One day a year or two ago, I found Dangerfield, a brand of clothes (mainly dresses) in Myer that I absolutely loved. It had a bit of a retro feel and the skirts were knee length! No butt cheek flashes! I immediately wanted to fill my wardrobe with these dresses, but sadly at $100+ a pop that wasn’t going to happen.
Anyway, I remember standing in the change room trying these dresses on and thinking about how basic the lines seemed to be. “I could make that”, I thought. At the time, I couldn’t. Not in a million years. But I went home and asked my mum to teach me to sew clothes.
And now, a year or two later, I have done it!
This is the pattern for Butterick 5748. The bodice has darts rather than princess seams and the skirt is a circle rather than pleated, but it’s still pretty close to that first dress.
I was sort of planning this for Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Dress Challenge. My inspiration came from this photo (the dress on the far right).
This dress was a little bit of a process. I usually sew in large blocks of time, but with uni in full swing that wasn’t going to happen. I tried out the 15 minutes a day thing and was pleasantly surprised by how much I could achieve.
I made up a size 14 toile. Way too big. I made up a size 12 toile. With the help of “The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting”, I played around with the dart placement.
And then I made it up.
I used this blue quilting cotton. I know what they say about quilting cotton, but it was only $4/m and considering I needed 4 metres… Also, it was a first attempt and I have no faith in my abilities, so didn’t want to spend to much.
I love it though! The bust darts don’t sit very well – I need to lower the top ones, but for a first ever attempt at making fitting adjustments, I’m pretty happy. The original store bought dress has similar issues, so at least I know I can live with them.
As for the Mad Men Challenge part of the dress – It was a nice idea and all, but I don’t think I quite captured the look.
I’d need a petticoat for one, to get the boof-factor happening. But also, it lacks the shiny, party look. Also, it was technically a 60s repoduction pattern, not 50s. So, yeah. Mad Men fail.
But I can’t quite feel disappointed. This is a definite Laura dress win. I made something I absolutely adore and will make again. I pretty much made the dress I’ve always wanted.
I’ll wear this way more than if I’d gone for something fancier, just to fulfill a challenge.
The plan is to play around with my muslin some more and then make it again – this time in a lovely Michael Miller cotton I got from Fabric.com. It doesn’t seem to be on their website, but I bought it after seeing this gorgeous Elisalex dress from Dolly Clackett. I don’t usually completely stalk other peoples makes, but really, this wasn’t a choice. It had to be done.
(On a side note, I was pleasantly surprised by how affordable Fabric.com was – the fabric per metre, plus $15 postage still worked out to about what I’d expected to pay before postage. So very happy! I probably didn’t need to add all that extra fabric to get my money’s worth on the postage. Somewhere in my head there’s a little voice that thinks buying more makes the postage better value. Oops…)
Thread – stash
Fabric – $4/m x 4m = $16
1 pack black bias tape (because who lines a practice run?) – $2.50
Pattern – Probably about $10. I only buy Spotlight patterns on sale.
Not bad for $28.50