Spring dress in vintage rayon


I finished the dress for Lily! While it just looks like a simple basic dress and it is, getting the pattern right was a little difficult. Post here. I thought I had had everything fitted perfect, but that wasn’t the case. The armholes cut into her uncomfortably, the neck was gaping, and we didn’t discover those facts until after I had lined it. So I had to do some careful surgery with my seam ripper whilst donning my new reading glasses, yes, I have finally succumbed to buying some, to get those things fixed.

I made the adjustments to the pattern I made for her, and now we have a good basic sloper that fits her, for the time being. There’s a little excess fabric under the bust line still, though. I need to figure out how to remove that.dress1

We were at the thrift shop recently, and she found this fabric. I’m pretty sure it’s a vintage rayon from the late fifties or early sixties.. The drape and hand are beautiful. And for 1.50 ! pic4 I tried to use vintage techniques in my sewing from my 1969’s Better Homes & Gardens sewing book : Understitching the armholes and necklines to the lining, a lapped vintage zipper, and a wide, deep hem of six inches applied by hand, with a catch stitch. I can let the hem down as she grows. I’m going to start adding length to my girls’ handmade dresses. Modern patterns don’t have much added length, and it’s a disappointment when the girls still fit their dresses, except they get too short. And according to Susan Khalje , my sewing guru, “a deep hem on fine fabrics, is more elegant.” She aslo mentions that sharply pressed hems give a “homemade” look, so I didn’t press my hem. I think I like a pressed hem better, though. But I’m glad I didn’t, because I need to let the skirt down an inch or two.hemmingrayonI tried to use my blind hem foot at first, but I just could not get the hem to look right. There was a tuck that was formed, so I unpicked the whole hem and stitched it by hand. I like doing hems by hand anyway. It’s relaxing.liningfront

The skirt has simple gathers. I first made pleats, but I didn’t like the spacing of them, I should have probably made a pattern and marked them out, instead of just winging it, and I kept redoing them and ripping them out. I settled for the gathers, making sure to press them out well, so the dress wasn’t too puffy at the waist. liningI  attached the full lining by hand. The reason being because I’m not sure how to attach it to the zipper with machine, and I had already sewn the skirt lining in. I am so happy to be done with this project.  I think I’ll go make something easy with a pattern, next. Like a simple, dartless top.


I have to thank Heather from Closet Case Files for blogging about that incredible sale on Swedish Hasbeen sandals recently. We snapped these up on Amazon and they are perfect for spring and summer!

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  1. Brenda says

    Beautiful! And thanks for showing the inside out/lining photos, it’s great to see how it all came together.

  2. Dara says

    Very pretty ! I remember those days of sewing for my tall , very slim daughters! Wish I had known what you knew about drafting a pattern!

    • says

      The hardest part is to get that first sloper to fit right. Then the fun of designing can begin. I still have a little work to do on this one.

  3. Judy Roberson says

    this dress is adorable , and looks so good on Lily… [She has really grown up.. My granddaughters too] You did an excellent job on this dress. and Lily did a great job modeling it, and finding that gorgeous fabric..

  4. Mie @ Sewing Like Mad says

    Awww, she looks adorable and the fit is perfect now! And YES to big hems….it instantly adds a little something to a garment for sure!