The Advance Wrap Dress

Photo on 4-19-16 at 7.55 PM


This one has been in the “To Make” pile for about a year now.  Advance 7753.  Cute 50’s wrap dress.  Simple, easy, very adorable.   I bought a pretty blue plaid seersucker for it, and it seemed like a quick, easy project.  I was super excited to make myself a dress for the spring!

Lordy, did I have trouble with this dress!

Photo on 4-19-16 at 10.40 AM

It was all my own fault.  The first thing I did wrong was to sew one of the skirt front panels on backwards.  Grab the seam ripper…

Next I realized I had made the side hole (which you pull one of the waist ties through) on the wrong side.  Whoops.  Thankfully I noticed this after I sewed the skirt on, tried the dress on, and realized that it did not fit AT ALL.  The front panels were way too long, even though I had adjusted the pattern for my short waist.  So off the skirt came, I shortened everything, re-pinned the skirt on, basted it to make sure it fit right, and then stitched it again.

Aaaand caught a bunch of the bodice back up in the seam.  Had to rip almost the entire skirt seam out again.  Re-pinned, re-stitched.  This time I did it the right way, with the gathers on the underside.  Why had I not done that before?  I have no clue.  I know how to sew.  I must have just been distracted.

Oh, let’s rewind to before the skirt came off the first time.  I also realized that the shoulders were gaping, and ended up making darts at the shoulders, which actually look great.

I was hasty with this garment, and didn’t make a muslin–I figured the usual alterations to the pattern would apply here, but this was a very different design and I absolutely should have made a muslin first.

Also, the pattern instructed to sew seam binding into the waistline seam, which I skipped, but later realized I needed because it’s a heavy skirt and needs the extra support.  So I went back and sewed in some sturdy ribbon by hand.

While trying this dress on, I noticed that because of the large plaid this dress really needed to be worn with a belt to define my waist, otherwise I looked very wide.  So I changed the waist tie design a little, knowing I would be wearing a belt with this dress and not wanting a big bow in my way.  I eliminated one tie completely, and stitched up the side hole, and sewed a piece of ribbon on one inner side seam and the front edge of the bodice that I did not add a tie to.  That way I could fasten that side on the inside, like a robe.  Then I used a wide, sturdy hook and eye on the one waist tie.  The eye is on the outside of the tie, near where it attaches to the bodice front, and the hook is on the opposite end.  This way I can wrap the tie around and fasten it in the front, with no bulk.

My little photographer took some great pictures of my in my dress today.  She shows much promise.

I think the plaid still makes me look a little wide, but I like it anyway.  Definitely looks much better with a belt.  Here’s a picture without:


And yes, technically the side with the ginormous pocket is supposed to be on the outside.  That was my final mistake, but I couldn’t bear to take anything else apart and I think it looks fine the way it is.


You definitely need to wear a slip, underskirt or petticoat (or some shorts) under this one.  If it’s windy outside, you might reveal a little more than you want to.


I love the top of this dress.  I might try to make a few blouses from it.  The dress is very comfortable and easy to wear, if a little on the full-skirted side for me!  I’m typically a 40’s girl, but I think I can live with this one. 😉



50’s Apron Cuteness: Simplicity 1359

Guys, I’m so sorry.  I have completely neglected this blog.  I never intended to do that.  I re-vamped it, re-named it, had tons of great ideas for it…and then it just fizzled.  Well, I shouldn’t blame it, the blog, I should blame myself.  I have let it fizzle.  I’m just not great at having lots of irons in the fire, and this particular iron has not been quite as important as the others I’ve been juggling lately.  Hopefully that will change soon!

We are getting ready to make the big move back to the ol’ U.S. of A. in a couple months, and I have hoarded so much fabric over the past couple years here (because it is SO INEXPENSIVE!!!), I figured maybe it would be a good idea to try and take some orders and cut down on my stash a bit before moving.  I put up a little post on Facebook inviting people to place orders and help me de-stash and save some money for moving home, and I was delighted to have several toy, apron and bow-tie orders that very day!

This weekend I’ve been hard at work finishing up the first batch of toys and one of the aprons.  Here are four of the toys, which I must say turned out extremely adorable:


It was so nice to make toys again.  I’ve been so fixated on garments this past year, and my toy business has kind-of been on the back burner for awhile.  I forgot how fun these are to make!  That bunny–if I had more of that fabric, I might have to make one for myself.  Or River.  He picked it up while I was working on it, with a delighted look on his face, and said “My bunny!”  So hard to say no to that!  Guess I’ll be making a bunny for that little bugger, too.

Today’s big project to finish was an extremely adorable apron, made from vintage Simplicity 1359.

Photo on 4-7-16 at 1.33 PM

For this apron, I decided to go with version 1.  I love the waistband and big pockets on that one.  In my opinion, where aprons are concerned, the bigger the pockets the better.  We made a trip to Dongdaemun over the weekend and I picked out some very cute medium-weight cotton in a colorful leaf-looking print for the body of the apron and a cute
brown tiny gingham for the contrast.


The only thing I should have done differently (ahem, or shall I say, I should have actually followed the directions on) is the way I sewed the bias binding onto the pockets.  The end result turned out great, but the way I did it took waaaaaay longer than it should have.  The directions say to sew the bias binding to the wrong side of the pockets, trim seams to 1/4″, fold the binding over the edges, and then top-stitch.  I did it the opposite way, and slip-stitched the binding down.  Like I said, looks fine, but took way longer.


It was a unique design, and fun to put together!  I like how the waistband was sewn on, and how the middle-most end is actually stitched into the dart!


When I first tried it on, I didn’t like the way the bib pooched out on the sides.  Then I realized, since this is a one-size-fits-all apron, they designed it that way on purpose to accommodate different sized people.  The way the waistband is sewn on, you can easily adjust the sides of the apron to fit you by tucking the excess down before tying.  It’s hard to explain, but here are some photos:

The buttons are vintage ones from my collection.  They were in a humongous jar of old buttons that I found at an estate sale one time.  The buttons are actually supposed to be hidden on the underside of the waistband, but I thought they looked way to cute for that so I put them out the outside instead.  The buttonholes were bound using a quick and easy method that is suitable for things such as apron straps, and that I’ve observed in many of the handmade garments I’ve found around here from Korea and Japan (namely shirt dresses and blouses).


I did take a few horrible bathroom selfies wearing the apron to send to the customer, but…well, they are just horrible bathroom selfies.  However, in the spirit of transparency (and because my son ran in wearing a Bart Simpson mask yelling “Look Mom, I Bart Simson!” and it was hilarious), I will share them with you, pile of dirty laundry and all.

So that’s what the vintage home sewist has been up to this week!  I still have several more toy orders to complete, another apron (this time in a red and white polka dot, version 3!), some headbands and baby bibs, and a couple bow ties to make, so I’ll be pretty busy.  But busy doing what I love, so I’m not complaining!