sense and sensibility patterns

Today is the day, sew-alongers! I am so, so excited that we’ve officially completed this sew-along together. It was such a fantastic experience for me, and I loved that I was able to work on a project with others and get to know many of you just a bit better through our collective sewing. I do hope you had fun with this, if you participated, and you’re pleased with your final dress! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to contribute your dress to the link list (which will be open indefinitely, so don’t worry if you’re not done with your version yet!). So without further ado, here is my version:

03.17.11 | mint green swing dress

[ are you ready to celebrate? alas, I forgot to pick up a party hat last time I was out... ]

The only downside with these photos is that they weren’t taken at the romantic, waterside location I had envisioned in my head since I bought this fabric. Alas, my resident photographer (aka Sailor Husband) was unavailable, so it was just me and my trusty tripod. Seeing these pictures, I’m really glad that I refit the pattern during the sew-along; I feel like the fit is more spot-on than the previous versions.

03.17.11 | mint green swing dress
03.17.11 | mint green swing dress

[ for the curious, the shoes are the Remix Rita heels; a Christmas gift from my in-laws. ]

03.17.11 | mint green swing dress

[ more pictures here. ]

Instead of a button or brooch at the neckline, I decided to make a fabric flower from the book I reviewed last week. Isn’t it fun? I thought it would be a rather whimsical little addition to the frock and add a bit of texture to the neckline. Plus it’s very 40s to use all the last bits of scraps to make a smart accessory, right? (The BurdaStyle website has a link to download this flower pattern if you’re interested.) The only problem is that the lightweight silk is a bit floppy, so I think I might add a bit of fabric starch to stiffen the petals a bit.

03.17.11 | mint green swing dress

[ details: fabric flower made from scraps of leftover silk. how very 1940s to use all the scraps! ]

03.17.11 | mint green swing dress

[details: vintage white ceramic belt buckle embellishing the self-fabric belt. ]

I think that pretty much rounds this up. I don’t really have much else to say about this dress since I’ve already rambled on in the sewing posts (which if you missed any, they’ll all be archived here). Thank you again to everyone who participated in this sew-along–and be sure to add a link to your finished dress below!

Swing Dress Party!
Ready to show off your new Swing Dress? Just enter your blog post/photo url in the form below (please only one link, per version of the dress. So if you’ve made more than one, you can submit one link per dress.), click submit and add your dress into the virtual party! Be sure to check out everyone else’s versions as well… Can’t wait to see yours!

Note: Due to an ongoing spam problem with the link widget I originally used in this post, I unfortunately had to disable it. Please visit the Flickr group to see some of the finished dresses participants made!

March 17, 2011 · 65 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , , ,

12.07.10 | polka dot swing dress

I finished this dress late last week, have worn it a couple times and finally was able to get some snapshots yesterday to share with you! Of course, just as I’ve finished this lightweight, semi-sheer rayon dress, the weather has gotten chilly–but I don’t mind! It’s the perfect thing for layering (see the last image in this post) for these in-between type days.

12.07.10 | polka dot swing dress

The pattern is Sense and Sensibility’s swing dress, which is really becoming a staple for my wardrobe–this is number three that I’ve made from this pattern in the past year (as I mentioned last week)! What I like is that it’s not only a flattering silhouette, but also a basic without being boring–something I need more of in my closet. I made a few changes to the pattern when I made this up: namely leaving off the back sash ties. I used those on the previous two dresses, but kept wondering how the dress would look without them and a belt instead? I’m wearing one of my favorite vintage belts in these pictures, but also made a bow belt and have another with a vintage black buckle in the works. It’s a simple swap, but really opens up the possibilities for accessorizing.

12.07.10 | polka dot swing dress

One thing I had made a mental note of on the other two versions was that I really needed to interface the midriff piece–especially with this light and somewhat slippery fabric. I just used a knit fusible interfacing, applied to the midriff only, and that helped a lot with any possibly distortion on this lightweight fabric. Another change I did was to modify the sleeve cap, which is more of a fitting tweak, but just as necessary to achieving the shoulder line I wanted. In both my previous versions of this dress the sleeve cap has been far too full for the smooth, set-in style that the envelope shows. Since the pattern is based on a 40s pattern, this is not surprising–many commercial patterns from this era have simply too much ease in the sleeve cap. It’s an easy fix, involving measuring and re-cutting the cap to fit the armhole with the proper amount of ease though. Would anyone be interested in a quick tutorial on how to do this?

12.07.10 | polka dot swing dress

Otherwise this dress was pretty straight-forward! You can read my thoughts on the overall construction on an earlier post if you’d like. One final thing I did do was make some thin, matching shoulder pads. Although I don’t like a super-built up shoulder, they are necessary to give both that 40s look and are great for smoothing the shoulder line. I used the basic principles in my shoulder pad tutorial, but made them a bit smaller and rounded. I used 2-3 layers of cotton batting in each as well. The basic pad was constructed of muslin and then covered with a piece of dress fabric. I just serged the edges, but turning them under and slip stitching is perfectly acceptable too. To help shape these, I used a sleeve roll to pin each to and then applied a steam a few times and let them “set” overnight. It really helped give them a slightly curved shape to conform to the shoulder.

Now, I have to admit that for the first batch of photos in this post I did kind of dress up a bit to show off the dress. I was wearing it yesterday, but had bundled up a bit which meant the details were hard to pick out. I did, however, snap a couple photos of how I wore it–back seam stockings are definitely not something I wear daily! lol. I’ve been pairing it with some of the more brightly colored cardigans in my collection, but yesterday was chilly enough to make me want to snuggle in this warm and cozy vintage cashmere sweater and forget being exciting with color!

12.07.10 | polka dot swing dress

  • dress: made by me
  • cardigan: 50s/60s vintage, thrifted
  • patent bow belt: estate sale
  • tights: Target (?)
  • shoes: Madden Girl
  • bracelet/pin/earrings: Forever 21/vintage, thrifted/mall store

So one new sewing project down… and I’ve got another in the works! Hopefully I’ll post about that later in the week or next week; it’s another one I’m excited about because the technique I’m using for lining it is brilliant!

December 7, 2010 · 79 lovely thoughts
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02.18.10 {the post-valentine's day dress}

[ click for a larger view. ]

I actually finished this dress a few weeks ago, then totally forgot to post about it! This is what was originally to be a “Thanksgiving dress”, then slated for Christmas, and it did get finished before Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t wear it. This was one of the dresses on my fall sewing list, but didn’t end up quite the way I had envisioned. Originally, I was going to use this late 1930s pattern, the zipper front view to be exact. However, since society has forever been jaded with the combination of the 1970s pointy collars and front zippers, the first bodice screamed 70s, rather than the 30s. Not being a 70s gal myself (at least, not of that side of the 70s; the more earthy/hippie/Laura Ashley looks I could do), I knew if I made it up as-is, I’d never, ever wear it.

02.18.10 {the post-valentine's day dress}

[ excuse the silly imitation-of-a-40s-model pose! lol! ]

Thankfully, I had enough fabric to cut out another bodice (yay for over-buying!), and used the already tried and true Sense and Sensibility swing dress pattern. The skirt I had cut out from the original 30s pattern, but it was easy to work into the new bodice. The fabric is a nice, heavy rayon crepe that drapes beautifully and is perfect for the spate of cold weather right now. I’m actually kind of shocked I didn’t wear it until now! I think I have to be in a certain mood to wear a bright red dress, if you know what I mean? Wednesday definitely was one of those days; I needed a good injection of color as a pick-me-up!

02.18.10 {the post-valentine's day dress}

[ click for a larger view. ]

The bag I’m holding in a couple of the photos is one of my favorites, but curiously a piece I have never actually used. Partially because I believe it came from my great grandmother’s estate after she passed away in 1992 (Mom, am I right on this? My memory is a bit fuzzy!), so it’s a family heirloom. I also had managed to pack it away deep in a box and forgot I even had it. However, looking at it now, it’s the perfect shape for the 40s–I think I need to take it for a spin in public soon!

02.18.10 {the post-valentine's day dress}

[ click for a larger view. ]

Note: Thank you to everyone who entered the cherry brooch giveaway! I’ll be announcing the winner a bit later, so be sure to check back soon!

February 18, 2010 · 46 lovely thoughts
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10.13.09 {swing kitten style}

[ click for a larger view. ]

Well, it certainly was not my intention to just drop off the face of the earth last week… and skip another Inspiration Friday post! (Or not catch up on comment replies… Yikes!) However, as life seems to have a habit of doing lately, things popped up, days were spent running around, and we were out and about two evenings in a row (highly unusual for us homebodies!). That being said, I did spend most of Saturday and Sunday whipping up a new dress for myself! Well, it’s not completely finished, but I thought you all might like to see a peek at the nearly done frock. hehe!

10.13.09 {swing kitten style}

[ click for a larger view. ]

I have been dreaming of a lovely autumn dress out of this black and white windowpane plaid fabric for some time. I think it’s a rayon/wool (I bought it on the clearance table at G Street Fabrics in Virginia, so I have no clue)–it’s got a beautiful drape! For a bit I mulled over making an a-line skirt and cropped bolero–a la late 1930s. But, my love affair with the ease of the one-piece dress won out and I went rummaging through my pattern boxes to find something suitable.

10.13.09 {swing kitten style}

[ click for a larger view. ]

I rediscovered this pattern, a sweet 1940s style from Sense and Sensibility patterns. I had the pleasure of interning with Jennie Chancey years ago, and have had this pattern since then, but sadly never made it up (silly me!). Mostly because the right fabric hadn’t come along (picky, picky). This lightweight rayon suiting, coupled with the tailored lines and bracelet length sleeves seems perfect though. She based the pattern off of this design, and I love the detachable dicky concept (though it isn’t included in the Sense and Sensibility pattern). I have instructions in one of my 40s sewing manuals on how to make one, and I think that might be something fun to add down the road.

10.13.09 {swing kitten style}

[ click for a larger view. ]

But for now, here’s the project halfway done. As is usual for me, I made a few changes and tweaks along the way, most notably the sleeves will be shortened. After trying on the dress halfway through, the length of sleeves didn’t work to well for me. So I am planning on chopping off a couple inches to make them a bit more flattering on my shortish arms. Now I just need to hem it and wish really hard that the weather will miraculously cool off. hehe!

October 13, 2009 · 27 lovely thoughts
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