April 11, 2012

Fifties-Does-Thirties-Does-Bohemian Sundress Set

Long title, no? There's a bit of a story behind that. I found this lovely, rather wild orange & cream print cotton on sale at JoAnn's and just had to get it for one of the many sundresses I plan on making. I started out with a 1950s mail order pattern in a plain princess line style and it looked rather fifties/modern/vintage-does-bohemian.

Then I added a self-fabric belt with a small buckle (courtesy of the ever-generous Becca :) and a short-sleeved bolero jacket, and suddenly it looked very 1930s inspired! Which doesn't bother me in the least, except I am now trying to figure out exactly what this sundress set entails. ;)

The pattern is Mail Order 9183, circa 1950s, which I have used before and have been very pleased with. (I did end up altering the neckline from a square shape to a more flattering scoop neck.) It's a simple curved princess seam pattern, sleeveless, with binding on the neckline and sleeve edges, and goes together very quickly. I believe I cut the pieces out on Sunday and had the dress finished by Tuesday. If I had a full day of uninterrupted sewing time I believe I could finish it in a single day. :)

The pattern includes a bolero jacket but I didn't exactly like the looks of the one in the pattern and preferred something more relaxed. So, out came Butterick 6877, which is actually from 1993, but which had a nice relaxed bodice with cut-in-one cap sleeves that was extremely easy to alter into a bolero pattern. It worked up very quickly too--the entire bolero was done, pattern altering to final touches, in the space of an evening.

I lined the bolero with a lightweight linen (actually my mom's capri pants which got a hole torn in the knee) and since the dress fabric is 100% cotton, it makes for a very cool summer ensemble. Those waffly front edges have me rather annoyed, though. I blame it on the very flimsy, drapey linen. I should've used a sturdier weave but one must roll with the punches, musn't one?

And there was enough leftover linen to line the little matching purse! This one was whipped up in about an hour using this awesome tutorial. Very cute, non?

All in all, very pleased with this ensemble. It's casual enough to wear most days both at home and out & about and can be dressed up or down all sorts of ways. :)


  1. Gorgeous dress and lovely fabric. You are lucky you snapped that fabric up on sale.

  2. Cute! Are you going to post pictures of yourself wearing it? It's an adorable dress.

    Happy sewing!

    Edelweiss Patterns

  3. Thank you both :) I am very fortunate to have found the fabric on sale,especially as it's a JoAnn's exclusive. I made it to wear to the cherry blossom festival but unfortunately did not make it, so no photos of me this time. :)