Thursday, November 3, 2011

My 'Mid-century Madness' Dress


I am SO excited to show you my latest sewing project--a 1950's shirtwaist dress! I don't know why it has taken me so long to sew up one of these 1950's classic pieces--but now I'm hooked (and hence the title 'Mid-century Madness').  I feel like I could easily make a 100 of these dresses in every single adorable printed fabric and never get tired!!
I was super lucky to be contacted by an amazing UK online shop called Fancy Moon to host a fabric giveaway on my blog (scroll to the end of the post to read more!) and also to get some fabric myself to review!  I had so much fun perusing the retro prints they have online and when I came across the 'Nutmeg Seeds Orange' print from Robert Kaufman (they also have this exact print in green) -I knew it would be perfect for this challenge!  It's 100% cotton and crisp enough for this shirtwaist dress but soft enough to gently hold all those skirt gathers!


I was very excited when I found some buttons in my stash that went perfectly with the fabric.  These are vintage buttons that I got from the lovely Sofia when she came to visit.  I used three buttons instead of two because these are a bit smaller than what I think the pattern calls for. 

I used a pattern I got in the Sew Weekly UK meet-up pattern swap.  It's the lovely Style Print 1283 pattern that Charlotte brought to the meet-up. This is my first time using a Style Print pattern.  On the back of the pattern it reads "Style Patterns Ltd: An entirely BritishProduction" (emphasis orginal)!  The pattern paper is a bit thicker than normal tissue pattern paper--which I found easier to work with. 


You can wear the collar up (like in the pattern photo) or down.  I really like how the collar was constructed as it's all one piece with the front facing with a smaller undercollar piece.  I did use fairly strong interfacing to get that crisp collar look!


I am on the look-out for more Style Print patterns.  I found the fit to be really good and the instructions were very clear.  I did muslin the bodice because it's the first time I've used these patterns.  I ended up adding an extra 1/4 inch to each of the side (I was paranoid of the dreaded gaping front) and lengthened the waist front and back by about 1/4 inch.  I also took about 2 inches off the skirt length.


A super big thank-you to David who woke up (after only 3 hours of sleep) to walk with me to the park in the wee hours of the morning to take some photos before work (our tripod is broken).  Isn't that sweet?  It's nearly impossible to get daytime photos now that the sun sets at 4:30pm!  sigh. 


The leaves are all turning colours and we did notice one of the trees had lost nearly all of it's leaves.  We are well into autumn now with winter hanging on the air.


I love how even without a petticoat, the dress still has that full skirt 50's look!  Though I bet it would look adorable with a couple of petticoats.  I've been wanting to get some after the series on petticoats that Solanah had on her blog. 



So, what is this about a giveaway I hear you say?  That's right! Tomorrow, I'll be hosting a giveaway for reader's choice of 2 metres of Fancy Moon fabric.  Nancy over at Fancy Moon is so nice that she's opened the giveaway to readers everywhere! YAY!  Check back tomorrow to enter yourself in the giveaway!

I'll also be hosting a giveaway this weekend for this Style Print pattern.  It's definitely a gem.

65 comments:

  1. Oh, I do love that dress! It's perfect in every way. :-)

    I'm also loving the photos of the trees changing colour - so pretty!

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  2. Looks so pretty! I always wondered how this kind of shirtdresses close. Does it have a zipper in the side seam?

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  3. Oh it is supercute, love the print!

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  4. Debi, I love this! You look adorable in this gorgeous dress and I'm loving your hair. David's a gem for getting up to take those photos, but it paid off. What great shots! I know what you mean about struggling to get daylight...I've been meaning to post a blog this week, but I can't seem to find the time to get clear pictures...sigh!

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  5. @DOORTJE--yes, I forgot to mention it does have a side zipper as well as a functional front button closure--which is good, because the bodice is fitted! :)

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  6. That dress is really a great look on you. I love the colours in your photos - proper autumn!

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  7. Debi - You look great in that lovely frock! What a great seamstress you are. Thank you for sharing it and your wonderful city with us. Kind Regards, Lynn (Pennsylvania, USA)

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  8. Oooh I've got a similar pattern in my stash and haven't bothered with it yet, this has made me want to sew it up. The fabric is a perfect match and it's good to know it's suitable for dressmaking. Gorgeous dress, I love it Debi. x

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  9. It's absolutely gorgeous. I love it in that fabric. Clever you! Very excited by the giveaway.

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  10. The dress looks great on you, sweetiepie. I'm glad we were able to get up and catch the light before it clouded-over.

    Great job on the dress, and I like the fabric - the weight of it is perfect; it flows and yet also has enough body to hold a shape. The collar is stiff but not starched and inflexible.

    I'm pleased with the way the photos came out. Well worth getting up early for. *YAWN!*

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  11. Me again, I've just found a Style Print pattern in my stash!!! - I'll e-mail you the details. I've also got one by Economy Design which look like they're part of the same 'entirely British'. company! If you do find any info on this company I'd be very interested as I'd never heard of them before either. xx

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  12. @Jane---ooohhhh very exciting! Yes-do send me the details! I'll see if I can pull up some information on them!

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  13. I love this dress and the fabric is beautiful!

    I think I have some style print pattern, but I know I definitely have Economy Design ones

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  14. really really lovely!!! excellent choice with the fabric. I'm making a shirtdress and had selected a plain navy fabric, but I'm definitely rethinking that - print is the way to go! x

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  15. Love the dress! such a great classic shape and the print is fabulous. I'll be back for the giveaway, for sure :)

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  16. This is one of my favorites, you can really live in a dress like this. It looks easy to wear. Your waist looks super small. I would be making more of these for sure.

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  17. What a beautiful dress Debi! The style is lovely and the fabric is fantastic and superbly seasonal!

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  18. The cut of this dress really flatters you, Debi - it looks great and I can definitely see this in many different colours/fabrics. Bravo!

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  19. Love, love, love the dress!!!
    You show it off to it's very best advantage!
    A shirtwaist is so attractive on most women, I don't know how or why it ever fell out of favour.

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  20. That is so gorgeous! The fabric is amazing!

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  21. Beautiful - the pattern, the fabric - all looks wonderful on you!

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  22. Hey Debi - I have an earlier Style pattern: number 1042. Can you guess where I got mine? From the same Charlotte ;). We did a one-for-one pattern exchange a while back, when I sent her McCall 7286 from 1948. My 1042 is unmarked tissue, and no colour on the cover, so I'm guessing mine is a bit earlier.
    Your dress turned out great, and I love the print!

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  23. That is just such a wonderful dress. I LOVE that fabric so much! And in my favorite shirtwaist? I'm green with envy;)

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  24. If you want a petticoat, I'd suggest resashay.com, a consignment square dancing shop. I personally really like the Sam's brand, they make a "softie" petticoat - made out of knit nylon, like old peignoir sets and lingerie. Very comfy and if you buy a used one they're usually not too expensive...$50 or less. The only confusing thing is sometimes they're fluffiness is measured in weight, rather then things like the number of tiers!

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  25. I love this! I'm in such admiration. I wish I had time to sew during the school year. Instead I have to get my fix by longingly looking at sewing blogs.

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  26. @ Lisette...Good to know! Thanks for the link. I really want to get some petticoats but I never see them in charity shops here and I don't have a lot to spend (of course...I could make my own too...but don't have any tulle or net in my stash ...ehhehehe)

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  27. Debi this dress is divine. I love 50's shirtwaist dresses!!! I can't beleive you are giving the pattern away, that's so generous of you :o)

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  28. Luv this dress! And those buttons are as perfect as the fit. Luv your shoes too.

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  29. The print on this dress is lovely. It has such a pretty autumn feel to it!

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  30. I love this dress. Total wardrobe envy going on here. And the park is gorgeous! Perfectly complimenting the dress.

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  31. Oh, how autumnal and school-girlish you look in the new dress! That shirtwaist style hung on until well into the 1960s. My mother had loads of them ... I particularly remember a yellow one, long sleeved, with shiny rayon embroidery all over the skirt hem, cuffs and collar. The dresses closed as you would suppose, by the buttons down the front (and sometimes a hidden placket in the skirt). No need for a zipper. Little girls wore that sort of dress to school. We had to wear dresses nearly all the time.

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  32. Your dress is beautiful. I really love the marriage of pattern and fabric - the print is perfectly retro and is just lovely for this time of the year!

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  33. wow - the shirtwaist dress is DEFINITELY your dress!! it looks fantastic on you! i'm not normally a fan of cutesy printed fabric, but i can't imagine making that dress in anything else. it's so so perfect. i can't even articulate how much i love this!!

    and i can't get over how pretty fall is over there! all that green with those golds & oranges... perfect backdrop for a perfect dress. the pictures in this post seriously just made my morning :)

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  34. So Autumnal and lovely! Looks great on you!

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  35. This is so cute, and so are you!

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  36. It looks lovely Debi - and very autumnal!
    I made a similar shirtdress in boring black and wear it a lot, it always seems flattering! I don't want to wear it out of the house though, because I don't have a petticoat and the skirt is so full it is a bit risque!

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  37. This dress is perfect! I adore shirtwaist dresses and the print you chose... love it!

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  38. Love the fabric, love the fit, love it all! The shape is really flattering too. I will certainly be entering the giveaway :)

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  39. Oh, how adorable! I'll definitely be entering for this one - I love shirt dresses, and this one suits you so well.

    If you want a cotton petticoat, House of Olivier do a lovely one for £30 that comes in lots of colours. Or I can point you to an ebay seller that does tulle ones for £19! They're not amazing quality but for the money they're brilliant - fluffy and fun to wear!

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  40. Oh, what a lovely pattern with gorgeous fabric. Very autumnal and all taken in one of my favourite places - Princes Street gardens. The shape of the dress is lovely and really suits you.

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  41. May I be the next in a long list of people to add my high praise for the perfect fabric, perfect pattern, perfect dress, perfect location! Just beautiful!

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  42. Debi, it's just perfect! And I love your photos - bravo to David for helping out in the morning!

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  43. This is my favorite outfit of all the ones I've seen here! Absolutely delightful pattern and fabric. You look so lovely! I love Autumn.

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  44. As everyone else has said, this all works so well, like you just dropped from one of the trees into the park. Great shirtdress! I'm feeling your pain about the lack of light and a broken tripod. We've had our first snow (now melted), and the tripod has needed a replacement for too long to mention.

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  45. Hi Debi - this is a gorgeous dress, love the autumnal fabric too:)

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  46. The pattern is just right for your figure!

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  47. It's gorgeous. I love the fabric you chose and the buttons are perfect. Your hair looks really pretty too.

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  48. Debi, this is just lovely! I've been wanting to make a shirtwaist dress for a while - but keep getting outbid for the ebay patterns! (I guess I'll just need to be a little more persistent). Great fall photos - you've got a keeper with David ;)

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  49. The fabric and style are just perfect together!

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  50. Lovely dress, lovely fabric, lovely Edinburgh, lovely lady!!!

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  51. That was a wonderful madness! You know that this time is my favorite, so I just love, love, love this dress. It's perfect in every way!

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  52. The perfect shirt dress!? Love the fabric choice.

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  53. Absolutely, stunningly gorgeous!

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  54. This dress is lovely. I have been making a 1953 dress for the plain pattern project over on N.V.L blog. I also love the wild fabrics over at fancy moon. In fact off there now to check out the leaf pattern.

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  55. So beautiful! Love the autumn colours of it. As someone who also just made their first shirtdress (from a heavily adapted 1963 pattern for Halloween), I've also become somewhat mad for mid-century. Unfortunately, it's just starting to get for real cold here...

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  56. I love this! So much so, I hastily started googling this fabric. I'm a big copycat!

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  57. Absolutely gorgeous! I have also just completed my first 'Style Pattern' (and actually my first vintage pattern!). It's Style 4772 from 1974. On the back of the envelope it says that the patterns are made in London, Ontario and Johannesburg, but that this particular pattern is printed in Great Britain. Tabatha x

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  58. Oh and here's a photo of the pattern envelope, if you're interested: http://flic.kr/p/aCUKAH Bye for now!

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  59. I can´t believe I´ve missed commenting on this dress, damn iPhone RSS reading;-). This shirtdress is so pretty! I love the fabric choice, and you look so nice in this kind of style, no wonder you want to make more! :-)

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  60. I love this print. It would be a perfect fall dress here in Las Vegas. 

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I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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