Well, hello there!
I’m finally sharing my dress that I made for the Dress Like Your Grandma sewing challenge! I intended to share this earlier, but I got so immersed in a huge project that took me much longer than I had imagined. In fact, I was working on it up until the night before the event that I wore it to. I will be sharing that with you soon, along with some tutorials to show you how I made some of the accoutrements that went with my ensemble. After all of the late nights working on that four month long project, I needed a little break. So sorry for being late for my own challenge! 🙂
I was inspired to create a garment similar in style to the dress my grandma is wearing in the photo below. She wore that dress to a dance with a sailor during WWII. As she married my grandpa in 1946, I’d say that photo was taken while my grandma was in college at UNH around 1943-44. During the war, my great-grandparents would have service men over to their house regularly for dinner — most from the airfield (Grenier). That’s actually how my grandma was introduced to my grandpa. 🙂
I looked for some vintage 1940’s patterns similar to the dress my grandma is wearing and found a couple that looked a little like hers. I couldn’t tell from the original photo how long her dress was or if it had a ruffle on the bottom. Instead of doing a literal interpretation, I went with an inspired version and made a 40’s style peasant dress. I considered adding a bow and possibly some ribbon or ric rac trim, but decided against it. The one dress that I made with a bow like that was not a favorite of mine and I ended up removing the bow. I asked some sewist friends on IG what they felt about added trim and the consensus was to leave the trim off. I asked my husband and he concurred. So with those opinions and my feeling that trim might not work with the fabric nor the print, I went without it.
For this dress I used McCall’s 5864, which is an out-of-print pattern that I’ve made before. It has the look I was going for, and with a few alterations, I had more of a 40’s style dress. I wear my previous version all the time in the warm months, so it was nice to sew another up in some light fabric and have another to wear.
I considered using a floral print like my grandma’s dress, but when I saw this bird print, I knew it would be perfect. My grandma loved birds and she would spend a lot of time feeding the wild birds and bird watching. If she was to choose between a floral or this bird print, I’m sure she would have chosen this one.
The fabric is a Milly silk/cotton voile from Gorgeous Fabrics. I entered a giveaway on their blog and was lucky enough to win a $100 gift certificate and bought this fabric with it. Unfortunately, this voile is no longer available on their site.
This fabric is sheer, so I lined the skirt. Initially I only lined down to the ruffle, but I had to add an extra piece as I found it too short and with the light white voile, I wanted to ensure that I was covered. I am wearing a camisole with this as it’s still a bit sheer in the unlined bodice, and you can see my bra through it.
I made view B of this pattern and shortened the sleeves. I also enlarged the width of the ruffle on the neckline. The elastic on the neckline can be adjusted to wear off the shoulder, but my preference is to make this more bra friendly and less shoulder baring. I did make the sash, but it’s hard to see with this print. I was going to leave it off, but the dress seemed incomplete without it.
I adore this dress. I had plans of wearing it this past weekend for my birthday, but I didn’t feel comfortable with the short lining, so it waited in my sewing room until I could add the addition to the skirt lining. It surprises me that I haven’t made a peasant dress for a few years, and yet I wear them all the time in the summer months. I guess that I’m actually “on trend” now, which is cool to me as that means more peasant dress patterns!
I live in my [maternal] grandparents’ house and all of these photos are taken around my home and with many of the plants that she planted and cared for. I’m wearing a pair of her earrings and carrying a beach/picnic tote of hers. I look forward to recreating another outfit of hers. Thankfully she liked clothes and dressed up often, so there are many photos for inspiration. My paternal grandma, on the other hand, wears loose shift dresses in Polynesian prints (essently mumus) in every photo that I have of her. Those aren’t really my style, but if I ever journey over into mumu territory, I will try to recreate one…. I hope to find more photos of my great-grandmas from when they were younger and recreate one of their outfits. Those are even more interesting to me as I would so love to make a 1910’s-30’s dress inspired by one of them!
This has been a very fun challenge and I can’t wait to host it again next year!
- Dress: McCall’s 5864 (OOP) in Milly silk/cotton voile
- Shoes: Saltwater Sandals
- Bag: vintage from my grandma
- Sunglasses: Birch
- Earrings: vintage from my grandma
- Hair flower: VeeVee Vintage
- Lip color: Estee Lauder Pure Color in Candy Shimmer
- Polish: OPI “100 Years of Style” from the Ford Mustang collection