Some of you may recall a post that I wrote about The Sound of Music last summer (See it here, if you’d like). At the end of the post, I made a remark about the possibility of a future dress inspired by the dress in the picture below.
I love this dress–just as I love the majority of the dresses that Julie Andrews wears in the film. I wasn’t sure if I would ever find the right material for the dress, but readers, a couple of weeks ago I found it!
I was at the thrift store, and I was digging around in a bargain bin. At the bottom, I came across these vintage sheets. They were in wonderful condition, no stains, no weird smells, etc.
The print automatically made me think of the dress in the above picture. I stood there for a few short moments in amazement, thinking about how perfect this material was. Once I envisioned what it would be, I couldn’t have snatched the material any faster. A lady at the thrift store gave me one of the strangest looks I’ve ever been graced with.
Anyway, I got the material home and began designing the dress in my head. I didn’t want a contrasting bodice fabric for my dress, and I wanted much shorter sleeves.
I’ve wanted to make a dress with some pintuck pleats for a while. I like the look of them, and I thought it would add a nice detail to the bodice since I wasn’t going to use a contrasting material.
I found this pattern in the May 2009 addition of Burda magazine.
I decided to use just the bodice portion of the pattern, and create a fuller skirt with 4 panels, rather than the flounce skirt with only front and back pieces.
The back skirt panels cut out
I traced the pattern from Burda magazine and added the seam allowances.
This particular pattern was in petite sizing. Something I was pretty happy about, because I didn’t think I would need to shorten the bodice or make any other adjustments.
One problem that I always have with Burda patterns is the sizing. So, I decided to go with the size according to my waist measurement. Normally, I would use a larger size at the bust and hips, because my bust and hips are usually at least one size up according to the measurements. However, every time I trace the pattern according to those measurements, I end up having to take it in significantly.
Anyway, enough grumbling, I figured it out (although, the sizing was still a bit off in the end). Once I had my pattern pieces I cut the bodice pieces and the lining.
I sewed the darts on the bodice back, and pressed and sewed all of the pintucks on the front pieces.
Then, I attached the side front pieces to the front pieces, and sewed the bodice together at one side and at the shoulders.
I also cut out and finished the edges of those flutter cap sleeves that you can see in the technical drawing for the pattern.
Once I pinned them to the bodice and held the bodice on, I absolutely hated how they looked. It just wasn’t the style for me. They sat in a weird place that made my shoulders look strange. Anything that makes my shoulders appear narrower tends to make me look extremely disproportional.
With spring beginning to make an appearance, I decided that a sleeveless dress would be a nice option. Plus, it would work well with a cute little cardigan.
The sleeve material won’t go to waste. I’ll use it for another project. I only used one sheet for the dress, even though I had to cut strips on the bias to make some bias tape for the armholes. I also originally cut out one of my pieces at the only spot where there was damage to the material: an ink blot.
Despite that, I didn’t even have to cut into the second sheet. By the way, I bought both of these sheets for only about $1!
Back to the dress construction….I sewed the seams of the skirt, except for the seam where the invisible zipper would go.
There were self-facings on the center front pieces. So, I only had to cut the side front and back bodice pieces for the lining. I sewed the side front pieces to the self-facings, and sewed the bodice together at the shoulders and side seams. Then, I sewed the lining to the bodice, right sides together at the neckline. After that, I pressed and basted around the bottom (to hold everything in place when I attached the skirt to the bodice).
I attached the skirt and the bodice, serged the seam (as I did most of the seams in the dress), and pressed it down.
I inserted the invisible zipper.
The end was so close I could already feel the satisfaction of the finished product… and that’s when things went all wrong.
As I was zipping the zipper up after finishing sewing it in, it broke!
It worked fine before I sewed it into the dress, but as soon as I had finished all of the hard work, it gave out. The thought of having to rip the zipper out and start all over again was sickening.
This was me when I realized there was nothing left to do, but spend an hour with my seam ripper. Ugh!
This picture doesn’t begin to express the agony I was in.
Once I had finally removed the “zipper that couldn’t,”
I set to work adding the new and (hopefully) functioning zipper. The new zipper works beautifully, for now.
With the bias tape sewn in at the armholes, I folded and hand sewed it down to the lining.
I needed several buttons, and I couldn’t find any that I thought would work well for the dress. So, I went digging in my to-be-reconstructed pile. I found a dress with these pearly buttons all the way down the front. There were so many of them, I knew it wouldn’t be a problem to steal some for this project.
I hand-stitched the six buttons on, and stitched the placket together between the buttons. Since, the buttonholes weren’t really necessary and I didn’t have buttons small enough, I just decided to skip that step.
With the bottom of the dress hemmed, the dress was ready for an enjoyable spring day.
It can be worn with a coordinating ribbon or belt. The outfit will be complete when I have a suitable cardigan.
The dress can be worn without a belt as well.
I am not comfortable with dresses this low cut, and I couldn’t tell from the magazine that the neckline was going to be so low. The low neckline is the reason that I took my first set of pictures below with the brown tank underneath.
I think it detracts from the whole look. I figured that because this was a petite size and I went a size down, I would have no problem with this pattern. Oh well, I’m not about to take it apart. 😛 Maybe I can find a pretty lacy camisole to wear underneath it. Ideally, a red or pink camisole would be best, to match the flowers in the print and allow me to wear a matching ribbon or belt.
I kept the length longer than I usually do, because it seemed to fit this particular dress.
Here’s a detail shot of the bodice front.
These pictures show the colors of the dress the best.
I also had to take a picture sitting, in order to semi-mimic the inspiration photo.
Sorry for the onslaught of pictures. 🙂 I just love this dress!