Thursday, July 9, 2009

Vintage Style Dress & 2-Yard Skirt

Still no definite house news. We have called about and seen a variety of places. Some nicer, some larger than the others. It is interesting how prices can differ from place to place! For a very small, not-very-nice home one might want quite a bit, while a nicer, larger home is less.

There is one home David and I have in mind, but nothing definite has been decided upon yet. So far, this is the only house that we have both felt rather peaceful about. It is not much larger than this house and in some ways, not as nice but we both feel it could be the right one.

I have started packing in earnest this week. I like to pack and organize, but I don't like the half-moved look of having boxes stacked in all the empty corners and spaces. Thankfully we have a nice large attic which is a convenient place to store the packed boxes. When moving day arrives, all I will have to do is hand the boxes down to David and he will put them into the truck and there we go. I don't want our house to look bare and plain before we move so I always save the decorations and pictures for last. I will probably pack those up the day before we move.

To keep my mind and hands busy I have sewed a bit and finished up a dress and a new skirt. I figure I might as well use up some material so I don't have to move it all! :)
The dress was a test run of my newly made, finally fitted bodice I was having so much trouble with last week. I finally got the darted bodice to fit smoothly and then I swung the bust dart to the shoulder and created a princess seam pattern. I only had three yards of this fabric to make the dress, so the skirt is not quite as full as I wanted it to be, just 2 panels of 45" wide fabric gathered to the waist. The sleeves are short puff ones. Nothing fancy or special. I was going to make cap sleeves but decided puffed ones would look nice in this fabric, which is very light and almost sheer. It is constructed almost entirely with mid-19th century methods. I hate zippers and wanted to avoid one at all possible cost. I can't get the durn things to go in right and its hard to zip oneself up if the zipper is in the back. I also needed a front opening so I could nurse the baby. So the bodice opens in the center front and the skirt opens at the center side utilizing a dog leg closure. The bodice is flatlined with white muslin and the only modern thing I did was to zig zag the raw edges so they won't ravell as much in the wash.

The skirt came to be because of a 50% off Red Tag sale at Jo Anns. I was looking for fabric for a pioneer style around the house sort of dress and I fell in love with this fabric when I saw it. There was very little left on the bolt, however, just 2 yards. I got it because I could not bear to leave it there. So lovely, so soft, a heavier weight cotton in off white, with blue and pink roses and green leaves.
The print seemed to big to look nice as a blouse (my first thought). It was enough for an apron but I didn't want to use it to keep my other clothes clean. The fabric was too pretty. So I at last figured out how to make a long skirt with the yardage I had. I made two tiers. The top one was just full enough to go comfortably over my hips. This used a full width of the 45" fabric, cut in half for the front and back. I had to cut two strips to go on each side to pull the fullness up a bit, to around 50". With the remaining fabric I had enough to make a 15" ruffle almost three 45" wide widths full. I made a casing for narrow elastic at the top and it was done. A quick afternoons project. My current obsession is the clothing from the TV series Little House on the Prairie. I want to make a blouse and skirt like the grown up ladies wear and a sunbonnet. The clothes aren't so terribly odd as to look very out of place worn for everyday so I've been planning what I can do with the patterns I have and the fabric I have.

The Blouse:
I have Folkwears Gibson Girl blouse which looks a lot like the style of blouse Laura wears as the grown-up Mrs. Wilder. I've made the Folkwear blouse before and know that it gives a nice look and it already fits the way it is. I'll just need to change it to a front opening. I want to make mine out of a lightweight lawn or voile.

The Skirt:
The skirts worn by the ladies in this series appear to have a fairly flat, gored front and lots of fullness in the back taken up in pleats. I have Past Patterns 1890's Circular Skirt pattern but it's not quite the look I'm going for. I found two skirt patterns that would work perfectly.

And this one is from Truly Victorian. The bonnnet won't be hard. I have an old Butterick pattern for a "pioneer" dres and "pioneer sunbonnet" that has the right look. :)

Ah. The only problem I have is the fabric required for the skirt. Around 5 yards! I hardly ever have used that much fabric for a skirt before. I like to get as much as I can out of as little as possible. I will need to overcome this mindset.

May you all have a lovely week -



  1. I LOVE how the dress turned out, Sarah. It's beautiful! The fabric is very lovely and I imagine, looks very good on you. The tiered skirt is cute, too. I am sorry to have to admit that I do not share your love of the "Little House" TV show, but I do think the outfit you are planning is going to be very pretty.

  2. I am always inspired by your projects, Sarah. I especially like the skirt you did. Having ruffles on skirt always adds the right kind of "flair." =)

  3. Very nice post.
    Like the pictures.
    God Bless,

  4. I'm always inspired when I see your projects. You've got quite a skill! That dress is simply lovely.

  5. I love the dress and your skirt!! I do love the costumes on Little House. I would like a sun bonnet just for regular every day summer wear, but I do wear a lot of jeans and I'm not sure it would go so well:).

  6. I love the dress and the skirt. You are so talented. I'm excited to see your next creations. :-) God Bless!

  7. Ah, well, Emily, Little House is not for everyone. I think I like it so much because I used to watch it ALL THE TIME when I was really little. I think my first memories are of watching it at my Grammie and Grampie's house (they had cable, we did not). When we got our converter box a few months ago for our t.v. we found we had a few more channels than we previously had (bringing up the total to maybe five or six) and Little House on the prairie was on one of those channels!

    The one thing that really bothers me (besides their in-accurate although pretty costumes) is how far they stray from the books written by the real Laura Ingalls Wilder. I see no resemblence to the original books in the t.v. series at all, except for a bit in the first season.

    Still, its better than most of the t.v. series that are on our channels. It seems most modern shows have a huge emphasis on the "S" word and its just too disgusting to watch most of them. :( At least Little House on the Prairie has a preacher and teaches morals! It's sad how far our television programming has sunk. What happened to shows like Andy Griffith and I Love Lucy? :(

  8. Oh Sara, the skirt is lovely! I too have quite an obsession with the same show and the same styles, but have yet made any of them :(

    Thank you for sharing your talent with us!

    lady m

  9. ps:

    the dress is so lovely ;)

    lady m

  10. Sarah, I am behind on my blogging, so perhaps you have already answered this...Will you wear the bonnet out? I love bonnets and have three of them but am never nervy enough to wear any of them--even out in the yard. We live in town in a regular neighborhood with lots of watching eyes across the street. My desire has always been to be able to dress Little House style on a daily basis, but alas, I probably won't ever do it.

  11. Where did you get your patterns? I would just LOVE a LH on the P skirt/dress as well as a sun bonnet!

    Thank you so much!

  12. Oh dear, Zebu, I'm only now seeing and answering your comment!

    I do not wear my bonnets out, as in wearing them to public places. However, I do wear them when outdoors here at home. Since we live in the country now, I needn't worry about neighbors thinking I'm crazy. :)

    Alex, I make most of my own patterns. For LHOP clothes, if you can find a blouse pattern with a high neck and long sleeves that should work as a base to start with. A gored skirt that is smooth at the top and wide at the hem would work perfectly for a skirt. Sense and Sensibility patterns ( has a Beatrix Skirt pattern that would be perfect to use, as well as a Beatrix shirtwaist/blouse that gives the right look also. I have personally used many S&S patterns and really love how they go together!

  13. Oh, it's o.k. Sarah Jane. Thanks for the reply. :0)


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!