The “Ring of Fire” Dress | Debi Fry
Fabric: 3 metres purple cotton blend from stash, 2 metres orange cotton blend £8 from Edinburgh Fabrics
Pattern: Simplicity 4916 from Miss Betty's Attic
Year: c. 1950's
Notions: 2 zippers: £2; 30 metres of rick rack £15
Time to complete: 18 hours
Wear again? I think so. Definitely the blouse on it's own too.
Total Cost: ~£25
The first thing I think of when I hear the word 'Western' is Johnny Cash and 1950's Patio Dresses (though not necessarily at the same time). When I found Simplicity 4916, I knew I had to try my hand at sewing up a 1950's Patio dress (also referred to as 'Squaw' dresses. Lil' Vintage Homemaker did a fabulous series on the history of these dresses this week!)
Typical to 1950's full skirted dresses, this pattern calls for a lot of fabric….and rick rack! I had some purple cotton blend fabric in my stash and thought that would be the perfect colour for the main parts of the dress and then wanted to get a contrast colour that would really pop. I quite like the colour combo even if it is a bit unconventional!
This pattern features a blouse and a separate skirt. I decided to go for view 1 because I really liked the collar (though view 3 has an amazing cumberbund–it was a hard choice but the big collar won out).
Hold onto your seats…I actually did a muslin of the blouse. I know!! You see I graded the pattern up and because it wasn't my normal late 30's/early 40's McCall patterns (which I know very well–hence no need to make muslins), I figured I should test it out. Plus, I've had spotty success with 50's patterns. Sometimes, I find their fit to be all wacky! I made the muslin out of a cotton bedsheet I had and it was nice and very fitted–no tweaks needed! Well, that didn't really help me much because I find the actual blouse to be a bit loose! Must be the cotton blend (with a bit of stretch). I think I am going to take in one of the sides of the blouse and try to squeeze a tuck in the back.
Speaking of the back–check out my neat chevron of contrast fabric:
There is a centre front and a centre back seam. So I applied the contrast fabric to each bodice piece (front x 2 and back x2) and then very carefully joined the seams so that it created a chevron stripe. I also had to carefully match the shoulder seams. I really like how it turned out!!
The skirt is three gathered tiers with an additional stripe of contrast fabric added onto the bottom tier. Phew! That's lots of gathering! I am wearing the skirt with my Ness shoes that has the same colours in the tartan! Here's an interesting Scottish western fact. Did you know Johnny Cash is Scottish? Well, he has Scottish heritage. Apparently, Johnny's family name–Cash–is from the part of Scotland that is very near where we used to live (in Fife). He visited that area many times and his family still has a very close connection to the place. All the locals talk about the family and last year, Roseanne Cash came to play at a Falkland festival! Anyways, that brings it all around to the tartan shoes with the western outfit!
Yea or nay to the rick rack? If yea, the pattern shows it on the contrast fabric…do you think that's a good spot or better on the purple? What do you think of the dress! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!