One Big Thing

The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.

Vintage Voile Hawthorn

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My very first post! I’ve been putting it off, agonizing over blog names and header images and all that. But finally, here I am!

While I love to sew with vintage materials (indeed, that will be the focus of this blog), my style isn’t overtly retro. I try to keep my fabric choices modern when sewing with vintage patterns, and to pair vintage fabrics with more modern designs. My Colette Hawthorn is a bit of a departure, then, since the pattern and the fabric I used both have a distinctly vintage look to them, but I think I’ve managed to avoid a result that looks costume-y.

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The fabric is a vintage floral cotton voile—at least, that’s what I’m calling it, though it’s a bit crisper/stiffer than some voiles. It’s almost like the love child of voile and organdy. Based on the print, I’m guessing it’s from the late 1950’s or early 1960’s. It’s also indecently sheer, so the dress is underlined in white batiste. I used vintage faceted jet glass buttons (available here).

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I made a contrast collar and sash from black silk georgette. For the collar, I layered the georgette over the floral, hoping that the pattern might show through a bit, but alas, the silk was more opaque than I had planned. For the sash, I really wanted a soft, floppy bow. Mission accomplished, I think.

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As for changes to the pattern, I did a small bust adjustment, which amounted to lessening the dart intake, bringing in the side seams, lowering the armhole of the front piece and removing the extra length from the bottom of the back bodice. I looked at a few tutorials on how to do this but had a hard time figuring out by how much I needed to reduce the dart and the side seams, so I mostly just guessed. It seems to have worked, though. I also removed two and a half inches from the skirt length and cut the back piece of the skirt on the fold. I couldn’t think of any reason not to, and I wanted to avoid one more seam where my inability to pattern match would be super obvious. Stripes I can handle, but prints like this with a large repeat I have trouble with.

I didn’t realize until after the fact that the dress is a pretty perfect match for the tattoos on my right arm. I can’t tell if the effect is interesting or dizzying. Maybe both?

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Author: Marina

Archivist, seamstress, collector of tattoos and lover of old things.

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