July 1, 2010

The Gingham Dress Revealed...Not So Fast.

I did it. I finished the blue and white gingham 1940's dress.

I don't know why this dress felt so difficult to sew and I can only come to the conclusion that it was my mood. Maybe too much is going on in my life for me to enjoy the sewing and it felt more like a chore to get it done. I don't like that!!!!!

I did learn lots of things from sewing this, so I guess that counts for something.

I learned to use and LOVE bias tape. I tried doing the neckline without it and it just would not work. It kept twirling and wrinkling and looking plain awful. But then...into my life came bias tape. It may be my new best friend. It was easy to work with and did the job.

I also struggled with the belt, which should have been the simpilist part of the whole dress...I cut into the seams a little too much when trimming it and fabric was coming through when I turned it inside out or right side forward. Ugh!!! I was ready to toss it back in the garbage for the second time until I thought maybe I could put bias tape on the seam. I did it and I like the way it adds some detail to the dress. I love you bias tape....at least for now.

I also learned that when it comes to 1940's patterns (or maybe it is just this pattern) that I am a true size 12 or 32" bust. What goes on with the 1950's patterns where my waist feels as though it is in a vice!!!! And that is even with a 34" bust size.

When I was getting ready to cut the fabric I thought I might have to re-draft it(thinking back to my past few 34" bust patterns circa 1950), but friends told me to measure and see if there was enough ease in the pattern to fit my waist, and what do you know, there was. There was so much ease without adjusting anything that I can slip it over my head AND I ended up not putting a zipper in. That was a big plus, for my mood and a zipper were surly going to clash and it was not going to be pretty.

I ended up interfacing the yoke, after the fact. A true seamstress would probably gasp, but it is doing the job of making it less see through and adding some structure to the otherwise light swiss dot fabric. It helped when adding the buttons and buttonholes as well.

I shortened the dress considerably and added a small ruffle to the bottom. It looks cute. It is a cute dress, although a sewing teacher would tear it apart. I need to come up with an appropriate name for it...considering my mood and all.

I know you all want to see this dress...but let's not forget the camera situation. Okay, Can you wait till tomorrow? I have borrowed my neighbors camera and will be able to get some shots in today, if all goes well.

Besides finishing the dress the one highlight of my day yesterday was coming home from work and watching the very first episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I used to love watching that show. My dad used to love it too. When my children were young we lived next door to them and it used to play in re-run late in the afternoon or early evening. We used to sit and eat supper together and laugh our way through the antics of Mary, Rhoda, Mr. Grant and the rest of the crew. Last night I looked at it with a different eye, the fashion eye. WOW. Short skirts, lots of pleats, and belts galore. I have a feeling this may lead to a new sewing decade for me. Stay tuned.

Here is a website with all the specfics of the wardrobe for TMTMS. It is a very interesting read, if you are interested in this sort of thing. Stephanie?


  1. I see that there are now two Stephanies; the sewing Stephanie and just me, xoxo Stephanie. Whomever you were referring to, I thank you anyway for the MTM link regarding the fashion of the show. I absolutely LOVED the way MTM dressed on that show! Lots of knits and really such great style. You have to admit, some of the 70's styles were quite nice. Also, I was very into her apartment--loved that too!


    P.S. Glad you finished the dress. Can't wait to see it.

  2. I CANNOT believe you posted this without a PICTURE....shame, shame....now I have to wait!! LOL Hurry and get a camera....I am so excited for you!

  3. Yes, there are two Stephanie's but only one YOU and it was you I was referring to. I knew you would love MTM's fashion sense...my only regret in watching the TV shows..and I have watched 4 since last night...is that YOU are not here to watch them with me. I know we would have fun.

  4. Traci...I know, but I need to iron it and make it look sassy...maybe add some belt loops to hold the belt in place... I promise I will get some up for tomorrow.

  5. I love you Sassy Lassie! Wish I could have been there watching with you too!


  6. As long as you finished it and you like it, it doesn't matter what sort of tricks you had to throw in! I can't wait to see the photos.
    As for Hartford, I won't be living there because I already live near there :D I'm right next door in Rhode Island. Nonetheless I will be spending many months in Hartford and I'd love to meet up with a fellow vintage sewist!

  7. Bias tape is easy?! Really?! I've not been keen to use it b/c it seems so fussy to me. Even the instructions confuse me!

    Thanks for tagging me! I'll think about the answers - so fun!


I appreciate each and every one of your comments. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me.


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