high point

High Point Gown

I recently travelled to High Point, NC to attend my father in law’s, Robert B. Currey, induction into the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame. I asked my husband what the dress code for the event would be. I was told that my father in law was required to wear a tux but that my husband would be wearing his green tweed suit. With that, I pretty much had no information but I figured the event would be more formal than the majority of my closet. I’d already worn one of my only appropriate dresses the last time I attended an award ceremony for Robert. Not that he would have minded, but yeah, new dress time.

Previously, I had attempted to sew Simplicity 6243 from 1965 as a dress for New Year’s Eve.

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I’d been having great luck with half sized patterns so I’d made the assumption that I’d have a fast, easy sew. I still did a mockup and it’s good that I did because I had definite fit problems. The problems were so frustrating that I put the mockup away and wore something else. It rankled me though.

img_1611I’d used a groovy jungle sheet for my mockup so I was doubly annoyed that it hadn’t gone well. I vowed to figure it out — later.

Later turned into now and I was in a bit of a crunch. I had to make fast decision whether I was going to go shopping or get to sewing. I kept pressing for more info about what kind of dress was really needed. I go to these events to accessorize my husband, his family and the business so I really like to make sure that I turn out well. I finally got the info that floor length would be a good choice but not required. I went through my patterns to see what I could find. I didn’t have much but of the patterns I showed my husband he liked Simplicity  6243 the best. The fact that I had already mocked it up, even unsuccessfully, sealed the deal.

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A dress with similar lines as Simplicity 6243, Pedro Rodriguez Dress – c. 1965, FIDM

6243 is super iconic of the 60s and Jackie Kennedy in particular. Because of that I really wanted to “go there” in terms of fabric. The hubs was all for it so I was pretty excited.

First I had to make that mockup fit. The shoulders were too big and the neckline gaped a bit. I’d already figured that fix. I had drag lines across the hip. I tried a ton of things to fix this: minimizing the waist darts, increasing the waist darts, making the darts longer, making them shorter, taking different seam allowances over the hip, shortening the waist to raise the skirt. I even considered figuring out how to do a swayback adjustment and making a second mockup but that was more work than I was willing to do.

One of the reasons I was having trouble with the fit on this dress is the slightly dropped waist. I feel like that is one of the things that is very emblematic of the mid and late 60s so I didn’t want to lose it. I decided to put all the seams and darts below the waist back to where they were supposed to be per the pattern. Then I did what I should have done all along. Starting under the bust dart I graded my side seam out to just a 1/4 inch allowance. That basically did the trick. I just needed to add 1/2 inch to my side seams. The fix was actually really easy. I’d just way over thought it. With that figured out I just needed some fabric.

I was hoping to find some sort of metallic brocade that I could mix with a solid. Nothing I was finding had the 60s feel I wanted however.

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I came across this frankly kind of weird fabric. It wasn’t anything like what I had in my head. I had been avoiding black. I walked away from it but it stuck with me. I was running out of time and this was my 2nd fabric shop and nothing else was presenting itself. I went back to the tulips. The weight was right, it was satiny and the price was $5.99 a yard. It felt more 80s (probably because those tulips remind me of gold flecked mirror panels and the video for Careless Memories) than 60s but that still worked for me too.

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So here I am in the finished dress at the Gala. It worked great, was very striking versus what most others were wearing and it was very comfortable. Less comfortable was the cringe inducing performance by Donny Osmond.

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I accessorized with my gold BAIT Heels that I got for Princess Daisy, a gold vintage lion bracelet, a crazy huge cocktail ring and some very 80s feeling earrings that I bought specifically for this dress. I later pointed out to my husband that my earrings were more expensive than my dress. They were $45.

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Me and the Mister

And I did finally make the original dress wearable. Yesterday.

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Two dresses from 1959’s Simplicity 3010

Behold, the first official make of the “sew five different vintage (not repro) patterns” part of my Vintage Pledge, an Easter Dress from Simplicity 3010, circa 1959.

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I found this amazing Japanese fabric from the Joli Pomme collection for $7 a yard last year. Super score! A dress to wear for Easter dinner seemed like the perfect thing!

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I thought the scallops would compliment the round and glitter dots. Also, that the pattern was just a little bit fussy to match the fancy rabbits and friends in all their bonnets.

I have been loving working with vintage half sized patterns. They are scaled for short busty women like me. Sadly though, this pattern is straight sized. On the first mockup, the bodice had all the typical problems that I tend to have with modern patterns — too big / wide at the shoulder, neck and above the bust. I briefly considered trying to adjust the 3010 bodice but then I decided to make my life easier and I frankenpatterned.

My current favorite vintage pattern, Simplicity 1577, also has a kimono sleeve bodice. I have this pattern in a half size and the fit is excellent. I opted to trace 1577 and modify it with the neckline of 3010. I changed the double waist darts of 1577 to the single waist dart of 3010. I also made small changes to the neckline facings to work with the slightly different shoulder of 1577.

I did a second bodice mockup based on “my creation”. Heh. Even though I was planning on the neckline from view 2, I did the mockup with view 1. I figured it would be faster to sew. That logic was a little faulty since I didn’t plan on actually finishing the neckline on the mockup.

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Not only did the 2nd mock fit, but the fabric folding gods must have been with me because my motifs were perfectly placed on both the front and back pieces. While I really liked this fabric, I opted to use it for a mockup because I didn’t have a ton of it.

With that mischief managed, it was on with the Easter dress!

Because of the neckline, I was forced to use the dreaded facings. Trimming those scallops so close to get them to turn properly really made me nervous.  Those scallops need more starch!

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The hand of the Joli Pomme fabric is really lovely. I think it can be over handled however. The bodice ended up being a little big when I was finally done with it. I may have pulled the fabric a bit much when ironing and wrangling the scallops into place. I assume once it is washed that will change or I can take in in a bit. I used all the original skirt and pocket pieces from 3010. The pockets want to collapse a bit but the scallop detail is so cute.

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(You might recognize this bathroom from my Tiki Blouse selfie)

Since my vase mockup was so spot on and featured the view 1 neckline, I decided to go ahead and finish it. I used Kona cotton in a kind of a funny gray with an almost green tint. Honestly, it’s kind of a weird color but it was by far the best match to the swatch.

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I’m a little wrinkly, but here I am in the completed view 1. I did a 3 inch turn up on the hem. It came out kind of lumpy so I’m going to trim it down and do a standard roll. I fully lined my pockets too.

This dress seemed perfect to wear during the grand re-opening of the Currey & Company showroom in High Point, NC. Currey & Company just completed a 4,400 foot expansion and total remodel of their showroom. It’s gorgeous and has been a huge project. So proud of everyone and glad I was able to be a part of the celebration.