Closet Excavations

cherry dress

I thought I'd posted this before but a trawl of the archives didn't turn anything up.

I am in the process of tidying up the sewing room (a never-ending process) and came across this dress, which I haven't thought of in ages. This dress was one of the first major vintage projects I ever did — I had to order the fabric from Britex in San Francisco, as it was WAY before the whole cherry-print thing went mainstream.

This dress probably took me three weekends, what with the covered buttons, the belt, and so on. I believe I had made a trial version in a black and white quilting cotton, and I should dig that one up to photograph, too. (I ripped the underarm on it, but luckily the print was so busy my patch was undetectable, and I kept right on wearing it …)

This probably dates to at least 1996, maybe earlier — I made it to wear to a friend's late-summer wedding rehearsal dinner, I think.

I would probably still wear this, if I ever thought about it. (I think I was a bit heavier in the mid-90s than I am now, so it might not fit now.) But I should really start dragging out more of my more tragic early efforts to post, shouldn't I? Those will be good for a laugh!

0 thoughts on “Closet Excavations

  1. IF I ever finish my first vintage dress, I would be really happy if it looked that tragic!Everytime you mention (or post pics of) cherries I keep hearing that Sara Evans song in my head. The lyrics aren’t the least bit appropriate but I’ll share anyway…”She wore a dress with cherries on it; going somewhere where she’d be wanted; a town this small, all they do is talk. No wedding ring, chipped fingernail polish; she always wished she could go to college; but some dreams fade, they just slip away. She started to show, a few months ago, that’s why she had to go and how she wound up – On the back seat of a Greyhound Bus…” The latter being the song title I believe.Getting back to the subject at hand – very nice dress and please bring on more pics from your sewing room!!Cheers,AJ


  2. I don’t think it is tragic either. Tragic is the bodice of a dress I made for my daughter’s wedding, I had to lengthen the bodice, and when I finished, the whole thing didn’t fit! I had to recut, and resew it, and the second effort was not as good as the first. The skirt puckered a bit where it attached to the bodice. You can’t really see it in the wedding pictures, but as with everything, I know it is there. I am always my worst critic. The dress I made for my granddaughter turned out perfect of course, and she stole the show. She loves when grandma makes her dresses!Linda


  3. Far from tragic. However, if it hurts you so to see it, I would be delighted to take it off your hands. And for what it’s worth, I’m currently sleeping on sheets with the same print.


  4. wouldn’t this fabric be so awesome in the pattern you posted on tuesday?! Of course, thinking about it, probably not many fabrics *wouldn’t* be fabulous in that pattern..


  5. I LOVE A CHERRY PRINT DRESS!!!! I’d wear it; set it off with a modest crinoline ( not too wide) and a big smile! Fun! Beautify America; wear fabric that covers the jiggles and make it a joy to behold!


  6. What a cute dress, but this is not the first time you’ve mentioned making test versions of dresses! Do all y’all do it? Do you do it with every single pattern? I know that’s what they teach when you take advanced sewing classes, but it’s too hardcore for this lazy seamstress. Do you also hand-baste all your seams together before stitching them? Aieee!


  7. Great dress, not tragic at all! I’m working on my own “tragic early efforts” now. I chose a cherry print for my first dress ever (posts coming soon). I would love to see some of your early projects and hear about your experiences.


  8. Beautiful dress, hardly “tragic”. I love the collar, how it would stand away from the neck and provide a frame. Can you recall which pattern you used? I seem to be looking for the holy grail of collars, and this one is very, very close.Elle


  9. That’s lovely! My late Mom and I used to run a fruit stand, one year Mom found a cherry print smock top to wear…she had more compliments on that thing…I still look for Cherry jewlery and prints.Tru


  10. I think that is a really cute dress that you should have been wearing this summer! I have a cherry print dress made in my head that is cute and for a skinnier version of me — to bad it only exists in my mind. I have found now that I’ve been immersing myself in sewing, sewing books, and blogs, etc. that I can actually design clothes in my mind instead of running into the blank that I used to. Hopefully this new-found ability will help my sewing ability.


  11. Susan W. – I don’t make a test version of everything I do. But I do generally like to use patterns more than once, and I’ll pick a cheap fabric to do the first one in, so I can see if it is actually something I want to spend the money on to do in a more expensive fabric. Because nothing would be worse than a dress with $50 worth of fabric in it that I wore once and didn’t like the fit of. I did some radical alterations on a pattern once, and that I definitely did a test of, in fabric I’d gotten for 50 cents a yard. I can wear it, but even if I couldn’t, it would have been worth the $2.00 and the effort, because there were a couple of things I changed to make the final version better.


  12. Anonymous Who Makes Test Dresses: You’re absolutely right, of course. The few times I’ve made a second version of a pattern (usually skirts or pants), I do a better job of it. My approach to sizing a pattern to fit me is to Scotch-tape the pieces to my body. Needless to say, this is not very accurate, but it does catch the odd problem with the back-waist length. So, there you go — one of the seven secrets of the Highly Lazy Person.


  13. One of the other good Sewing Seekrits is once you DO have a pattern that fits well, place the new pattern on top of it and adjust the pieces to the correct alterations!You can also do the same thing pinning patterns to extant clothes that fit.Therein Lies The Rub, of course; a lot of us sew because it’s HARD to get something to fit right! I myself was cleverly stuck together out of poorly-assorted leftover parts, which has made me a whiz at fitting. Tragically, I cannot resist buying patterns, even though I know not only will I need to alter them, I’ll probably just wind up drafting the pattern so that it fits!Oh, and way ditto on making the same pattern up in different fabrics! Don’t forget, once your dress pattern fits, you can copy off the bottom part to make a skirt, you can copy off the top part to make a blouse, and if it’s winter and you like full sleeves, you can gather a rectangle into the armhole and put a cuff on the bottom!


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