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Strawberries and Gingham Vintageish Sundress

vintageish strawberry dress

So here’s a hypothetical question for y’all – where’s the line for calling something vintage? Or even vintage inspired? Because I just drafted this dress (and it’s 2015, in case you forgot) but it strikes me as 70’s does 50’s. As I was working on this dress I realized that with every decision that I made it looked more and more like Vintage Simplicity pattern 6926, from 1976, that I used on my Southwest Eyeblinder Dress. I pleated a dirdnl style skirt instead of a 4-panel A-line and I pleated the ruffle instead of gathering it which give it more of a 50’s feel. Oh yeah, and I added a waistband. And the straps are different. So I guess that just means that what’s similar is the fact that it’s a sundress with a princess seam bodice that dips down a little in the back. Is this dress a modern dress or vintage inspired?

Okay, enough existential questions. Let’s talk about the cute fabric! I’m not usually one for cutesy, instead favoring bold prints. But these strawberries and gingham kept calling to me and they just screamed to be paired with some broderie anglaise ruffled trim. Minerva Crafts supplied the fabric and eyelet. I can heartily recommend the poplin – it’s got a nice weight, drape, and all those other things you would look for in a dress fabric. (In fact, I used the same line of poplin for my last Minerva make – the polka dotted bodice for my Red, White & Retro outfit – and loved it then too!)

gingham and strawberry waistband and pleats

Clearly, I pleated the skirt to show off the gingham. It was actually quite easy because the print was visible on the wrong side of the fabric so I just fold each pleat so that the gingham strips aligned and stitched just outside of the gingham strip for 1″. Obviously, I used a strip of the gingham print to make a waistband too. Nothing challenging in doing so, just a little fussy.

vintageish strawberry dress 4

Although I usually compulsively understitch everything, in this case I actually topstitched along the top of the bodice. I inserted the lace between the bodice fabric and lining so the lace stuck up without topstitching and I wanted it to lay down.

vintageish strawberry dress back

The only thing I’m not totally sold on is the strap placement in the back. I thought it would be interesting to set the straps near center back, but I’m not sure about the effect. (In all honesty I haven’t stitched the bodice lining in place yet since I’m wavering on the strap placement so it wouldn’t be a nightmare to move them. So chime in if you have an opinion!)

Summer has hit the Pacific Northwest in full force (it’s supposed to be 90F this weekend in Seattle!!) so I’m quite happy to have another sundress in my arsenal since I adore sundresses and really they are best worn when it’s, y’know, sunny.

skirt ruffle and lace

Comments 15

  1. great dress, the frill at the end reminds me of sewing classes in school. for some reason a lot of the class 2 years ahead of me did the gypsy skirt one year (2 frills) and i thought they were so glamourous (when you are 14 and in second year the ladies of fourth year seem so have it sussed) – i have always associated the gypsy skirt with a certain worldliness since!

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  2. Cute dress! I like the bright colors! The skirt portion reminds me of a vintage style apron…

  3. It’s adorable!! I am not usually for cutesy myself, but sometimes it’s just right! I think you made the best of the fabric, it’s just perfect for this dress. Regarding the back straps, I really don’t know :) I think it looks good as is, but they might look equally so, crossed. But then you would need to lengthen them, and that might be a problem…(?) But maybe that would fudge up the frills? Hmmm. As I said, I really don’t know :D Never mind me!

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  4. Holly Hobbies meets Strawberry Shortcake! I love it! So comfortable and airy looking, in this heatwave here it’d be great. :-)

  5. OMG!
    My Mum used that exact pattern to make a glorious seersucker maxi-dress with Indian elephants all over it back in the ’70s. I, of course, took it over but can no longer wear it (boob expansion). I must look through her patterns (which I’ve also taken over ;-) she doesn’t sew anymore) and see if it’s still in there. A bit of a FBA and it could ride again…in my wardrobe…in new fabric of course. It makes glorious summer dress.

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  6. PS:
    Love the neatness of those pleats at the waist.
    It reminds me a little of pleat-work on the 1900’s women’s work garment on this page:
    http://www.thisvictorianlife.com/everyday-clothes.html (you’ll need to scroll down a bit to see it, but the detail is great).

    And there’s noway those straps are going to slip off your shoulders with that arrangement. My shoulders tend to round down a little though, whereas you’re a little better in the posture department, by the looks of things.

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      Ooh what a fascinating blog. Thanks for sharing it. The pleats on that skirt are divine! (Although they gather together a lot more fabric than mine!)

      That’s a good point about the straps. Although, with my strong shoulders, if my straps are an appropriate length they stay put quite well. (I do have a tendency to make my straps too long and I’m not quite sure why).

  7. Your posts always make me smile! I am cutesy AND vintage and I would wear this dress every day!

  8. i forgot to comment when i saw this – just a stand out dress! The real attention to detail, like the elegant pleating on the skirt, tones down the ‘whipped cream and strawberry shortcake’ factor very nicely so the piece has a youthful vibe without feeling ‘young’, if that makes any sense (more existential concerns ;)

    I think that the up and downess of the stripes on this dress, with it’s simple horizontal design lines, are so adamant that the angles of the back straps may be what is catching your eye. Maybe move them out to the next gingham stripe and see if you find that more restful?

    Great styled with the red beads and sandals – but would also work wonderfully with a denim jacket or vest and boots. Or with a chunky ivory sweater if you felt you had to wear it during winter! Who would think such a confection would exhibit that type of versatility, just goes to show how far good design will take a gal – enjoy!

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      Thanks so much for the sweet words.
      I think your point about the back straps not keeping in line with the other design lines is spot on! Thanks for the insight.
      I wear sundresses all year round with progressively more layers above and below them, so your idea of a chunky ivory sweater with it is perfect!

  9. I would say retro, for vintage inspired modern, it covers a multitude of sins. I love how there are twice as many gingham stripes in the ruffle as on the skirt above it, it really emphasises the extra volume nicely.

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