This dress and I had a history before I even wore it. As soon as I saw this copy of the 1960s pattern sitting on a shelf at the antique shop, I was like YES. A few months after bringing it home (two years ago) I got to work sewing it up. I had found the perfect fabric at my local thrift store -- well, when I say fabric, I mean pillow cases. It was a set of huge, old, king-size pillow cases in the cutest pastel floral print. I'd been wanting to try sewing with bed linens for a while -- they're soft, come in fun prints, are easy to sew with, and the price is right. They can be super cheap when you can find used pieces in good condition at the thrift store!
This was my chance: great fabric + great pattern = great dress. Right?
I guess the answer is sometimes... or, maybe in due time? Either way, this one took a while. I'd cut all the pieces out, interfaced where needed, sewn the shoulder seams, attached the collar and neckline facings, started on the button placket, and then totally given up. It was one of those times when you read and re-read the instructions, then try to execute them but things are not matching up and you cannot figure out why. After an afternoon of that joyful experience every sewist is familiar with, I decided it was time to give it a rest. I just wasn't going to get it then and I needed to revisit it later. I didn't know that "later" would turn into two years.
While reorganizing my sewing space in a bout of pre-spring cleaning, I came across the poor unfinished object (UFO) in a drawer and decided it was time to take another look. It turns out I had sewn two edges of the button placket structure together that were meant to stay separate. Makes no sense unless you've sewn this pattern, but I think you get the idea that it was just one little mistake that was holding me back. Once I realized what I'd done, I carefully followed the instructions and finished up the dress.
I pulled matching lavender buttons from my stash. They were a bit smaller than recommended, so I spaced them out and added an extra one to the placket. They match the purple in the fabric perfectly! I forewent facings for the armholes and used bias tape to finish those. I'd thought I was being so smart when cutting out the fabric because I'd let the hem of the pillowcase be the hem of the dress. Once I tried it on, it was way too long, and the side seams were wonky because they should've been a little curved/angled (a-line shift skirt shape). I ended up chopping off all the pre-hemmed length and doing a tiny hem with more bias tape as a facing. Thank goodness I was able to make it so tiny because I managed to chop off a bit too much skirt length, and made this mini dress a super-mini.
I can live with the short length, and the fact that the dress is a little too small in other areas, too (since I cut it out so long ago, my measurements have changed). Now I'm just delighted to be able to remove it from my Fails list from this old post and am loving the final look. The fun fabric and buttons and cute collar make me happy every time I look at them!
I'm already dreaming up another version of this dress with some printed cotton from my fabric stash, next time I'll leave slightly smaller seam allowances to give myself a little extra room, since it's a single-size vintage pattern.