Sunday, 24 July 2011

Summer Holiday Dress

Now, apologies for the photo-heavy post this is likely to turn out to be. I'm just basically in love with my latest sewing creation so I've taken a rather large quantity of paps so you can see it in its entirety. It's a fun retro-y vaguely Rockabilly sun dress along the lines of late 50's/early 60's styles. It seems to make the most of my curves and feels super-sexy to wear!

The fabric is some amazing vintage stuff that's been in my stash for as long as I've had a fabric stash worth speaking about. I can't exactly remember, but I think it was an ebay purchase about six years ago, when 50's/early 60's stuff wasn't really my thing. Something (maybe the colours?) must have attracted me though, and I'm so glad I bought it. I'm equally glad that a younger, less capable seamstress-me didn't get her mitts on it and make a hash-up of a project from it. Indeed, miraculously this fabric evaded all scissor-happy endeavours until I rediscovered it in a box at my folks' house a few weeks ago. The print is so amazing, it features little vignettes of some non-specific Mediterranean holiday destination in that really early 1960's idea of foreign travel and life. It's so evocatively kitsch, I could weep! Wouldn't you just love to order a sangria/ouzo/pastis/grappa at this little al fresco bar?!:

As you can see, it's a wiggle dress consisting of a basic bodice and A-line skirt with the additions of wide shoulder straps and red ruffle detail. I begun by using the strapless bodice pattern pieces from Simplicity 4070 (pictured below), which was also the pattern I used as the starting point for my Frida Kahlo dress. Actually, I think I'm getting better as seeing the potential in an initially unappealing sewing pattern. I made a size 12 toile and fitted it (I found I needed to make additional darts at the front side panels towards the bust to stop some unpleasant side gaping).

I used the skirt pattern pieces from some bland 1990's wiggle dress pattern, adding to the side seams to make sure the top of the skirt's measurements corresponded with those of the bodice. Once the skirt was attached to the bodice, I tried it on and found the skirt section was too bit so I skimmed off some of the side seams to fit nicely over my hips.

I considered making this a halter dress, but I really wanted to feel comfortable wearing this dress so didn't want to have to wear it with a strapless bra and therefore be constantly aware that the bra might be visible at the back. So I opted for nice, secure, wide self-straps instead. I got my boss to help me position them exactly over where my bra straps normally sit so they are completely covered and that whole area is not a concern!

As awesome as this fabric is, I felt it needed something extra to really pop, so before I added the shoulder straps, I decided a contrast red ruffle would give it the constrast pop I was looking for. I found some nasty synthetic blend fabric that was more or less the same red as the red in the fabric's print design in the fabric bins under my bench at work and fashioned myself a ruffle. Initially, I had the ruffles going all along the top of the bodice, but it didn't work around the underarm area as moving my arms around meant the ruffle tended to get flattened down, so I unpicked it and respositioned it to feature just around the front area instead, tapering down to nothing towards the underarms.

Because the fabric is quite floppy, I felt the bodice needed some help to keep its shape. I decided to line it with more of the nasty red synthetic stuff. I chose not to line the skirt, as I tend to wear tights or holdups when wearing dresses and skirts, and I thought tights plus skirt plus skirt lining might end up feeling too bulky and hot.

Having had our little trip to Bologna back in May, I'm not going away again this summer, but with the spirit of holiday so very present in this dress, I feel it's pretty much a constant party whenever I'm wearing it!

48 comments:

Kestrel said...

So pretty! Fabulous fabric and a great shape that really suits you.

Roisin Muldoon said...

Oh, Zoe, that is amazing! I love the fabric - I have a dress made out of fabric with little vignettes of Hawaii all over it, and it is just so holidayish that it makes me smile every time I wear it. The ruffles are adorable as well - well done you!

Oh and with you on the halterneck - I find myself turning halter straps into shoulder straps more and more often now. Going braless just doesn't appeal, sadly :(

ashley0107 said...

What an adorable dress! The fabric is so cute, and it fits you beautifully :) I love the ruffle too.
Ashley x

Andrea said...

Totally fabulous. I love the kitschy adorableness of it all. I'm currently on the hunt for some black and white tiki fabric to make a similarly styled dress. Great job!

didyoumakethat said...

You look va-va-voom sexy! Nothing better than to see a woman confidently wearing a gorgeous dress. I LOVE the fabric. Can't imagine a 'you' before you were into this type of look! You deserve to be very proud and I love all the photos.

Miss P said...

That print is aMAzing, as is your new dress, as are you in it!
Me gusta!!
Px

lilmisskriss said...

it's just WOOOOW! i really love it. excellent choice for fabric and pattern :D

Kit said...

I love this dress so much- very clever mixing and matching patterns. The fabric is fab as well!

Kat said...

Oooh that fabric is just too cute! Great dress, it fits you perfectly and I love the finishing touch of the red.

Stacy aka Stacybeads said...

Oh girl, you KNOW this dress just pushes all my buttons in the best way! The print, the colors, the shape...it's all so retro fab I literally gasped when I saw it. Well done!

Magpie Mimi said...

Fab dress! Very va va voom! You must feel a million dollars in it!

Ozzy Blackbeard said...

Oh my goodness, it's gorgeous! And so glam! Happy wearing :)

Tiny said...

It looks great on you :)

House of Pinheiro said...

Amazingly gorgeous!

MrsC said...

Fabulous! It is so perfect for you. The red frill was a stroke of sheer genius.
Where are you posing? Fascinating background!

Jane said...

It's beautiful Zoe. It fits you perfectly and the fabric is divine, I LOVE the little sangria bars! It was definitely worth waiting for the right time to turn your fabric into such a spectacularly sexy number. x

katherine h said...

Cute dress! Have a Sangria for me.

The pop of colour with the ruffle detail really makes it.

Lysy said...

You look *fab*! The ruffle really makes it zing"

Claire Cooper said...

Its great. I love the fabric and the style.

gingermakes said...

Eek! It's adorable! Great job!!

Kirsty said...

WOW !! Love it !!! You look great in it too. Perfect fabric for a perfect dress.

Sunduri Das said...

Very cute. I love your shoes. They don't make prints like they used to, huh?

Shelly said...

Amazing dress! It really suits you and clearly this cute fabric was meant for this dress.

Meg the Grand said...

The fabric is fantastic and the dress shows it off to its full advantage! Love the red ruffle and those amazing shoes - they help make the red in the fabric pop! Well done!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful dress and so looooovve the shoes!!! I would love a pair if you don't mind sharing where you found them?

Thanks, Jeri

Brumby said...

Absolutely love the dress, the color is amazing on you and print is so fun! I know what you mean about fabrics, there are a few I cut into as a teenager from Mums stash which adult me regrets, I would love to get my mitts on them now and make something more worthy out of them.

Maria (viola33) said...

Beautiful dress! I particulary love red lining and I just LOVE the print!

Debi said...

Wowza! That is one hot dress! I love all the little details on the dress like the print and the neckline! So beautiful and perfect for summer!

Christina said...

Wow, great dress! The red ruffle just makes it - I'm deeply impressed.

Alessa said...

It's very awesome, I love the print and the red ruffle! Also, great shoes!

Tors said...

Oh, Zo, you look fabulous! Love that dress!!

Psycho Sue- Sew Misunderstood said...

MEEEEEOW! MAMA!

charlotte said...

wow wow wow !!!

Alexandra said...

Such a gorgeous dress..i love it! xx

liza jane said...

Wow, such a nice dress! The red ruffle detail you added is fantastic. I love the wide straps, too.

Rehanon Mackenzie said...

Pow, pow!! You and that dress are both shooting from the hip - you gorgeous pair ;-) That fabric is so lovely and made even more fantastic by the fact that vignette is one of my favourite words in the English language. xxx

Tanit-Isis said...

I love it---red and aqua may be my new favourite colour combination! That little ruffle just at the front is genius, too.

ellie said...

Very nice work,Zoe! I love the way you put in the ruffle!

Sonia said...

Gorgeous!!!!

No Regrets, Inc. said...

Beautiful outfit! And such a nice lining & shoes.

And that fabric. I want to go on vacation right now! I'd bring that dress along.

Lizzie-s said...

That is stunning, i wish all fabric was that awesome.
I think I just heard you mentioned on 6 music - and now am feeling like a crazy stalker so thought I'd better introduce myself - Hi I'm Lizzie x

frk.bustad said...

The dress looks great on you! And I love the frills on the bodice. I don't mind photo-heavy posts at all!

Roobeedoo said...

Whoah! That dress has SO MUCH va va voom and you are totally working it, baby! ;)
The red frill is the spark of genius I think!

Cross Stitch Queen said...

I love the dress and you look great in it.

Barcelona must have been awesome!! Love the Ramblas, I am sure that you may have gotten awesome sewing mags there. Great place!!

I think that the patterns you have picked up are just lovely. You are obviously talented in the sewing realm.

Nice blog!
CSQ

Tilly said...

A bit late to this party but...

Vavavoom! Miss Zo! Ooh la la this is gorgeous! I adore the pleated red bit peeping over the top. What a stunner! x

Michelle said...

I love this dress so much! The fabric is amazing - what a great find!

threadsquare said...

You are the party! Looks amazing on you. It's so great to rediscover a fabric, and this baby was worth the wait.

Cecili said...

Your dress is wonderful and you look amazing in it! Just looking at it made me happy :)

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