Thursday, July 23, 2009

Light Yellow Cotton Dress

Feeding Doves
by E.K. Johnson 1825-1896

In a Pensive Mood
by Charles Lidderdale, 1831-1895

The fabrics worn by these subjects were probably natural, as opposed to the man-made fabrics (nylon, lycra, spandex, polyester, etc) today. I love the drape of them and the way the artists painted the folds of the skirts.

This is all cotton, a small butterfly print, in yellow. The fabric comes in pink also.

This is a removeable collar I made, and the wide lace cotton was added to the cuffs to make the sleeve longer. The hair band is from matching material.Notice the little elastic piece in the back. This is pattern New Look 6352 again. Just mark the waist line or above it--wherever you want it, and then sew the elastic on the back piece, inside, before you join the side seams. You learn a lot of these techniques from the older patterns from the 80's and early 90's, which had all kinds of details such as peplums and bows and flounces.

It is a gloomy day here, very windy and cold, with no bright light or sun, so yellow is the perfect thing to wear, in my opinion. Why wear gray on a gray day? Here is the dress with the collar removed.
New Look 6352, with added sleeves
In a little while I will make aprons to go over these dresses.


Anonymous said...

Lydia, these are fantastic. Keep showing them to inspire us and give us ideas. The idea to go to these old paintings for inspiration to make your own dresses is very creative, indeed!

Anonymous said...

How lovely! I particuarly like the idea of a removeable collar. Yellow is such a cheerful colour and I have my kitchen in yellow because of this. Thank you for sharing your dresses it is very inspiring.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lydia,
Where do you get the patterns? I am finding that a lot of the patterns available on the Web are right now out of my price range. I was getting patterns for my daughter at Jo-Ann when they had the 99 cent sales, but I cannot find things that I like, and now she is growing out of the little girl stage and we are in a quandary for her, also. I'm on a very tight budget. Any suggestions would be welcome.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Try Goodwill or other thrift stores of the same genre. Just make the smallest size of misses patterns, for girls.Sometimes they go as small as a 6,, and that is okay for girls as they ought grow the girls clothes.

Anonymous said...

To the concerned mother: I am also on a pretty tight budget now for patterns and for fabric. Here are a few of the strategies that I am using:

1. I am looking at buying bed linens from the thrift store to use as aprons (pinafores) and slips to protect the "fashion" fabric. You can find a lot of material for a small price, but you need to be choosy.
2. I am trying to take advantage of the 99 cent pattern sales, always being ready with a few patterns that I would like to purchase.
3. If your daughter is growing into the young adult sizes, it is possible to size down an adult pattern for her (check out because she has loads of good sewing information, including how to size up or down a garment).
4. The other thing I'm doing for my daughter is keeping it simple: using only one or two dress patterns and using different materials for each.
5. Use cotton! Basic cotton is cheap, especially if you are able to use the 40-50% off coupons. Then, if you want, keep it covered with an apron! Cotton is great in the summer heat, but it is also a great layer to go on top of a flannel slip for winter.
6. I also make a point of cutting my daughter's dresses larger and longer than necessary so she can wear them longer. I always hope to get a full year out of a dress for her.
7. You can also sew jumpers, which are easy and simple and only require changing the shirt underneath as the weather changes. Or you could try skirts and blouses (which can be purchased separately). Skirts are incredibly easy to make, without a pattern. (Check out the book, Sew What?! Skirts because it is all about different skirts based on measurements, not patterns.)

Hope that helped!!!

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I used one simple Laura Ashley dress and bought every color of the cotton club fabrics at Wal
Mart, stacked them and cut them out and sew them all of the same pattern. Then, I added novelty buttons and colored trims that were each different, plus laces at the edges.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

In case you were not following from the start of this series, these posts are about sewing clothes to wear at home, if you are fed up with the things offered in stores. I do not plan to post about ski clothing or gymnastics clothing or volleyball clothing. There are some blogs out there that deal with that, which you can probably google.

Anonymous said...

Lydia, my dressmaker!! You are beyond gifted; extraordinarily talented doesn't even come close! Annie Lantz pales in the shade...

What a wonderful gift to be so artistically creative with sewing; and from what you've discussed, anybody can have a go and succeed - starting with simple projects and patterns.

Keep on inspiring us all!

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

I always cut your compliments in half and divide by two, Sarah. You are extravagant with them. There is more color to come, that will provide better contrast on your scree so you can see it better.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful dress, lovely on you.

I do hope you will do posts with photos of the aprons you make, over these dresses? In my opinion, aprons are the most practical and beautiful of accessories, especilly for those of us blessed to be full time homemakers!

Anonymous said...

I love all of your dresses. I love your frequent posts as well. Your blog inspires me daily.


Anonymous said...

As always, you are an inspiration. Thank you. I love the color and back elastic I'll use the ideas on one of my planned projects. I'm going to Joanne's Saturday to see what I can see.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to mention something about patterns, because I keep seeing the same concerns coming up in the comments, where people seem to think they need to keep buying new patterns when they want to make a new dress. Of course, in the case of growing children, this is understandable, but far too many people fall for the tactics of the pattern companies, who want you to think that each individual pattern is different, when most of them are made along the same basic shapes, varying only in detail.

In reality, clothing worn in western societies, such as America, Australia, Western Europe, is limited to a certain set of shapes and styles - it is the details that make the difference in the finished garments. An Empire style dress is an Empire style dress. Sleeve length might vary, trim and neckline might vary, skirt fullness might vary, but the basic pattern pieces are going to be very much the same from one dress to another. The same goes for all the other basic dress shapes - shirtwaist, wrap, sheath, jumper. If you have one pattern for each of these, you can vary necklines, sleeve lengths, trims, sleeve styles, fabric choices as much as you like. There are a couple of types of princess dresses, depending on how the princess seams are placed, from the shoulder or from under the arm, but once you have a pattern of either one, variations are easy to make.

So if you have a basic set of patterns that fit you, there is no need to keep buying. Take a good, close look at a pattern you're considering buying, to see if it resembles something you already have. Chances are, it does, and with minimal tweaking, you will be able to get the look you want without having to shell out for what is basically the same pattern pieces with a few variations.

It really isn't hard to adjust necklines. Making a waist higher or lower is one of the easiest adjustments to make on a pattern, as is sleeve length. A little more practice will give you the skills to make a skirt A-line rather than straight, gathered rather than pleated. There is a lot of free information online on how to do these adjustments on sewing patterns.

Make the investment in basic styles that you can vary to taste, take the time to reinforce your patterns by ironing them to interfacing, and you'll have the basic set you need to make just about any kind of dress you like. Unless you really want something very different, like an assymetrical style or halter dress, you don't need more than four or five basic patterns. Always remember to look at the basic shapes and lines, don't get distracted by fiddly little details, and get convinced that you need to buy an entire pattern to get those details.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Ditto to all you commented here on the last comment. My dress that I am actually using, although similar to the New Look 6352 (which was the closest to the actual shape) is an old empire waist that I had in the 80's. I just leave out the waistline or change it as I wish.

We watched a film the other day by a man who was in the garment industry, and he pointed out that in the west, there are just two main shapes of patterns they use.

I do plan to show a tutorial on how to change or raise a neckline.

Knowing your body shape is very important. The A lines are a lot more flattering for most people.

Buy some dollar a yard, cheap cotton or some sale cotton and make up the first dress, to determine whether it fits or not. If it does, you know you can use that pattern. If it does not, you can know where to add some length or room.

Some patterns can be used for other things. There are some nightgown patterns that are roomy and simple, that have what is called a yoke at the top front and back. If they are sewn in every day fabrics, they are very nice, and you can put ties on the back.

I wanted to answer the concern about older women's dress.

I really dont quite know what to say, since most people who ask that, have only been in their 40's. I am going to be 60 soon, and am sort of experimenting to see what would be best. Some things work out, and others, I didnt like and will use for nightgowns,or to work in the garden, if they have no zips and are loose enough.

I have discovered that if you are older and want to use lace, that flat lace works better for an older woman, not ruffled lace. Lace insets, like hearts or shapes that you want to use as appliques, also work okay. It also depends on your figure type. If you are large busted and want to disguse the bust more, I have noticed that a large jabot or ruffle over the bust works well, or a long collar, such as the one in the mint green dress that I first showed in this series. In the 80s the older women were just fine wearing what the younger women were: the laura ashley and jessica micclintock gunne sax dresses with big white collars, and the puffed sleeves and low waisted skirts. It seemed to suit many women and of course, you cant deny the fabrics were pretty. That's the key in many cases: you cant deny beauty.

Did anyone look through the latest Oprah magazine to see what the so called "experts" are advising women from 20 to 50 about fashion? It was all dull and muddy colors and trying to make jeans and tee shirts look sleek, plus all the models were pencil thin. The theme was trying to make the manufactured styles look good at any age. The problem is they left out the teen agers and the over 60 people. We are going to be one savvy bunch of older women with our computers and our dresses, heh heh. Yet these magazines sometimes leave out this age group.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

To figure out the basic shape of a dress, turn the pattern over and look on the back at the drawing. On the web, click on the pattern and then click on the "back view" or pattern view. Butterick has it all on there automatically. Go to the costume section at butterick and click on a costume, then scroll down to see the drawing. That will show you the shape. Butterick is on sale for 99c at JoAnnes this week. The only ones I would recommend in that company are the costume patterns because generally they are put together better and give you the shapes you need. You just need to cut the hems short enough to walk in them. Sewn in normal fabrics , they do not look like costumes at all. Many of my normal clothes are sewn with costume patterns. They also seem to have a better fit. The costume patterns are similar to the regular patterns sewn in teh 80's and have many of the same features.

Anonymous said...

In answer to questions about ballet, looke up Edgar Degas, the 19th century painter, to see how much longer the skirts were.

For skiing, look up the Australian painter, Percy S.F. Spence, who also painted beach scenes and bathing costumes of the 1800's in Australia.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

Ladies: when I do a post on ballet, I will go into the costume changes more thoroughly. You can see old movies and compare. For now, I am addressing another subject of daily clothes. If people were walking around in tu-tu's in public all the time, or showing up in church with them, I might be more concerneed. Right now it does not concern me because we have a problem with other clothes that are being sold in the shops that do not fit, do not suit, are ugly, and immodest. The ballet or ski wear is not something that is being foisted on us by designers to buy all the time for every day wear. The other types of clothing that is plaguing us today is just out there in your face all the time. Also, many women wear it because they have no alternatives. I'm just trying to show some alternatives and see if women might like to find their own style and use some cotton and some color and add some pretty touches to it. Ballet and ski wear and volleyball is something you do on the court or the dance floor or the slopes. I wont be in any of those places and so I am writing about where I will be and what can be worn there. If anyone wants to start a controversy on the subject of ballet, ski, or volleyball clothes,I think you know where to go to find it.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Sherman,
I have SOOO enjoyed seeing your lovely dresses you've made!! Oh how I have GOT to teach myself to sew!! Such beautiful clothes you have!!

I only wish I could click on your photos to see the dresses up close more. They are so pretty and would love to see the details more clearly! :)

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

First of all, the photographs I have taken, myself, of the close ups of the bodice and sleeves in each post, are sometimes clickable. Secondly, my photographer who visits me is only 3 feet tall and tends to take pictures a little less detailed. Try clicking on the bodice of the aqua dress in the previous post.

Anonymous said...

May I ask where you got the wide, white satin ribbon you show as a sash in a couple of previous posts? It is beautiful, and simple, elegant. Did you purchase it as is, or make it from satin fabric?

Thanks & blessings.

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

The ribbon is found in a roll in the craft section at Wal-Mart. It has co-ordinating roses and bows. I will post a picture of it so you can see what the package is like. It is Offray brand and comes in lots of colors. If you use it, you have to put loops on the dress, as satin tends to slip and slide around.

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,
Thank you. The more you post, the more weight I lose! This whole series is AWESOME!! Your clothing is beautiful! I can't wait to see the aprons!
I'm going to be wearing these dresses real soon. Pattern bought...payday, material, then viola!! ;)

Anonymous said...

The pale yeallow is a very nice color on you, Mrs. Sherman. And I am eager to read the tutorial you have planned, for altering a neckline. This has been a good series.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely dress. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some patterns for skirts (they are on sale for .99 this week) but they do not have pockets. Can you tell me how to add pockets to my skirts. They are a must for me. Tissues, keys,etc.

Thanks for a lovely series.

Anonymous said...

I have a pocket pattern piece that I use on any dress I want to put a pocket in. Just cut out 2 (for 1 pocket)or 4 (for 2 pockets) pieces of the fabric you are using and sew them onto the sides of the front and back skirt pieces before you sew the side seams. Press them out and put your side pieces together and make your seam sewing around the pocket. You can use the same fabric or use a matching lining fabric for the top piece. I find that I really only need to put 1 pocket in.

Anonymous said...

I bought an issue of "Piecework" magazine recently (I can't find it right now, so I can't tell you any of the specifics that I want to about it), which had a feature article on the item of clothing that the woman in the second painting is wearing on top, that looks like a wrap. It has a name, and was in style for a certain short period of history.

They even had a pattern for a knitted one, which is what the article seemed to imply was how they were always made. The one in the painting doesn't look knitted. But the one featured in the magazine was so sweet and cozy looking, and I put it aside to make one some day, only I have temporarily misplaced it. If I find it, I will tell where to find the article, it was really nice.


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