Monday, June 10, 2013

My Birthday Dress for 27

A few weeks ago I had my Golden Birthday. I was twenty seven on the twenty-seventh! When I was a little girl my friends all had their golden birthdays and I was envious of that glorious event. 27 seemed an infinite time off. 27 was, well, old.

But now that I have reached that significant milestone, 27 is not so bad. I have my faithful and hard working husband and four adorable (and rambunctious) children. I am still me. Wifehood and motherhood have not altered my personality except to perhaps make me more appreciative of The Moment, as now I see with some sorrow how fast time goes by. I can still do what I like to do. I live in an old country home and I have chickens and a garden just like I always wanted. I have a sewing room and a kitchen to get creative in. Every day is a new adventure. Life is turning out pretty decently.

My birthday fell on Memorial Day. Though a holiday we had planned to spend outdoors the day greeted us with much rain and rain continued til the evening. (We then went for a walk in the woods, but sadly were accosted with swarms of vicious mosquitoes and returned home, peppered with red bites and rather miserable and exhausted.)

I spent the afternoon trying to drape a new dress bodice pattern. Last year I received some striped blue cotton seersucker for my birthday and I never did make it up. This year I find myself in want of a few new summer dresses so I was determined to find a suitable style for the seersucker. I browsed lots of pattern sites and dreamed of dress designs but nothing seemed to really jump out at me until I saw Gertie's post about her new Cambie Dress.

I was really drawn to the bodice style. I loved the fitted bodice and the sleeves were perfect! I looked up the pattern on the Sewaholic website and decided this was the perfect style for my seersucker fabric. Of course, being me, I decided to try to drape a pattern that was similar in style instead of actually purchasing the pattern. I was a little worried this style would not be suitable for my figure since I am more of an hourglass shape than the pear shape the Sewaholic patterns are designed for. If the style ended up not working for me I didn't want to have spent a lot of money on a pattern I could not use.

It was fairly straightforward to drape a basic bodice. It goes to the natural waist and is simply fitted with 2 darts in the front and 2 darts in the back. The interesting feature is the sleeve, which is cut in one with the back bodice and then gathers down to attach to the front bodice. Nifty.

I made a few mockups of my rough draped pattern and tweaked the fit til I was happy with it. Now that this dress is done, I can see a few changes I will make to the pattern before making more dresses. Namely I want more coverage on the arm so will add width to the cut-in-one sleeve. And I need to take in the darts a bit more under the bust as I am getting a bit of wrinkling (having a large difference between bust and underbust measurements is a real pain in the rear end to deal with. Grr.)

Instead of the slim A line skirt or full gathered skirt the original pattern calls for I decided to make my own skirt and ended up with a moderately full upper skirt attached to a fuller flounce at the bottom. I like this style a lot as it does not require much by way of yardage and is just a style I am naturally drawn to. I made it just above ankle length which is just about perfect for everyday use. I often wear shorter skirts, but I love the feminine feeling that wearing longer skirts gives!

I even succeeded in putting in an invisible zipper without having to rip it out and resew it three or four times! Yeah!

The bodice is lined with sturdy white cotton and is also interlined with the same cotton. I knew I would want more sturdiness to the bodice since it is such a fitted style and there is no boning to help it keep its shape. The interlining helps tremendously! The skirt is unlined. The neckline and the sleeve edges are piped with self fabric piping to prevent the lining from peeking to the outside.

All in all its really a perfect dress! I love the style! It's fun and twirly and feels neat and tidy to wear. I cannot nurse in it, which is its only downfall, but as Anne is not breastfeeding constantly anymore (mostly just in the morning, or before she goes to bed at night) I find I can wear garments like this more for daily wear if I feed her before dressing for the day and after undressing for the night. I think this style could be altered to be breastfeeding friendly by making the front in two pieces and having it overlap and button, or perhaps even zip up the front.

I have fabric to make several more though I may change up the skirt styles a bit for the others. In the meantime I am working on a Judy Garland Dorothy Dress for a friend and that is taking up my sewing interest at the moment. It is such fun to see come together!



  1. Dear Sarah,
    Happy belated birthday! Absolutely everything you make is PERFECT! What lovely fabric for a sundress, I definitely like the bodice shape and flounce. Beautiful. Someday, I hope to sew half as well as you.
    God bless,
    Anneliese :)

  2. Gorgeous dress, you look very pretty in it. :) Funny you mentioned a Dorthy dress. I've got a box of fabric for you with some similar Dorthy type fabric in it. A lot of fabric that would probably work out for the boys, and there are a few pieces for you in there too, I think ;) There is a nice good sized fabric with watermelon on it that would make a cute sundress for Anne. :) If I'm heading out that way sometime in the near future, I'll drop the box by. :) DO post pictures of that Dorthy dress!! Would LOVE to see it!

  3. Happy Golden Birthday! Your dress is just beautiful and you look lovely in it! I am so impressed that you did it all by draping and drafting to your figure.

  4. Happy Birthday!

    This dress is so beautiful. How much yardage did it use? I am hoping to make one like it...

  5. Thanks! Jackie, I will definitely post about the Dorothy Dress!! It has been SO fun to work on. I think sewing movie dresses might be a new obsession. . .(like I need one) :P

    Hannah, I think I used about 4 yards for this dress. I bought a 4.5 yd piece but used some of it to make Anne a dress last fall. So what was left I used for this. It may be a bit under 4 yards as I still have a sizeable piece of fabric left over.

  6. Happy birthday!

    And how pretty! I think that is the perfect pattern for that fabric and your choice of jewelry is great for the dress. What a nice birthday present for yourself!


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!