New Dress! Retro Butterick 5880!

Woohoo! I’ve got a new dress, and it’s gorgeous! In a continuation of my life being photographed in vintage and vintage-style dresses, here are the results of about 8 hours of sewing fun!

Here's the pattern, a vintage reprint from Butterick (B5880), and the crazy cotton fabric I found!

Here’s the pattern, a vintage reprint from Butterick (B5880), and the crazy blue cotton fabric I found!

As I’ve said, I love working with fun cotton fabric, because it tends to be less expensive and so easy to work with. This particular fabric was chosen due to the changing of the seasons. I thought it would be a lovely late winter/early spring print that would make the transition nicely. Also, I don’t have nearly enough blue things to wear!

Here's a close up of my fab hair (it did what I wanted it to do!!!), and the super neat neckline! It's got two little "v"s to keep things interesting.

Here’s a close up of my fab hair (it did what I wanted it to do!!!), and the super neat neckline! It’s got two little “v”s to keep things interesting.

It also works super well with my vintage blue starburst brooch! I did not plan this, however, one of the bursts in the fabric ended up in the perfect “brooch place” on the bodice! Splendid serendipity!

Here's the final product! Isn't it stunning?!

Here’s the final product! Isn’t it stunning?!

Another confession: The lovely swag across the front was *supposed* to be lined, and because I didn’t have quite enough fabric, I just hemmed the raw edge instead! It lies beautifully, however, since the fabric isn’t double-sided, I’ve got to be careful not to let the underside show. When I make another version (which I’d like to do immediately), I will probably choose a solid color, and add a contrasting fabric lining!

I'll also take this opportunity to introduce my pocket pup: Abe Lincoln!

I’ll also take this opportunity to introduce my pocket pup: Abe Lincoln!

Isn't he the cutest?!?!

Isn’t he the cutest?!?!

So, that’s the latest sewing project of mine! It was really special because it was my first dress at the smallest size I’ve ever sewn! I only made my standard adjustments to the waist (for petites) and the hem length (super petite!), and it fits so well! As many dresses as I’ve made, it still feels like a gamble with a new pattern, and I’m so glad this one is a success!

Are you working on a new dress pattern? What made you choose it? Which fabric(s) do you like working with?


Vintage Vogue 1940s Scissors Dress!

It has been too long since I sewed a dress! My patchwork Sally dress for Halloween took an enormous amount of effort, and then the holidays happened, so recently I decided to remedy this by making a simple pattern with a fun print!


Vintage Vogue Pattern #2787! I found this great red/black scissor fabric on sale at Hancock’s and couldn’t pass it up!

So dramatic, Vogue! Obvs, I double checked on Pattern Review to make sure this fancy promo photo wasn't an impossible dream.

So dramatic, Vogue! Obvs, I double checked on Pattern Review to make sure this fancy promo photo wasn’t an impossible dream.

I have an armoire full of fabrics, but most of them are either insanely fancy (dupioni silks, and the like), or inappropriate for the season. So, in an effort to ease back into sewing clothing, I knew I would need a straightforward pattern, but not one I’d sewn before (there’s no adventure in that!), and fabric that’s not difficult to work with. This, to me, usually means cotton, because it tends to be inexpensive and/or on sale, plus the prints are fun and the fabric is super cooperative/non-stretchy.


This is my final product! Although you can’t see it, there’s a closure in the black I framed with eight black jet buttons! It’s pretty darn cute!

As a general petite-person rule, I shortened the hemline by (an insane) 8 inches! Since this is a 1940s pattern, fashions dictated longer hemlines, however, as you can tell, it still comes to my knees. If you are on any kind of budget, make sure you have a working idea of where you prefer your hemline. (You’ll save enormous amounts of time, money and fabric this way!) If I hadn’t removed the extra length before cutting out my pattern pieces, I would have needed an additional yard of fabric! As it was, I managed to make this dress using only three yards (sans the suggested shoulder pads), and it is completely appropriate for work, or as a vintage-style cocktail dress!


I opted for knee-high, black suede boots, and victory rolls to really punch up the 40s glam!

This pattern was definitely simple to sew, and although I did need to make some adjustments, they were all completely doable with a minimal amount of seam ripping! For my figure, that included taking larger darts (front and back), amending the curved front seam, as well as taking in the side seams between the sleeves and hips. All of these changes were made due to my “hourglass” shape, which requires making a larger size to accommodate my bust/hips and then making the necessary changes through the waist and shoulders.

So many curves!

So many curves!

Not only did I manage to create this dress with slightly less than the suggested yardage, but I have enough left over to make a matching hat! (When I do, no worries, I will absolutely post the final results/fab ensemble!) During one of my estate sale excursions I found, and immediately purchased, an un-covered hat form. It just so happens to be a lovely 40s-style, wide brim just aching to be covered in scissor fabric, with a contrasting black under-brim and ribbon! Also, I’m officially on the lookout for antique and/or vintage tiny scissors to help create the feathered accent piece! (It will double as a brooch for those rare occasions that aren’t hat-propriate.) If you see some, let me know!

Brimming with possibilities, isn't it??

Just brimming with possibilities, isn’t it?? (Ha!)

The brim is so perfect! It's off-center, so it is supposed to be worn atop an elaborate hairdo!

It is so perfect! It’s set off-center so it can be worn atop an elaborate hairdo!

For those rare occasions not requiring a hat, a fabulous 1940s inspired hairdo will definitely be an acceptable substitute! I know there are lots of tutorials, inspiration, and celebrity throwback styles to choose from! Some of these styles are easy to reproduce at home with some hot rollers and bobby pins, but obviously there are others that require finesse, four arms and extra eyes, so maybe go to a stylist. Here’s some vintage hair inspiration to help you decide!


Betty Grable looking stunning in victory rolls that are glossy perfection! Don’t be fooled, during the process there’s a lot of teasing. It’s only smooth on the top!


Rita Hayworth has iconic hair, and you can absolutely recreate that gorgeous wave! Even with shorter hair, just use smaller curlers!


Veronica Lake created a sly, sexy persona with her deep part and lovely wave curls! Again, grab those curlers and this one’s an instant success!


Diane Kruger’s modern interpretation, complete with beautiful flower fascinator, proves that a vintage style can be done with fine hair and still look stunning!


Last, but never least, the fabulously coiffed Dita von Teese in all her 1940s glory! Everything about her is flawless.

See?? You could absolutely do that! If I can pull together a couple of victory rolls before 9:00AM with my unwashed, super fine hair, you too can recreate a glamorous vintage-inspired look! Besides, once you invest in a set of hot rollers (I bought these several years ago for $15 at Walgreens!), you can create almost any 40s-60s hairstyles. It all comes down to effort, brushing, and maybe some teasing. It’ll all be worth it when you look amazing and feel super confident! So, if you’ve got fun plans this weekend, try out a retro outfit and/or hairstyle and enjoy the compliments!

Do you wear vintage and/or vintage-style clothes from the 40s? What about hairstyles? Would you pair a vintage hairstyle with a modern/trendy look? Why or why not?