The Michigan Avenue Ensemble
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.
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.