(Painting: Five O'clock Tea by Mary McMonnie, American, 1858-1946)
It was so busy around here that I finished my sewing quite late and then hurriedly did a sketch of it, so the color and drawing is not the best.
In my previous post I mentioned Laura Ashley because it is in the spirit of her designs for the home that I have been making a trousseau. I am not actually using any of the Laura Ashley patterns in these posts. Instead, I am using New Look Pattern 6352 and putting sleeves from other patterns on the garment. I am trying to see how many ways this dress can be made by adding sleeves and hems, ties, tucks, trims and so forth. Today I am showing the aqua one, all cotton.
In the previous post there is a link to a video about Laura Ashley, and her son speaks of a white cotton blouse that was so popular they had to create more factories in Wales just to meet the demands for this blouse, worldwide. He stated that at one time her clothing stores and manufacturing jobs were a great boost to the economy, right on a par with farming. Although the blouses, skirts and dresses were supposed to be for the average country girl at home, they were worn for other occasions by many women all over the world. I was first attracted to the garments because of the pretty little cotton prints, which we call calico, and the more bold patterns with roses.
I wanted you to see what a cumberband is, and how it is made. It is just a long sash that is wide in the front, with extra long, thin ties. The wide part on the front is lined with medium weight iron-on interfacing so that it will not wrinkle.
This is what it looks like when it is wrapped. Make the ties longer for tying a bow in the front.
I have inserted white piping for a nice contrast around the belt, neckline and sleeves.
Sometimes these are called obi sashes.
It is harvest time, and you can see how dry the land is here.
The obi-sash, three-quarter length gathered sleeves and hem ruffle give this dress a country-western look. This is a David Fabrics brand , cotton calico, about $2.96 a yard, from Walmart, and a total cost of approximately $12.00. Check out Cattle Kate dresses online to get an idea of the western style---but oh, what a price-- each dress is usually over a hundred dollars. If you can afford it, they are probably very high quality and very lovely to wear, but a hand made one is infinitely less costly, so you can have a lot more of them if you have the time to sew them. The advantage of a hand made dress is manifold. You can always use it for something else if it does not turn out well: an apron, a child's skirt, a quilt.
Now more about the pattern I am using. I have tweaked it so much for my own preferences that I almost have an entirely new pattern, which I have cut out of muslin. I take tucks at the shoulders and add elastic in the back. I also include more fullness in the bodice. If you make this pattern, do it on some fabric you do not care about, as practice, just to see if you will like the style and fit. I make this bigger than my normal size and it like wearing a Hawaiian Muu-u-mu.