Sunday, September 9, 2007

Potting Sewl

I finished sewing another vintage dress. The pattern is the type that was ordered through a newspaper. I remember seeing the pictures of dress and craft patterns in the classified section of my childhood paper, The Pittsburgh Press. And I remember thinking the dress styles were years out of date and the crafts were old style embroidery. I believe these patterns are no longer offered in newspapers. The general consensus of the posters on Vintage Sewing contest discussion board is the pattern style is from the 1950’s or 60’s. One poster thought the short haircut on the model was similar to Audrey Hepburn’s when she was a popular movie star. I didn’t notice it until I read her comment and then I had to smile. Guess what actress I was named for? My mother was a big Audrey H. fan. I thought this dress looked like a summer sun dress and envisioned it in a small all over print. The brown cotton/linen, embroidered in pink flowers was on sale at JoAnne’s. As I was standing in the checkout line reviewing the paper that listed all my cut fabric, making sure I had gotten the sales price, I saw the words "Potting Soil" "What in the world?" I thought. Then I realized that the words were the fabric description, and it was for the brown embroidered fabric I was about to purchase. Normally fabric descriptions are short descriptive terms like fabric type, weave, or the manufacturers name. But "Potting Soil"?? Visions of a bored/mischievous inventory data entry person sprang to mind. One who did not like the color brown. I couldn’t resist changing soil to "sewl". That is the reason for the goofy post title.
I liked the style of the dress. The wide neckline, the bodice extending into the shoulder area, and the fitted silhouette with flared back skirt. The listed pattern measurements were all 4" smaller than mine. I pin fitted the pattern pieces on my dress form double, lining up center front and back. There must have been a lot of ease built into this pattern. I only added 1 in. to the bust and 2 in. to the waist, all in the front. The back width was fine. I did a SBA (small bust adjustment) at the princess seam. I inserted pink bias tape in the princess seams, neckline edge, and belt piece to emphasize them. The bias tape was a 1.5 inch wide, folded in half to ¾ inch. The raw edge of the tape was matched to the cut edge of the fabric so when the seam was sewn the folded edge extended an eighth of an inch beyond the seam line. I find this is less work than making and inserting piping, but it has a similar look.
I found some cute pink flower shaped buttons to use on the shoulders and back waist tab. I discovered that bodices extending into the shoulder areas do not work well on my sloping shoulders, when they have been cut for a square shoulder. I actually made small shoulder pads to hold the shoulder/button area more horizontal. I enjoyed sewing this dress. The combo of pattern and fabric really excited me and I look forward to my sewing time. By pushing myself to use patterns that are not in my size, I am learning so much about resizing patterns and fitting.

I am in a state of indecision about my next sewing project. I am conflicted between adding a couple of transitional pieces to my summer swap to make it wearable for warm fall weather or starting on some of the new fall patterns and winter fabrics. Or I could tackle another vintage pattern before the contest ends later this month.


  1. Audrey, I love that dress! Also the onein the previous post. You look great in these vintage designs. Actually, you look great in all of the thngs you make!

  2. What a beautiful dress! And I love that piping detail

  3. That looks absolutely wonderful on you. I like the contrast trim look.