The ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ Dress | Debi Fry
Fabric: 1 pair of long velvet curtains from charity shop £10,
Pattern: McCall 3456
Notions: 9 self-covered buttons from etsy, £2
Time to complete: 14 hours
Wear again? yes!
Total Cost: ~£12
I've gone all Scarlett O'Hara this week (though out of choice not necessity) and have tackled some old velvet curtains to turn them into a dress using McCall 3456 from 1939. This dress pattern was hailed in the December McCall's magazine as the hottest trend for jewlery necklines (i.e. they look great as a backdrop with some serious bling!) Even looking at the pattern cover, it looks like velvet!!
I got a pair of these curtains for relatively cheap (as far as velvet curtains go–only £10). The slightly creepy thing is that I met the man who grew up with these curtains in his house. He was the one selling them and he talked about how great it was to have these velvet curtains growing up and how they kept the place warm. He seemed very interested to hear (and not in the least way upset) that I planned to use them as fabric. In fact, part of me wants to go back and visit him to see if he recognises the curtains! How weird would it be to see someone walking around in your childhood curtains? hahaha! Well, for being so old–they were in remarkable condition. I used the majority of both curtains and cut the curtains in one with the lining (to act as underlining since the back of the velvet wasn't very soft).
I'm quite pleased with how the dress turned out. I was a bit concerned that perhaps the fabric would be too thick but it was absolutely fine. The neat bit about using the thicker fabric is that the lapped seams making it look like cording was applied to all the seams–I really like that detail.
The dress closes down the back with 9 buttons (the pattern calls for 10 but I only had 9 self-covered buttons). Covering the buttons took almost 2 hours–this fabric is thick and so it's really hard to get the snap backs on these buttons. In fact, I don't think the buttons will last and I need to think of some alternatives. I really like how the self-covered buttons look but the fabric is just too thick.
This dress is also really interesting because it has gathers at the side seams in addition to the interesting yoke gathers. Also the waist line dips in the back–extending the back buttons! I haven't made a matching belt yet, though I have cut out the fabric. I think I will finish it. I find it interesting that the pattern envelope has the figure wearing the belt with the buckle at the back! I can see how this would give a nice smooth line in the front–I'll have to give it a try!
The only bad thing about working with velvet is ironing!! Arrrgghhh. I followed the instructions and kept the iron upright and put a press cloth over it and gently rubbed the fabric against the iron. I found this good for seams but it didn't work so well for getting wrinkles out. If that is my least favourite part of working with velvet then my FAVOURITE part is the feel of velvet! I just love running my hands across the fabric. So soft!! I really want to try this pattern in silk velvet! Wouldn't that be dreamy (and probably so much easier to work with)?
What do you think? Do you think I would have made Scarlett O'Hara proud? Have you ever worked with velvet? What about velvet curtains??