Sunday 8 November 2020

Autumn roses dress - part 2

Not only have I completed my October dress for the Vintage Sew A Dress A Month, but I've even got pictures of me wearing it somewhere other than my own home! Woot! I also have several thank-yous to make.

Not my usual backdrop

Finishing the placket was easy if boring (so many fasteners to sew on), but when it came to the hem, I realised that I had cut the skirt a little shorter than I would like. I think that I must have lengthened it for the second CC41 dress, but forgot to make a note on the pattern pieces - tsk, tsk. Fortunately, I remembered that Susan Young had recently posted this article about different hem finishes on her blog, one of which involved using bias binding. The binding is attached to the raw edge of the skirt - I did this by machine - and then turned up and sewn in place like a normal hem.

The next problem was finding suitable binding. The binding I had used on the sleeves was quite stiff. This was fine on a sleeve opening, but too rigid for a hem. In another triumph of memory (I can't remember what I did yesterday, but I can remember sewing conversations from ages back!), I recalled Juliana of Urban Simplicity explaining that modern binding tends to have some synthetic fibres in it, which makes it stiff, whereas vintage bindings are pure cotton and softer. Sure enough, in my stash I found this beautifully flexible grey vintage binding which was ideal for the job. So, a big thank you to Susan and Juliana for their advice. I ended up with a perfectly hanging hem, which only required a small seam allowance.

The completed hem

I wanted to photograph the dress being worn with the 'matching' hat, ideally with a backdrop of autumnal trees, so enlisted the help of my friend D. Unfortunately, by the time we got a day when it stopped raining for long enough for us to go out, most of the leaves were on the ground rather than the trees!

With autumn leaves, just not on the trees

We went out quite early, and while the autumn colour might not have been quite as I wanted, we did get some misty autumn light on the canal.

Misty morning shot

Despite the use of two hatpins and multiple hairpins, the 'tilt' hat tilted rather more than I had intended - but this did produce some good pictures of the flowers.

Hat close-up

I must admit, I was quite nervous about enlisting photography help. I typically take a lot of photographs in order to get the handful which appear on this blog, and I was worried that D would get bored. Happily for me, however, he threw himself into it - suggesting backdrops and poses and never once hinting that surely I must have enough pictures by now. I put a lot of work into this ensemble, and really wanted better pictures of it than my usual back yard shots, so a huge thank you goes to him for his input. (He may come to regret this enthusiasm, when he finds himself called upon to photograph future projects!)

This was my favourite photo of the day

I bought this patterned crepe ages ago with the intention of making a 1940s dress from it, and finally doing so made another dent in the stash.

30 metres in credit!

The fabric was also one of my #UseNine2020 choices and realistically, it’s going to be the last one I use this year. The remaining four are very much spring/summer fabrics. My November dress is going to be another stash make, but in a winter-weight cotton - hopefully this time I will complete it in the month.

At least I used more than half of my fabrics


  1. Wonderful photos! Great make too (and the hat, wow!!) It is always fun to get great photos of a beloved project.

    1. Thany you Juliana, and thanks again for the bias binding tip.