Sunglasses and Sunshine by Laura Mae

March 12, 2013 by Lilacs & Lace 1 comment(s)

Hello Britex fans!  My name is Laura Mae and I blog over at Lilacs & Lace.  I am absolutely thrilled to be the latest Britex Guest Blogger, and am even more excited to share my first project with you.  And here it is!

My style tends to be somewhat antiquated, by at least fifty years!  So in keeping with my vintage obsession, I thought I would share a vintage reproduction, with the addition of a pair of period-appropriate shoulder pads.  Now, I understand that many people take an immediate dislike to any garment that has a pair - in fact, the first step in many re-fashions is tearing those suckers out!  But I believe they can add quite a lot to a garment’s silhouette.

I chose this beautiful cotton voile in a cheery novelty print for my dress.  I think the ivory/red/turquoise color combo is a suitable substitute for the ever popular red/white/blue look that was all the rage during WWII for my 1940s dress.

After I cut all of the pieces out in my cotton voile, it was clear that the lovely yoke detail was going to be completely lost among the sunglasses.  There were a  few moments of frustration, but I decided to work with the design instead of against it.

A bit of bias cut piping applied along the yoke edges solved my problem.  To balance out the added turquoise, I bound the neck and wrist edges with the same cotton.

Silk organza is fast becoming a sewing staple for me, and it can be purchased at Britex Fabrics.  When working with drapey or thin material, I like to add a strip of organza before applying the zipper, as this part of the garment is likely to get the most wear and tear.  This miraculous fabric is whisper thin, but super strong, and will stabilize the fabric.  (If you will be washing your finished garment, make sure to pre-wash your organza strips!)

Measure and mark the seam allowance on the wrong side of your fabric, along with the end of your zipper.  Stitch a strip of silk organza just inside the marked seam allowance along the opening.

The zipper can then be inserted however you choose, but that edge will not stretch out of shape and now has added strength built right in!

One of the most important additions that should be made to a vintage silhouette (in my opinion) is padding!  In the case of a 1940s dress, it is the shoulder pad.  My chosen pattern is a vintage reproduction that does not suggest adding shoulder pads.  But the straight shouldered silhouette can rarely be achieved without some additional shaping.  And my sloped shoulders can certainly use the help!

The overall effect may be subtle, but if it makes me happier with the finished product when I look in the mirror, I say it is worth the extra effort!

A huge thank you goes out to Britex for the opportunity to work with some fabulous fabric on a fun project!

1 Response to Sunglasses and Sunshine by Laura Mae

  • Karen says:

    Your dress turned out absolutely brilliantly and I especially applaud your piping solution. I love piping and bias trim of all varieties! Even when my daughters were wee, I loved using the occasional contrasting pipings and trims. I must also thank you for the reminder to use the silk organza for zipper support. I haven't done it in forever, but it can work wonders for the final look of your garment. wish I could visit Britex with oodles of cash right now, but I'll be mollified looking for more posts like your own.

    March 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm