I’m so excited to share this dress! I’ve been wanting a lemon print dress for AGES and until recently, I haven’t seen many fabrics that I’ve liked with lemons on them. I wanted a lemon fabric with a white background and as I have slight obsession with 1950’s Horrockses dresses, I decided that it was a good time to design one myself, but with a lemony stripe vintage twist.
The pattern I used was Vogue 8789, a vintage reproduction from 1957. The lines of this dress are perfect for a stripe fabric and you quite clearly see how great this design is for stripes from the cover art. I’ve made this pattern once before, but I honestly wasn’t tremendously happy with that dress and it hangs in my closet unworn. I figured out my issue with it was the length of the bodice as it’s a little short, which is unusual as I’m short-waisted. But I just didn’t like where the waistline hit me on this dress, so I lengthened the bodice an inch and I’m much happier with the way this dress fits.
This pattern has bust darts, but when I sewed one in, I noticed how it distorted the stripes, so I put gathers in at the waistline instead (I left the darts on the back of the bodice). This resulted in the bodice not being as fitted and adds more of a blouson effect. That alteration made this dress very comfortable, but it looks better with a belt. The pattern does have a cummerbund, but I prefer wearing my RTW belts with this dress. I probably could have taken it in a little at the waist, but I really wanted this to be a comfortable summer dress and not too fitted.
I cut, sewed and made this dress in a couple of days as I wanted to wear it to celebrate my birthday. With so few pattern pieces, it’s a simple and quick dress to sew. It probably took me longer to lay out my fabric and pattern pieces and figure out how I wanted to place them as it did to sew this up. The skirt gathering is a tedious process, but of course you know that’s coming when you sew a 1950’s gathered skirt. As I was in a self-imposed time crunch, I didn’t get any photos taken on my dress form. These photos were taken after I’d already worn and washed this dress.
This dress has a self neckline facing which I under-stitched and tacked down. I omitted the armhole facings and instead made my own bias strips to finish them. I also moved the zip to the back instead of the side.
The skirt piece for this pattern is the same size for all of the sizes included in the envelope (14-22 in mine). I graded this pattern up about two sizes and kept the same skirt width. The skirt is rather full, but if one wanted one even fuller, you might want to add some width to it. I’m wearing my light cotton petticoat with this dress which gives a little fullness and coverage, but not too much of the cupcake effect, which makes this outfit very wearable for me as I don’t want to look like a pin-up (not that there’s anything wrong with that — this is just my personal preference).
I usually add length to my skirts, but I didn’t need to with this one as it’s a vintage fit (which is more my taste) rather than the short modern fit. Vintage Vogue patterns are reproductions of vintage patterns, whereas the Retro Butterick patterns use vintage patterns designs as a base for patterns that they newly draft. I’m not certain what the McCall Archive Collection or the retro Simplicity patterns do, but I imagine it’s more along the lines of the route that the Butterick patterns take.
I really enjoyed designing this fabric. It was super easy to do as I bought images that could be used commercially which meant I didn’t have to create the images myself. I studied some vintage stripe prints and figured out which way to place the images so it printed the way that I wanted it to. I mixed the large lemons with smaller lemons and matching polkadots. I had this printed on premium cotton fabric at My Fabric Designs (my design can be found here). It’s a really nice quality cotton fabric, akin I hope to the Horrockses cotton which is my design inspiration. Having never felt a Horrockses dress, I can’t be sure, but I’ve felt a lot of cottons, and this is a very nice one. The fabric had already been washed twice (cold water, line dry) by the time I took these photos and there hasn’t been any fading.
This dress is certainly one of my favorites that I’ve ever made. It’s awesome to have designed the fabric myself and to see what I had envisioned come to fruition. I wore this dress for the first time to the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco to view the Oscar de la Renta exhibit, which I really recommend if you have the chance before it ends at the end of the month. Talk about inspiring! I really want to step up my embroidery and just bead and embroider everything. 🙂
It was raining the day I wore this, but the rain has been spotty and it wasn’t cold, so I wore this dress anyway (styled the same, although with flat sandals). I had left my jacket in the car as we thought we had parked at the DeYoung and I did not plan on going outside as we were in the underground parking garage. Unfortunately, my husband parked at the Academy of Sciences and we had to walk across outside to the DeYoung (maybe there’s an underground tunnel we’ve missed…..). I didn’t care so much other than I would have preferred to have my jacket and umbrella, but boy, you should have seen all of the people looking at me walking around in a sundress in the rain….. I was quite a contrast to the sea of people in dark colors. But really, not a whole lot different than any other day in Murica. 🙂 I had a lot of compliments on this dress. I usually just tell people “thank you” when they compliment me on my me-mades, but I did tell one woman how I not only made this dress, but I designed the fabric, too. Double win!
Note: I received this fabric at no charge as part of my stipend at My Fabric Designs. All thoughts and opinions as always, are my own.
- Dress: Vintage Vogue 8789 in custom designed cotton, made by me
- Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens Heart Super High Sandals
- Belt: Amazon
- Pin and Earrings: Luxulite