Vintage patterns

A rerun in bits

It’s cold and I want another winter dress. And I want to use left-overs from other projects and fabric from my stash – no shopping for this project! A girl has got to have a challenge. πŸ˜‰

I am repeating the 1939 two-piece dress that I just made as a separate skirt and top (as intended), but now I want it as a one piece dress. I have worked out how to combine them – the only challenge there is with the front “vest” piece (No. 117 below) which extends down to the hips and does not have a seam near the waist.

The answer lies in the lining. The lining will have a seam and the skirt will attach to that. At the back the skirt attaches to the raised waist seam between parts 119 and 120. The closure however is a puzzle. If I put a zip in a side seam, I want it in the skirt and in the upper bodice, not in the peplum that goes over the skirt; if I make a button down closure at centre front, then how will it work with the skirt? That’s something to puzzle over. Now I remember why I went for two separate pieces the first time around…

Now for the fabrics. I cut out boiled wool for my Apprentice Mage robe, but there was still a sizable piece of dark green wool left, which sparked this whole endeavour. That is enough for the “vest” in this ensemble (parts 117, 119 and 120). I also still had a piece of heavy tartan left over from my husband’s kilt (that’s Scott Green Modern), it measures 102x70cm and is just not quite enough in width for a straight skirt. πŸ˜• But I also found in my stash heavy woollen gabardine in dark navy – it is at least 30 years old, I got it from my mother because she thought I should have it because she herself had bought it ages ago for a skirt which never happened… You know the type. ☺️ Both the tartan and the gabardine are too heavy for anything but a men’s kilt really, so my plan is to make a straight skirt with tartan front and back as the width allows, with navy gabardine sides with deep covered splits in them. It will be like wearing two straight rugs that overlap at the sides. Hopefully it will look better than it sounds! πŸ˜‰

The “blouse” bit was the hardest to figure out – that’s the sleeves (122), front insert (118) and the necktie or bow (121). The sleeves are gathered, so the material must be sufficiently light for it to fall nicely. Yet it is a warm winter dress, so they must be warm… and I don’t like vests with blouses – my arms always get cold. The solution is to use two lighter fabrics instead of one heavier layer. The inner sleeve should be fitted, made of some kind of jersey, while the outer sleeve should be fine enough to carry the gathers and drape properly.

In my stash I found some navy chiffon – just enough for the job (but may be not quite for the necktie). And in my stash of failed projects I found those green sleeves. πŸ˜„ It is very nice quality mostly cotton Ponte Roma, which is why I didn’t just chuck it in the bin. (What – you don’t have a stash of failed projects? And what about all those UFOs hiding at the back of your cupboards, on the bottom of your sewing baskets, under the bed and in the cupboard under the stairs? Yes, that counts! πŸ˜‹)

That green and black Ponte Roma has a very intense colour, and I thought it was overpowering even the tartan. However, with the chiffon over it, you just see a hint of the floral design – so much better.

It all seems to fit together… Now just to get it made! πŸ˜ƒ

A month later…

Hooray, it’s done! It didn’t take a month – I already wore it to work a few times, so I’m a bit late posting about it.

I’ve been told it’s a nice suit. 😁 Hehe, they don’t know it’s a dress!

As you can see, I didn’t use navy blue chiffon. Or rather, at first I used it just as intended – over the green “blouse”, but it came out looking dull, so I removed it.

The skirt, being mainly tartan, is almost not lined. ☺️ I only lined the sides because this is where the splits are, and I wanted them to glide over the winter tights and not rip under pressure.

That navy wool gabardine has a “sticky” texture – it’s like velcro, I kid you not – sticks to everything. But amazingly, it does not get loaded with cat hair and other fluff, thank goodness for that!

A note on tartan: contrary to popular belief, tartan is not the same cloth as any other check, and not just because of the pattern. Tartan is a smooth, densely woven cloth that keeps shape when pleated and does not require lining. It is usually wool, and comes in several different weights. The heaviest is traditionally used for men’s kilts, and lighter weights are used for ladies’ wear. Nowadays tartan also comes in silk and viscose/polyester blend. Not all tartan patterns belong to a clan, there are plenty of so-called “fashion tartans” – patterns that have not been registered by anyone, and are therefore fair game for everyone to wear.

Of course, it is not forbidden to wear other people’s registered tartans. In particular if your own family hasn’t got one. But by wearing a registered tartan, you declare your support to that family, and your desire to share in their history and heritage. So if one day you wear a Campbell tartan, and the next day a McDonald, you are making no sense at all, to put it mildly – see The Massacre of Glencoe, 1692, still not forgotten. So, the tartan I’m wearing is my husband’s Scott Green Hunting that his part of the Scott clan wears. Scott is a very large clan and has a dozen or so tartans designating the different areas where the branches of the clan live. And by the way, Sir Walter Scott has his own tartan pattern. πŸ™‚

But how do I get into this dress? There is a frogged closure at centre front and a zip in the skirt. The zip is completely hidden by the green “vest”.

The skirt is quite roomy around the waist – the ease as over 12cm or 5″ – so it is a very comfortable dress to wear. All that fuff with the closure was definitely worth while – I can see this dress repeated a few more times, with differently cut skirts and in different colours – it is a perfect way to use up leftovers from other projects! πŸ˜ƒ

6 thoughts on “A rerun in bits

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