Today’s outfit is just full of fun separates!
I love trying out new patterns, and sewing things that are more in the ‘on occasion’ variety. For example right now I’m finishing up a collared vintage dress, and it’s coming out great, I had an extremely crucial fitting “aha” moment in the muslin, but I don’t wear dresses with collars that often, even though this has a great one, and the back of the neck collar was really fussy to sew since I converted it to a center back zipper, and overall I just don’t see myself sewing that pattern very often.
But one of the things I strive for in my sewing life is a select number of mix-and-match bodices and skirts that I can combine, to either make dresses, or skirts on their own. I have only a few like this at this point (as tastes change), and I’m working on others.
This skirt is from McCall’s 3528, a dress pattern from 1955. I love the dress but wanted to try the skirt first. This is my first finished Vintage Pledge item this year. I re-upped for Marie and Kerry‘s challenge again (obviously!!) and decided to pledge my focus on 1950s patterns. I’ve been more into them lately anyway, especially with my new haircut it just feels right, so it seemed like the perfect fit!
I admit, I felt suspicious about the instructions for the skirt part of this pattern. All told, there are 4 huge squares that make up the skirt: 2 front, 2 back. For a total of 140 inches of skirt, not just at the hem but the waist, too (obviously as that’s how, y’know, squares work). You pleat the skirt with fairly deep pleats, and then you gather the skirt, pleats and all. I definitely gave the pattern a lot of side eye when I read that. Pleat and gather… 140 inches?! Ummm, okay. I figured my backup plan if it was just too much, was that I’d ditch one of the panels. I’ve seen plenty of vintage and vintage-inspired skirts with 3 panels (one center front, then side pieces that go to the center back, where the zipper is).
But hey, it actually worked!
I was going to use the trick of gathering with a zig zag basting stitch over a piece of yarn, but with the pleats in the mix, I started about 4 times and caught extra fabric in the basting each and every time, until I threw a hissy fit and decided to go the traditional way of 2 rows of normal basting stitches. And it was a challenge, but do-able. But I definitely spent more time gathering this skirt and pinning it to the waistband than about any other part of the skirt!
The result was worth it though. The drape is just stunning how it falls, even without a petticoat underneath (although I’m wearing one here). It’s a super full skirt which I like, although not exactly for daily wear. I work from home and no joke, skirts THIS full start sweeping things off the coffee table that’s near my desk when I walk by it. Hah! I guess that’s what happens when your house was build in 1955 and features small rooms. Also the reason I basically can’t stand anywhere to take indoor photos without moving something… in this case, the kitchen table. 😉
Due to the weight of the skirt, I find the waistband sits a liiiiittle lower on me than I’d like. I measured to make sure that it didn’t stretch unexpectedly, and it’s exactly the length I use on the majority of my skirt/pants waistbands when I’m going rogue with my own, so it’s the weight dragging it down. I mean, that’s a lot of fabric. So a wide stretchy belt holds everything nicely in place.
The skirt fabric is a Doctor Who print: yep, it’s a geeky skirt, through and through. Occasionally (okay, frequently) I feel compelled to search for particular themes of fabric and that day it was Doctor Who, so an Etsy search for “Doctor Who fabric” turned up this great TARDIS print!
(But for fellow Whovians can I get a collective waaaaah that there won’t be another full season until 2017? Sigh.)
Even if you don’t give a flying fig about Doctor Who, hopefully you can appreciate the lovely matching hot pink tee, another Agnes, made specifically to pair with this skirt of course. (Told you I planned to make many Lady Agneses!) I’ve shied away from pink since going back to being a redhead, but I realized with a soft pink lipstick it’s not bad. I’ve long since been someone who wore whatever the hell colors they wanted and “made them work” just because I liked them, so it’s kinda one of those times. This skirt just screamed a pink top to pull the pink out of the little swirls, so I’m glad I went for it.
In case you were wondering (you probably weren’t), the lipstick is Parisian Pink in Sonia Kashuk’s Satin Luxe Lipstick. I don’t buy a lot of drug store makeup but this and its matching lip liner were an impulse purchase at Target when I still had black hair, and I find I quite like it, both the color and the product itself. I’m still 98% a red lipstick gal but sometimes I want something a bit softer, and it definitely does the trick. I’m surprised in these photos I didn’t find myself thinking “well, that kinda works”… I actually do think it works. Although I still suspect I look more sallow in real life than photos show so maybe I like it better in pictures. But I’ll definitely be giving it more airplay after sewing this top!
Anyway, with this tee I got to try out a new product that I ordered from the UK, thanks to Jane’s mention it in a recent post on her Karen drape dress. It’s a bias-cut fusible tape called Vilene that’s absolutely perfect for necklines. I ordered it from Sew Essentials, and it was pretty fast shipping across the pond, and they had helpful and speedy customer service, too.
I do also have a couple of thin weights of fusible tricot (knit) stay tape from Emma Seabrooke, which she specifically says can be used around necklines, but thought it would be worth trying the Vilene. (For reference, I use fusible knit stay tape religiously for zipper insertions on wovens, and have started adding it to my hems in stretch knits.)
I like the Vilene a lot and of course it conforms to the curves perfectly, since it’s on the bias. Although I wasn’t sure exactly where to place it, so I tried to get its row of chain stitching about right at the 5/8″ seam allowance on my pattern, so the rest is towards the body. Seemed to work fine.
The fabric is a modal/rayon/spandex blend from Koshtex, and I love it. Plus the color is sooo saturated! Like pretty much any fabric that comes in my house with the exception of woolens, this went into the washer and dryer, and came out just as nice as it went in. Not much to say about this pattern that I didn’t say in my Lady Agnes post… this version has a plain neck instead of ruched, and the shorter sleeve length (I could stand to shorten it 1/2″, but otherwise really like the elbow length). So yeah, it’s a t-shirt, and I’m very pleased with it, and pretty much plan to sew one to match everything I own, the end.
I don’t geek out too much in my sewing, but this is obviously one of those times. And I couldn’t be happier about the whole outfit! Definitely big smiles all around from me for this one.
At the end of the day, if you enjoy having fun with your clothes, have some fun with your clothes. Even if it’s just for you to enjoy. Life is too short, fill it with as many things that bring you happiness and joy as possible! 🙂
(Now if it would just hurry up and get to spring so I can stop lamenting the fact that I have to shed one or two layers for all of my outfit photos right now, damnit!)