But enough about things I can't talk about, how about something I can talk about? This accidental playsuit!
I sewed this polka dot dirndl skirt in June, from 1940s Simplicity 4496. A few weeks ago, I bought the Mrs. Depew 1950s-style beach top halter pattern from her Etsy shop. You already know I'm obsessed with halter styles this summer, and this was my first foray into sewing a halter top. I'm not a big PDF pattern gal, but this one is small, so the cutting and pasting is minimal!
And my opinion on the result? A big hell yes, thankyouverymuch.
Seriously, I love this top! Having never sewn anything like it, I went into this considering it to be a wearable muslin. I still had lots of this fabric left from the skirt, so I thought it would be cute for the top, too. I didn't go into it thinking about it as a full matchy matchy outfit, but about halfway through I realized hey, this is a playsuit in the making!
(Wait wait, can I stop here for a second and also say how much I love my new Luxulite necklace? I used to wear necklaces all the time and then recently realized I'd almost completely stopped wearing them over the last couple of years, so I'm trying to make up for lost time. More novelty necklaces in my life, please!)
My fashion fabric was a lightweight cotton so I interfaced the bra trim (called for in the pattern) and bra cups (not called for in the pattern). To add a bit more stability, I used a mid-weight muslin as my lining. The top was pretty easy to put together, and I think a confident advanced beginner could even give it a shot! You essentially put the bra part together twice—once for the outside and bra trim, and once for the inside lining. Then you sandwich in the straps, sew the whole thing together with the right sides facing, turn it inside out and top-stitch.
The end result is a beautiful, easy and professional finish! Well beautiful and professional except if you do a crap job like me making corners in your top-stitching of the ends of the back pieces (and yes I could have picked it out and re-done it, but nope I didn't). Hopefully I made up for it with lovely hand-worked buttonholes in vintage silk buttonhole twist. And two pretty vintage buttons.
I sewed the size Small, for 34" bust and the fit was spot-on. Now, I was seriously concerned about the ability of this top to hold up my D-cup girls without sagging, and without me having to cinch the halter so tight it cut the circulation off to my head. But look ma, no sagging! I think if I use a mid-weight cotton next time instead of lightweight, I probably won't need to interface the cups, but I'd only opt not to if I also used a mid-weight cotton for the inside. You definitely don't want to go too lightweight with this unless you stabilize it.
(Sorry about a few wrinkles here and there on the beach top, especially the trim. I've already worn this a lot and forgot to press it after taking it out of the suitcase from a road trip. Whoops!)
Here's a look at the back. Note that the strap rides pretty low. At first when I tried it on I freaked myself out thinking it was way too small, because I pinned it across the center of my back!
Now this bolero, how the heck does that fit into the picture?
Here's the crazy thing: I sewed this bolero about 3 years ago from a 1950s pattern, when I was very first dabbling in sewing again. I knew absolutely squat, hacked away at the sides when it was too big, but was still pretty pleased with the final bolero. I sewed this up from a printed vintage feedsack... but never thought about what I could wear it with.
Which was literally nothing. NOTHING.
For years, this sat in my closet untouched and unloved. Even though it's the most crushingly amazing print!
I even forgot about it for awhile, until I saw the lovely Lauren from Wearing History sew a playsuit in the exact same feedsack print a couple of years ago. What are the odds? But then I sadly forgot about it once again. Poor, sad, unloved bolero.
Until I was trying on my new accidental polka dot playsuit, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was talking to Mel and suddenly shouted something like "OMG I can't believe what I just thought of!" and went flying out of the room, with Mel left wondering what made me lose my mind.
It was this. Oh. YES.
And together? Just exactly what I needed to turn this playsuit into something more modest when I need it.
Overall, I'm thrilled that I was able to put together this playsuit from three separate sewing projects.
I would highly recommend this pattern if you can't tell. I've already hoarded fabric for three other versions, with either a matching skirt or shorts, and possibly a version with a longer bodice. I'm hooked!
And hey, if you like it too, check back soon for a little something fun coming your way!
1950s bolero, beach top and 1940s dirndl skirt - made by me
vintage earrings & bangles - misc.
necklace - Luxulite
shoes - Feibinger