Sunday, July 10, 2011

Finished project: New York leaf dress

I'm so happy to report that my dress is complete! Friday afternoon I put the finishing touches on the sundress I started last weekend.

I'd been getting increasingly frustrated with sewing lately and finally realized what was bogging me down in several of my abandoned projects: the muslins. I decided I just needed to take a chance and wing it without one, so last weekend that's what I did. Not having a long history of sewing under my belt I don't have nearly the fabric stash of some, but I rifled through what I do have and came up with a nice printed cotton. Just something I picked up at JoAnn'sin fact it actually says in the selvedge it's made for JoAnn's. Can you believe it? It's such a great print, isn't it? It definitely has a vintage feel to me. I know many of you commented on it when I posted about my zipper earlier in the week. The only funny thing about it is that the leaves are printed so that they go side to side, not up and down, which is slightly odd. I promise I didn't sew it against the grain. ;)


(Sorry some of these photos are a bit grainy, we were trying to beat sunset and taking photos quickly behind our friend's apartment building.)

I used New York Patterns 1067, a casual sundress with a bound, gathered scoop neck, one ruffled, gathered pocket, two soft pleats at the front and back bodice, a tied belt and full skirt. Any guesses on the year of this pattern? All I could turn up about the company was a Wikipedia blip that mentioned it was in business until the early 50s.


I made a few changes. I omitted the ruffle around the pocket and instead of making a tied belt, I used Casey's belt tutorial and made my own belt with a vintage buckle. I really like how both the pocket and belt came out, even if the instructions for sewing the pocket were a bit goofy. I just did what I felt made more sense and it worked fine. I used the fabric off-grain for the pocket and belt so that the leaves would go right side up for a bit of visual interest. I love the cute gathers on the pocket! It's a fun detail that mirrors the neckline.


I also made my own 1/2" bias tape to use around the inside of the armholes. I didn't topstitch the binding after turning it to the inside, however, though that seems to be the more usual application. Instead I did a blind stitch hem by hand. I wasn't sure if that was commonly "done" but I did find it referenced in a vintage sewing book, so that was good enough for me.

Speaking of bias tape, the neck was the one really strange part of the pattern. It included a bias cut piece for the neck binding, but the piece was way wider than what was pictured in the pattern, even after taking seam allowances into consideration. So I just made my own bias tape and ditched the pattern piece. I ended up having a snafu with the neckline, however, and had to do it three times. It was after the first time that I decided 1" bias tape would look a lot better than 1/2", so I made some for the second try. However that time the binding looked like it was going to flop towards the outside and be slightly bunchy. But I did some research and found that you have to slightly stretch the bias tape as you pin it prior to sewing. Once I did that it came together great! I'm really pleased with how the finished neckline looks now and am so glad I persevered and ripped it out twice to get it just right. It's perfect now.


Look, I even made a belt stay for my belt! This would be a good time to admit how much I loathe my tube turner. Ugh! Even if the results are worth it.



The other main adjustment I made was to use a different skirt than in the pattern. I really prefer more A-line skirts, and thought I'd like this dress a lot better that way than with the full skirt as pictured. As it happens I had the next pattern down from it, 1066, which had just the skirt I was looking for. One piece for the front and one for the back, which is the same as on my all-time favorite vintage dress (which hasn't made an appearance on my blog yet).


I used the skirt pieces from New York 1066 with the rest of the pieces from New York 1067 and it worked like a charm!

(Whoops, wrinkles...I'd been wearing it a few hours at this point, sorry!)


I can't tell you how much I love this dress! I feel like it worked up pretty much exactly like I hoped when compared to the drawings. The only exception was the bodice was more blousy than pictured, so I just gathered it deeper at the neckline.

It's so comfy and a great dress for summer, with the roomy open armholes, relaxed bodice and scoop neck. Much as I love collared blouses and dresses, they feel so confining when the temperature starts to rise. This is just perfect.

(I know this photo is blurry but I kind of like the action shot...)


I really could see myself filling my wardrobe with different versions of this dress! Maybe contrasting binding, either a solid color or maybe another print for fun? Two pockets or different shaped pockets, or maybe some embroidery on the pocket or neckline... vintage rayon for a more drapey look... darker prints for Fall with a cardigan... maybe a bow belt... you name it!

Tell me—how would you envision sewing this dress up? Could you see this pattern as a wardrobe staple?


I'm so, so pleased with this dress! And my head is swirling with ideas for other dresses. I have some cotton in navy with tiny white polka dots... maybe it wants to be a sundress, too. Time to consult my patterns!

34 comments:

  1. i love it! it does seem like the perfect summer dress and the print is too cute. i prefer a big full skirt too, but i've found that the a-line is a lot easier to wear here in the windy city :)

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  2. I have an extremely similiar pattern, Simplicity 3952, that is from 1952. So I'm guessing this pattern is late 1940s, early 1950s. Your fabric choice is fantastic and all the work you put into looks amazing. I am inspired to pull that pattern out and try it now...I was never sure if it was something I'd like but you've proved me wrong. Yay!
    lilvintagehomemaker.blogspot.com

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  3. It's gorgeous! Looks like a really comfortable and practical dress which you'd get a lot of wear out of. The fabric is perfect for it too.

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  4. Breathtaking! It's even better than I could have imagined. That truly is one of those PERFECT dresses. I'm so impressed and happy for you. BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD when a dress turns out exactly how you envisioned it.

    Joann's really comes through with some great fabric sometimes. I figure it must be for the quilters who often go for heirloom prints, so every season they usually have a good handful of some seriously awesome vintage reproductions. It's just a matter of finding them underneath all the other ugly stuff. But isn't that often the case with any fabric store in some way or another?

    I'm so impressed with how well this dress came together. It definitely had what looked like some construction challenges, but you'd never know by looking at your finished product. And good call on swapping the a-line skirt. I think it looks much better your way. I've used a New York pattern for a blouse and if I recall correctly,t he instructions were a little baffling on that one too.

    Congratulations on a beautiful dress. I can't wait to see the other versions you make!

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  5. That style is so comfy! Love the material. I swear I'm gonna drag out my sewing machine!

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  6. What a great dress! I love the neckline. I have NEVER made a muslin for anything I have ever made. I get bored too easily and would feel like I have to the same thing twice; rarely has this resulted in something unwearable. I am guilty of bad-mouthing Joann, but every once in a while you find a treasure. Great job!

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  7. Wowza, what a lovely dress - congratulations! Such gorgeous details! I could definitely see it as a staple - casual enough for a weekend, but also smart enough for work with a cardigan and nice shoes. I'd make one in every colour of the rainbow :)

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  8. beautiful printing and congratulations to the result =)

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  9. YAY! The dress is STUNNING! I love it so much! Great job!!

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  10. That dress is divine! You could not tell at all that it was home made, it's stunning!

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  11. it' completely gorgeous. i love it!

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  12. OH my gosh I LOVE it! You did such an awesome job and the print is fabulous. I have a lot of trouble with muslins as well - I get super excited, make up the muslin, find so many changes that need to be made and blargh...there goes interest :( I love to see this all time favorite vintage dress as well ;)

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  13. Lovely results, I'm so envious of your sewing skills and you picked the perfect fabric for this dress! It would definitely be fun to create a serious of summer frocks based on this pattern-- you should try different pocket shapes too (maybe pointed triangle pockets trimmed in a contrasting fabric?)

    You accessorized it well too, I adore the contrast of the cornflower blue with your goldenrod bracelets & earrings!

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  14. Very cute! How about making one with a white bodice and a colored skirt, using the colored fabric to bind the bodice and white for the pockets?

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  15. Beautiful . . . and the dress is nice too ;) I love the fabric and the silhouette. I could see it in a white linen with navy trim, or red trim. I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

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  16. Bravo !!

    (Big Mama)

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  17. What a great job, it's a lovely easy wear summer dress, fantastic! No wonder you're pleased with it and yes I can see a few of those in my wardrobe too!

    As for muslin, I have NEVER made one and have been sewing for years, I also always make up bits of the pattern I don't understand or don't seem right and I often do as you do, take the top from one pattern & the bottom from another, I've also been known to make skirts without a pattern at all eeek!

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  18. Wow, what a creation. Fantastic print and lovely looking dress. Fantastico!!!

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  19. I remember seeing that fabric on a trip to JoAnn! I love what you did with it! The butterscotch accessories work so well, too.

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  20. I love this dress! The fabric is so pretty, but the fit of the dress is perfect. It reminds me of a swirl dress, with the gathered neckline and the pocket, really awesome job! I'm so jealous right now that I can't sew well enough to make one for myself!

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  21. Cute!! Love the pocket and belt details and that print is very nice. What a great dress!

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  22. Really cute dress, right in my style! :)

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  23. That really does look like a "real" vintage dress and I absolutely LOVE the whole bodice shape - the pleats and the sleeves. And the pockets! Great pockets! FAB!

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  24. Wow I love it!
    Such cool neck detail and the pocket is too cute. Good work with the belt too :-)
    sheesh I wish it would get warm here already!

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  25. Oh man I love the pleating on the bodice of this dress! Lovely.

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  26. I kept having to scroll down and down to leave my own, happy comment for you! :)

    I think this is one of the most flattering dresses I've seen in a while. The pleats from the neckline down to your pretty self-covered belt are just divine.

    I could keep gushing about all the little details you added, but suffice it to say I love it! You definatly rocked this/these dress patterns.

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  27. I LOVE everything about this dress! Amazing work, Tasha!! The pleating on the bodice, the print, and the pockets are all stunning beyond words! I wish I could sew like this! Nevertheless, you are truly talented!!

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  28. What a perfect dress for summer! I love how it turned out - especially the pockets!
    And if it makes you feel any better, zippers take me ages! So much so that I absolutely dread that step in the sewing process.

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  29. That is the perfect dress! If you feel like making more let me know- I'll send you my measurements! :)

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  30. I just found your blog, and it's wonderful! I love this dress, it's such a great every day dress.

    xo,
    Em

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