The “Esme Homage” Dress
Fabric: Stretch Cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics – $9/yard, Cotton Poplin from Fabric Mart – $1.99/yard
Pattern: A frankenblend of Colette’s Macaron and Peony dresses, both gifts.
Year: 2010 an 2011, respectively.
Notions: 12 inch invisible zipper, 15 1/2 inch coverable buttons, self-made piping
Time to Complete: 10 hours (thank you, impossible hand sewn lining insertion!)
First Worn: Unworn as of yet.
Wear Again?: Definitely! I think this will be the perfect springtime dress, jazzed up with some espadrilles and a cute cardigan.
Total Price: 40(ish) dollars
Y’all, I read fashion blogs. A lot of fashion blogs. Each morning, my Google Reader overflows with gorgeous dresses and adorable outfits. Many of my favorite bloggers write about vintage fashion, which is great…until I realize I can’t own any piece I fall in love with! One can’t exactly pick up a 50s shirt-dress at the Gap, you know? Recently, I developed a bad case of vintage dress lust. The lovely Esme, of Esme and the Laneway, posted a picture of her Grey Buttons Summer Dress, an adorable early-60s dress with a piped sweetheart buttoned bustline. I knew it had to be mine!
With the help of Colette’s Peony and Macaron patterns, I built a bodice pattern that echoed Esme’s dress. From the Macaron, I stole the neckline and sweetheart bust, then took the rest of the bodice and skirt from the Peony. The bodice is actually two pieces, a yoke and the main bodice, joined with a piped button placket. Originally, I was going to copy the workable buttonholes from Esme’s dress, but was worried that my machine buttonholes would be messier than the original handworked ones. Instead, I just sewed the buttons on as decoration-only. It’s not like I’d want to separate the bodice, anyway!
As for the skirt, it’s not quite the original Peony skirt either. I kept the slight A-line shape, but added room for pleats instead of the prescribed gathers. There aren’t as many as on Esme’s dress, due to fabric constraints, but they work with an early-60s silhouette nicely. Another variation I made on the original is the waist piping. Though the dress will mostly be worn with a belt, since it has a bit too much waist ease for my taste, I decided to emphasize the waist a bit more and add a bit more piping while I was at it. More piping is always a good decision.
For fabric, I used a light yellow stretch cotton with brown-outlined white flowers, which I purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics ages ago. It’s been sitting in my stash, waiting for the right project, and it seemed the perfect pairing for this vintage-inspired dress. I fully lined it with brown poplin, bought for a song from Fabric Mart this past fall. That same brown is also used for the fabric-covered buttons and self-made piping.
In the end, I adore the dress. There are niggling little fitting issues that I may see to, like the darn waist ease, but it’s very wearable with my wardrobe. Once the weather gets a little warmer (and my legs get a little tanner!), I think this will become one of my favorite day dresses. Thanks to Esme, for the inspiration!