Sunday, May 13, 2018

Dress Like Your Grandma Sewing Challenge

Last year Mrs Hughes (Tanya) introduced the Dress Like Your Grandma Sewing Challenge. The idea being to take a photo of your Grandma (or other female relative, or any historical photo of a female) and recreate the dress.

For last year's challenge, I tried to copy this dress of my Nanna. Being a very different body type it was a bit of a challenge but I think I did well.

Problem is that I haven't worn it since taking the photo. This time of year is getting cold in Melbourne, then once the weather warmed up I always felt the dress was too dressy to wear anywhere that I go. It has hung in my wardrobe and now the weather is cold again.

For this year's challenge, I decided that I wanted to make something more wearable with my current lifestyle. The day the challenge began, my mother arrived from interstate with a box full of family photos.  After narrowing it down to a half dozen, I settled on this one of my mother with her first car.
Left: my recreation, Right: my mother is 1969
Obviously with this photo, there was going to be a lot of “inspired by” rather than a direct copy. I was hoping to use fabric from my stash, so my mum and I sat together looking through my options and together chose this purple floral. It's not something that she particularly had as a dress at that time but is something that she likes and possibly would have chosen. 

I looked online at pattern ideas, trying to decide on style lines etc. I wanted the empire waist and decided on princess seams in the skirt.  Of course vintage patterns are hard to come by, even harder in plus size. I settled on trying out my unused Cashmerette Upton dress pattern.  It has the empire waist and a princess seam skirt, although a little more full than desired.  You can read more about my dress alterations and sewing process in this blog post.

Upon finalising my muslin, I went to get my chosen fabric only to discover that there wasn't as much as I thought, and even then I'd underestimated how much I was going to need.

What to do?? I really didn't want to have to buy more fabric and even if I did buy more, a quick internet search didn't bring up anything that suited me and the project.

Scrolling through my fabric database, I eventually decided on a change of direction.  I'd seen this comic book print last year, and wanted to make a jacket but then realised the scale of the print was too big for the pattern I had in mind. I still loved it so bought some anyway, as you do!

I had enough for this dress, even allowing for careful pattern placement so it was a go. I decided my project would become an “artistic interpretation” rather than a recreation.

So I'm calling this my Roy Lichtenstein 60s dress (thanks to my niece for the "artist tip").
And this is basically my first car too.  I didn't get my licence until 6 years ago, and this is the first car we have bought since then.  I got to choose the features I wanted (out of what suited our needs and was available second hand), and most importantly the colour!!  Not actually my dream colour, but again out of what was available, this was my first choice.

Whilst it probably won't get worn any time soon, because the weather has turned, I'm looking forward to an opportunity to show this one off!  Now I think I might start brainstorming next year's 'grandma dress' so I'm not as rushed last minute as I was this year.

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