Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sew Grateful Week: The 'Aviator' Dress


I am beyond excited to share with you my Sew Grateful Week project!  The original inspiration for this dress and hat came from Kate Beckinsale's character in the movie 'The Aviator':


I just love everything about the outfit including the colour blocked sleeves, the keyhole neckline, the accompanying scarf and of course, the hat!!!  Oddly, the dress hardly makes an appearance in the movie.  I think it's only in a couple of scenes but it's the only thing I remember about those scenes!  I even had the perfect pattern in my stash, Advance 4143 from 1946:



I used navy viscose as the main dress fabric and found some lovely wool jersey in a beautiful mustard yellow for the contrasting sleeves.  The pattern is magnificent. The keyhole neckline and neckline facing went together quite easily.  The dress has two bodice and back waist darts for shaping and a great four gored skirt.  It's closed at the top with link buttons--I used mother of pearl cuff links that I borrowed stole from David for the top of the keyhole neckline.

I also made a matching neck scarf using McCall 7284, a jacket and scarf pattern from 1933.  I had previously made a scarf from this pattern for my 1933 jacket refashion.



The hardest part of sewing the dress was the sleeves.  I spent months on the sleeves.  They are attached with a lapped seam and it was quite tricky to get the placement just right.  Once I finally liked the position, I hand basted them in place before sewing.  The wool jersey was a dream to sew with and they didn't slip at all during the sewing process.


This is the perfect Sew Grateful Dress because when I originally posted my inspiration photos, several people mentioned how much they loved the hat.  I loved the hat too, but where would I find the perfect matching hat?  That's when Ellen from BMillinery left a comment that she'd love to try and make the hat to match the outfit if I was interested.  OH YES!!!!  So, I sent her all the fabric I had left over and she made the most amazing hat!!!


Just look at it!!  I absolutely adore it.  The front is an exact replica of the Aviator hat.  We didn't have any photos of the back of the hat so Ellen used her creativity and just look what she came up with--the back of the hat is stunning!  It's held on with lots of bobby pins and a hat pin.  There are six small elastic loops on the underside of the hat through which the bobby pins are placed.  Isn't it just amazing?  Ellen has an Etsy shop and does custom orders as well and I definitely look forward to utilizing her creativity and talent for making such beautiful hats!


To celebrate such a wonderful, thoughtful and creative gift, I knew that I wanted to take some fun Aviator type photos.  There is a fantastic spitfire memorial (603 Squadron) in Edinburgh that I knew would be the perfect backdrop.  I had to get special permission to take the photos at the monument since it's so close to the Edinburgh airport, but I'm so glad I did!!  These little planes were powerhouses during WWII and were decisive in ensuring a British victory during the final months of the Battle of Britain.


Not only was I able to take pictures in two of the coolest locations in Edinburgh (the Spitfire Memorial and on top of Calton Hill) but I had the opportunity to work with Phil from PSD Photography for the photos.  Phil was nominated as the Scottish Fashion Photographer of the year through the Scottish Fashion Awards.  How freakin' awesome is that?  His work is absolutely amazing and I feel so incredibly grateful to have been able to be a part of the creative talents of Phil and Ellen for this project!


This is definitely one of my favourite outfits I've ever sewn and the perfect testament to the wonderful online sewing community that we're celebrating this week!

99 comments:

  1. Wow, just wow!  The dress, the hat, the photos... absolutely stunning!  You look amazing, Debi

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  2. Amazing Debi! What an amazing collaboration of three such artistic people!

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  3. Laura Pedersen-SchulzFebruary 07, 2013 8:30 AM

    This is AMAZING!  Love the entire outfit.  It is definitely color-blocking at its best!

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  4. Perfectly done! & I agree, the colour blocking is divine! And I believe I shall now have to go and checkout Ellen's Etsy store (did I mention I'm a hat addict?)

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  5. Looking at that pattern, I wouldn't have thought it would turn out as lovely as it did. It's amazing. And the hat...!

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  6. Wow this is beautiful! I love it! 
    Question - how did you sew a lapped seam in the corners of the sleeve seam? if it was such a struggle, why didn't you just sew it with a a straight seam? I can't seem to get my head around lapped seams for some reason.
    I love this and I think it's so cool that Ellen made you the hat... like you said, it's a truly sew grateful week!

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  7. Absoloutly amaaaazing!!! The dress is gorgeous and those sleeves are so wellmade! The hat, the setting, the photo's, it's all just stunning.

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  8. Oh my goodness what a FABULOUS outfit! That hat and dress are divine - great job from both of you!

    www.mancunianvintage.com

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  9. Wow!!! Amazing! The dress is beautiful and the hat is just incredible! Well done!

    And the backdrops are fantastic too. We had our wedding reception and photos on Calton Hill (got married in Howie's at the bottom of the hill), so I know what a stunning location that is!

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  10. You're so clever Debi! Great outfit and fantastic photos.

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  11. Love it! Love it! Love it!!  And the hat is awesome.  Well done.

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  12. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 10:44 AM

     Thanks Kessem!  The lapped seam wasn't the tricky bit it was the placement of the sleeves--getting them to line up and look similar on both sides that required a lot of fussing!  Once I finally got them where I wanted them, the actual sewing bit was pretty easy.  I don't know why they used lapped seams a lot in the 40's.  I do like the effect and it's nice to not have to iron a seam open right on the front--which is where the lapped seam is probably useful for this kind of dress (keeping it all lying perfectly flat).

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  13. beautiful dress, debi.. love these colors together 

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  14. wow..great. Superb dress with pics at just the right place..you are wonderful..u can make anything happen :-)

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  15. Ohhhhh....stunning - absolutely stunning! Divine dress, exquisite hat. Love your shoes, too!

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  16. Wow- this is just stunning!  You are so clever.  And that hat is just perfect.

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  17. Oh, you are a living doll in this!!!

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  18. This might be my favorite of your makes!  And the hat is GORGEOUS!

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  19. OHMYGOD! That is amazing. I dont know what else to say. Beautiful.

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  20. That dress looks wonderful on you! You did a fantastic job replicating the one from the movie! And your hat is simply stunning!

    Brigid

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  21. Since I am a pilot, I can say, you can come fly with me anytime!!!! The dress is perfect:)

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  22. Alyssa OpishinskiFebruary 07, 2013 1:30 PM

    Wowzers, Debi! That dress and hat are beyond amazing! You have the most wonderful sense of vintage style.

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  23. there is so much amazing in this post, i don't even know where to begin... hat...photos...dress...gifties.. DEBI... mind blown.

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  24. Oh, this is a magnificent posting! Hat, dress, locations, lovely real-life model. 

    Even more secure than a plethora of bobby pins is a small comb, attached at front of hat. Do you know the little trick for hairpins and combs, to start them upside down/backward, then flip them halfway to lock them into your hair? I attach a little dime-store comb at its corners with a thread bar, just as you'd tack a lining to a seam at the hem, or to make thread loops.

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  25. Oh Debi, DIVINE!! That dress is amazing and my jaw literally opened when I saw the entire outfit from the back with that amazing hat she created for you. The photos, the scenery, the outfit... such a killer combo. If it's even possible to outdo Debi, you outdid yourself! :D

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  26. This is seriously so wonderfully amazing!! The dress is BEAUTIFUL! And the HAT!! Oh my goodness... words cannot express. The backdrop, photos, everything is just perfection!

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  27. Debi, I love this dress and the hat so much that I would adore it if you would create a spin-off blog just to follow the life and times of this dress. You will need your fantastic photographer friend to follow you whenever you wear it out in public, and another photojournalist whose job is to capture the happy reactions of those who witness its fabulousness in person. In all seriousness, please tell us what you will do with the dress and hat. Will you wear them? How often? I would wear it once a week until it fell apart, which would be a very long time, due to your excellent sewing work. XOXO Maura Lentini

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  28. So amazing!! Oh, I want this outfit!!! You look fabulous and the hat- to die for!!

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  29. This is such a beautiful outfit! I really love the color combo, and the photo shoot location! 

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  30. Oh my gosh! That dress is gorgeous! And the hat - A M A Z I N G

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  31. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 4:43 PM

    Brilliant!! That's such a great idea..... I didn't know that trick and I'll have to try it out next time (in fact, I think I've got a cute little hat with one of those combs attached)!!!

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  32. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 4:45 PM

    I know!!! Ellen and Phil are both absolutely A-MAZING! I really felt creatively inspired by both of them!

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  33. You and the photos look stunning! I even had a little tear looking at them and thinking about how happy and proud you must be!

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  34. Wow, what a cheery and happy-looking dress! I love how even the contrasting parts look.

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  35. Charity Shop Chic (Sally)February 07, 2013 5:24 PM

    Debi, you've really outdone yourself this time! To say I LOVED this is an understatement... I love fashion inspired by film and TV. Your dress looks a lot like the inspiration. The location is just perfect! And that hat! Fabulous with a capital FAB. Well done!

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  36. I adore your dress Debi! The mustard really sets it off and really suits you. And don't get me started on the hat, its amazing! I love your photo locations as well, such an inspiring post, I wanna go sew some jersey now!

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  37. What a fantastic dress and location you have picked to photograph it could not be more perfect

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  38. That dress is just divine. I love it!

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  39. WOW! Great dress and great photos.

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  40. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:36 PM

    THANK YOU Oona!!!! I just am SO EXCITED about the outfit!!

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  41. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:36 PM

    Thanks Nan! Isn't the Spitfire monument fantastic? And nothing beats Calton Hill for views over the city!

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  42. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:37 PM

    I'm so not a big fan of jersey normally but I could buy stock in wool jersey...I LOVE it!

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  43. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:37 PM

    Awwww...Thanks so much Sally! I just love, love, love the dress too....I was so excited to finish it!

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  44. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:38 PM

    Thanks so much Vanessa! I am definitely very proud...I just love how everything came together for the sewing inspiration!

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  45. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:39 PM

    I know! Isn't the hat A-MAZING?

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  46. Miss Crayola CreepyFebruary 07, 2013 8:39 PM

    Oh my gosh Debi, everything is so stunning! The hat, the DRESS (!!!), you! I love it all!

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  47. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:40 PM

    Thank you so much!!! I just love it all too!!! Seriously, Ellen (who made the hat) and Phil (who took the photos) are two of the most creative people I've encountered!!

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  48. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:40 PM

    hahahaha! Thanks Tasha!!! I just LOVE it too...I want to wear the hat ALL THE TIME :-)

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  49. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:40 PM

    Thank you so much Lisette!

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  50. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:41 PM

    Thank you so much! It's definitely one of my favourite makes too!!!

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  51. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:41 PM

    Awww....thank you! Such a sweet comment!! xoxoxo

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  52. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:42 PM

    I love those shoes...I found them for super cheap on Etsy in my size and everything! They are incredibly versatile and I just love how they go with the entire ensemble!

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  53. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:42 PM

    Awww! Thank you so much Javita!!! Miss you lots! xoxoxo

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  54. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:43 PM

    I somehow knew you would really appreciate the colour combo...I just love it too!

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  55. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:43 PM

    Thanks Shelly!

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  56. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:43 PM

    Thanks Kerry! I really do love the photos too!

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  57. OMGosh, Debi!! You look like you've just stepped out of a movie!! Wow!! The dress is utterly sensational and the hat?! Amazing! The photos are incredible, doll! You look like a movie star!!

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  58. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:44 PM

    Oh wow! I bet having a wedding reception on Calton Hill would be FANTASTIC.....it's such a beautiful location with views over the entire city!!!

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  59. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:44 PM

    I know, right? I didn't really give the pattern a second glance until I saw the photos from the Aviator movie costume and then I started thinking...hmmm...I wonder if....and it worked out perfectly!

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  60. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:45 PM

    I'm a fellow hat addict! I love them and wear them all the time! I would live in this hat if I could (though I have to remember to duck when getting in and out of cars...lol)

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  61. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:45 PM

    Thanks so much Laura!

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  62. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 8:45 PM

    Thank you Jenny!

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  63. Rose :: Fine Craft GuildFebruary 07, 2013 9:06 PM

    Oh may! You did it. This dress is on another level than something I've ever sewn. Love for you to come and join our linky party with this (and your other great projects): http://www.finecraftguild.com/party-51/

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  64. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 9:11 PM

    Fabulous! Thanks for the heads up...I love your linky party!

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  65. Both hat and dress are grogeous!

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  66. Wow, the dress, the hat, the photos...stunning. Those sleeves were worth the effort. Bravo!

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  67. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 9:26 PM

    Thanks Sarah!!! I definitely feel like a movie start when I wear it! You know I started this back when we did the Sew Cinematic challenge.....that was a fun challenge....we should do something like it again! xoxoxo

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  68. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 07, 2013 9:26 PM

    Awwww...thank you!!! xoxoxoxo

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  69. Amazing!!! like SUPER amazing! I'm so impressed! and the hat is just the cherry on top, so to speak. Great job! xx

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  70. This is so amazing! The dress is stunning, your hat is fabulous and your pictures are awesome!

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  71. asewingodyssey.blogspot.co.ukFebruary 07, 2013 10:42 PM

    Oh Debi! This is definitely one of your most amazing makes...out of so many amazing makes! The detailing and styling of it are just perfect, you look beautiful. And I adore the very apt photo backdrop (well done for securing permission!) and the stunning hat. This whole post just makes me feel so happy!!!

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  72. Debi, I am SPEECHLESS!!! Uhhhggg you are so amazing. I can't get over this dress! Or the photo location! WELL worth the special permission needed to shoot there. I am in awe of your talent for recreating garments like you do. You're such an inspiration to me :) p.s. I'm reeaaalllly kicking myself in the pants for not paying more attention to the start of Sew Grateful Week! I am seriously missing out on some spectacular posts in the bloggosphere :( I swear I'm setting an alarm on my phone for next year haha!

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  73. So adorable!

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  74. Oh!! Fab-u-lous! Yu did such a great job and the pics are amazing.

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  75. What a stunning dress! I love color combination and it's amazing, and the matching scenery... You are a vintage queen, Debi :)

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  76. Did I say "wow"? 'cause that's what I meant.

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  77. That is just... FABULOUS :) The dress is awesome. The hat is amazing and the photos bring the rest together to make it all SEW wonderful ;)

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  78. Love the dress!!!! What a great interpretation. And the hat! Love it.

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  79. Oh, Sweetiepie!

    I'm so proud of you for finishing this UFO, and wowed by the photos!

    The hat that Ellen from BMIllinery made is amazing - I was really impressed with her creative construction. It is expertly made and a great match to the original, with wonderful design embellishments. I remember your excitement upon receiving it, and I know how that gift added steam to your finishing this project.

    I'm sorry not to have been able to take these photos but very pleased that you got to work with Phil from PSD Photography as a result. The images are superb.

    I'm "Sew Grateful" that you've found a hobby that inspires passion within you and that you have such a wonderful group of supporters here. It's been amazing to watch you learn through your own perseverance, and through the helpful hints and guidance of more experienced sewists who have offered suggestions and tutorials here. Your skills have blossomed and it's made me very happy to witness and occasionally lend my assistance (and cufflinks).

    This is a wonderful recreation of an iconic outfit. Well done, all three of you!

    And here's to the men of the 603rd, who bravely defended the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain and their larger role during the Second World War.

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  80. Oh my gosh, I LOVE the dress, I LOVE the hat, and I LOVE the photos! Breathtaking!!

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  81. Debi_myhappysewingplaceFebruary 08, 2013 6:17 PM

    Thank you so much sweetiepie! I'm sew grateful to you...I wouldn't be able to do any of this if it wasn't for your support! LOVE YOU!

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  82. This is absolutely gorgeous and that hat! So well made and stunning photos. You are such an inspirational gal.

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  83. Oh huh! and here I thought it's a stronger seam (like a flat felted seam) and that's why they used it!
    I'll be honest and say that I've never sewn a lapped seam which is probably why I don't know much about them.. thanks for the info! this is so inspiring!

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  84. Another amazing dress! I LOVE the whole outfit - and the hat is too darling :-D

    Do you make shoulder pads to go with your 40's dresses? I've just spent most of the afternoon making them for my 1946 suit and the difference they make is astounding!

    Before, the back was sagging a bit but now it's all smooth. I can't wait to attach the sleeves and get that awesome 40's shoulder. I'm pretty obsessed if you can't tell!

    Though I would like to know how you can attach pads to a yoked shoulder (like your dress) or anything without a shoulder seam within which to hide stitches. The pics from the film it seems her dress has a very soft and rounded line to match with the sleeves. I wonder how the shoulder pad is shaped. :-)

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  85. Wow! What a beautiful dress, and gorgeous photos.

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  86. Dear Debi, that's gorgeous and such a pleasure to look at. But what I'd like to ask you is if the Spitfire Memorial is a permanent memorial or if it is just temporarily installed. Cheers, Ulrike

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  87. This outfit is very special and the fit is amazing. You've done a stellar job. Thanks for hosting Sew Grateful. You've also opened my eyes to 1940s styles.

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  88. Justine/ sewcountrychickFebruary 10, 2013 3:01 AM

    What a lovely photoshoot. i am in awe of the photography and the dress and hat are adorable. I actually have a pattern like that I wouldn't mind trying now! But did it really take months to make those sleeves? ... ; )

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  89. Wow. That is stunning dress and hat

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  90. Amazing, such a great project and you've pulled it off so beautifully.

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  91. Wow! What an amazing dress! Looks great on you, and I cannot get over that hat! Brilliant use of planes for the photoshoot there, the photos look fabulous!

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  92. Stephanie FarinelliFebruary 25, 2013 10:09 PM

    Stunning!

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  93. Wonderful job, gorgeous colors and breathtaking model! I love the setting too and am crazy for Spitfires. Well done!

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  94. Wow, you look amazing! And I love the photographs, they are just perfect.

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

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