It seems, of late, weddings are the fashion. Without much notice or warning, it seems I have become involved in another wedding, this time as musician in a quaint little old-fashioned church out in the country where a friend of ours’ daughter is getting married.
Such a lovely occasion is more than enough excuse to make a new dress. Since I am making a black dress for Joanie’s wedding, I decided to make something light and airy and delicate for this one. So I rummaged through my fabric and trim stash, and my boxfuls of patterns and came up with some airy white cotton gauze, some sheer embroidered trim, and Sense and Sensibility’s 1914 Dress pattern.
I have used the 1914 dress pattern before and while the finished dress was lovely it just didn’t look right on me. I thought (back in the days when I had a 27” waist, alas) that the style made me look rather unpleasantly plump. Now that I am more plump than I was back then, though, this style seems to be rather flattering. Rather than accentuate the more rotund curves it seems to nicely drape over them in a feminine, delicate way that hides rather than reveals.
So far I have assembled the bodice and the try-on went very well. I didn’t make a muslin first since I was too lazy to do that but I cut the front bodice in the biggest size the pattern came in (I think 26) and the back in a size 14. I altered the armscye a little by cutting it a little higher under the armpit so the sleeve fits better and the bodice can lay closer to the body. I think cutting the front in a bigger size was really the key to making this style work for me! My bust doesn’t pull on or show through the bodice and everything is nicely covered with ample extra for a floaty, cloud-like look.
Of course I had to change a few other things so the dress would look right on a pregnant body. I found a picture of an original dress from the same era and took a few elements from that. I made my bodice with the higher empire-like waist seen on the vintage dress as well as with a wide scoop neckline as seen on the vintage dress (though I did not cut it as wide as the original, so my under-dress won’t show!). In the try-on, the waistband sits almost on top of my belly bump and the excess fabric in the bodice poufs nicely down over that. When I make the skirt I will also add some extra fullness to the front so it drapes right over my belly and I will cut the top of the skirt in a curve so the hem lays mostly straight at the bottom.
One problem I encountered in making the bodice was the sleeves. I cut my own sleeve pattern for the sleeves so they would fit smoothly, without easing stitches, into the armscye. For some reason the sleeves came out way too tight but since I already had the trim sewn on them I didn’t want to start over. I inserted a 2” wide band into the sleeve seam and that seemed to work perfectly for me! The sleeves fit just right now being neither too tight nor too loose.
The trim is of unknown fiber content, but it is pretty nonetheless. My grandpa bought me several large boxfuls of vintage trims at an auction a few years ago and I have had this on hand since then, wondering what to do with it! The embroidered strip in the center was very simple and pretty but the sheer background fabric extended about 1/3” on either side of the embroidered strip with long, floaty threads coming unraveled from that. I wanted to do insertion on this dress but thought I’d use this trim up since I already had it. I simply turned the raw edges to the underside of the embroidery, pressed the strip, and sewed it down where I wanted it with a tiny machine stitch along the very edges. It’s a very crisp sheer that holds it’s shape after being finger pressed. I wonder what it could be? The lines of trim on this dress were inspired by the trim on this lovely original high-necked dress. (see side photo) I plan on trimming the skirt with 3 rows of this same trim and 3 or 4 ¾” tucks (since ½” is too skimpy and 1” too broad and wide).
So - there’s my latest project! David is at work until 6:00 p.m. today and my goal is to have the skirt finished for him to see when he gets back. Then I need to make the underdress and sash, and hopefully by Monday I’ll have some pictures of the finished dress/underdress to post if I can get David to use the camera.
My little munchkin is asleep on the floor. It is gently raining outside this morning and the sky is a soft, pearl gray. He was mesmerized by the sound. He looks so beautiful like this. It reminds me of when Anne in “Anne of the Island” went to her old home in Bolingbrook and was reading the packet of letters her mother and father had written to each other before they died. A phrase from one of her mother’s letters comes to my mind now;
“I love her best when she’s asleep, and better still when she’s awake.”
Only in this case it’s a “him” instead of a “she”. Here’s a recent picture of my Tootsie Boo (I have a terrible weakness for ridiculous nicknames - he’ll never know what his real name is! :D)
A blessed, God-filled day to you all,