mad for green dress

09.07.10 {mad for green}

[ the result of a weekend of mad sewing! ]

A little bit Mad Men, a little bit like something Elizabeth Taylor might have worn in Butterfield 8, and a classic bombshell color thrown in. I’ve been in a bit of a late 50s/early 60s mood lately; mostly it’s due to all the early 60s films I’ve been watching over the course of the summer. The early 60s was one of the eras I originally fell in love with when I began exploring the idea of dressing vintage daily, and I have been coveting a little “wiggle dress” (as they’re commonly known online) lately (my sketchbook has been full of them!). Being so taken by the vision of a bombshell style dress in my head I made a few sketches and I decided to spend my holiday weekend working on a dress to capture what I envisioned. I had a gorgeous green linen blend in the stash (it was actually earmarked for a 40s three-piece playsuit, but I actually like it in this usage much better!), and used a sloper I drafted from Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting. I was a bit gutsy–no foolish–and cut out the dress after drafting the pattern, without making a muslin–something I do not really recommend. The pattern wasn’t perfect at first–I basted the dress together twice before I got the fit through the waist and hips just right. However, it was a fun learning experience–and thankfully did not result in some massive mishap! (Again, I do not recommend following my idiocy in just cutting the fashion fabric prior to testing! This was one of those once-in-a-million instances that it did not backfire on me!)

09.07.10 {mad for green}

[ I love how the bow adds a bit of femininity to the dress, but isn't too frilly! ]

09.07.10 {mad for green}

[ close up of the hand stitched zipper; the application results in a soft and subtle look. ]

I made a conscious decision before embarking on this to really take my time with the details of this project. I think part of the reason I became disenchanted this summer with sewing was because I wasn’t challenging myself to learn new techniques and spend the time to construct something really, really well (it must be admitted here that my serger has made me a bit lazy!). This dress has a ton of structure between the shell and lining; we’re talking stay tapes, interfacing, etc. The zipper was inserted using my favorite hand picked method. Gertie inspired me to try out stay tapes to support and stabilize certain points on the dress (the armsyces, back opening edges along the zipper, and empire waistline). It’s also fully lined and the neckline faced (so that if the slit neckline moves away from the body, the fashion fabric and not the lining shows). The bias band around the empire waist was slip stitched to the dress by hand. I even took the time to add lingerie straps so my bra wouldn’t show! I referenced this book a lot. It was so satisfying to do an intensive sewing project that really required me to think out all the steps and components needed to make a successful garment! I admit, after I finished it, I couldn’t stop staring at it–I haven’t made something I’ve been this proud of in a long, long time!

09.07.10 {mad for green}

[ sorry I look so sullen! I'm just squinting, I assure you. ]

09.07.10 {mad for green}

[ a little lacy surprise at the hem. ]

My favorite part of the dress is a toss up… On one hand, I’m in love with the bow–I seem to have been on a bit of a binge with bows this year! lol. Bows can be terribly girly and frilly, but I find in applications like this they don’t seem too frou frou, just feminine. But I also really love the neckline! Bateau necklines have long been a favorite of mine; I discovered the flattering lines as a teenager and promptly became a convert. I drafted this one so it was a gently sloping wide cut across the front, and a shallow dip down in the back. I’m quite in love!

09.07.10 {mad for green}

[ more pictures here. ]

September 7, 2010 · 86 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , ,

louise September 7, 2010 at 05:53

quite in love and rightly so, thats a gorgeous dress!

2paw September 7, 2010 at 06:08

Oh it’s gorgeous. I love the colour and all the details. It looks like a dress my mum had in the Sixties when I was small!! Hers wasn’t handmade and it was cerise.

Stephanie September 7, 2010 at 06:21

Absolutely gorgeous dress!

Drop Stitches Not Bombs September 7, 2010 at 06:32

I can’t imagine a more perfect dress – I’m green (or rather turquoise) with envy!

Esz September 7, 2010 at 06:34

Oh. My. GOD that dress is AMAZING!! Can you make me one? ;-)

Kidding! It looks spectacular! I’m a bit of a fiend for wiggle dresses right now and they dominate my closet. Only now have to learn to make them myself!

Peter September 7, 2010 at 06:46

Impeccable! Beautiful dress and wonderful fit. So well done.

Rebecca September 7, 2010 at 06:47

Wow! This is by far my favourite piece you’ve created to date. If you made this dress to sell, it would fly off the shelves. It’s just a perfect, flattering, beautiful shape and colour. I would wear it, and I reckon it would appeal to other generations too. My mum is always complaining about not being able to find well-fitting shift-style dresses. Your attention to detail is incredible – I love the look of the hand-sewn zip technique.

bonita September 7, 2010 at 06:50

Omygoodness, Casey this is perfect!! You could design and sell your own vintage patterns!!

I love you dress ~ the colour, bow, lace binding, the neckline and the curve are all just so sweet. Excellent work ~ you should be proud. It’s stunning. ^U^ ~<3

bonita of Depict This!

Susannah September 7, 2010 at 06:52

Oh. Oh my. Wow.

You’re lucky you don’t live in my town, because I would definitely consider mugging you for that dress.

Ravishing! And now I have another Very Expensive Sewing Book on my Amazon wish list!

Marmielu September 7, 2010 at 07:00

That dress is stunning! When you told me you got the urge to make a sheath dress, I never dreamed this is what you would turn out. You’ve come a long way from Barbie clothes!

RetroJetGirl September 7, 2010 at 07:01

I’m in love. Looks amazing!!! Better watch out, Mad Men wardrobe department might come calling for that!

Suzie September 7, 2010 at 07:04

This dress is gorgeous! The colour really suits you and the style is amazing. So impressed! Loving all the little details too – all the time and effort for them definately paid off!

Paige September 7, 2010 at 07:21

Lovely! In fact, this is one of my favorite things you’ve done!

Karin van D. September 7, 2010 at 07:22

Oh my, that dress is something to be proud of indeed. I think it’s gorgoues and you look stunning in it. Very beautiful, Casey, nice work!

Tilly September 7, 2010 at 07:26

Oh my! This really is a stunning dress. The bow looks great in contrast to the sleekness of the lines of the dress. Well done for all your effort on it – I should really take a leaf out of your book and be less slapdash with my sewing…

aurelia September 7, 2010 at 07:36

Just lovely! It’s so nice to meet the challenges we set for ourselves, isn’t it?

Would you be willing to do a little review, or a least a show and tell, of Metric Pattern cutting? I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to see.

Sarah September 7, 2010 at 07:38

What a fantastic dress! It looks great on you!

Anna Allen September 7, 2010 at 07:42

gorgeous! i am always impressed by your skills, casey, but this one really is a stunner! yikes, and being able to make it without first sewing a muslin. and it fits you so well!

mal September 7, 2010 at 07:43

I love the dress and hair! could you do a youtube tutorial on how you created the hairstyle? please make more videos!

mick September 7, 2010 at 07:53

Casey, this is just stunning. Bravo!

lap September 7, 2010 at 08:02

GORGE! I love so many of the fine-made details as well. It looks to me that instead of a slit in back you did a kick pleat? I would love to have more details since for a slim skirt I think that’s a much more demure look than a slit, as well as being more stable at such a stress point..

jadestar003 September 7, 2010 at 08:09

Wowzer, I absolutely LOVE this dress. Perfect fit, perfect colour, perfect design!! Give yourself a major pat on the back. I too am rather taken with bows of late, but have yet to incorporate one into a design. Well done!

Jill September 7, 2010 at 08:09

exquisite!!!! LOVE that bow!

Quincy September 7, 2010 at 08:51

Casey! It’s amazing, simply stunning! It reminds me of a dress I have that I must post soon :D
The early 60s are by far my favorite!

Karen/SmallEarthVintage September 7, 2010 at 09:01

Absolute perfection! I’m in awe. Love the color, the bow, the neckline–everything!

Megan September 7, 2010 at 09:04

This dress made my jaw drop! This dress is FABULOUS!!! Great work – it’s just stunning!

Victoria / Justice Pirate September 7, 2010 at 09:07

quite gorgeous, darling!!!!! wow!! I really love the colour on you and think it is so suitable for your shape.

Angela Peters September 7, 2010 at 10:07

That is amazing! And your hairstyle goes with it perfectly. Way to challenge yourself! Keep it up! You have such talent!

Zeila September 7, 2010 at 10:28

Congratulations! It’s beautiful.

Jennifer Burch September 7, 2010 at 10:29

Absolutely fabulous!

Karen September 7, 2010 at 10:30

Beautiful dress with great details…. Love it!!

Sally September 7, 2010 at 10:32

Casey, you’ve outdone yourself. That dress is too gorgeous for words! And WHAT a great color on you!

Rose September 7, 2010 at 10:42

Gorgeous! The dress is so flattering on you and it fits you perfectly! I love the color, and linen is one of my favorite fabrics to sew with. Us Florida gals gotta stay cool, right?

Carys September 7, 2010 at 10:44

What a beautiful dress, you look amazing!!
From Carys of La Ville Inconnue

lladybird September 7, 2010 at 10:49

what a perfect dress!

Lauren September 7, 2010 at 10:54

Oh my gosh, Casey, this looks amazing! You can totally tell the construction is superb just by looking at the fit and drape. Major kudos to you, and congrats on completing such a major project! And the color is perfect on you, too! I love it!

Marianne September 7, 2010 at 10:58

If I could wolf-whistle over the internet, I’d do it now. What a gorgeous dress, and it looks great on you. I’m not a bow person, but that particular bow is threatening to convert me.

Gertie September 7, 2010 at 11:15

Casey, it’s so beautiful! Love the bow and the hand-picked zip. That first picture especially is to die for!

Sue September 7, 2010 at 11:16

Your dress is stunning and I love that you took the time to fix your hair and makeup for the photo op. I’m sure the extra time you took for couture techniques really paid off.

Thanks for sharing.

Sarah September 7, 2010 at 11:39

This dress is fantastic! I love that you took the time to finish the details well because it came out fantastic! And you’re right, the bow isn’t too frilly.

Catherine September 7, 2010 at 11:41

What a fabulous result! Well done!

Kelley September 7, 2010 at 12:23

This dress is unbelievably gorgeous! I love that you used a regular zipper – I have such trouble with invisible zippers, and it makes me happy to see other seamstresses using regular ones too. I’d love to hear more about the construction of this dress!

Karen B September 7, 2010 at 12:27

This dress is awesome in so many ways. :)

Bethany September 7, 2010 at 12:40

This is such a stunning dress! Keeping my fingers crossed that you will make and sell the pattern – it’s so lovely!!!

Trisha September 7, 2010 at 12:58

LOVE this dress! Great work on all of the details.

quietandsmalladventures September 7, 2010 at 13:01

OMG casey, that is gorgeous!!!!!!!!!! now i’m totally inspired to actually read my books on techniques and fitting then to implement them in my sewing instead of slapdashing it!

Danielle September 7, 2010 at 13:14

so cute! i love the neckline!

lola September 7, 2010 at 13:41

OHH! Your dress is fantastic!

Holly Storm September 7, 2010 at 14:06

You look fantastic! So gorgeous! I love the neckline and the shaping! Fabulous dress! And the color is so great! I love this dress! A few more exclamations won’t hurt, so!!!!!!!!

Stephanie September 7, 2010 at 14:13

Wow! This dress makes you look so sexy and sophisticated. It’s a fabulous color and the bow is just the perfect touch! congrats on such a great project.

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