I had grand plans for the Fall For Cotton challenge, but like the best laid plans of mice and men, they just didn’t eventuate. September was a very, very busy month for me – we had a number of Australian visitors come and see us, we went on a beautiful camping trip to Crater Lake, I had my online course, and my social life became a whole lot more active lately. I’m not complaining, it was a super fun month, but it really didn’t leave a lot of time for sewing, especially not to a deadline.
To begin with, I chose Simplicity 5890 from 1968. I bought a blue and black plaid for the dress and white shirting for the shirt. I made a muslin for view 2, thinking the skirt would flatter my figure more, but there was some odd gathering around the waist that was very unflattering, so I ended up going with view 1. I did a narrow shoulder adjustment on my muslin, something I should have been doing for every garment, really! I used the tutorial provided by the lovely Ann Rowley of Great British Sewing Bee fame, and it worked beautifully.
Then everything got set aside for a while, and my plans started getting less and less grandiose. I decided not to make the shirt underneath the dress/jumper, and just focus on the main garment. Then I decided not to use the plaid fabric, because I didn’t want to half-arse it and not match the plaid properly, so I decided to use a different, patterned fabric. Unfortunately, a burn test revealed that fabric was not 100% cotton (a requirement of the challenge), so I moved onto this pale blue cotton chambray. I actually doubt it’s chambray, honestly, but it is cotton!
It looks like the bodice is slightly too big in some way in this photo – however, it’s comfortable enough and I really don’t intend to wear it without a cardigan, so I suppose it doesn’t matter. I made my own bias binding for the first time ever, for the neckline and armholes. There are approximately eleventy billion tutorials on how to do this, but I went with the method described at Sewtropolis – it involved the least amount of stuffing about with rulers and drawing lines, and it worked really well.
I also made my own thread belt loops. using Colette’s tutorial, and they turned out really well! I already have about 3 RTW dresses with these loops, and I think they’re a subtle, classy addition to garments. I added a waist stay of cotton twill tape, as per the vintage instructions, and I pinked (almost) all my seams – I still need to do something about the waist seam under the stay, as you can see from the below photo.
I didn’t bother putting a zip in, as I can just wriggle into it as it is. Unfortunately, once I did wriggle into it and looked in the mirror, I was really disappointed. On its own, it was bland and boring, and I thought I would probably never wear it. At that point, I was ready to admit defeat, and let the Fall For Cotton deadline pass by without making a post about it.
But then I was getting ready to see some friends, and I saw it lying there on a chair, and I decided to try again. I paired it with black tights and a cardigan and a thin blue belt that came with a dress from H&M. I found some vintage shoes I bought from Ebay (from East Germany, no less!) in the cupboard and slipped those on, and with all the accessories, I actually thought it looked pretty cute! I got a compliment on it from one of my friends that night, and that sealed the deal. I’m so happy I could make it work, because nothing annoys me more than pouring time and effort into a sewing project only to end up with something I don’t want to wear.
For the photo shoot, I added a cute hat I bought from an Ebay seller many months ago and hadn’t worn, and I picked up a length of grosgrain ribbon from my local fabric store to make the hat ribbon and bow. Thanks to Chuleenan of Csews for the advice on hat-ribbon-sewing! Her hats are genius, you should totally check them out.
A 60s style photo for a 60s style dress seemed appropriate!
My next project is to sew something red for the latest Sewcialist theme, “Red October”. I’ve already made my muslin and picked out my fabric, because I’m determined to get this one done on time! Are any of you participating in Red October? I’m excited to see what everyone makes!
6 thoughts on “Fall For Cotton Fail”
Awesome and adorable work.thanks for the inspiration!
All right! Thank goodness for plan Bs. And Cs and D's if necessary. I think the dress is lovely on you! Looks great with the hat. Congrats on the bias binding. I just made my own for the first time as well, coincidentally for my Red October make.
The dress is super cute. I love your hat. It matches the dress very well.
Thanks so much, Xiaomao! 🙂
Congrats on getting it done! Nice job. I've used Petersham ribbon as a waist stay on a vintage dress I made.
The hat is a nice touch (thanks for the mention!). I like the contrast of the light blue of the dress and the royal blue of the hat. It reminds me of one of Fred Astaire's outfits in the film Bandwagon. He's wearing a grey suit and bright blue socks, which you can sort of see in this photo: http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/J4UUkui545I/hqdefault.jpg If you haven't seen the film, I highly recommend it – so entertaining and Cyd Charisse and Astaire's dancing is divine – as is the great shoeshine scene with Fred and an unknown black man (and amazing tap dancer), playing the shoe shine guy.