11 January 2009

104. Winter Dress from Vintage Plaid Fabric

Remember this dress?  Found in Lucky and blogged in November.  Sewed a prototype from Simplicity 3694 in December.  Discovered the perfect fabric in my stash shortly thereafter but needed new pattern with shirred neckline to maintain the neat plaid lines.

I ended up pulling New Look 6731 from my 2008 projects.  Last spring I made the roll-collar version.  Recently Kyle made her knit tunic with this pattern.  Anyway, the fit is appropriately boxy and I used the hood from Simplicity 3694.  It came together in under 3 hours, with various episodes of Law & Order running in the background, with one huge mistake but oh well, I like the dress anyway!  LOL  
Here we go:

First, about the fabric...  It's a plaid fabric from my mom's stash, according to her from the 70's.  She gave it to me last spring and I hadn't found quite the right project for it till now.  I only had a yard and a few inches but it was 54" wide, so I had just enough for the dress and hood, and not even close to enough for sleeves.  The lining is a beautiful, shiny purple charmeuse from the fabulous Micah.  Thanks, girl!  :)

Side note: It's interesting that my mother paid 99 cents a yard for this fabric 30 years ago.  She still, in 2009, finds it hard to buy fabric for more than that.  If you look closely in the photo, you can see the label underneath that shows a previous price of $1.99/ yard.  At these prices, in 1970, I might think this is wool.  Indeed, it doesn't smell like petroleum.  But it is really coarse and kind of reminds me of those woven blankets for sale to tourists in Mexico (of which we own two).  And some of the fibers seem shiny.  So maybe some kind of cotton/ poly blend?

As for the patterns, I used New Look 6731 for the front and back bodice, remembering how easy it was to sew.  The armholes in the last sleeveless version were snug so I scooped out the bottom of the armholes by 0.75".  I also added 4" to the bottom hem b/c the original is tunic-length and I wanted a dress.  I lengthened the hood from Simplicity 3694 by 1.5" because the neckline for this dress is lower than the dress the hood was designed to accompany.

Do you see what I see?

Wow, that armhole looks almost like a racerback.

And it kind of pulls toward the back.  What's up with that?

This would be why.  I didn't read the instructions, and assumed that the notches on either side of center back were for gathering.  They are not!  The notches are to line up with the roll collar that I didn't sew in this dress.  Funny enough, the dress still fits well and is very comfortable.  Plus, I already trimmed all the seams down and worry that trying to take this apart will create new, undesirable challenges.  So off we go into the sunset!

Quick question for you:  What is the difference between being inspired and mimicry?  Esp. in clothing?  Where or how do you draw the line?  I've seen some designers post an inspiration photo of a garment and then a photo of the garment they came up with, often times nearly identical.  I think that's what I've done here with this dress, but I'm not sure I'd call it "inspired by".  It's pretty much a copy of.  What do you think about the diff. between being inspired and copying?


  1. Nice to see someone else is a Law & Order fan like myself. I did't watch it at all during Christmas vacation and experienced serious withdrawals. I really like your new dress, my favorite color too. You did a great job.

  2. I love it! I think, you just making something you like with a bit of inspiration! The fabric is fabulous!

  3. hmm...almost like we are blogging about the same accessory and clothing dilemna. =)

    I think that you have changed the pattern (although somewhat unintentionally) enough to make it an inspiration piece. And since it is for yourself only, I think it is totally fine. I also think that using a piece of a pattern that you like is fine. I will sometimes see something that I like about a purse (but not the entire purse) and use that idea on a purse.

  4. I wouldn't say it's an exact copy-- even if it was the product of too little fabric, the fact that it's sleeveless makes it more of an "inspired by" in my mind. I guess I would say that mimicry is when you try to exactly replicate an outfit-- color, styling, details-- and using it as inspiration, you change something up to make it your own. Like, say, you like the basic style of a shirt that has some interesting details, but you hate the color of the original and make it something you like more. Or you take the neckline of one dress and the sleeve from another and make it something totally unique.

  5. The Empire State Building inspired a dress. But Marla Duran's dress was truly a copy.

  6. I love how your dress form (gah, I don't remember her name now) is all cozy next to the fireplace. :)

    Love the fabric and the dress overall, esp the racerback styling. As always, a great job!

    My take: mimicry is a replica. "inspired by" is similar to the original, but not the same.


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