Well, what do you know, I have finally made this gorgeous bell skirted dress from a 1950s LeRoy pattern. I’ve wanted to make the pattern up since I got it in Tewksbury at the beginning of the year, and once I’d found the cute grey bird print cotton I knew it was meant for this dress! But it’s taken a long while to get it made up as other things kept jumping the queue.
I love how it looks, the simple front totally belies the pleats and the open back. It has an interesting closure – no zip! There is a deep pleat in the centre back & two hooks & eyes and a sewn on snap to hold it all together. At first Belle thought this was a reather dodgy idea, but after twirling about for a bit realised it wasn’t going to open & she wouldn’t be showing off her knickers to all and sundry!
I stitched & pinked the bodice seams, turning under the raw edges on all the facings to keep it neat and used a mock French finish on the skirt side seams. The centre back seam has a clean finish because it has to open at the top. The raw edge at the hem is bound with white cotton bias binding and hand stitched with herringbone stitch. I had wanted to bind all the seams with the white bias, but the seam allowance is only 1.25cm which is just too narrow to apply the bias sucessfully.
The popper and hooks were sewn on with buttonhole stitch and the loop for the outer hook was made with buttonhole stitch too. There is an underskirt (which I have forgotten to photograph!) which helps the skirt to keep its bell shape. It’s a simple a-line skirt with darts at the waist and topped with bias binding which forms a tie to close with at the side. It’s amazing that such a simple underskirt makes quite a difference to how the skirt of the dress sits.
Belle loves this dress, mostly because of the bird print. She is hooked on watching the little birds in our garden at the moment, the sparrows, tits,little robin & blackbirds. Luckily I have enough of this fabric to make another dress, so I may use it for a modern pattern for her.
I have also finished the brown satin wiggle dress, but I need a model for it! If anyone in the South Warwickshire area would be interested in modeling it for me, give me a shout! This pretty little number will be in my Etsy shop soon, if you’re interested… And now I need to decide which lovely piece of fabric to make up next. That “make me now!” pile isn’t getting any smaller. 😉