Someone please buy this dress...

I mean... Just look at it!

This is just about as perfect as a vintage wrap dress gets. Starting bid is 19$, no bids yet...

Also, it's larger size with 54" hips, up to 36" waist (with tie to pull it more fitted) and up to 44" bust. Too big for me... can't have everything.

But if it's you're size and you're interested, you can find it here.


Noooo! Anything but this! Please?

Been quiet for a while... Very busy, quite tired, you know how it goes.

Actually my absence from the wonderful world of blogs started because first I got really sick and stayed that way for a very long time, that's pneumonia for you. I was so sick I couldn't even read a magazine because it was too heavy. I don't even have a television, so there was nothing to do, except to feel miserable. After I got a bit better I ended up so busy with all the stuff I couldn't do while I was sick... Yeah, no time for anything I really love to do. If that does not make one feel exhausted then what does? Now, after my first true vacation in two years I feel like a new woman. So why not to share some of my strange thoughts...

Every since I bought this fabric in October 2009 from Urban Burb (while in San Francisco) I've had a strange craving for orange shoes... It must be those clovns.

See?! If that's not adorable then what is?

Actually I'm quite obsessed with the idea of orange shoes. I've been looking for a perfect pair for months now... John Fluevog had the models Fiorenza and Renata in orange. Renatas were my top pick in January while they were on sale, but sadly they only had sizes from 7 to bigger left...

Re-Mix Vintage Shoes had these lovely flats. I love the details! Still, somehow I never got into ordering a pair because their ordering system seems so complicated that I get frustrated even before I start to order anything.

...And there also used to be this design from Minna Parikka.

None of these seemed quite right somehow...

Now I know why:

These Fluevog Malibranis are my perfect orange shoes. I totally lust for these... Unfortunately the smallest size left (in Blood Orange) was 6 and what I've heard is that I should actually go down half size to get good fit. This means I should get them in 5, which is not possible.

I even tried to order these in size 6 once (in November 2010), but they didn't have that size at that moment. But then... (and now the bad news) I just found out they discontinued the orange version! Why?!?!?! What did I to deserve this?!?!?! What point is there to go on without the possibility to have these shoes? John Fluevog, you simply cannot do this to me.


Easy Summer Dress - The Instructions

First, I'd like to apologize my English. I'm not a native speaker and translating from old Finnish proved to be bit of a challenge. ;)

And now, as I promised: The instructions for that easy breezy late 50's summer dresses I wrote about earlier...

The instructions tell that this dress is not only good for a sundress, but it can also be used as a jumper with blouses, and if a fancy fabric is used, it may even be suitable for evening wear... I don't know if I'd go that far, though. ;) They also mention that this dress could perhaps be used as maternity dress. So versatile! ;)

So, you'll need 2 1/2 meters (2,735 yards) of fabric 120 cm (48") wide. The article says that the original dress in the TV-show was made from silk lining fabric. As far as I know, this probably wasn't actually silk, but some other fabric (of man-made fibres). I'd say that light weight fabrics (with good draping properties) work better than heavier ones for a dress like this (like that sheer cotton versus thicker linen that I've used for this dress so far).

One word of warning… The end result will be much nicer if you take the time and preshrink your fabric before cutting. Warp and weft tend to shrink in different ways due to the tension differences in fabrication process. If the fabric is not prepared the hem will most likely turn uneven in the first wash, which is very usual problem with circle skirts and like.

Part 1: Cutting

Spread the fabric on a flat surface right side up (Picture 1) and fold along the center line E-F bringing the corner A to B and C to D. (A and C stay on the top.)

Then fold the fabric crosswise bringing the corner CD to E (Picture 2). After this you should have the triangular shape seen in Picture 3 and four layers of fabric.

Measure 20 cm (8”) from the corner AB along both sides of the triangle (AB-ECD and AB-F), marking X and Y. Cut away the corner along the curved line (I recommend pinning the fabric layers together before cutting) drawn between these two points (X, Y). This curved line will be the neckline of the dress (Picture 3).

Now decide the desired length of the dress and then add some for the hem…

Measure the added length from the point X to point P (and mark the point) and then from Y to Q. Carefully draw the hemline measuring from the curved line X-Y so that every point on hemline has an equal distance to the neckline. Now cut along the line (once again pinning the layers together might be a good choice) from P to Q.

Now open the last fold leaving the fabric only twofold. Voila! You’ve got your two dress pieces (front and back) now (Picture 4).

Baste the sides together starting from the hem. On both sides of the bodice leave c. 37 cm (c. 15”) open until you’ve tried to fit the garment to see how much room is needed for arm holes. Then baste the rest as needed to fit your own measurements.

From the leftover fabric cut two strips for shoulder straps. The width is optional, cut as wide or narrow as you like, but remember to leave some extra fabric so you can finish the edges... and cut the strips long enough, you can trim the excess lenght later.

The dress in the picture has a soft gathered sash cut on the bias. The width is 25 cm (10”) and it closes on the back side with hook and eye closure. The instructions suggest that self fabric belt is another possibility. (Purchased belt works just as fine...)

Part 2: Fitting

When fitting the dress you’ll need another person to help you (the shoulder straps haven’t bee attached to the dress yet). Turn the dress right side out and try it on. Attach the dress to the straps of your petticoat (!) using pins. See how far the side seams should go and baste them a bit further up if necessary.

The shoulder straps are first pinned to front of the dress. If the straps are wide, you can gather them a bit before attaching them to the bodice (see picture 5). Shorten the straps as needed and pin them to the back part too.

If you are making the wide gathered sash, try it on also now. Pull it tight to the back and pin it together in the middle of the back. Cut excess fabric away leaving enough to turn the raw edges in. If you are using self-fabric or purchased belt, the instructions suggest trying also these on at this point.

Take the dress off and remove the straps.

Part 3: Sewing

You’ll need a facing for the neckline… This can be either the same fabric or some other, whatever you decide. First, spread the top on a piece of paper (see picture 6) and draw the outline of the neckline and armholes on the paper (it needs to continue 2,5 cm or 1”, past the ending point of the future side seam). Remove the dress and draw the facing about 5cm (2”) wide (picture 7). Using this paper pattern cut two facings (front and back) on the bias (picture 8).

Machine stitch the side seams (picture 9), iron them open and finish the raw edges.

Turn in the raw edges of the shoulder straps and stitch (picture 10), you can also line them if you want.

Baste the shoulder straps to bodice front right sides together (see picture 11), the other ends of straps hanging towards the hemline.

Finish the bottom edge of the facing as needed. Put the facing on top of the bodice front and the shoulder straps right sides together with the dress (picture 12). Baste and then machine stitch. Turn the right side out and iron.

The instructions tell that the back facing should be attached in the same way, but leaving the straps away. The straps should then be hand stitched to the backside. (I just did it in the same way that the bodice front was supposed to do. I think it looks nicer that way…)

Blind stich the facings to the dress on the wrong side as seen in Picture 13.

Then just hem the dress and you're done!

I hope these instructions can be of use to you! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. :) And if you would like to have the instructions in Finnish (pdf), just ask!


I'll be right back...

I got back from my mini holiday (and vintage shopping spree) in Sweden... more than two weeks ago. It was fun! I found a lot of nice stuff and got to dance plenty in Herräng.

Pictorial review of Herräng, the "lindy hop heaven"... I had a beauty parlour in the middle of forest where I whipped up some nice hairdos for friends of mine... LOL

Herräng pictures from friends...

I haven't been blogging lately because I've been sick ever since I returned. Not so nice. Now that I'm finally getting better I'll get on with the instructions for those summer dresses as I promised...


Old projects - Part 3

This time it's two light and breezy summer dresses... tent dresses to be exact. I think this might be one of the easiest dress "patterns" I've ever worked with. First of all there is no pattern. ;)

The instructions were in a Finnish ladies magazine from 1959 (Kotiliesi). The article tells that this dress was one of the things featured in an British tv-series for home sewing without patterns that played the year before in British televisin.

I made one using sheer light beige cotton with two toned brown paisley print. I was supprised how well it turned out. Because it's cut on bias, the fit wasn't that bad either. It was easy, but took some time, because of all the hand sewing... I'm not sure anymore, but I think I hand hemmed it.

Once I was at it, I also made another one using linen. It was a bit thicker than the paisley print, so the fit wasn't that flattering. Also, I didn't have enough fabric, so I had to add a ruffle to the hem to make the gress little longer. Not that bad, but not very good either. This time I added adjustable straps because I got thinking I might not be using this dress myself - and I never did.

After the two muslins (that's what these really were) I quite liked the easy design and one day might even try it again.

I've still got the instructions somewhere and maybe I could post them here... if anyone's interested?


Old projects - Part 2

I have this thing... I keep making stuff that I'll never wear. I still don't know how I ended up choosing pale apple green for this dress after I found that nice border print in aqua. Total waste of fabric. I thought about going crazy and using orange (yes, there's orange in the roses if you look closely). Orange is a nice color, it suits me and brightens up my day. With a happy color like that I could have at least used the dress around the house if I was too lazy to dress up properly...

Pale greens and yellows just are not for me. I don't know how I keep forgetting that. Usually it happens with pale apple green - I love that color, but it doesn't work for me in oh so many ways. Bold colors and prints are good, pale pastels will do if it's light blue or right kind of pink, but never ever will I look good in pale green, got it? No, I never do, just keep making the same mistake every few years again and again... I actually even had some orange fabric that I could've used, but decided to take it easy and go with the pale green. Bad choice!

So, I never wanted to wear this dress once I'd finished it. I just felt I was vanishing from sight when I put it on. I thought using black accents would be enough to spice up the paleness and make the dress work for me, but I was wrong. Every time I even tried it on I just started feeling crumpy.

Yes, it's my first and (so far) only version of the famous Walkaway Dress (reissued pattern), originally Butterick 6015, reissued as B4790.

Finished dress had a perfect fit and looked kind of cute, but the color of the overskirt made me sick. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful when someone else wears it... just really not me. I did have to shorten the bodice a bit, but that's the usual alteration I need to make so it really doesn't count. I did notice that the underskirt had the tendency to ride up a bit, so if I'll ever make this again, i'll need to fix that problem somehow.

This story does have a happy ending: Once again I sold the dress to a new happy owner (who looks good in pale green).

Here's a better view of the underskirt. That borderprint was so nice... Good thing I bought plenty! ;)


Old projects - Part 1

I thought I should show you some of my old sewing projects... now that I finally found pictures of some of the lovelies I've already passed on to new owners. This is also a sewing blog, right? ;)

First one is a soft white (with two tone pink roses) linen swing dress with full circle skirt and self fabric belt. I made this about fifteen years ago, got to wear it once or twice, but because those little cap sleeves were just a bit too tight for my strong arms, this never became a favorite of mine. ;) After about ten years I decided I wasn't going to fix the sleeves (and that I'm really not that into pink) and sold it to a very nice lady with smaller arms (Who keeps asking for more - I just haven't had the time to sew for her yet. Sorry!). I made a petticoat to go with the dress for her after she bought it...

I really loved that fabric. The print was just about perfect, even with the pink-factor considered. I made the pattern myself and spent a lot of time on little details like the belt buckle. I loved the (slightly unpractical) combination of boat neckline on the front and very deep v-neckline on the backside. I also made a matching little scarf... I don't know where I got all the energy those days. ;)