Sunday, 3 February 2013

1940's Pin Up Tea Dress


Alrighty, well seeing as I'm in The Jar having pledged to make 12 wearable garments this year, I'd best get one under my belt should I be called upon to give an update of my progress. Yes, dear fellow Jar-ee's, when I saw Karen IRL yesterday, she confirmed that she would be dipping her hand in there and pulling out a name now and again and contacting that person for an update on how their sewlution is going, be warned! 

So here you are: my first completed wearable garment of 2013. However, my criteria of 'wearable' (successful enough in comfort, fit and in reflecting my sense of style, that it becomes a regularly worn item) will remain to be seen because this dress is too thin for February and too low cut to wear a vest underneath! On to the deets:

Pattern:

You may be a little surprised that I've opted for such a grown-up, lady-like pattern here. I actually made this dress to test the pattern and instructions before teaching the 1940's Tea Dress class at Sew Over It a couple of weekends ago. This is not the kind of dress or type of fabric I'd usually reach for, but I'm mighty pleased I was forced out of my comfort zone a little. It's a little tricky to see in the black fabric I've used, but it has a panelled, shaped front mid-drift section, gathered bust panels, a gored skirt, lightly gathered sleeve heads and little turn-up cuffs on the half-sleeves.


Pattern Sizing and Changes:

I was a bit worried about picking a size because rumour had it that this dress came up a bit small. I initially cut out a size 14 bodice which was WAY TOO BIG, but thankfully I had sufficient fabric left to re-cut a 12. I think I still ended up pinching a little out at the bodice side seams, but I may not have if my fabric had had less 'give'. If you know what I mean. If I were to make this dress again, I'd add 15 cms to the skirt length for a more vintage look. 

Fabric Choice:

Straight up confession: I bought new fabric for this project, which as you may or may not know I generally try not to do. Yes my fabric stash could be put to use and clothe a small nation, but in there I failed to find anything that would have been suitable for this dress. Initially I had honed in on some stash-residing navy crepe for this project, but when it came to cutting the pieces, I discovered the quantity was wholey insufficient, so to the fabric shop I went. Damn, buying new fabric is easy, isn't it?!  I just rocked on up, found a couple of drapey woven fabrics (although I was pretty disappointed at the lack of options at the shop I went in, but time was not on my side to shop around) and picked one. Snip-snip went the shop assistant (WHY do some shop assistants refuse to give the rest of what's left on the roll if there's only a tiny length remaining?), tip-tap went my pin number into the machine, and there I was, free to walk away with some brand new fabric. I could get used to it... Only kidding ya! 

As for what the fabric actually is, all I can say for certain is: black. And drapey. The tag had fallen off and the assistant wasn't sure. Anyway it was fine for this project. 


Details:

The version of this dress that hangs on a dress form in Sew Over It has a few delightful little contrast buttons down the centre front. I wanted to add some buttons as well because this dress was looking super-boring without. I hunting through my sizeable button stash and located these beauties, four sexy pin-ups in different poses! I bought them a whole chunk of years ago from a button shop near the Farmers' Market in L.A. back when I didn't realise that only buying four buttons would be entirely insufficient for most sewing projects. I'm so glad that I have been able to finally use them for something!


What about you? Have you sewn something that has taken you out of your stylistic comfort zone recently? Was it a surprise success or has it remained in your wardrobe since completion?

53 comments:

jessiekays said...
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jessiekays said...
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jessiekays said...

I really really love this! I haven't yet found many patterns that I feel I want to make. I can't quite work out from your comments - did you follow an actual pattern? If so, could you possibly share what pattern it was! I'd love to attempt this. The colour looks great on you too. (and <3 the buttons!)

clare said...

Is it a commercial pattern? I love it x

House of Pinheiro said...

Supper cute

Sue said...

This looks absolutely lovely on you! Those buttons are really amazing. :)

Kirsty said...

Zoe you look beautiful in this dress. The buttons are a real pick up.

quietandsmalladventures said...

ooooh i LOVE this dress, it's perfect for dressing up or down depending on the situation, and HOLY MOLY those buttons are SMASHING!!!!!!!

Claire (aka Seemane) said...

Gorgeous (buttons are v. cute) - and the new hairdo looks fab against the black fabric too :)

Carmen Bouchard aka CarmencitaB said...

Very very fetching, I love it.

Nettie said...

You look beautiful!! I think the fit looks great! It is a little different from what we normally see you in, but you wear it well!

Scruffybadger said...

I agree, it SO suits you Zoe, very flattering and when it warms up a bit it looks like an adaptable and versatile piece to see you through all sorts of occasions. The buttons though? Perfect way to Zoe-fy and add some unique detailing.

Alana said...

So cute, Zoe!

gingermakes said...

This is so elegant! It looks great on you! Love the buttons!

chrrristine said...

hey Zoe! I really love the dress on you, plus your hair is awesome!
I have recently decided that I will never make my own summer coat (after several disappointing muslins), and am for now sewing strictly inside my comfort zone (sleeveless dresses, skirts, sleeveless tops). I already feel a lot less stressed about sewing, and am suddenly enjoying it again!
xx!

velosewer said...

You look very elegant in that dress.
Last month I sewed only clothes using Jungle prints. I've had these fabrics in my stash for years but was too shy to wear them but now I know how to wear them - with style.

Kathryn said...

Woah, you look stunning! I love this style of dress of you. Plus not many people can pull off pure black but you've got the perfect colouring. Hope the class was fun to teach!

Sew Hopeful said...

Wow. You look a million bucks! I love your hair with the side swept fringe. It really, massively suits you. The dress is stunning, classic, gorgeous! The buttons add that cool twist that makes it very you. And I agree, you look stunning in pure black.

Shona said...

Holy crap, you look amazing in this! It's definately a winner. And now I'll be really tempted to take your class so I can have one too!

Marie said...

Lady, you look smashing! This dress is beautiful and is a lovely style on you. And the buttons...adorable!!!

theperfectnose said...

This silhouette really, really flatters your figure. I prefer this on you over wiggle/ pouf dresses. Good stuff.

Rebecca Wagner said...

you look gorgeous:) The buttons are adorable!

Bri said...

I must of missed when you got these buttons but they are amazing and so lovely on your first project of the year! Bravo!

I like the length of the dress, I always feel when a dress goes below my knees I have to wear heels or it looks weird. Maybe thats just me? But I get where you're coming from regarding the time period of this dress originally.

Rochelle New said...

Gorgeous! I love it! And I'm dying over those little pin-up buttons! So so cute.

Crab and Bee said...

This dress looks fantastic on you! Bravo! I'll bet you'll wear this a lot, which is the best way to celebrate a new fabric purchase.

Brumby said...

The dress is very cute, and I would think be a great layering piece to ensure wear almost year round.

As an aside, how annoying is it when the people who are paid to know things (like what kind of fabric something is, or how to sew), don't!

I am not sure what it is like there, but here in New Zealand, the major chain fabric stores service staff don't sew, couldn't tell a chiffon from a corduroy, surely us sewer's aren't such a rare breed that they couldn't fill the role with someone who knows a little something?

ok, rant over :-/ - sorry.

Anonymous said...

You look stunning! -- another Zoe

acharmofmagpies said...

Stunning! I love this on you, what a gorgeous silhouette! And those buttons make me want to get on a plane right now and go to the button market you got them from and buy them all.

Miriam said...

you look gorgeous Zoe - great shape on you :o)

Tilly said...

Ooh la la, lady, you look gorgeous! I reckon this look really suits you. Love the buttons xx

Anonymous said...

Goodness! I've been lurking your blog for the longest, but must come out of hiding and comment! You might have stepped out of your normal zone with this make, Zoe, but it suits you so fabulously!! You make a rather simple frock look like a million bucks! And the hairdo is absolutely stunning on you as well! Bravo!!!

Sølvi said...

Gorgeous! That´s just perfect for you, that dress. So hurrah for getting out of those comfort zones! ;-)

I am out of my comfort zone these days by sewing a dress that´s much more low cut than I´m used to, so we´ll see how that goes. :-)

Roisin Muldoon said...

Adorable, and naturally I love the pin-up buttons on an otherwise demure dress. I agree that this will look great dressed up or down - nicely done! x

Philippa said...

Well you say it isn't what you'd reach for but i think it really suits you. Maybe you will have to step put of your comfort zone more often! X

Elena said...

Oh wow, this is just beautiful! And I love the sliver of special that the buttons bring. Echoing what a number of others have said, I'd love to know if this is a commercial pattern available to be bought. Love it!

Sew little time said...

lovely. and so flattering! i reckon you'll wear it loads once the need for vests has passed. and those buttons are amazing!

Cecili said...

Wow that lbd is so incredibly gorgeous! YOU are the ultimate pin up in it :)

Bridget Mahoney said...

Love the buttons! So cute and unexpected.

honigdesign said...

Great little dress, love teh buttons!

bloodsweatshoptears said...

I've been reading your blog for some time now but I think this may be my first comment.

Love the dress! Very flattering on you :-)

Sabs said...

Love love love!

sorbetsurprise said...

You look stunning in your dress, I love the pin up buttons, they add so much fun to the dress, I think sewing out of your comfort zone is a good thing!

Meg the Grand said...

Your hair is positively glorious in these photos! The dress is marvelous, and the buttons are a great addition :) Well done!

almondrock said...

This really does flatter you. Looks so different to lisa's polka dot version. I'm a fan of this dress!

EmSewCrazy said...

Very Lovely! Black is a good color on you. On a side note, I really like your hair in these pics. It was one of the first things I noticed! Good job with the buttons too, they really add to it!

Sarah said...

ooh, that looks pretty and comfortable, the holy grail of dresses, haha. And the buttons are perfect :). Is the pattern from the Sew Over It book?

Anonymous said...

I'm in the US, so I contacted Sew Over It by email. They plan to make their patterns available online soon.

Rehanon Mackenzie said...

lovely stuff darling. Those buttons are so, so cute :)

xxx

Len said...

LOVE THIS

Also, your hair is super long and looks ace! All of the glamour points for you.

Hazel said...

ooh I love this dress! The shape really suits you. And those buttons are just amazing!

Amanda said...

Such a fab style on you and the buttons add a bit of sass to the polished look. Super awesome, Zo! :D

Tugba Kop said...

Looks awesome Zoe! I've never seen it in black before-works great.

For those asking about the pattern, it's from Sew Over it (www.sewoverit.co.uk), a sewing cafe in South London. They do this dress as a class, but are currently working on releasing them as commercial patterns. I know all of this because I'm doing the illustrations for the patterns, so watch this space :-)

Amy said...

This dress is so cute, and the buttons make it awesome! The red lipstick sets it off too!

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