Wednesday, 16 February 2011

1990s linen shift dress

The next pattern on my list to destash / Sew Through the Decades is this 1 Hour Dress from McCall's (1998).  I always laugh at the label "1 hour Dress".  I guess it would take an hour if you didn't make the sleeves.  Or the long version.  Or the darts.  Or finish the seams.  Or topstitch.  Not that I'm complaining, but it is a bit misleading when you're learning to sew.  I guess I am complaining  ;)

I was trying to copy the pose on the pattern envelope, but I just can't pull it off.  Not without those ugly '90s elasticized sandals and weird topknot.

 It's a bit shapeless, so I made it super mini.  Well, super mini for a 40-something mom.  Isn't there some sort of optimum mathematical relationship between hem length:age?  There should be, considering the woman I saw at the spa last summer, who was pretty close to my age, but wore her skirt so short that we all knew she was coming in for a bikini wax.  Ahem.  Anyway.....
 Believe it or not, the part of the dress that took the longest for me was making that thread loop!  I kept making it too small or getting the thread tangled.  Now that I look at the photo, I see it's a bit too big and too low.

 I picked up this cranberry linen at my local thrift shop last month.  It was yellow-tag day, so I got 3 yards x 35 inches for $1!  The pattern was 25 cents at the same sale, the brass bell that I used for a neck closure button was in my button can forever (0 cents), so I guess the thread was the most expensive part of this project.  Because I am learning how to use my new serger, I bought 4 spools of dark red thread and finished all the inside seams and facings.  (That reminds me: Next time, buy *5* spools, because I forgot I would need one for my sewing machine too, or would have to keep threading and unthreading one spool.  Tabarnouche.)

I also posted to Burdastyle (profile: puffling), explaining how I decided to do the pre-shrink of all pre-shrinking by washing hot and drying on high in order to avoid having DH shrink it in the laundry after I spent a whole "1 hour" on this dress.

2010s  2000s  1990s  1980s  1970s  1960s  1950s  1940s


  1. this is GREAT...I love that you are Sewing through the Decades too! I hope to highlight some of the folks doing the challenge this next week and would love to have you contribute to a post! And I know what you mean about the '1 hour' or 'easy to sew' patterns. My first pattern was a so-called 'easy to sew' dress from the late 40's. Nevermind that it took me two years to properly finish it...and then I had to go back and make a bunch of changes...but they definitely are good learning experiences! I haven't made a thread loop yet but I'm sure it's one of those details that would drive me crazy but that looks good in the end :-) Great job on the dress and I can't wait to see your other decades!

  2. Thanks Debi - I found your blog through Mena's and I've been avidly following it ever since. I started keeping my blog so that I could track what will hopefully be my great improvements in sewing over time. ;) want to include me in the participants?! Great! I'm actually leaving for South Africa in a few days; I'm attending a conference and then hosting a tech transfer at U Cape Town, so I'll be quite busy, but I'll have some free time in the evenings if you need any info from me.

    Thanks again, and looking forward to more vintage beauties from you.


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