Minnie Mouse called, she wants her dress back...

You've had a nice break from my face and you've not seen a new make in 44 whole days! I sure hope you've missed me, because I'm back with a kitcsher than kitsch Sew for Victory dress for you to feast your eyes upon. Despite being over the top – which my boyfriend largely attributes to the contrast pockets – I'm just relieved to have met Rochelle's deadline! A very busy month, coupled with sewing machine woes, meant that a finished project in March was not always a feasible idea.


I'm not actually sure when I'll wear this dress though. It's not that I don't like it, but I guess it feels a bit over the top. Do you agree, or am I being overly critical? Nonetheless, I've always had a hankering to sew up vintage patterns according to their envelope artwork and I took this chance when I fished out some cherry polka dot polyester I bought from the Birmingham Rag Market. For the life of me I couldn't find a lightweight fabric in the reverse colour way, so I was forced to use quilting cotton, which isn't ideal really.



The pattern

McCall 4193 is such a gorgeous pattern from 1941 and I'm pleased I finally got around to sewing it up, if only for all the interesting details it has to offer - thanks to Rochelle for coming up with a wonderful challenge that pushed this pattern to the top of my list! Maybe a solid colour version would be more wearable, but in theory the polka dots were too delicious not to attempt.

Tilly's Mathilde blouse gave me the practice I needed for the front tucks, which to be honest were a little tougher to make with polyester! Luckily, my fabric showed up my white chalk lines well and I literally made one tuck at a time, using A LOT of pins as I went along.


The pockets are such a sweet detail that it felt wrong to leave them out...even if they are the reason I think this dress might be a bit much!


I like the back vent on the back bodice yoke - to me, there's something really feminine about this feature.


And finally, the pleats at the lower back bodice. I love the thought of these and they look great on taller, leaner bodies, but they don't do much for my figure. I can live with them on this dress though and they were another fun detail to play with. 


The construction

Needless to say, the pattern instructions are very basic and assume you have a lot of sewing knowledge already. As a beginner, I'm not sure I would have been able to follow them, so I'm glad I've tackled this pattern with a bit more experience under my belt. I also had to grade this pattern up a bit, using Casey's excellent tutorials. I've kind of lost count of what I did though, because there were so many changes and because I ended up reversing some of them! But I think I added a couple of inches to the width of the bodice and skirt pieces, shortened the bodice by a couple of inches, moved the back bodice pleats in by an inch, lowered the neckline by a couple of inches, shortened the shoulders by a smidge, shortened the skirt length by a lot...you get the idea! All this considered, I'm pretty pleased with the fit I managed to achieve!

I omitted the sleeve and neck facings and finished them with bias binding instead. I even lined the skirt in a cotton lawn...and I think I've even done it properly...I think! Lining stuff still baffles me to be honest! Can anyone recommend any good online tutorials or books for lining techniques?
Although my waistline is slightly off at the zip side, I'm really happy with how invisible my invisible zip came out.


The back and side views are probably not the most flattering, but then again, when are they ever!?! I've decided to apply Sunni's brilliantly liberating piece on the myth of perfect fit to style as well. I know certain styles flatter our bodies more, but it would be a sad existence if we never tried out something different and new to us.



Anyway, I've really managed to ramble on in this post...sorry. But before going, I can't not show you my new shoes! They're from Office and I bought them because I felt they have a bit of a 40s aesthetic...am I right, or have I got it completely wrong?



In closing, is this dress too kitsch even for Minnie Mouse...or do you think I can get away with wearing it on a 'normal' day out?

113 comments:

  1. It is NOT too much at all, us girls need to start increasing the standard of dress, hair and makeup, this is a great start, you do not look over the top at all, you look well groomed and have a style. Wear, wear and wear again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, what a lovely thing to say! And I guess we are so casual nowadays that even a simple dress can make us feel overdressed, which is silly really!

      Delete
    2. Exactly what I was going to say Lillian -- I love it Marie, do not be afraid to wear it because you look F-A-B!

      Delete
  2. Omg I love it! It's not over the top at all. I would totally wear it. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This dress is lovely on you, so flattering - and yes, that includes the side and back views. Your waist looks teeny! If I owned this dress, I think I'd want to wear it every day...

    ReplyDelete
  4. Definitely not over the top, and definitely very cute :) And I think the shoes are perfect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Ashley, thanks so nice of you!

      Delete
  5. I think its adorable and Im not just saying it as a Minnie Mouse fan- the details are lovely and I covet it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lovely dress! You've done a great job. I love all the details on it like the back opening and the pleats on the back. As you've got the fit nailed it would be a shame not to wear the dress. I do say make a plainer one though in say blue with contrast piping so you would have no qualms about wearing it all the time! I would wear this for a fun day out definitely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny you should say this Katy, I actually toyed with the idea of making in a pale blue chambray originally...so I may just do that later down the line!

      Delete
  7. I really appreciate your ideals on this make - to jump right in and imitate the pattern artwork as closely as possible, pockets included. I do hope you take this dress out for tea and enjoy it's company. Your dress will make all the other ladies who see it feel warm and cheery, and wish that they'd put in a bit more effort with their clothes too.

    Sweet & inspiring. 5 stars.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nessa, you're so kind!!!

      Delete
  8. Ahhhh! I love this! It turned out beautifully! I think it's super, super cute!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is definitely NOT over the top! I just love the details and contrasting polka dot colours...those pockets are to die for and I love the bodice tucks!! Major score!! I do hope you'll wear it as it looks fantastic!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Debi, this means a lot coming from a vintage pattern lover like yourself!

      Delete
  10. I would totally wear that dress and I work in a pretty conservative industry. It looks great on you. The shoes are also great...

    ReplyDelete
  11. What I do love about this dress is all the little details. The close up of the pocket is divine... kudos to you for sewing pleats in polyester! And I love the yoke :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well this is just fabulous. I adore the silhouette and the polka dots. It's very fun.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Adorable's the word for sure. Wear it - if you feel self conscious, add a cardigan. But don't let it languish in the closet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I reckon I'll definitely wear it with a cardi in the colder weather. You're right though, it would be a shame to let it languish after all that work!

      Delete
  14. Toooooo cute for words Marie, I love it. I think the cherry red even if it is polyester works really well for the details of this fantastic style, and also has a nice bit of draping going on. I think you look adorable and well done for all the grading you've done, I think you've well and truly grown your confidence in sewing yourself dresses now :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Winnie, I definitely feel like I'm at a higher level of sewing this year!

      Delete
  15. You look gorgeous, sweetheart - love your hair too x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaaw, thanks Alana...that's my unkempt/lazy hair too ;o)

      Delete
  16. I think it looks lovely and totally wearable :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I LOVE this dress! I think it is so fun and cute and you should definitely wear it :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think the shoes definitely have a 40s flair to them and they fit your dress perfectly. You asked about sources for lining information. I use one book to answer my lining questions and it is called Easy Guide to Sewing Linings by Connie Long. I bought the PDF ebook of this book a couple years ago from this site: http://www.tauntonstore.com/easy-guide-to-sewing-linings-connie-long-ebook-077748.html

    Inside you'll find solutions for lining pants, skirts, dresses, bodices, sleeves, half linings, how to finish the lining around zippers and buttons, how to hem linings, and more. It also goes into underlining which is a technique I use a lot. So be sure to check it out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you Rebekah! I will check this book out asap, it sounds perfect! Thank you again so much!

      Delete
  19. I love your dress, not only is it super cute but you obviously put great care in making it! I agree that it would probably look less over-the-top without the pockets but they're so pretty :(

    ReplyDelete
  20. I think you look just simply stunning and fantastic in it! you could definetly pull it off on an casual everyday trip to town! I challenge you to wear it out one day, you'll feel real good about your self I bet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great challenge Lisa, I'm going to take you up on it for sure!

      Delete
  21. What a great dress. I love the contrasting colours and it looks great on you. I actually love the pockets - they are a great addition. I don't think it is over the top, you could definitely rock this to wherever you chose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, comments like yours are very encouraging indeed!

      Delete
  22. The pockets are my favorite part! I don't think it's necessarily "your style" but it's still an adorable dress and I think it looks great on you. I hope you find a place to wear it!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Can we take a minute to appreciate the glorious contrast yoke?! That is fabulous! There are so many lovely details on this- the tucks are super cute! And who can say no to adorable pockets? Awesome work, lady!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Amanda! Just popped over to your blog and was drooling at your gorgeous creations...I love your choice of fabric prints and patterns!

      Delete
  24. You should most definitely wear it! You look gorgeous, and I LOVE those shoes!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Never mind a normal day girl you need to take this dress dancing! All I know is, it makes me smile and a dress that makes you smile is a keeper as far as I'm concerned. Love your fringe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks on all accounts Joanne! I'm actually helping organise a friend's hen do this summer and she wants a 'vintage/40s' theme, so I'll definitely be taking it out for a spin then...if not before!

      Delete
  26. You are way too critical. It's a lovely dress. Bang on the nose. Good show.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The wait for a new project was so worth it...it's cute and the fit is great.. I got a nice occasion for you to wear.. At the meet up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rachel and yes, I guess the meet-up would be the perfect place to take it out for a spin ;o)

      Delete
  28. The dress is adorable!!!! It's not over the top at all, but it does seem to be a dress that needs a special occasion to wear it. Not a fancy occasion, but a special one. Like a spring picnic? Either way, it turned out SO cute! I love the double polkadot :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for coming up with such a cool challenge Rochelle, you gave me the opportunity and reason to sew this little number up!

      Delete
  29. Oh Marie I love it!! It definitely has a 40s feel but with a modern edge that suits you so nicely. I don't think it's over the top but I am, perhaps, not the best one to judge that... lol I would definitely say you should wear it, those pockets are stellar too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the modern feel comes from me shortening it quite a bit, which I'm glad I did as I feel it'll be more wearable in my day-to-day life! I love your vintage aesthetic and wish I could pull it off like you!

      Delete
  30. Oh, this dress is utterly gorgeous! And not over-the-top at all, in any way! I love it. Please, please wear it a lot! A dress that cute deserves to be worn all the time. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok, ok...I promise I'll wear it ;o)

      Delete
  31. This dress is the bees' knees girl! I agree with you that it could cross over into costumey, but I think it's all about how you style it. What about a pony tail and some low-cut white canvas sneakers? That would be super fresh and flirty!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, a pony and some white low converse sneakers (which I already have) sounds like an inspired idea! I'm gonna have to give that a go for sure...thanks super cool lady!!!

      Delete
  32. I agree about the 40's vibe of the shoes - they are fab!
    I wonder if your doubts about the dress are because you stuck to its vintage-ness in everything except length? So you've made it more modern by having it above the knee, which is less true to the original style? I am not saying that's "wrong" but I think it could be the root of your uncertainty. I absolutely agree about the pony tail and sneakers - inject a bit more flirty fun into the look, which works with that shorter length?
    Anyways... great job! I would not have taken on that fabric for the world - and you triumphed! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm, I don't think so. Because before I hemmed it, I disliked it more as it looked a bit frumpy as well as over the top...in my opinion. So I actually think I like it more now that it's shorter. But I do love the idea of making it fun and flirty with casual hair and sneakers!

      Delete
  33. The dress is adorable! Perhaps if you re-did the pockets in the red fabric, the dress would feel more wearable to you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, my boyfriend suggested that too, but I guess they would be literally camouflaged. Which would be a shame I guess...

      Delete
  34. I have no sense of perspective when it comes to what is appropriate for everyday wear, but I think this is gorgeous and I would TOTALLY wear this to work even!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehe, thanks Roisin! I think I'm going to try and embrace this and just wear it ;o)

      Delete
  35. I love this! I don't think it's too much, I think it's very cute and current and the hemline really helps. I adore this, wear it everywhere!

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  36. I love your dress!! The shape, contrast yoke, pockets, pleats and back closure are all fab; and it looks great on you. And the fabric - I love red and white polka dots, I say embrace the Minnie Mouse-ness! I have been fully intending to make a red and white polka dot dress myself. It's been in my head for a while, but I don't have the fabric or a pattern in mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lynne, hope you get to make your own version soon!!!

      Delete
  37. I think it works! See, we ARE such a casual culture nowadays, and it is fun to be 'dressy' even though you are not at all. I think it looks great, and if you prefer, team it up with a plain white cardigan to 'break up' all the dots :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rachel and yes, I totally agree!

      Delete
  38. I don't think it's over the top at all. So cute and I love those shoes!!

    ReplyDelete
  39. That is soooo super cute! I love all the details- especially the pockets!

    ReplyDelete
  40. Definitely not over the top. I would wear it in a heartbeat. The dress has such a lovely shape. I like the contrasting details and shorter length. Pintucks are one of my favorite details on clothing, and yours look beautiful. Oh, and those shoes are adorable. Good to see your pretty face again, btw. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehe, thanks Becca! You're very kind ;o)

      Delete
  41. The bodice is really really cute on you which definitely means you need to wear this out and have people compliment you on it!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Very cute Marie, you can't go wrong with polka dots. It's a great shape too, your waist looks tiny! I guess you've overcome your dress issue! You totally need to wear it - this dress deserves it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kat...I still get nervous making dresses, but all seems well this year...so far!

      Delete
  43. Oooh--so cute! I think the pockets are my favorite part; I love them at an angle like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, they look cute at an angle!

      Delete
  44. Marie, if you dont rock this dress all over town I may have to give you a stern talking to. Its freakin' phenomenal! I love what you said, "I know certain styles flatter our bodies more, but it would be a sad existence if we never tried out something different and new to us." I felt the exact same way about my Sew For Victory dress, but I ended up liking it a lot. Yay for being adventurous in our sewing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh scary, I think I may have to just rock it to avoid being told off ;o) I absolutely love your SfV dress...gorgeous!!!

      Delete
  45. I love this! I don't think it's too much at all-I love the contrast, and I think the pockets really make me love the dress even more. They came out perfectly, too!

    ReplyDelete
  46. Oh, I love it! It is very bright and loud, but it's also super beautiful - and the cut is SUPER flattering! I know what you mean about feeling like Minnie Mouse in those red and white dots (PROTIP: don't wear yellow shoes with it. I figured that one out the hard way...), but you look awesome! Keep it, keep the pockets, and also keep doing whatever magic is going on with your hair :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the PROTIP, I never even thought of that...but luckily I don't own any yellow shoes! Ironically, I've discovered a very lazy way to get my hair looking nice - I wash it, roughly dry it so it's damp and then stick it in a top knot over night. And that's it!

      Delete
  47. I vote rock it! This dress is seriously too cute and has too much work in it to sit in your closet. I just love the little details and it really does look great.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I saw your post on sew retro - I love this dress! Beautifully done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for stopping by ;o)

      Delete
  49. found your blog through roisin's. i love that dress and even with the title i made absolutely no connection with minnie mouse until your last sentence lol. i say go for it! super cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaaw thanks for stopping over and for the kind words!

      Delete
  50. Thank you for letting me know I'm not the only one who is baffled by lining! Phew! Let us know if you have any lining epiphanies. I just fudged my latest dress's lining in. I mean, it worked, but lining is still a mystery. lol.
    I know what you mean about this being quite a full-on style, but I hope you have fun with it and get some wear out of it! Well done. I love the pockets! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehe, you're definitely not alone Johanna! Rebekah left a comment above recommending this book http://www.tauntonstore.com/easy-guide-to-sewing-linings-connie-long-ebook-077748.html

      I've not got it myself, but will seriously consider investing because I need help with linings darn it ;o)

      Delete
  51. Oh. My. Goodness.
    I'm obsessed by this dress!
    A bit much? I say the more polka dots, the better! :D I truly love it, Marie and I'm quite jealous! If you find yourself not wearing it, send it this way! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aaaw, thanks for being so sweet Anna!

      Delete
  52. It's supercute! The polkadots are lovely, and the pockets adorable. Just love the backvent! However, I can understand some of your concerns... I believe we have similar fit issues (full bust, full hip, short upper-body?) and I just never feel comfortable with a blousy back-bodice. It looks great on others, but on me it's just a bit... off. So while the dress is wonderful, and I really do hope you'll find occasions to wear it!, at the same time I think I would have similar qualms about the style.
    It's great that some patterns/styles takes us outside our comfortzone, though! It's so rewarding to look at one's sewing and style from a new angle =)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Erika and yes, I suspect we have a very similar shape. But as you say, it's always nice to try something new ;o)

      Delete
  53. What a great dress! I love it. Bravo!

    ReplyDelete
  54. Hi Marie! I'm featuring this lovely dress of your at sew & Tell Saturday. I love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Justine, that's so kind of you!

      Delete
  55. the dress is divine I would wear it everyday!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  56. Nice to see you back lovely :)
    Nothing wrong with a bit of kitsch love!
    Px

    ReplyDelete