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
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.
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!