by Marcus Stone
Marcus Stone was a British painter who began his career as a book illustrator for Charles Dickens. His drawings in the story "Our Mutual Friend" show many of the styles of womens clothing that later he produced in color on canvas.
This is a dress you can easily make, using the pattern mentioned in a previous post, or one similar. The fabric was a dollar a yard and 100 percent cotton. When you are using cotton, there is no need to wash it in hot water or treat it roughly. Just use your delicate cycle and cold water and the colors will stay better. They do need ironing, but some fabrics actually look okay wrinkled. I am not able to iron the upper part of the sleeve on this one, so I just leave it wrinkled and it looks like smocking.
Here is a close up of the fabric and the neckline trim. It is a good way to use up left over pieces of laces, and this piece is cotton, too. You are talking to the queen of cotton, here. The neckline is curved, and that can be done by inserting a piece of paper under your pattern and re-drawing your neckline. You can make scallops and sweetheart necklines and all kinds of shapes yourself.
This is what it looks like with a big sash around it...
...and here you see some trim on the cuffs, to give it a bit more length. Sleeves are never long enough for my arms. I chose the piece of lace because it has roses on it, which reflected the roses on the fabric print.
This garment hangs very beautifully from the shoulders and has some shaping at the side, for a nice, defined waistline, yet is very loose. I pulled my hair over to the side to show the scrunchie that was made from the same fabric.
Sewing hint: to prevent your garments from becoming faded too fast, always have one started and ready to sew. It prevents wear and tear on one or two outfits if you have LOTS of them. One piece dresses are not hard to make. They are easier than a skirt and a blouse because you only have to make one hem. If you are in a hurry, a dress is the way to sew. No waistbands or buttons, and no zip, and it becomes easy. Check out your New Look patterns on the revolving rack and see if you can find one that will sew up in a few hours, and add your own sleeves and decorations.