Finished Object: The Wholesome Dress

I feel guilty about not posting since Wednesday, and I probably won’t post much this week.  I have piles of other writing to do and friends to entertain.  The friends and the writing edged out my sewing the past week, too.

When I saw View 2, I knew I had the right design for my bamboo-trellis fabric.  Notable features: CF tucks, cut on sleeves, circular neck, very full skirt.  I made the neck bow-tie thing but it looks superfluous on the dress.

I drafted the bodice without pleats, as I wanted to manipulate the pattern on the fabric.  I simply cut a longish length of the fabric, pleated and under-sewed the pleats, then laid the pattern piece on top.

See the ridiculous darts? I chose to rotate the horizontal bust dart to make a French Dart, ignoring the my book’s injunction to rotate a French dart to the corner.  My finished dart looks too low and a little sloppy.  Lesson learned, and the flaw doesn’t ruin the design.

Inside view.  Interesting, and this pleat arrangement resemble the pattern picture more closely.  As I sewed, I discovered another novice-drafter-tell:  My front and back bodice would not match at the side seam.  I ended up cutting the front underarm curve nearly 1.5″ shorter- an easy fix.

Husband seems to like this dress more than most other creations.  As I stepped up on the table so he could mark my hem, I asked him if the length looked frumpy- maybe we should shorten to just below the knee?  He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said “Not frumpy at all, you look wholesome.”

Speaking of hems, I did the filthiest job on the hem.  Straight stitch, no pins, occasional easing on the fly.  I wanted this dress done.  Despite my slap-dash sewing, the skirt hangs properly.

The zipper starts at the edge of the sleeve hem and runs down my side.  I thought it would make for simpler dressing in steamy conditions- my own personal version of hell involves wriggling into a dress when I’m covered in sweat.  I’m fairly pleased with the shape of the sleeves.

In general, I give the dress 3.5 stars out of 6.  It’s wearable, fun, cool, but still smells like a linen cupboard.   That’s hardly surprising considering I made it out of an op-shop duvet cover.  Two washings and a day in the sun didn’t diminish the scent, which is not unpleasant.  Also, it has a few quirks I could do without.  I had fun, I’ll wear it plenty, and I learned a few tricks along the way.

I feel a spark of resemblance, in a 1950’s post-modern kind of way.  Fiddle-dee-dee.

Would it be weird to make a little summer shirt out of the leftover fabric?


  1. Thank you. :) I'm shocked I like the length, but part of me wants a bigger fluffer. I use more net each time I make one, I'm happy for a while, then I want more, more fluff. Sigh. If only I could sew every waking hour, right?

  2. Thanks, ladies. :) Tanit-Isis- I suspect wearing vintage clothes or working from vintage patterns, not to mention wearing fluffers, leaves you wanting to keep pushing the envelope. People I know are used to the way I dress, so I keep trying to see what I can "get away" with… Heh heh heh.

  3. It is so lovely! I am inspired by your method of pleating the fabric and then cutting the front bodice piece. It works so well with the pattern of the fabric, which, by the way, I cannot believe is a duvet cover. The pleated skirt is really flattering.Jacki

  4. Love it! Your husband's reaction is darling. Now if only I could bring Mr D around to the merits of 'wholesome!'And trust me, in the 1950s they would have sold that as a "Gone with the Wind picnic dress". Anything with a green sash and white and green fabric got that label.

  5. I am amazed by your constant productivity…girl you are not letting any moss grow under your sewing machine-lol. Your method of sewing the tucks and then cutting always works the best and I like the effect it created on your trellis fabric. Please tell your husband I am completely charmed by his response.

  6. I like the way you "styled" the photo of your wholesome dress on the grass in the dappled shade. How very wholesome! Great dress!

  7. So funny that you added that Scarlet picture because that is exactly what I was thinking when I saw that second picture on your blog. Even the white house in the background fits…if you don't look to hard. Wasn't that called the "Twin Oaks" dress? Great job.

  8. This dress begs for a small string of pearls. I love this style of dress; possibly because I have no waistline to speak of and can't really wear it. On you it looks lovely. Wholesome, perhaps, but it's also very feminine. (make the blouse)

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