The “Welcome to the Magic Pan” Dress
Fabric: Vintage calico – $0.30 for pre-cut pattern pieces from the best Estate Sale ever
Pattern: Simplicity 2101
Year: c. 1947 with a 1980s twist
Notions: vintage buttons – $.005
Time to complete: About 3.5 hours
First worn: Not out in public
Wear again? Nope.
Total Cost: ~$0.30
Today's creation is the third in a series of dresses I'm sewing using Simplicity 2101. The inspiration for this series is Pattern Review's latest contest, One Pattern, Many Looks — I'm going to be making four dresses all from one view of 2101. The trims and slight variations (sleeve length, dress length, fabric choice) is all that will differentiate each dress. My ultimate goal is to create four dresses that each span a different period of time, this third one being my 1980s take.
So this dress was supposed to feel like "Homecoming Dance '81". Instead, it feels more like "Hostess at the Magic Pan '81."
Where do I begin with this dress? For starters, I didn't have much to work with — the fabric had already been cut for a shift dress of some sort. There was a front piece, a back piece and long sleeves. Somehow I managed to cut my own pieces — bodice front and back, skirt front left, front right, back, back side and sleeves out of those limited scraps. I had to make the dress way shorter than I wanted and that ultimately caused my biggest disappointment with the thing.If I really wanted to capture the spirit of late 70s/early 80s prarie/Gunne Sax/Jessica McClintock, the dress had to – at the very least — go past my knees. I just didn't have the fabric for that length. I imagine, however, that if I did have the extra length, I'd be asking for my keys to the compound.
The variations to Simplicity 2101 were minimal: I didn't attach the included collar, instead I used some lace and made a lace collar at the neck. I added a ruffle trim to the arms and hem with some extra scraps of fabric that I machine gathered and added the lace trim to the bodice.
Would I ever wear this dress? Yes, with some alterations. I'd probably take the ruffle off the sleeves and tack down the collar so that it had more of a v-neck look to it. For this exercise, I wanted to have those little early 1980s details that, frankly, I could do without in my wardrobe.