I hope you had a lovely holiday season! I certainly am happy that 2017 is over and am hoping for a great 2018. Today, I’m sharing my Christmas dress. It’s definitely one of my favorites that I made last year and one that I hope to wear for years to come.
This dress is Simplicity 8504, a 1930’s re-issue. As soon as I saw this pattern I knew that I wanted to make it, and of course it had to be in velvet.
Initially I wanted to make view B — the photo on the pattern cover, but without the fugly white collar. It’s glorious and green is my favorite color. But then I saw this vintage 1930’s silk velvet dress for sale at Butchwax Vintage (shameful screenshot) and I knew I wanted THAT.
So View C it was! I was blown away by the covered buttons and that fantastic fabric.
I would have gone for green velvet as: a) it’s my favorite color, b) it’s in my inspiration photos, and c) it’s very Christmas-y. But….. I was looking for a deal as I always do and whilst perusing eBay, I ran across an excellent deal on this blue silk velvet. Well, blue was Christmas-y and it’s jewel tone which I like, so I went for it, therefore paying half the price of the green silk fabric that I was previously ogling. I’m glad I did as this color is just so BEAUTIFUL.
The dress pattern looks a bit intimidating, but it’s really not. I added my little extras like a bodice lining, covered buttons, bound buttonholes and a Hong Kong finish with vintage silk seam binding.
The bodice is lined with some lovely Japanese poly lining in navy with white roses. I purchased that lining for a blazer, so I didn’t have enough to line the entire dress. It works quite well to line the bodice and wear a slip with it. It has a lining with facings, which I think looks better with this type of dress, plus the lining won’t be peeking out through the velvet. The pattern has a pattern piece and instructions for a partially lined sleeve, so I used that.
I graded this pattern up to about a size 26/28. I really wish they would make these patterns in a broader size range. It isn’t easy to find 1930’s plus size patterns and it would be great for the “Big 4” to offer all of their patterns in all of the sizes that they carry. (More of my thoughts on that in my pattern review on the CSC)
I purchased about a yard less of fabric than is suggested because I’m both frugal and I try not to be wasteful. That meant that I had to be careful cutting out and a lot of it was cut in a single layer. I had to piece the corners of the side skirt gores, but that’s very period correct. I also had only tiny scraps of fabric left over. So that’s a big win for me!
One of my favorite features of this pattern is the sleeves. It has gathered rows that resemble faux smocking. I wish the sleeves were a little more voluminous like the pattern, so if/when I make this dress again, I’m going to add more width to them.
Along with the covered buttons, I also made a belt and used a covered buckle kit. I probably should have hand sewn some eyelets, but oh well…. In the last pic you’ll see a different belt and buckle. I first made a narrow belt using a vintage buckle from my stash, but decided that I wanted a larger buckle and wider belt, so I made another one.
I was hurriedly finishing up this dress before I took our family Christmas photo in it, so the hand sewn hem is a bit wonky. I also had to finish binding a couple of the skirt seams. The photo below is the first time I wore it out for a holiday tea and antiquing in Niles.
My husband also dressed up a bit for the occasion.
And here’s our 2017 Christmas photo with Rollie (Boston Terrier) and Laddie (Border Collie).
- Dress: Simplicity 8504 in silk/rayon velvet, made by me
- Shoes: Aerosoles Marine Corps
- Stockings (first photos): Fully fashioned stockings from American Duchess (out of stock)
- Stockings (last photos): Sock Dreams
- Brooch: Vintage
- Earrings: Vintage
- Bracelet: Bauble Bar
- Purse: Vintage
- Lipstick: Besame 1931 Carmine (affiliate link)