The Michigan Avenue Ensemble

The Facts.

Fabric: Heavy pink cotton, curtain/upholstery tulip fabric – both free from stash!
Pattern: Advance 8781 (skirt), Vogue 5542 (top via Ebay)
Year: At least 1962?
Notions: zipper, five 1″ buttons, two hooks and bars.
Time to complete: 8 hours
First worn: April 8, 2012
Wear again? YES.

Total price: $3 for the pattern on Ebay + $25 for the crinoline from Dethrose Vintage at the Randolph Street Market = $28 well spent.

Friends, I know it is Spring when a very important event happens in Chicago: the tulips appear.

Our previous mayor decided to beautify the city and plant tulips every year so they bloom in the Spring. I know we’ve made it through another winter once I walk down the street and see the amazing variety of colors.  There is absolutely no better place to see all of the gorgeous blooms than on Michigan Avenue.

When Mama Grand passed along this amazing tulip fabric to me a few weeks ago, I knew it would be perfect for this challenge. Using the Advance pattern in my stash, I whipped up this skirt in no time. I realized, however, that the skirt might end up being a wardrobe orphan if I didn’t make a top to go with it. I decided to go with a recent Ebay purchase that was the Vogue top pattern.

Holy. Can. Noli. I am a novice at adjusting vintage patterns to fit my size and this pattern totally proved that.

So.  I added the necessary inches to the pattern to take it from a 34″ bust to a 37 1/2″ bust.  And then it was ginormous.  I think the original top (from what I can tell on the pattern) was meant to be loose enough to not have to call for notions and to slip on over the head.  Well. So I added inches on top of an already loose top. K.

My dress form came in very handy, as did my previous work on Colette patterns.  I added a pleat down the middle a la Sorbetto, I added buttons down the back (a la Sencha), and added bias trim a la the Coletterie. The shirt would have probably taken two hours, but with all the added details and my sudden desire to have it more fitted, I tacked on two extra hours.  I am pleased with how it turned out, though!

I love the color, and the fabric has a subtle sheen in the right light.  I used five 1″ buttons down the back because a) there were five, b) they were close to the necessary color, and c) their size makes them deliciously obvious.

A guy honked at me at one point, and, forgetting my New Year’s resolution to not get into street ‘confrontations’, I asked him ever so politely what he was honking at. I don’t think he heard me, but I realize now it must have been my amazing buttonholes.

I am ashamed to admit that up until two weeks ago I did not know that I owned a buttonhole foot for my machine. IT IS A THING OF WONDER. These buttonholes were a complete joy to make.  I now prefer buttons over zippers 100%.

The final part of this ensemble is, of course, the navy blue crinoline.  I bought it at the most recent Randolph Street Market, when my friend Becky persuaded me to buy it. Becky is one smart cookie, y’all.  I might even owe her cookies for her talking me into this fabulous piece.

 The skirt and pleats up close, but this wouldn’t be nearly as fluffy/puffy/glorious without…

the fabulous crinoline.

Don’t be fooled.  Michigan Avenue is a touch place for even the most savvy of Chicagoans.

Author

Meg the Grand

Megan Grandstaff was thrown into the sewing world in 2005. Ever since that fateful day, she has been eager to increase her skills and reduce her (quite large) fabric stash.

15 Comments

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  1. Oh Meg, I love the outfit, great buttons and I love the petticoat. Wonderful pictures, especially the last one!

  2. i love it, i love it, i love it. tulips are my favorite bit of spring as well and i think your work on fitting that blouse really paid off beautifully.

  3. Very, very cute! Very Amy Adams!

  4. Oh My God Meg!!! What a beautiful skirt, it’s so feminine, and swishy, and happy. Perfect!
    I want one!!! :)
    And the buttons look great.
    (I too only this week discovered that I have a buttonhole foot. Mum had to point out which one it was after I complained about the need to purchase one – Oops…)

  5. It *is* very Amy Adams! I love everything about it. And your full post on your blog was hilarious as usual! Great job on the whole thing!!

  6. Love the tulips fabric and the colour of the top! The puffiness too, perfect for Spring!

  7. Just gorgeous! Love the fabric for the skirt and the cute matching top with the big buttons! Your crinoline is to die for! Loved reading your funny post.

  8. It’s cool Meg, and the Tulips are gorgeous, we have autumn leaves falling here.

  9. From a fellow Chicagoan, I love this!

  10. Oooo It’s soo pretty! I love the tulips too! I was so sad to see that the ones by my work had all blown away in the storm yesterday.

  11. So pretty!!! You, your outfit AND your photos!! I love when all of the flowers start to bloom. It’s like watching the city wake up from winter.

    Also, vintage pattern sizing is bananas! I don’t even pay them any mind, I measure the pattern pieces and go from there.

  12. That last crinoline peek shot with you collapsed on the couch is the best. Lovely outfit and photography.

  13. Oh Meg this is wonderful everything is so perfect. The upholstery fabric is amazing such a fabulous union between the fabric and the cut of the skirt. LOVE! The crinoline just tops the look off perfectly.

  14. This is head-to-toe adorable!