Saturday, March 01, 2008

Vintage dress love

All of a sudden I find myself without sewing projects! Sister's silent auction has come and gone. The wall hanging I put on hold for awhile is done and on the wall. My Japanese girl clothes sewing books are out for translation. I have nothing to do! I mean, other than take care of three little girls, of course.

But a mama needs projects, no? For those few minutes here and there where both little girls are sleeping at the same time? So the sewing project vacuum and the just-around-the-corner arrival of spring--not to mention my shrinking post-pregnancy body--have conspired to induce a new obsession in me. Here's a clue:

Favorite dresses, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.

And another:

Lovely repro vintage prints, originally uploaded by Secretsugar.

I do love my old vintage cotton and rayon print dresses, but at mt age I find myself unwilling to ignore the armpit stains, holes, and poochy boob area. (Is it just my tiny chest, or did everyone stuff their bras back then?!) I should also say that I find the greasy feel and almost slimy texture of my former favorites unacceptable. "Greasy and slimy?" I hear you wondering. Greasy and slimy indeed, from their many years spent as work dresses during my baking years. (I used to joke that I would get white lung one day from all the flour thrown into the air while mixing gigantic batches of chocolate chip cookies and gingersnaps. But it's my wardrobe that has suffered. Who knew?)

The solution I've come up with is to try to recreate my favorite frocks in vintage reproduction prints. Brilliant, right? Except that I have very little clothing sewing experience and absolutely no clue how to make a pattern from an existing dress. Do you have to take apart the dress in question first? Can you just sorta...I don't know trace the dress onto some wrapping paper or something? Any advice from any sewers out there would be greatly appreciated. I promise to post photos of any cute items I'm able to make up!


Beth said...

sugar, now THAT"S a project!!! Now, I canmake doll clothes, but actual people clothes?, just for myself, cuz I don't care about mistakes!!

what I would do is probably take them apart at the seams and use that as my pattern. Be sure and mark everything tho, so you don't get confused! Can you tell that, maybe that has happened to me before?! :)

I love the retro prints. I am all about the retro prints!! I can't wait to see the finished product!!

devilish southern belle said...

Love the prints! I'd take apart the dresses (since you aren't going to wear them anymore, anyway), trace a pattern from the parts, and then you can either reassemble them, or make napkins from them. Of course, I don't have any clothing sewing experience, either, but I do remember a website I used to frequent when I had more time to consider it suggesting that.

Good luck!

kat said...

oohhhhh. . . i can't wait to see the recreations!!! how fun!

SunMoonStar said...

Hi I popped over from sewmamasew. Just wanted to help you with your question. If you really don't want to keep your dresses taking them apart is probably the easiest way to duplicate them. If you don't, you can trace them. I am a "fashion designer" (never really worked. got married and stay home with my three little ones). In school they would have us copy garments using carbon paper (i think thats what it is called) and a tracing wheel. You put you paper on the table, then the carbon papers and go through the lines of your dress. when you are done you just make them look nice with a ruler.
hope this wasn't too confusing, good luck with your project.

Sugarmama said...

Welcome, SunMoonStar, and thanks for the explanation. It was crystal clear and I already even have the carbon paper and wheel. I just picked them up a couple days ago but haven't attempted a pattern yet. I should just take the dresses apart--or at least my favorite and most ragged one...but can't quite bring myself to do it. I did love them so...

Anonymous said...

Third fabric down in your stack: I HAVE that same fabric! Bought it when it was new! I was in my teens then, I'm in my 50's now. AND I STILL HAVE THE SCRAPS! too funny...thanks for the chuckle...kikikatt

Sugarmama said...

Kikikatt, that's so funny! I love that print--just finished making it into a nice skirt, in fact. Thanks for the story!