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Saturday, July 26, 2014

· 1950s BBQ Dress ·


I had an Official Blog Posting Plan all laid out for the summer, organized into a perfectly arranged pattern and balance of historical, vintage, and "other" posts which indicated that this dress was supposed to wait for a few weeks before posting.

However, I love it so much that it is moving up on the schedule. ;-)


On a trip to JoAnns last August, the clearance rack was an additional 50% off and we were browsing.  Obviously, we like to flirt with temptation... further evidenced by the fact that we ended up coming home with several new pieces, including this slightly crazy novelty print.  It was quirky in the right ways, a great color for me, and I was in the right mood.  Once we got home I started seriously questioning my decision though!  At home it seemed a little *too* quirky, overly colorful (there are at least 4 different shades of red alone!), and I wasn't in the right mood anymore.

I plugged away at it though, and set a deadline a couple weeks away.  The more I worked with the fabric, the more I wondered what in the WORLD I was thinking when I bought it!  I just couldn't see myself really loving (or even liking!) the dress.  I pacified myself with the consolation that I could sell the completed dress if I really hated it and at least make back the money invested in the supplies.  Intervening projects and unexpected setbacks ended up delaying completion until November.  So it languished in the closet until (with a bit of trepidation) I got it out for its debut in June... but I'm pleased to report that I LOVED it! :-D  It is super comfortable, and it just feels like "me" this year. :-)


I loved the fun details and unique skirt gathering of Butterick 5920, but I am very, very partial to kimono sleeves so I adjusted the pattern accordingly.  I wanted to add in some black accents to break up the pattern a bit and highlight the elements, so I decided on piping.

Of course, in my inherently cheap manner, I felt compelled to make the piping instead of buying it pre-made.  And I got to remember how much I really don't like piping angles. :-P  Ugh!  Why do I keep forgetting that?!  It is such a lesson in frustration and they never turn out nice enough.  The time needed to make and apply piping to the sleeves, neck, placket, and pockets was longer than expected and took a part in delaying the result.

But after all the trouble, I am SOOO glad I did it! :-)


This fabric design is rather large, and when I bought it I knew I'd have to take the repeat into account if I wanted to match up the designs.  I bought a bit extra than the pattern called for, and ended up getting even more than that to finish off the bolt.

Turns out that that was the best decision I could have made!  I thought the repeat was about 13" long, but after getting it home and laying the pieces out, I discovered that it was Twenty. Seven. Inches. Long!  Wow.  And, Ugh.  But, I love a good puzzle, and it provided just the right amount of challenge. ;-)  I matched up the design on the center front skirt seam and the front bodice.  I also made it so that the design "reads" all the way around the skirt and bodice.  That part might not end up being terribly perceptible to most, but it makes me happy!  The pockets were intentionally contrasting with the surrounding design so they would "pop" and they each feature a motif.

All things considered, I just barely squeaked by with enough fabric.  Whew!


I made bound buttonholes on this dress too- they are so addicting!  I love the way they look. :-)

This dress also marked a "first" for me, and one I never thought I would sink to the depths of.  I was determined not to buy any new buttons for this dress, but I didn't have enough matching ones.  Since the fabric was already so crazy and I wasn't sure I would even end up keeping the completed dress, I used mismatched buttons.  Oh, the horror!

But seriously- I really don't like mismatched buttons.

Granted, these buttons are rather subtly mismatched and still in an orderly pattern, but I actually like them!  Sometimes I utterly shock myself. ;-)



I LOVE these pockets, and moved them to the skirt rather than the chest.  I love the way they naturally pop out since they are placed under the skirt gathers. :-)


And I love the way the center placket extends into the skirt, and I'm so glad I chose to highlight that with the piping. :-)

OK, judging by the amount of times I said that I "loved" some aspect of this dress, have you picked up on the fact that I am really adoring this dress?! ;-)  It was such an unexpected love affair, but I'm glad it has fared better than expected!  I think the fact that so far I've gotten tons of compliments from even the most unlikely of sources might have done its share in boosting my esteem of it, too. ;-)

· Photography by Kathryn ·

24 comments:

  1. SO FABULOUS!! :D I ADORE this dress <3 You do such amazing work on your creations, and really inspire me to do better on my own. Lovely job, Lilly!

    -Charlotte
    boyerfamilysingers.blogspot.com

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  2. Ahhh! This is too cute!! I need to start being brave and buying cute fabrics like that. This dress is next on my sewing list - I'm making it out of a reproduction 40's fabric. My mom just recently made this dress too. Did you notice how the pockets were waaaay too giant to fit on the upper bodice? I'm going to put mine down below too - I love that!
    Thanks for sharing and inspiring, as always!! :-)

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    1. Esther, wow! That's frustrating! At least they end up working nicely on the skirt! ;-)

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  3. That dress is SO cute and fun Lily! You did a spectacular job on all the lovely details. I never would have had the patience to match up the pattern as expertly as you did. Wow!

    Blessings,

    Brigid
    the Middle Sister and Singer

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  4. Super cute, and I love the pattern matching across the front!

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  5. It is SOOO cute!!!! I love the neckline!

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  6. I love this dress! I love the pattern and I love your use of piping! I love piping! And I love how you lined everything up which is especially apparent in the bodice of the dress! Also love the collar and the piping on the pockets.What an awesome find! I've been looking for a 50's novelty bbq print ever since I missed out on a Bernie Dexter BBQ print dress last year. A little envious of your print find at Joanns on the sales rack! Amazing job!

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  7. Oh my good golly gosh! I adore your fabric! And your matchy matchy of the print on the center (does that make sense?) is perfection! I cannot help but smile whenever I see a new creation of yours! You are truly a talented seamstress!
    Blessings!
    Gina

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet words, Gina. They are such an encouragement! :-)

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  8. This is AMAZING! I adore all the details and craftsmanship you put into it, and I only hope that I can become so impressively accomplished in my own sewing projects! The piping is SO worth it, and all of your print-matching literally made my jaw drop. (I noticed it before I read about it!) Spectacularly done!

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    1. Emileigh, thanks! It's very gratifying to know that the little details that make me happy don't go unnoticed. ;-)

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  9. To add to my last comment, I do have one question, since you do so many beautiful dresses with Kimono sleeves, would you mind giving us a tutorial on how you finish the inside seams with the finicky curves, clippings, etc.? I would SO love and appreciate if you could do that, but totally understand if you can't.

    Blessings,

    Brigid
    the Middle Sister and Singer

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    1. Brigid, thanks for the idea! I can always love suggestions for more in-depth posts, so I'll add this one to the "eventually" list. ;-D

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  10. Wow I am in awe! It is so very cute. What a great choice.

    Blessings,
    Amy

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  11. Thank you all! You are always so sweet! :-)

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  12. LOVE it! Just adorable. :)

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  13. This is sweet, Lily! I think my favorite detail is the black piping. Just makes the whole dress pop. :)

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  14. My mom and I were wondering what kind of petticoat you wore under this dress. It looks so pretty!! :-)

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    1. Hi Esther!

      I wear this petticoat under all my 1950s dresses- http://www.amazon.com/Hell-Bunny-Adjustable-Petticoat-Crinoline/dp/B00IHPW346/ref=sr_1_1?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1407029432&sr=1-1&keywords=hell+bunny+petticoat

      I'd highly recommend it- it is pricey, but petticoats tend to be that way. And after making one of my own, I don't mind paying someone else to do that grunt work! ;-)

      The petticoat is very fluffy at first, but after lots of wear it starts to "deflate" a bit. We've found that washing it restores the original bounciness though. :-)

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    2. We just got our petticoats in the mail yesterday! :-) My mom got the Hell Bunny and I got a Malco Modes 591. I opted for that because it's slightly longer, which I needed for my height, being 6'.
      It takes a little bit of adjusting to get used to wearing them, but it definitely looks beautiful.
      Thanks for all the info!! :-)

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  15. Oh my... I LOVE this dress. Novelty prints are the BEST! And I had really not given a second look to this particular pattern because the views on the Butterick site are just so bland. I love that you moved the pockets from the bodice to the skirt, where they look great, and added kimono sleeves. Maybe you have mentioned it elsewhere, but can you point me in the cirection of a tutorial to show me how to do this? If I can add kimono sleeves then world domination is not far behind.

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    1. Thanks so much, Joni!

      I'm sorry to report that I'm not going to be much help. I drafted my own kimono pattern base through trial and error. I use that base, and just change the neckline, darts, etc. as needed for my short-sleeved 50s bodices.

      LOL, I guess that means that I'm now one step closer to world domination! The world certainly wouldn't be worth dominating if I didn't have kimono sleeves though, so I'm glad I got my priorities straight! ;-)

      Nice to hear from you- thanks for the comment!

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