Friday, 19 December 2014

Vintage Weigel's Dress #1

Q: What do you get when you cross a sweet vintage pattern with a pretty quilting cotton?

I've had this Weigel's pattern for a few years, and I've been so looking forward to being able to make it for my daughter. A few weeks ago I got it into my head that the time was right, and then that thought morphed into ambitious thoughts of Christmas dresses.

The last time I made my daughter a vintage dress I was pleasantly surprised by the fit (I don't think I ever blogged it though, sorry, but it was a 1950s Simplicity dress in striped cotton), so this time around I didn't expect many issues.  I wanted to make the view on the right, the blue dress with the detachable bib (or whatever it's called) with that cool step shape, but then I got it into my head to use a pretty coral and cream quilting cotton in my stash. I only had a metre of the fabric, not at all enough, so I made do with approximation of the dress - with the bib omitted and the skirt volume reduced - which I thought might still be pretty. And all going well I thought I'd then be able to whip up the complete dress with bib in plenty of time for Christmas :).

A: THIS is what you get!

"Aha!", you say, "but you did NOT use that pattern!"

Yes, I did use that pattern, but I only had a metre of fabric to play with. Even without measuring anything I knew I'd need to lengthen the skirt substantially for my very tall 7 year old, and to do that I had to leave off the sweet geometric bib, massively reduce the fullness of the skirt, and leave out the sash. I had enough small fabric scraps left over to piece together some simple facings (not included in the pattern), but there's now only really enough material left for a little something for Barbie.

Now I don't know if Weigel's were known back in the day for drafting their patterns wide, but this dress - geez!!! there was so much ease in it! In these photos you can see the dress looks loose with wideset shoulders; bear in mind that I took these pictures after I'd removed 2 centimetres from each side seam, from underarm to waist - which is as much as I could take the dress in without making the bodice narrower than the shoulder straps. I'm pretty surprised that excess ease in children's patterns has been around for so long - I thought patterns were all smaller in the old days!

Next time around to improve the fit and get those shoulder straps in the right place I want to remove about an inch from CF and a couple of inches from CB. [Yes, there will be a next time though probably not in time for Christmas. I've got my fabric lined up: the Atelier Brunette "Blue Moon" fabric I bought a couple of months ago when Busy Lizzie introduced me to Lil' Weasel in Paris. And I've got 1.5 metres of it, so I think there's enough to make the bib and pouffy skirt too. YAY!]

At least the length looks good, doesn't it? Well that's not the pattern either; I added a substantial amount of length to the dress as drafted, with hopes for a lovely deep hem, and what I've ended up with is a stingy little turned-over-once-and-serged affair.  Very disappointing given the cover art - I just wish someone had posted a review on patternreview (don't worry, I'm kidding!)

The loose fit isn't really a big problem though, as my daughter loves loose dresses - they're comfortable for handstands, soocer, eating, whatever!  More embarrassing though is the distinct Becky Home Ecky feel to the dress when my delightful model turns around... Behold THE most rubbish zip I have ever inserted!

I'd like to blame the tension on my sewing machine, but since the machine was only just serviced the responsibility looks to be all mine. At least the seams are matching up nicely (phew!).

Moving swiftly along, what I do like about this pattern are the bodice pleats and the square neckline, and I'm sure I'll like the bib too. And I think the fabric colour is super pretty on my daughter :).

Let's skip the moral of the story - most importantly of all, the owner of this new dress LOVES it!

Hope you're well, and see you soon!

- Gabrielle x


  1. Maybe you'd like to borrow my children's clothes sewing mantra "(s)he'll never keep still long enough for anyone to notice", not that you really need to, the dress looks lovely and she clearly likes it.

  2. What a lovely colour on a gorgeous little girl! I really love coral myself so perhaps I am biased. PS a little schrug would cover that zip.....

  3. cute dress. I think you'd need a netted petticoat to get the full skirt effort of the pattern.

  4. Oh the pain, I know you know I know your pain. That was a lot of "know"s. What is with all that ease. I still look at M's dress with distinct consternation. Anywho - you're right, this colour is wonderful on your gorgeous daughter and I love the next fabric you are considering also. That stepped "bib" thing is really interesting. Hope it works better next time. And hey yours love hers, and M loves hers, so life is good :)

  5. Your daughter seems to love it and the colour looks great on her! I´m always suspicious about children patterns. Do they want to accomodate really obese kids? I don`t know...but I always have the same issues with my daughter. The only patterns that are true to size are Oliver & S in my humble oppinion. I don´t know many others, really.
    Have a really nice Christmas!

  6. Great mantra - and totally practical :). Yes, she was certainly moving around constantly when I was trying to take these photos, and all her crazy physical activities mean it would be crumpled quickly even if I hadn't made a mess of that zip! Thanks, it's already getting a lot of wear!

  7. Thanks Ruthie, I love coral too but I think quilting cotton is possibly a bit juvenile for me :(. A shrug - great idea!

  8. Thanks Gail, that's a great idea - and now there's a big puffy petticoat coming for Christmas!

  9. It's crazy isn't it - I do wonder how they came up with their standard amounts of ease, given the measurements look good for your average skinny kid! Yes, she's very happy, wearing the dress a tonne, but the next fabric has been very politely rejected. Instead I took her to the fabric store with my $20 Christmas voucher and let her choose.... and it's going to be sequins! Oh please... Luckily she's happy with a simpler design for the sequins.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...