparison to the amazing - just amazing - job you did with the stripes. It's stellar. Absolutely stellar!

    1. Thank you Jill! Please don't let the stripes keep you from using the pattern - it really does have a great "bone structure" and would make an excellent wedding dress, in my opinion.

  17. Hi Laura Mae - I have just purchased this pattern myself to attempt making my own wedding dress. I would normally be an Australian size 10, however after checking the sizing on the pattern it seems I would need to buy the bigger size of 14! How did you find the sizing for this pattern? I notice you have purchased the 6 -12 sized one also and looking at your photos, we look similar in size. Could you please email me to let me know if you needed to alter the sizing in any way? It would be much appreciated - - Thank you, Hannah

    1. This may be a little bit late for your wedding dress, but I believe pattern sizes don't correlate well with off-the-rack sizes. I'm going to need 14 in the front panels to accommodate my bust, but will need to adjust the seams to match back panels at size 12, going by the pattern -and I'm also an Australian size 10.

  18. How do you find the 1172 compares to the 2903? They both have lovely, full skirts and v-necks. I'm hoping to convert one of the two to a bateau neckline for a more Audrey look, but not quite sure how to go about it...

    1. If I had to choose, I would say I prefer Vogue 2903. However, if you are going to alter the neckline, I would stay away from that one - the way the construction works is that the sleeves and higher neckline drop into a finished yoke-like piece that falls off the shoulders. It's fabulous, but not that easy to alter.

      The other major difference is that 2903 has sleeves, and 1172 is basically sleeveless.

      As far as the skirts go, 1172 uses set-in gores to create the fullness, and 2903 is pleated. They may look similar, but are constructed in very different ways. I would suggest studying the instructions of both designs to get a better idea of which will work better for you.

      You may find it easier to graft another bodice on either of the skirts. If you are looking for an Audrey look and like the Vintage Vogue designs, you might want to check out 8874 - I think that has the neckline you are looking for!

    2. I'm working with my Mum on this one - we're taking the yoke out of the 2903 completely and removing the sleeves, as well as taking out a bit of the centre-front flare so that panel can be cut on the fold to avoid a seam straight up the middle. I can share a photo if you like?

      I was thinking of hiding some pockets in the side pleats, but maybe the gore skirt would work better for that - what do you think?

  19. I love 50s dresses and this one is fabulous! I also decided to make wedding dress with this pattern so I hope I will buy the correst size of pattern and it will look as beautiful as your dress :)