13 May 2013

Project Sewn Week 2: 50's Inspired Sundress

I got the material for this week's challenge a couple weeks ago, in the same shopping trip as for the black/white challenge.  With that head start, I thought I'd be able to finish this week's outfit earlier in the week.

Not so much.

This dress has gone through so many incarnations even since buying the fabric.  Really, all that stayed the same (besides the fabric) was that I wanted cap sleeves and a fitted bodice.

First idea:  Lace detail.  My sister vetoed that at the fabric store, saying that all their lace looked like it was for old ladies.

Second idea:  Pockets on the front.  My mom and sister both said no to that one, feeling that it would look juvenile. (The pockets would have been like these ones--they wouldn't look too young, right?  But that dress is for a toddler, so maybe I'm wrong...)

Half-circle skirt?  Would hide the piping I was planning to have in the skirt.

Princess seams with piping?  Too hard to draft.  (I'll figure it out, just not with this time crunch.)  So I guess I could have done the half-circle skirt, after all.

Ruffles?  No, not needed.  And I'm running out of time.

And then there was the method of patten-making...

Draft from an item of clothing I already have?  Tried that for two entire days (well, evenings anyway; gotta take care of the little ones during the day), but failed.  (Probably should have started with something simpler than a button-up shirt with princess seams and bust darts.)

Highly alter a pattern I used back when I was sixteen?  Okay, let's try that.

I didn't really want to start with a commercial pattern because I was afraid I would end up making their dress instead of my dress.  But this pattern was drastically different than what I had in mind while at the same time having the features I was having such a hard time drafting.  (Namely, a fitted bodice and dolman-style cap sleeves.)  So what began as a Asian-style shirt and top became:

The 50's Inspired Sundress

Okay, first I want to point out that this all-yellow dress really has little white polka-dots all over it.  Because polka-dots are awesome.  And 50's-ish.  (My sister and I really wanted yellow fabric with LARGE white polka-dots, but it wasn't to be.  Next time, I'll paint the dots on myself.  :D )

Let's talk about the changes I made.

Mandarin collar changed into scoop neck.
Cap sleeves shortened.
Shirt-and-skirt combo changed into dress.  Yes, I used the shirt/skirt pattern pieces instead of the dress option.  It seemed appropriate because I was making a bodice/skirt kind of a dress instead of an all-one-piece kind.
Gathers instead of the darts on the front of the bodice.
Four darts instead of two on the back of the bodice.  Seriously, this dress is full of darts; there were going to be 24 darts in this dress before I changed some out for gathers.  Granted, half of the darts are in the lining, but I still had to sew them.  But I'm getting ahead of myself a little.
Neck and sleeve facings changed to fully lined everything.  (Hence fully lined...)
Slim skirt widened to A-line.  That alteration was actually really easy.  Maybe I should write a quick tutorial on that.  You know, someday.  When I'm not designing and sewing a new outfit every week for this competition.
No sash to wide sash.  Really difficult change, I know.

Okay, I think those are all the changes I made.  So, radically different from the pattern, huh?  

Here's a close up of my favorite details of the dress.  (See?  There really are polka-dots.)  I like the interest the gathers add to the front of the dress, and I think the white sash was necessary to break up all the yellow.

Please vote for my dress starting on Friday!
Here's the link:  Project Sewn Week 2

By the way, I got third place last week for the black and white skirt  I made!  Thanks to everyone who voted for me.  :)  


  1. Yellow looks great on you! Not many people can pull that color off but you look amazing. Love the dress.

  2. Nice--I love the way the gathered top goes into the fitted waistband. Very flattering. I love the yellow too--I wish it looked better on me!

  3. super cute!!! love the vintage flair! :) xo

  4. This is so cute! It would be awesome if you linked this up over at our blog. http://shaffer-sisters.blogspot.com/2013/05/make-for-mom-link-up.html
    Hope to see you there!
    with love,

  5. I liked reading about the dress an in to being...the ideas and the changes. Plus I'm so glad you showed the detail shot! I love the polka dots and the white sash.

  6. Looks great! Love the gathered waistline!


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