Take One Dress...for a little lady in red

By Victoria As-it-Seams - 09:36

There's something about a red dress that I can't resist. I've got a few, and now I've transferred my red dress obsession to Missy.

This is Missy's Christmas dress, sewn late at night in December evenings, rushed, unpicked, restitched and fiddled with.  

It's also the very first Take one Dress creation, sowing/sewing the seed for my exciting 2014 guest series. See here for details.

I've been on a little sewing journey - from this 1960s wool vintage dress bought in New York, to Missy's Christmas dress, via the Take One Dress experience. My plan was to sew something inspired by my vintage dress, but not a copy.

 The Take One Dress Route...

I spent several nights thinking about my vintage dress. There were two things which struck me particularly; the near-circular skirt, and  that triangular insert. How could I make that  triangle work in a little girl's dress? Then I remembered this blouse, my shark teeth blouse.

When I made these shark teeth pintucks the first time, it struck me that if I inserted a contrast colour, I could create different triangles. At the time, though, I stuck with minimalist white.
But the Christmas dress! Aha! Now's my chance to experiment!

 Now, believe me... this was Truly Experimental!
The dress is made of brushed cotton red flannel. Wintery, and with a bit of texture, like the open weave wool of the original 1960s dress. But it was also bulky, and it definitely didn't make neat pintucks like that crisp white cotton lawn. And then of course, I had to insert the  contrast strips. Red and white felt like a harsh combination, I've used stone-coloured linen. And it works perfectly. I stitched the 'teeth' down to hold the linen in place.
And, while my geometry might not be perfect, (believe me this involved rulers, measuring and brain power) the effect is pretty good.

My plan was to insert this as a placket into a dress made from Straight Grain's Tinny pattern, flipped about a little. I also wanted to keep that absolutely horizontal neckline...

Sounds simple, no?
Um... No....
Unpicked...stitched...unpicked.... aggghhhh.....

Think I finally nailed it.

 My placket insert was a little short! Oh no.... ! Quickly remedied by lengthening the bodice with a waistband...which also linked to a bow (what could be more Christmassy), lined with the same stone linen.

I lengthened the Tinny sleeves, and made the skirt a 3/4 circle, partly because I felt a full circle might be bulky in the flannel, and to reference the original dress, which isn't a full circle. 

Now this is Missy's Christmas dress,  and I'm going to link it up with Sew Pony and Craftstorming inspiring 12 Days of Christmas series.
For the past few years we've travelled to Scotland to spend Christmas with my family, but this year, work commitments mean we'll be staying at home. I'm so looking forward to spending time playing with the children and relaxing. And stomping through the beautiful countryside around our home.
So I wanted to make a dress that didn't scream 'Party.'
I was thinking more Nordic folk hero, a little girl from a Tolstoy novel, something striking, simple, cosy, practical (ish) and a touch romantic....
And, while there are lots of things about this dress that technically aren't great (please don't look too closely at the hem! Done very late at night after long working days...), I do love how it looks on Missy! I have, I think another Lady in Red...

And now, I've left Natalie at Nat and the Gang with a challenge? Where will the Take one Dress journey take her? She's the first in an exciting line-up of bloggers, and will be creating a vision, also inspired by my vintage dress. Intrigued? I am! I can't wait to see her creation. To be unveiled here on January 6!

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  1. It looks wonderful! I love the way you interpreted the original triangle detail into a dress perfect for a young girl. I also appreciate its simplicity instead of being an over flamboyant or "foofy" Christmas dress.

    1. Thanks Stacia, simplicity was my aim! The original dress was all about clean lines, and I wanted to keep that.

  2. Beautiful dress! And it perfectly fits Missy. Love the waistband!

  3. I love that shot of her spinning around - looks like a perfect dancing dress :)

  4. I am with Renee - the spinning pic is gorgeous :) Great job incorporating the triangles, the feel of fabric, the colour - it is a lovely bright dress that Missy will enjoy wearing and dancing in :) She looks great in red - just like her mummy :)

  5. Wow Victoria! I love how your imagination works! Super cool dress and very festive without being over the top Christmassy. And I love that you added a sash as well (sometimes, mistakes bring out the best ideas). I see there is no snow on the ground where Missy is prancing around... is that normal for you at this time of year? There is no way I could take pictures of my girls outside right now, well, not unless I was showing off a winter jacket or tuque or scarf, hahaha!

    And you are originally from Scotland? I didn't know that! Scotland is high up on my list of must-see places!!!

    Ok, I can't wait to show your readers what I've come up with... it will look quite different as sometimes my imagination takes me to far off places, haha!

    (La gang à Nat)

    1. Thanks Natalie, It's funny where you end up once you start a sewing journey! Am very intrigued to see where it takes you! Yes I'm from Scotland, Edinburgh, which is a great city, and its a beautiful country, I imagine a lot like parts of Canada. We'll be visiting in January, but sadly I usually spend too much time catching up with family, to see much of Scotland!
      And yes, it's still quite mild here. Damp and about 10 degrees. Missy does need a coat, but five minutes for photos was fine! Our weather is very changeable, we might get a couple of weeks snow each winter, but that's it. We're on the same latitude as Canada, but have a real maritime climate, often simply grey and damp! I prefer crisp and cold!

  6. Its beautiful, good job. What a lucky girl.

  7. Beautiful, Victoria! I like the teeth, but also the bow in the back. Thank you for using my pattern again!

  8. What a great dress this is, Victoria!
    I love every single detail!

  9. I totally get the nordic vibe of this dress. It's a great version inspired by the original!

  10. I just love those triangles! I can only imagine how fiddly that must have been with flannel! It came out fantastic :)

  11. Great Winter wonderland look!
    with love,

  12. wow! That front triangle panel is beautiful!!! I love it! I also linked up to Project Run and Play... a bathrobe I made for my son! Emily@nap-timecreations.com

  13. This is such an amazing dress... I love the details on the bodice! And the red of course.

  14. That triangle insert is lovely! Sorry the flannel was so bulky! You did a wonderful job working with it though!

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