Mar 25, 2014

Once in a Blue Moon



I love the fashions of bygone days, mainly the 50's and 60's.  Whenever I look at photographs from those decades I just long to be a part of them.  I missed out on the 50's, and was pretty young in the 60's, but nonetheless, I am drawn to them.  My mom always wore dresses it seems, and often we had matching ones.  I look at her in photographs and love the dresses she wore.  I wish that she would have saved them.  I would have worn them today.  Thankfully, she taught me to sew at a young age and I am forever grateful for that.  Since I am drawn to these retro fashions, I have decided to have an ongoing series called "Retro Runway."  This will be my attempt to refashion today's clothing, giving them a retro vibe.  Of course, when I say "today's clothing" I might just mean something from the 80's or 90's, like the dress I started with below.  I picked this up at a free clothing exchange.  I was first drawn to the navy and white.  It had a huge double collar, double-breasted bodice, big white buttons, and a dropped waist.  It had potential! 


I drew inspiration from these two vintage patterns...



And, this is what I ended up with...






You can continue reading if you would like to see the steps I took to complete this dress.


I began by cutting away the collars, sleeves, and skirt.  I didn't bother with a seam ripper.  I just cut everything away with my scissors.


I then turned the bodice around, placed it on my dress form and pinned to fit.  I drew where I wanted my new neckline to be.



In order for the back to fit properly I needed to make a couple of darts in the back.  The print of the fabric makes these hardly noticeable.  (Note:  The right side of the fabric showing in this picture is the original facing since this was the original front of the dress.  I eventually opted to remove and discard the facing before sewing the darts.)


Once the bodice fit properly, I stitched the skirt to the bodice.  The skirt was already pleated.  All I had to do was add a few more pleats at the sides for it to fit the bodice.  I was even able to retain the original side seam pockets.


Next was the zipper.  I didn't have an invisible zipper on hand, so I just went with a regular one.  I measured the length of the zipper and marked it with a pin.  I stitched from the bottom of the dress to the pin with a regular length stitch.  From the pin up to the neckline I stitched with a basting stitch.  I then pressed the seam open.


I then carefully centered my zipper face down over the seam and pinned it in place.


On the right side, I stitched my zipper in place, being careful of the pins on the underside.


Once the zipper was all stitched, I used a seam ripper to carefully remove the basting stitches.


To fit the collar, I began by cutting it in half at the center back.


I pinned both sides of the collar to neckline, allowing the fronts to overlap.  When I was happy with the placement, I marked with an ink pin where I should cut them.


This is where I got tired and zoned out on taking progress pictures...oops!  To sum it up, the edge of the collar that attaches to the neckline is actually cut on a straight line.  When you sew the straight edge to the curve of the neckline it makes the collar stand up and roll a bit as you can see in finished dress.  I overlapped the front of the collar pieces, hand stitched them in place and added three small buttons. The back of the collar pieces were cut to a point and finished with the excess bias trim.

I retained the original sleeve detail.  All I did was shorten them by cutting the excess from the top of the sleeves while fitting them to the new armholes.

Once my sleeves were attached, I decided to re-hem the dress.  The only thing left to do was to add a skinny belt!  Thanks for sticking with me to the end!



I like to link to these great parties!


43 comments:

  1. It's such a cute dress! I too, love fashion from the 50s and 60s (40s too!), even though I was born in the mid 70s. I'm never quite brave enough to step out in such girlie clothes though. You can usually find me in jeans! I really need to pluck up the courage to get my legs out again lol!
    Great post, Susan! x

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    1. Thanks! I love the 40's also and will probably find an excuse to refashion something with a 40's vibe. As for stepping out in girlie clothes, I say go for it. Spring is a great time to do so! And just so you know, you can usually find me in jeans also!!

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  2. What a fun idea! I love your style anyway, but the step by step is great. Can't wait to see what you have to share with us.

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    1. Thanks, Heather, for your enthusiast support! Hopefully, I can continue to find fun things to refashion and keep adding to the retro series!

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  3. This is very nice! complicated though! Where are your pictures taken? I love the vintage vibe!

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    1. Thanks! It might simplify the process if a person used a commercial pattern for the bodice. The pleated skirt sewn to the waist is pretty basic. As for the pictures, my husband and I went to the rail yard and found an abandoned caboose. The picture by the bike and sitting at the small table were taken in front of a store front in our small downtown area. The waterfall was by a city park. It's amazing how many photo ops you can find when you drive around town!

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  4. Hey, this piece would be perfect to link to Challenge Create: Adult Edition during our (Hint of) Vintage Week! Plan on it, you just might win the sew along prize!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I've been watching for the event to begin. I may just have to do a little sew along!

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    2. Thanks for linking up! Voting starts Friday...good luck!

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  5. This is gorgeous. I absolutely love vintage and vintage-inspired, and you did such a great job with this dress!

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    1. Thanks Maria! I could spend hours looking at vintage fashions, they are so much fun!

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  6. I didn't even give that beautiful print a glance in it's original version, now I can't help but see how pretty it is!

    www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

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    1. I love navy and white and was naturally drawn to it. I'm glad you enjoy it also. I checked out your blog and love your vibrant and fun sense of fashion!

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  7. This is beautiful, Susan. I really like what you did with the collar, both front and back. Looking forward to more!

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    1. Thanks Jenny! My mom just gave me three boxes of dresses she wore in the 70's and 80's. I'm anxious to get started and see what they become!

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  8. Fabulous refashion - I love it and your did a great job!!

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  9. Love love love. I didn't miss out on the 50's! I had dresses just like this and they are so flattering, aren't they? Thanks so much for coming by and I wanted to tell you I'm featuring your dress (and all the nostalgia) on the new party tonight and PINNING also. Linda

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    1. Thanks Linda for all the blog "love"! I feel honored!

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  10. A classy refashion, Susan!!! Love the navy with the white contrast. I can remember women of my mother's age wearing dresses very similar to yours.

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    1. Thanks for the compliment, Pam, and thanks for the feature!!

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  11. Congratulations on being feature by Pam @ "Threading My Way." You do have a wonderful blog!
























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  12. I love what you have done to this very pretty dress. I was born late 40's so got to wear some of the fashions, we always felt so glamorous going out, especially as we always wore gloves as well, and so neat and tidy every day
    Tilly

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    1. Thank you Tilly (love your name!) It is a fun style to wear!

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  13. Your refashion is beautiful! I owned a dress with a bodice of much the same style as the one you started with. Perhaps, I should have kept it!

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    1. Thank you! Too bad you got rid of it, but there are always more at the thrift stores!!

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  14. It fits like a dream. I am so impressed. I like that it looks retro but not over- the-top "costumey." You could wear it anywhere. Kind of sorry I got rid of my dress. Yeah, it was a navy print with the big white collar. ( Weren't they all navy? lol!) Great job.

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    1. Thanks Jude! I am really enjoying the retro look these days and am anxious to more retro refashions. And, yes, it seems that they were all navy!

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  15. Your creations are so amazing! Beautifully done! (as always) ;)
    Hope to see you in our blog tribe at https://www.facebook.com/blogchatter

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    1. Thanks Michele, and thanks for the link. I will stop by for a tribe visit soon!

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  16. Oh Susan, this is a beautiful transformation and it looks so lovely on you! That collar is amazing. Well done, my friend, well done.

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    1. Thanks Beth! If I remember right you did a pretty awesome "Mad Men" refashion a while back. Its such a fun style to create and wear. And, well done on all your latest adventures. I'm excited that you are enjoying so much success! Take care.

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  17. How beautiful! It suits you.
    I love this dress so much.
    Nicely done.
    ~Michelle

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    1. Thanks Michelle! BTW, I loved your dress last week! I voted for you as it was my favorite!

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  18. Looks very simple to stitch and to see... Plush Chirp Bird

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate the feedback and always look forward to reading what you have to say! Susan