Saturday, February 8, 2014

Vintage Style Dimity Dress

DISCLAIMER: I could write a book on all the imperfections and mistakes I made in the following garment. I'm sure somewhere someone is cringing at all the errors. And if it's YOU, fear not! You are not alone. I am here cringing, scrutinizing, and shaking my head in disappointment with you. Now onward!

I've wanted to make a version of this vintage dress since I got it from eBay several years ago. It is one of my favorite pieces in my vintage collection.

The tag reads "Made Expressly in Paris for Saks Fifth Avenue".

It even came in its original box. Which may be the cutest thing ever.

I chose this pattern for my base. I omitted the collar and pockets and added all the necessary lace and tuck inserts. Of course, I wouldn't want to waste valuable time making a test version or anything like that so I jumped right in and cut it out of my favorite fabric ever- a pink dimity that I buy every time I see it.
At $45 a yard, why not throw caution to the wind. What could possibly go wrong?

There wasn't enough of one type of lace edging in my stash to use for the whole thing so I used a larger edging on the neck, armscy, and skirt. I was out of low tack tape when I gathered and joined the 20 miles of lace so the gathers turned out uneven in places.  Plus it was hastily ironed so it looks worse than it really is.
Don't try to tell me that people were gathering lace effectively hundreds of years before tiger tape was invented.
I don't believe you.
I have since procured 8 rolls so I will never be without it again. I'm pretty sure that is how hoarders start out.

There was an ugly accident that resulted in my Bernina being hospitalized in the corner where the bodice, skirt and tucked strip are joined. Hence the addition of bows. They are just pinned in place here and I haven't washed away the blue ink from the neck area.
For future reference, when you see a bow on my blog it is safe to assume it is covering something hideous. I like to think of bows as the duct tape of sewing. You can fix anything with a bow.

The thought of starting over popped into my head more than once.
I even priced replacement materials.
When I'd sew teeny doll dresses if something didn't turn out exactly right I could just toss it and start over. Not so with larger things. The fabric and lace for this dress would cost over $200 if I reordered.
So I gave my inner obsessive-compulsive self an ultimatum. Deal with it or get a job. My inner OCD self is a clever girl who enjoys naps, so I continued with what I had. This was all from my stash so that means it was free.

I'm going to make another one eventually. Hopefully with evenly distributed lace gathers and no traumatic sewing machine crippling events. Maybe in blue.


  1. You crack me up Mae - and YES please do write more often! Although, I can't really be too vocal...Pot Kettle Black; it's been a LONG HOT summer here and i've barely managed to sew anything since early December and thus blogging has been sparse.

    I can't see any mistakes...never mind hideous ones; the dress is divine! Actually, both dresses are divine :)

    1. Aww, thanks! I'm glad you like it and can't see the mistakes. That means my creative lighting and angles did the trick! ;)

  2. Incredible reproduction, beautiful dress ... I have vintage 100% cotton, woven dotted swiss (white), if you want to try again for me ... however, creative angles and lighting aside, I can't find a flaw in the dimity one, missy eagle-eye!