vintage simplicity

2016 Sewing Roundup, Part 1: Vintage Pledge

It’s New Years Day. Some of my decorations are down. I’ve spent my day relatively hangover free in my pajamas. Soon I will be eating cornbread, black eyed peas and collards, the traditional southern New Year’s meal. Tomorrow it’s back to reality but today is for relaxing, prepping and taking stock.

I’m pretty shocked how much sewing I actually accomplished for the Vintage Pledge! My 2016 goals were are follows:

  • Sew five different vintage (not repro) patterns
  • Make one item from vintage fabric
  • Sew my vintage UFOs from 2015

And here are my final tallies:

  • Sewed eight different vintage (not repro) patterns / one repro pattern
  • Made two garments from vintage fabric
  • Sewed two of my vintage UFOs from 2015 (I think there is only one left!)

In the end, I made 13 dresses, 3 blouses, 1 kid’s jacket and 2 hats. That is only what applied to the Vintage Pledge! I also made a couple of other garments and historical gear that I will cover in Part 2.

So what were all these things?

Kid’s Jacket for a little girl named George from vintage 70s George Washington fabric and a modern Burda pattern.george coatSimplicity Dress from 197370s heart dress on formBoth views of Simplicity 3010 from 1959IMG_9953IMG_9977Simplicity 4777 from 1963IMG_0587Simplicity 9562 from 1981IMG_0390Simplicity 5940 from 1965img_1249A Star Wars Patio Dress based off of Simplicity 594014522035_10210701382035386_897108728_oA vintage Princess Daisy Cosplay from based on Simplicity 3442img_1064A vintage Pokeman trainer / Aqua Scout Uniform from Patt-O-Rama 8311 and an 80s garrison cap tutorial. I’m here with my whole troop.68004821-mechanicalmasquerade2016-83McCalls 3053 from 1953, a 2015 UFO which was also a fail dress.img_1305Simplicity 6243 from 1965, a 2015 UFO made from a vintage sheetimg_1612A formal version of Simplicity 6243img_1506Mod Christmas dress from Simplicity 8844 from 1970img_1893Hat from McCall’s 8452 from 1966img_1900Three blouses from Simplicity Retro 2154IMG_9875IMG_0105christmas-blouse-pussy-bow

I’m surprised at my totals. I was really prolific in 2016. I had no idea!

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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All Vintage DragonCon – Part 1

I love a giant costume! Big skirts, crazy fabrics, giant props. I also love comfy shoes, not sweating and being able to sit down. That brings us to DragonCon. It’s insane and truly an event where you should go big or go home. Yet if you go too big (in a myriad of ways), and Atlanta provides a fairly common brutally hot Labor Day, you can burn out / overheat / peak too early / whatever yourself before the con has barely begun.

I’ve only been seriously attending DragonCon for about six years. Over that time I have become more and more fond of the clever yet comfy costume. With the explosion of nerd culture there are also so many more cute fandom prints (like the Sugar Skull Star Wars) to use for vintage dresses. I’ve talked about not making any costumes per se and just wearing only fandom inspired dresses. This year, I came pretty close to that as everything I made was all from vintage and vintage repro patterns.

I started off by wearing my Rockabilly Boy Wonder in the Vintage Vogue Fashion show. Along with my crimefighting chum Megan Maude, we hit the runway to lots of cheers (which was delightful!) and music from the original 1966 Batman. While we each made our own outfit for last year’s con, we wore them at drunk o’clock so they didn’t get a lot of comments or reaction. This year though, we couldn’t walk more than 10 feet without a compliment or photo-op. That’s really gratifying at an event like DragonCon, but it did make our walk to the food court very slow. I sure took my dinner into custody!

Another somewhat entertaining adventure was my trip to Kroger. I stopped there on my way home from the con. I certainly got all the comments!

My first new make for DragonCon was vintage Princess Daisy from Mario Brothers. Again, I teamed up Megan as Princess Peach. Peach and Daisy wear the same basic dress with different embellishments.

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The challenge here was to make two separate dresses that shared the same basic elements. I chose vintage Simplicity 3442. I’m not sure what year this pattern is but going from the hair I would say very early 1960s.

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I chose this pattern because it already has a bunch of elements I needed — a peter pan collar, sleeve cuffs and instead of the bow I had a perfect place to pin Princess Daisy’s jewel. I used three colors of cotton sateen. The yellow and white I bought in the LA fashion district and the orange I got here in Atlanta at Gail K.

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I’m usually a last minute stitcher but I really took sewing this down to the wire. I thought I just had a couple of hours left on it. You know those things that you think won’t take that long? Right…I put away my groceries from Kroger and got down to finish thinking it wouldn’t be a long night. I finished at about 5am on Saturday and wore it Saturday night. It was kind of crazy and I don’t recommend it!

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All the effort though, worth it! I even used little daisy shaped buttons. This was also my first effort using a covered buckle and belt kit. I’m glad I bought two buckle kits because I destroyed the first one. It’s a pretty terrible looking belt close up but works just fine for the cosplay. The pattern illustration is misleading. The skirt just is not that bell shaped. Maybe it would look that way with a petticoat? My sparkly gold platform heels were on sale from BAIT Footwear. They were shockingly comfortable especially because I had not even attempted to break them in.

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I’m wearing the Dany Classic wig in Pumpkin by Arda Wigs. The crowns, jewels and earrings were all made by Perfect Tommy Automail.

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I’m kind of bummed that all we have are these hotel photos cause we were pretty cute and definitely comfortable. I was surprised to have a few people stop us and only want my photo. I guess Princess Daisy has her own special fanbase. It’s always entertaining to hear someone yell your character name excitedly as you walk by.