Isn’t it wonderful when you get the excuse to make something that you’ve been hankering after for ages and ages?
Fifteen years ago I inherited Grandma’s stash, and I’ve been sewing with it and enjoying it ever since. A few pieces of her stash I made up right away, because they were that special, and a few pieces were so, so special that I’ve been trying to decide what to do with for a decade and a half.
This fabric was one of those:
How cute is that? How utterly, absolutely, totally darling and adorable is that? And perfect for a Western challenge!
I would have loved a full dress of it, but I only had 2.1 metres, it’s only 90cm wide, and there was a lot of age damage. I considered blouses like Simplicity 1868, but that didn’t seem to do the fabric justice.
The perfect solution? Butterick 8044′s not-quite-a-circle skirt! (yes, I am so in love with that pattern, and if it weren’t for my True Love Story outfit I wouldn’t have considered the skirt for this since I’m not exactly a circle skirt fan). It was just the right amount of fabric. I managed to keep the worst of the age damage of the skirt, and still get the full width and length.
The skirt is really simple to put together. I went with overlocked seams (with threads in shades of fuchsia, aqua & black, because I’m like that), and a bias turned hem.
Inspired by the bow on my first Butterick 8044 skirt, I cut a sombrero from a scrap of the fabric and appliqued it to the back of the skirt yoke to mark the back.
It’s lovely and simple and quick but beautifully done, and I love it.
To go with the skirt, I unearthed one of the few pieces of knit fabrics in my stash – a delicious fuchsia viscose. For all that I’m perfectly comfortable sewing corsets and hand-sewn 1660s gowns, I’m pretty much a novice when it comes to knits. They are just so modern! So I used Steph at 3hourspast’s very helpful list of knit resources, and her brilliant Blank Canvas pattern to develop my own hack with 40′s details. Using this knit for a Blank Canvas shirt has been on my to-do list since the day she launched the pattern.
For ’40s inspiration for the top, I used Marian Martin 9254. I loved the neck cutout, and thought the flutter sleeves would create a nice 40s broad-shouldered aesthetic to a T-shirt. I also had the idea that I could tie the neck with a bit of leather, for a cheeky nod at a lariat.
I developed the neck cutout myself, and used Steph’s flutter sleeve hack tutorial for the sleeves. I did the most flutter possible. For now I like the über-flutter craziness, and I can always tone it down later.
The best part? The cut-out opens up to be a fold-back collar, also very 1940s! I didn’t plan that – it was just a bonus extra.
The title of this post comes from Connie Dover’s ‘Where Shall I Go (A Cowboy’s Hard Times)‘. It’s a rather sad song, but this dress and the ‘in style’ is as close as I’m likely to get to rodeos and wrangling (I do like to ramble – in writing and through the fields and woods).