Thursday, January 30, 2014

Belated Holiday Sewing Post

Before we get too far away from the holidays, I should show you my holiday sewing projects.  

I am not a winter holidays kind of person.  I don't get wrapped up in the ritual of decorations or baking.   The roads and shops full of angry, pushy, rude, holiday shoppers make me sad. Peace on earth and goodwill towards men, my pink bootie.

To me, the holidays are something to be endured and January can't come fast enough. Strangely, I fell in love with this kitschy Christmas novelty print (gold trees!) and I found myself craving a wintery holiday dress.

Simplicity 4002 was quick to put together. Kimono sleeves aren't my favorite, but they did speed up the whole process and with this pattern they don't bind under the arms as much as many others I've sewn.  In my excitement, I neglected to attach the collar and once I realized my mistake, the facings were already in.  

The print is busy enough that I don't think there is any loss of cuteness without the collar.

 I love the shape of the skirt.  To get a nice wide bell, I am wearing two crinolines.

Lately I've been thinking that these earlier 50s styles don't suit me, but I might be mistaken.  I really love the shape of this dress and it's quite flattering, though I think that part of that might be the extra crinolines.  The wide skirt makes my waist look much smaller than it is.

So many early 50s patterns have such LONG skirts.  Full skirts that fall too far below my knee tend to make me look even shorter (and wider) than I am.  I reduced this one to 27" and it hits right between the bottom of my knee and the swell of my calf.  This is about as long as I dare go or I look like I'm drowning in fabric.

When the dress was complete there was just enough fabric left over to scrape out a blouse.  My copy of McCalls 8863 is a 32 bust which, ordinarily would be way too small for me.  I had a suspicion that, since it's from the 80s, it would be oversized and I was right!  After carefully measuring the pattern pieces, I decided that that it should just fit without needing any added width.

 Cutting it out was a bit tricky as there wasn't a lot of yardage to work with.  I ended up making the blouse quite a bit shorter.  I had to dig through the discarded scraps to find a piece big enough for cutting out the ruffles.

I ended up with a very boxy early-60s-ish blouse that I absolutely LOVE!  

Look at how cute the ruffle is in back. 

I love it because it's so versatile.  I wore it a bajillion times in December.

It's adorably secretarial with a  pencil skirt.

It's very cute and ladylike with a circle skirt.

It's especially great with my Simplicity 4401 jeans.

I'm feeling every so slightly more enthusiastic about next year's holiday season if only so that I can bring this blouse and dress out again.  I still don't like the holidays, but loving my holiday outfits is a way to start, right?


  1. I sure get not being enthused about the holidays but a cute dress does help a lot :-)

  2. I just love the dress and blouse! They both look great on you and I love the print :)

  3. You're right - the early 50's styles REALLY suit you. And I love the secretary look with the blouse!

  4. The dress is perfect! Everything about it suits you to a tee; for once, the outcome looks just as cool (or maybe even better) than the pattern illustration.

  5. I agree with everyone here. You look great in the dress and the top. The styles really do suit you.

  6. I sure get not being enthused about the holidays but a cute dress does help a lot .

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  7. Love, love, LOVE that dress and top! Gorgeous color and shapes! Great work! The green is simply lovely on your skin!

  8. Oh my, how beauuutiful that dress came out! I really like the blouse as well. I've got to get back into my sewing projects this year..I've taken some time off, but at last, I'm inspired again! :)