The “Second (or Third) Time’s a Charm” Dress
Fabric: Blue polyester (possibly an old banquet tablecloth), $.25, blue gingham
Pattern: Hollywood Pattern 1551, ~$10
Year: c. 1945
Time to complete: ~5 hours
First worn: May 2012
Wear again? Yes.
Total Cost: ~$10
Back when I first started The Sew Weekly, I wrote about my desire to recreate a dress that my paternal grandmother is wearing in a photograph from around 1947. Over the past couple years, I ended up purchasing a couple of patterns that were fairly close to the dress in the photo. Last year, for the Mother’s Day challenge, I actually started an attempt to make the dress in red — the fabric didn’t cooperate with me and I pitched the pieces into the UFO pile.
Here’s the dress. The photo was taken in Cleveland, I believe, based on my Uncle’s age (the child). That’s my paternal great-grandfather sitting on the picnic table.
For this week’s challenge, I decided to make yet another attempt at recreating the dress. All the fabric came from my stash and the color was determined by what pieces of gingham I had in my collection. I don’t remember where or when I bought the pattern, so for this post, I’ll just say that it cost me $10 (knowing that’s usually on the high range of what I’m willing to spend for a pattern).
The last time I tried to make the dress, the sleeves were a real pain. I had tried to cut out the contrast from the original sleeve and then join them. This time, however, I cut the sleeves out in the solid fabric and the cut the top of the sleeve out again in the contrast fabric. I folded the edges and then topstitched the gingham portion to the full sleeve. This worked far better and was far easier than trying to figure out how to join the two pieces together.
The nice thing about working from a black and white photograph is that it allows a great deal of freedom with color choice. I actually asked my grandmother what color the dress was and she couldn’t remember — she thought black. I think the dress would have been quite cute in black with black and white gingham contrast. But since I had to work with what I already had on hand, the blue fabric just had to do.
Thanks to my friend, Libett, for taking the photos!