The “Second Day of Summer” Dress
Fabric: Two yards x 37″ cambric from SCRAP, $4.00; striped cotton scraps
Pattern: Butterick 3029 (heavily modified) for the bodice, used a million times=free; self-drafted skirt
Year: Early 1960s pattern/contemporary; thrifted fabric–likely vintage
Notions: Zipper $0.55; hem tape $0.25
Time to complete: 6-7-ish hours? So I’m slow.
Sewing soundtrack: Vivian Girls; the Vonneguts; the World Radiant
First worn: Just to work, nothing special
Wear again: Definitely yes.
Total cost: $4.89
My mental process goes something like this: Vacation = ocean = nautical.
This dress is, I’ll admit, a lot less nautical-looking than other things I’ve made, but it’s got horizontal blue and white stripes, so it fits the bill. I’m also going to wear it next month when I go on vacation. To the ocean. Also, I’ve been wanting to make this dress since at least 2008, and–especially after last week’s tedium–this seemed like a nice and easy and perfect choice.
Both fabrics are from my stash, originally intended to be made into toddler overalls for my cousin. (Sorry, Gus.) The dress base is cambric, probably my favorite fabric. I think the piece was probably quite old, due to the narrow width–and it also feels old, the softest cambric I’ve ever encountered, and thin, almost bordering on gauzy. It was still wonderful to work with.
Also in the very old supplies department, I used rayon seam binding for the first time. Once I opened the package, I realized it was actually rayon bias tape, which I’m fairly sure isn’t standard. I almost felt bad using it–what if it was the last of its kind? But, I used it. It’s very nice and smooth, not too heavy for the lightweight cambric (I’m sure a regular bias tape would’ve been too much bulk). I’m not sure of its exact age, but Advance 6292, the apron pattern advertised on the inside of the wrapper (I’ve photoshopped both sides into the picture), is from 1953.
In case you can’t tell, I was very excited about the tape. I’m keeping that wrapper.
Anyway. Keeping things simple, I used Butterick 3029 for the bodice because, even though it looks nothing like what I had in mind, I’ve gotten it to the point that it fits me. (By “it fits me,” I actually mean, “it still doesn’t really fit me, but it comes a lot closer than anything else I’ve managed”.) Obviously I made some changes to the neckline; I also drew the waist an inch or so further down than I normally would have because I knew the skirt was going to be so short.
The skirt is just a basic half-circle skirt. I started it with a hand-rolled hem, but I didn’t like how it looked (and, I’ll admit, I was tired and wanted to go to bed), so I switched to machine-rolled. In fact, with the exception of the tie-belt-thing, everything here was sewn by machine. I don’t usually do that, but this is a very casual dress. It’s okay.
Finally. The skirt is shorter than what I’d normally wear, due to the usual lack of fabric, and I really feel like I should have some tap pants under it. Right now I’m wearing it with (in addition to my slip) the Colette bloomers, but they’re not quite ideal. Tiny as they are, I suppose they do provide (just) enough coverage that I’m not totally in danger of flashing others, and the material I used is light enough that the puffy gathers don’t alter the skirt’s silhouette much, but… Okay, the real problem is that they’re the wrong color, and that bothers me. Crazy, I know, but I like my underwear to match my outerwear. Tap pants, I think, have just been bumped to the top of my sewing queue. I’ll need some of those in blue.