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Hello fine readers! I’m so pleased and honored to be at Skirt as Top today, celebrating Vintage May along with all these lovely guest bloggers! If you’ve ever visited my blog, you know that I have a bit of a love affair with Oliver + S patterns. In case you’re not familiar with Oliver + S, there are several reasons why they’re among my favorite patterns. First of all, each one is like a mini sewing lesson, full of tips and tricks for future use. The styles are always clean and classic, the fit is spot-on, the directions never let you down, and even the packaging is adorable (and vintage-looking!).
Have I sold you yet? Anyway, I think I’ve tried eleven of them so far, and have used many of those eleven over and over again. So when Kristin asked me to be a part of Vintage May, I immediately began brainstorming my Oliver + S options. Several of the patterns have a vintage or retro look to them, and I ended up combining two of my favorites into one dress, adding a few vintage elements along the way.
My starting point was the Playdate Dress (it’s out of print, but recently became available as a digital pattern) – there’s something about that yoke that gives it a definite retro feel.
And I borrowed the cuffed sleeves from the Puppet Show Dress (also out of print, but available to download as a pdf), which is another great vintage-looking pattern.
Swapping the Puppet Show sleeve for the Playdate sleeve was really simple, since the shapes were so similar. I used the size 3 sleeve from both patterns to create a hybrid sleeve. Just lay the Puppet Show sleeve on top of the Playdate sleeve pattern, and use the armhole curve of the Playdate but the length and width of the Puppet Show sleeve. Keeping the Puppet Show width (the line across the bottom of the sleeve) is important so that you can use the existing cuff pattern piece.
Your hybrid sleeve (the one laying on top of the Puppet Show sleeve below) will look very similar to the original Puppet Show sleeve – the armhole curve dips just slightly below to mimic the Playdate sleeve’s curve.
Cut your sleeves on the fold, and transfer the Playdate notch and the Puppet Show gathering dot. There are a couple ways to attach the sleeves, but I chose to follow the Playdate directions – the sleeves are attached before side seams are sewn since you’ll also be constructing side seam pockets. If you go that route, refer to the Puppet Show directions to complete the cuffs after you’ve attached the sleeves and sewn your side seams.
And that’s it! Back to the rest of the post….
The fabric also has a vintage feel – the print reminded me a bit of a vintage sheet, or a William Morris floral, or a Liberty print (and is probably as close to a real Liberty as I’m ever going to get!). It’s a soft and breezy cotton lawn called Spring, from Robert Kaufman’s London Calling 2 collection. And the colors definitely evoke spring! This is Vintage May after all, not Vintage November…
There’s pink and white mini gingham in the side-seam pockets and in the hem facing. I love a pattern that allows for hidden surprises like that.
And to throw a little more vintage into the mix, I added mini pompom trim under the yoke. Because pompoms make things look vintage, right?
Now this was a bit trickier than adding the flat piping that the pattern calls for, since the pompom trim has barely any seam allowance. So I’ll attempt to show you how I did it.
First, I sewed a line of basting stitches 1/2 inch from the raw edge of the neckline, which gave me a line to follow when I placed the trim. Then I matched the trim (where the poms meet the wee bit of seam allowance) to that line, pinned, and basted it in place along the line using my zipper foot – that way you’re not sewing over the poms. There should be 1/2 inch between the raw edge of the neckline and your line of basting stitches that attach the trim.
That second basting line becomes the guideline for placing your yoke. Do you think I used enough pins? The tricky part was stitching the yoke in place AND catching the pompom trim underneath – I had to sew very close to the edge of the yoke in order to catch it. The zipper foot comes in handy here, too.
In retrospect, it might make sense to actually sew the trim to the neckline rather than just basting. That way, even if you miss a spot as you’re top stitching the yoke in place, the trim is securely anchored under there. Or better yet, maybe there’s pompom trim available out there with a more generous seam allowance?
Thanks so much for having me, Kristin! I’m looking forward to the rest of Vintage May, week two!