I'd seen some shoes I really liked, which came in black (which was what I wanted) or dark red. Unfortunately by the time I got round to buying them, the black was sold out. I only have one dress which would go with the red, made from New Look 6070, so the obvious solution was to buy a red pair anyway, and make another dress to go with them. You know it makes sense!
Off to the fabric shop I went, and found this in the craft cottons remnants bin. It's by Windham Fabrics, from their 'First Ladies' collection, circa 1865-75. A slightly odd choice for a modern dress perhaps, but I liked it, and it went perfectly with the shoes.
|Windham Fabrics 'Wheat', in red|
There were two separate pieces, so I bought them both, and then went though my pattern stash to find something which would make the best use of the fabric. New Look 6299, view D lengthened and all in one fabric, pretty much fitted the bill. I wasn't convinced about the sleeve length however, and New Look sleeves are always a bit short on me, so I extended them to bracelet length.
|Pattern envelope, view D is the bottom right|
I wasn't sure which neckline I wanted, so made the dress up as if for the collar, and put it on Nancy.
|Alright, but underwhelming|
It definitely needed the 'pop' of a contrast collar. Now, several reviews of the pattern I'd read online mentioned the collar, mostly unkindly. It is indeed a strange shape.
|Collar pattern piece|
The pieces are sewn together in a way which creates a tab, which is then fastened with a button.
|Instructions for making up the collar|
I had some thin black satin leftover from a previous project, and used that to make the collar. Once made up, I decided that I didn't like the tab at all, so got rid of it. Not one of my better ideas, as it turned out.
Meanwhile, I decided to try something different with the lining. I made up the basic dress, minus sleeves, in lining fabric, leaving the centre back seam open for the length of the zip. Next I sewed on the facing, and cut away the excess lining fabric beneath it.
|Lining and facing, ready to go|
Then I sewed dress, collar and facing/lining together, as per the instructions, and slip-stitched the lining to the zip tape. This proved much easier than making up the dress as normal and then trying to wrangle in a lining.
Some you win, some you lose. This was when I discovered that the collar really did need that tab fasten after all. Without it, the dress has a very odd neckline; too wide for a normal neckline, but not wide enough to be a feature. The back meanwhile just looks a mess.
|Weird, wide neckline - front|
|Weird, wide and messy neckline - back|
So, I ended up making a separate tab from a scrap of satin, and attaching it to the collar so that it could fasten properly. If only I'd left well alone in the first place!
|Collar fastened properly, and looking much better|
I didn't want any sort of cuff on the sleeves, so just finished them with a wide binding of black satin, to tie in with the collar.
I'm really pleased with the end result, and think that it will become a winter wardrobe staple. With the shoes, of course! Sadly the weather has been far too dismal for the usual back yard shot, so here's the end result on Nancy.
|New Look 6299 completed|