Sunday, August 30, 2015

Sewing Diary: Vintage Sleepwear Pattern to Modern Sundress

I've had a lot of frustrating sewing experiences lately. A new apron pattern I tried turned out ugly, so I tossed the finished product. And then I tried to make a flounced skirt using some beautiful raw silk in grey and silk noil in blue that I had previously made into a shapelessly ugly skirt and a boxy and wrinkly tunic top. I just adore both of these fabrics but I can't seem to make anything nice out of them. This was my fourth try with these fabrics and it was another failure. The skirt got stretched out along the hem so there was unattractive puckering and in general, the new skirt was just as blah as the other items I had previously made with these fabrics. So they were again relegated to my remnant pile and I hope to make something really beautiful out of them some day. Does anyone else out there have fabric they just love, but have never successfully turned in to a wearable garment? Please share so I won't feel so lame.

But I did have one project turn out very nicely this week. I wanted to make a sundress that was loose and flowy and would work as both a swimsuit cover up and a nightgown, and possibly, a sundress for when I take my trip to the Greek isles in September. I am planning on taking only a carry-on bag, so am trying to minimize the clothes I need to carry.

When visiting Textile Discount Outlet last week to use up my Groupon certificate, I found this really pretty, lightweight fabric that I think is rayon (almost nothing is labeled in that store). It is white and various shades of blue, and has the loveliest drapey hand. So soft! I am trying to keep my wardrobe for my trip in blue and white, so I knew this would be perfect. I bought 3 yards and the whole thing only cost about $13.

I decided to try out this vintage pattern I had purchased on ebay for the dress. I liked that there was no waistline, which would work great both as a nightgown and as a swimsuit cover up. When I am in Mykonos, my hotel will be directly across the street from the beach, so I can wear this to walk to the beach and not feel so naked. The other thing I liked about this pattern were the ruffled sleeves, which is a style I adore. So cute!
Where the pins are, that is where I had to handsew to attach the lining at the armholes and to the skirt.
This pattern is a vintage size 16, which is about a 12 in modern sizing, and was too small for me, but it was a cinch to grade up. I just added a couple of inches to the width of the dress part, which are simple rectangle shapes. Then I made a muslin for the bodice, and saw that I only needed to add a couple of inches in width, because the styling of the dress features lots of ease and is supposed to be loose.
Adding width to the bust area without compromising the fit in the neck and armholes.
Above is a photo of the way I altered the bodice pattern. It seemed to work well, and, although there was a lot of handsewing involved in attaching the lining on the inside, I am very happy with the way this dress turned out. I know I will enjoy wearing it. Plus I love any kind of nautical prints, and I think this one is very sweet. Can't wait to try it out in Greece!
My finished sundress/nightgown/beach cover-up