Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The Disaster Dress! #VintagePledge2016


I was excited when Kerry from Kestrel Makes asked me to take part in this year's #VintagePledge by doing a guest post on her blog about one of the vintage projects that I chose to make.

I knew instantly which pattern I was going to sew as it had been lingering in my collection for a while and always caught my eye. Its a McCall's pattern from 1978 so fitted the vintage brief perfectly. I decided to go for View A as its a maxi dress (natch!), has a v-neck which looks good on me and I was attracted by the bodice detail.


All I needed now was the fabric and I was lucky to find some lightweight polyester in Preston's branch of Abakhan for about £2.00 a metre in their sale. That was a great find as I liked the novelty-style print of prancing horses, cowboys and cacti (the colours are 'me' too) and I needed 4.5 metres of the stuff! 


The cutting out stage was tedious especially the skirt sections as they were very long (I know its a maxi - but there''s long and long!). When it came to sewing up the pieces, the seams started to pucker even though I used a fine needle and had the machine's tension settings right.

After  lot of swearing, the dress started to come together and my next hurdle was the zip. Now, zips and I aren't the best of buddies. I can happily manage small ones, but I had an unwieldy 55cm zip to fit this time. I basted and machined it, yet to my critical eye it didn't sit well. Cue more swearing...

I decided to hand-sew the hem as I prefer the finish to a machined one and this was probably the best bit as I sat outside in the sun and happily stitched for an hour.

I'd been trying on and adjusting the dress as I went along and was hoping that it would look great once finished. But after trying on the completed dress I decided that it wasn't one of my best sewing projects and felt 'meh' when I looked in the mirror.


The skirt is too full and the gathers at the waist aren't the most flattering, but I do like the neck and sleeves, and the length is just right.


I wrote my piece for Kerry soon after I had finished it and was feeling gloomy post-sewing; I even thought I'd consign it to our local fabric recycling centre, but I've worn it at home and its not as bad as I first thought. I don't think that I'll wear it out, but will float about the garden with it on!

This hasn't put me off sewing as we all have our 'urgh' projects now and then, and I think its good to share this 'disaster dress' with other people who might be in the same sewing error boat as me so to speak.

You can read about it more on Kerry's blog here: Liza's Vintage Pledge Project: The Disaster Dress

P.S. My next sewing project was more successful. Its a modern pattern so doesn't qualify as part of #VintagePledge, but I'll post about it soon.

21 comments :

  1. Glad to hear that the dress has been given a reprieve! :-)

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    1. Yeah - it just about won me over in the end. Thanks for letting me be one of your guest bloggers though :-D

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  2. That's sad that you're not happy as you look absolutely wonderful in your dress. In fact, I might only today at home before we leave for the next festival but I'm inspired to make something this afternoon! x

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    1. Thanks Vix - hope today's sewing fares better than mine! xx

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  3. Ooooh I don't know so much...I think it's lush on you. I'm glad it's go a reprieve...I think it will be one of those numbers that you grow to love.
    I know what you mean about "meh" projects though and they can usually be judged by the amount of expletives that accompany the sewing from start to finish!
    xx

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    1. It's a good job that we don;t have a swear box in our house! xx

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  4. I think it looks really lovely on you! I am glad you decded to save it, though I can totally understand how you feel about the gathers around the waist, I have an on again off again love affair with gathered skirts, some days they make me feel like a big puffy blancmange and other days I think they are great! xx

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    1. Gathered skirts just don't suit me and from the packet illustration it didn't look too gathered. Lesson is: don't trust the packet illustrations! xx

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  5. Well I think it looks fabulous and really suits you.
    And I think you are very very clever being able to make it in the first place.
    LYnn xx

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  6. What disaster? That dress looks fab on you, even if you only wear it for floating around in the garden ... xxx

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  7. I don't think it's a disaster, but if something feels wrong to you, it'll always feel a bit off. It's a sod when that happens with handmade things, isn't it? I'm still hanging on to jumpers I cannot bear just because they took me so long to make.

    I spotted a teeny Pyrex snowflake dish in a chazza and picked it up with you in mind, so you want it? (I think it's the top one in this photo: https://thatretropiece.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/jaj-pyrex_snowflake_white-group.jpg, though I don't have it to hand right now to check.) It'll be a pressie (only cost me 50p anyhow!)

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    1. Luckily I've only had that happen once to me where knitting's concerned. Again it looked great in the pattern photo, but looked bloody awful on. That one went to the charity shop! Thanks for the Pyrex offer - that's really kind of you Mim - :-) Do you want to email me (its on my Contact page) and I can then email you my address in return.

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  8. Oh god I've had those sewing projects where you are constantly swearing or chuck it on the floor and storm off. It's so annoying when something should be so simple, but then goes wrong like puckering or zips etc. I've never really been into the 70s style patterns I've seen, but this one looks pretty good. It must have taken forever to cut out the long pieces, I had to cut out 8 godets once for a 1950s style dress and that was bad enough, let alone long pieces! Love the fabric pattern and hand sewing in the garden is fabulous. This is by no way a disaster dress! XxxX

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    1. Thanks SHR - yes, the cutting out went on for ages and I was running out of floor space! xx

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  9. I think it looks lovely and the fabric is fab!

    My teapot dress was tedious to cut, as the skirt part went on FOREVER! Hemming was just as mind-numbing x

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    1. I know your teapot dress - I think it looks fab xx

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  10. you seem to be the only one who thinks its a disaster.
    I dont often comment but have been following your blog for years, keep it up.
    Jan

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    1. That's a lovely comment, much appreciated - thank you Jan :-D

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  11. You look gorgeous in this stylish vintage outfit.It really suits you a lot.

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