To celebrate #VPJuly, I sewed a 1970’s dress (Vintage Butterick 3068) from 1970’s fabric. To read about the pattern and the vintage aspects of the dress, pop on over to A Stitching Odyssey. (And while you’re there, look at the other inspiring vintage makes she has gathered over the course of the month!) Here, I thought I’d a personal account about why I chose the fabric and pattern.
I agonized about whether or not to use this fabric. You see, I totally adore this floral fabric. Like massive #fabriccrush. It’s vintage (from a stash I inherited from a friend who inherited from an elderly friend who probably bought it new back in the day) and the flowers are a combination of printed onto the thick, loose-weave linen and then painted on top of the print. And it seemed like it would be perfect for the bodice of this dress. So why not use it? I don’t expect to be able to wear this dress more than this summer. I’m up 20 lbs and several cup sizes from normal with a post-baby belly. And I may not return to the same size and shape as before I had a baby, but I do expect that I’ll be a lot closer to my old normal by next summer. And given my crummy pregnancy and traumatic birth, right now I don’t think I’ll be having another baby (never say never). So that would mean using a treasured piece of fabric on a dress I only wear for a few months (though honestly I’ll probably pair it with tights and cardigans to get it through cold weather too).
But, as you can see, I decided to go for it. Why? I reminded myself that I look at every day as a chance to play dress-up, and wearing clothes that I’ve made and that I love makes me happy. And those kinds of clothes are in very short supply right now as I don’t fit into most of my closet and I have very little time for sewing right now (my Flamingos Are the New Black shirt may be it right now). The more I love the dress, the more sexy and self-confident I’m going to feel in it, despite being unfamiliar with my current body. And it worked. I feel great in this dress and love wearing it! And that makes it a brilliant use of a special fabric.
I love wearing dresses, but there aren’t many I can wear right now as Evelyn Rose nurses all the time. I don’t mind hiking up a shirt to nurse, but I can’t really hike up a whole dress. So, the dress needed to have ready access to my boobs. A center front zipper fit the bill. I’m also struggling a bit to know what will fit and flatter my current body size and shape. I thought this dress would work well because (especially with the color blocked floral) it draws visual attention to the bodice and gives a waistline while the flared skirt gently skims over my belly. While the skirt fit nicely from the envelope, I did some extensive alterations to the bodice through two muslins. It needed a fairly hefty FBA (hefty by my usually-petite-busted standards. The extra fabric below the bust gathers into the waistline.), I raised the bust dart after the FBA (although I raised it a bit too much. Oops.), I took width out of the back, and I changed the armhole curve in front and back. But I’m pretty darn happy with what I ended up with. Usually I can just eyeball a flat pattern and know exactly where it will need changes to fit me, but I don’t know my current body well enough to do so, so it’s been interesting going through multiple muslins to get fit!
It feels so good to be wearing a dress that I may make another (I often say I’m going to repeat a pattern but I rarely do.) I think a button front shirt-dress would be nursing accessible and potentially flattering, so the next dress I tackle may be that!