I’ve been after a red and black vintage patio dress for years! I’ve never seen one in my size, and figured it was time to make my own.
The pattern I ended up using was Gertie’s Patio Dress pattern, from her Gertie Sews Jiffy Dresses book.
This pattern is so easy to make!
- I sized down because the cheesecloth is super stretchy
- Raised the V point of the neckline, as it was quite low!
- Lowered the front dart points
- Turned the dress into a top and skirt set instead
- Put side zips in both, I hate back zips
For the skirt, I ended up going with four tiers so the last tier could be black. The black tier is slightly longer, and the third tier slightly shorter (I had a close look on some authentic ones and this is how they made them).
I’m not sure I would do this again as I was gathering 11 meters of fabric (12 yards) at one point and it nearly killed me!
The other problem was that the skirt was so heavy, when I attached it to the bodice it pulled down the bodice terribly! It pulled the waist down by about three inches as well as messing with the darts.
I had two options – live with it, and cut the bodice shorter, or make it a skirt and blouse set.
I went with the skirt and blouse set, so the skirt could support itself via a waistband. I ended up sewing a band around the bottom of the bodice to give me more tuck in fabric and it worked a treat.
I also used over 80 meters of trim which took forever to sew down, but the results are worth it. I wonder how long it used to take to sew the ones from the 1950s?
I also changed the trim on the bodice, and did a U shape design. This mean sewing the front pieces together first, finishing the seams then sewing the trim on.
The secret with sewing trim like this is to transfer the highest trim line to the blouse using a dissolving marker. Sew that line of trim, then use it as a guide for sewing the next rows below. Easy!
The fabric I chose is Premium Cotton Cheesecloth from our local Spotlight. Its also called gauze overseas – it’s not as fine as the semi-sheer stuff they used back in the fifties but it’s the closest I could find. It took about 4 1/2 meters to make this dress.
Overall, I love it. Jakk says she can’t tell it’s not authentic vintage, which is the look I wanted.
I’m not sure I would make four tiers again, as it took forever to gather by hand – three is enough.
But, would I make this again? Yes, definitely. I’d love one in green or yellow, but I need a break from all that trim!