the “wimbledon whites” dress

The Facts:

Fabric: cotton eyelet from paron’s, underlined with cotton organdy from Mood
Pattern: Simplicity 1507 (previously made here)
Year: 1940s
Notions: zipper
Time to Complete: longer than it should have
First Worn: august 8, 2012
Wear Again: yes
Total Price: ~$60
Challenge Theme: “olympics”

earlier this year, as i was gearing up for my favorite live sporting event–wimbledon–patternvault provided us with an amazing post discussing the history of tennis fashions along with several examples of gorgeous vintage tennis dress patterns.

i seethed with envy, because i had not thought of this first. in fact, it had not occurred to me to make a dress inspired by the sport i most enjoy watching (i suck at playing, but i can watch with the best of them), and the drool threatened to overwhelm and short-circuit my keyboard. luckily for me, i had a second chance (much like andy murray and his championship on centre court!) to rectify this wrong with the “olympics” challenge.

so i was doubly devastated to discover that, for the olympics, not only was there garish pink bunting all over my beloved all-england club, but that the players were allowed to wear colors instead of the strict tennis whites normally required for play.

in the end, i went for a simpler inspiration, because i didn’t fancy all of that pleating. also, i’ve been working more on using the patterns i already have, either as drafting inspiration or just on their own, and i used this as my inspiration image to get me back to simplicity 1507:

the construction was pretty no-frills, and i lined the eyelet with cotton organdy (love this stuff. meg, can you make sure mood always has it?). i had some major issues putting the lining in by machine (there may have been tears) but i got there in the end. i even got the zipper in, by machine, on the first try–which is a pretty big deal for me. zippers, even after three years, are a major problem for my sewing.

i love the dress in the photos, and i’ve been stopped twice today for compliments, but i can’t shake the feeling that the dress is a bit…heavy. that eyelet is stiffer and heavier than it looks, as evidenced by the crinoline-free poof i’m getting in that pleated skirt.

i did try making a belt, like in the 70s pattern, but it didn’t work as well as i would have hoped.

Author

puu

Devra is a New York-based photographer and sewer who tries to find time to do her day job in between bouts of crazed sewing.

12 Comments

  1. Looks kind of interesting with the red belt.

  2. Oh goodness, I’m loving this pattern and the eyelet fabric. Even though it doesn’t have the drape you originally imagined, I think it suits the pattern really well.

  3. This is BEAUTIFUL. Honestly! You’re right the eyelet fabric is a bit stiff and makes the skirt a bit poofy but I think it looks great this way. And you definitely have the figure to pull this off (unlike me). Also like it with the contrasting red belt.

  4. Looks great, but somewhat familiar? I feel like I’ve seen this in Sew Retro last week?

  5. Gorgeous. I love that pattern and the fabric you chose.

  6. what a great dress and I love the white on white combo. You can’t go wrong with that this time of year!

  7. Beautiful.. great job.. Love the white..

  8. This looks like the perfect fabric for the perfect pattern. Love it!

  9. That’s adorable! What a great interpretation of the challenge – the dress is obviously Wimbledon, but doesn’t look at all like a costume.

  10. Nice replica of the white tennis outfit of the past. You look very cute in it. I can’t tell from the pics that the fabric is heavy, but I hope it’s comfortable to wear out and about.

  11. It’s gorgeous!!! I love how sweet it looks but the fitted bodice totally shows off your killer shape!!

  12. That pattern certainly came out nicely – great job

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