Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finished bird dress

I finished and photographed my dress last weekend.   It's yet another variation on Butterick 6149.  For this one, I took the adjustments I made on the asymmetrically-buttoned one, but moved the buttons back to the center, and made a dirndl skirt rather than using the full skirt that came with the pattern.  As I mentioned previously, I also pulled out some of my most favorite fabric, from Joel Dewberry's Aviary series.  I really love fabric with birds on it!

For some reason, I managed to make a number of little mistakes on this one, but I don't think they show in the final product.   I had to use Fray Check not once but twice on this project, which is a first.  It's along part of the seam where the zipper is installed, since there wasn't enough width to finish it the way I usually do.  I also used on the top corner of the button placket, where I poked my point-turner (aka a knitting needle) through while trying to turn it.  Argh!

I also managed to make it too narrow at the waist somehow.  I ended up letting out the back darts a little to give myself some breathing room.  I think less dart-y darts at the lower back may actually be a good adjustment for me.  I have narrow shoulders and routinely increase the darts (or add some) for the shoulders/upper back, but never thought about adjusting the back waist.

I was worried that a lined, dirndl skirt made out of quilting cotton would be too bulky at the waist with all that gathering, but I trimmed the seam allowances as much as I dared and it seems to work.   I like this skirt shape, and it's a nice way to change up a pattern.  And in this case, it allowed me to avoid sideways birds on the skirt!

The bird placement is part planning, part luck.  I really should have cut the two bodice fronts separately for max birdage. (And to avoid birds with their heads eaten by darts in my armpit.  Oops.)  I suppose that I should just be happy that I cut everything right side up, given the  high error rate on this project.

Here's an inside-out shot.  The lining is a cotton batiste, as per usual:

I used to try and attach the entire facing edge wrong sides together and turn.  But with those two sharp angles, it's enough to make you crazy.  I've decided I'm just as happy sewing the top and bottom (the two vertical stretches) wrong sides together, and then just turning the the horizontal edge under and top-stitching.   Since I imagine that explanation made very little sense, perhaps a photo will help:

There were some pockets on here too but I decided I didn't like them.  For one thing, the placement wasn't quite right, but I think they made the front of the dress a little too busy with this print.  So now I have some orphan pockets:  I'm hoping they will be a fabulous addition to some skirt or dress someday.

I tried tried photographing myself without a camera, but those shots came out far more awkward.    I need something in my hands!  Here's a better short of the camera: it's a little grubby, but it still works great.  

It's a 1950s Herbert George Co. Imperial Mark XII.  They came in black, red, gray, tan and light green too, but this light blue color is my favorite.  There were also "official" Girl and Boy Scouts versions of this camera.


  1. Great job on the dress. It looks really cute on you. And what a cool camera!

  2. I like the dress and the cute little camera! The way you've done your lining is most interesting.

  3. Great dress - I love that range of fabric too but have only ever used it for an apron because of the gathered bulk fear. Maybe I need to be brave!
    Oh - and those shoes! Those shoes! Much envy for those shoes! Can I ask where they are from?

  4. Hey Angela! I love, love, love this dress...the style, the fit, the fabric!!! Your shoes are gorgeous too.

    1950s Herbert George Co. Imperial Mark XII is too cute!

  5. Thanks, y'all!

    Roobeedoo, the shoes are Danskos, and the style is named Rory. I got them from they don't seem to have them anymore, but plenty of other online shoe sites still do. Though they're heels, they're also a clog. I have them in brown and black, because the brown ones, which I got first, are some of the most comfortable heels ever! The black ones somehow don't hit my arch quite right, and actually hurt at first, but I've more or less broken them in now.

  6. Great dress Andrea! As per usual ;-)

  7. I love the dress! Really great print, too.

    I honestly don't worry too much about things like chopped off bird heads (I have some on a blouse of mine), so long as everything is upright. ;)

  8. The dress is lovely and you look stunning! I love the fabric and that camera is just precious!

  9. So awesome - your blog entries are a real treat, and this dress is phenomenal. Even the lining shot is great - it looks like a work of art (structurally it actually is, to be honest). And the camera is wonderful - love your info on Brownies and other vintage goodies. Smile at the Birdie, on a number of levels! Great work yet again!