It’s the week of Thanksgiving and I am impatiently waiting for tomorrow to come so I can gorge myself on good food. Autumn is my favorite season and Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday. Mainly because I have an entire day where I can eat as much gravy as I want and my husband won’t look at me sideways. I know it’s weird, but I have an unhealthy love affair with gravy. It really is one of my favorite foods. I know what you’re thinking and no, I am not talking about mashed potatoes and gravy. I really do mean gravy on its own. Don’t get me wrong I love me some mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, and all the other yummy side dishes; but they are mainly just vessels for me to slather in liquid goodness…
Me being a gravy fiend aside, I also really love this holiday because it is the one day of the year my family and close friends make an effort to spend a day together. It is not often we all gather to spend a day lounging, eating food, and just enjoying each other’s presence. So, I spend this holiday showing how thankful I am to those special people for being in my life the only way I know how, I feed them.
I know some people think the amount of work I put into this holiday is crazy; but, to me it is something I truly love doing. My family’s main way of showing each other love is by cooking. If you are having a bad day, we’ll try to cheer you up with all manner of food. Having surgery, best believe your favorite cookies will be delivered shortly after. And If we don’t like you, the last thing we will ever do is feed you.
Luckily, my hubby loves cooking as much as I do so I have a partner in my insanity. Which in case you were wondering means we typically spend 7-8 hours cooking everything on Thanksgiving in addition to the time I spend the day before making all the rolls and desserts from scratch. I am a pretty clean cook and rarely don an apron as I don’t get myself messy, but even I don’t try cooking a feast in my Sunday best. I usually change after we are done eating because we have the Turkey Shoot in the evening. (My husband runs a pool tournament every Thursday, Thanksgiving included. The winner of the Thanksgiving tournament not only gets half the pot of winnings but also a turkey.) This year will be the first time I wear something I made especially for the occasion.
I originally wanted to buy a burgundy plaid that had sunflowers dotted on it, but Joann’s was sold out everywhere. After checking 3 locations I found this fabric which is basically the same plaid just sans flowers. I was bummed I couldn’t find the print I fell in love with and bought 3 yards of this fabric as a substitute/consolation.
Then I just sat on it because I couldn’t decide what to make. My inspiration had completely dried up where this was concerned. For 5 weeks, I left this sitting on top of my fabric stash until on a random Wednesday night I got the sewing bug and decided to complete my Thanksgiving dress.
The fabric is 58” wide which means 3 yards will work for most patterns. Unfortunately, the pattern I chose was not one of those and I could not make myself pick a different pattern out of my collection. In my case, it wasn’t so much necessity that was the mother of invention but rather exasperation. It seemed like the dress I had envisioned was slowly turning into something else entirely. So, rather than getting disheartened further I decided to make the pattern work for me.
B5748 is a reissued vintage pattern from 1960. It is a lined, sleeveless dress with a close-fitting bodice, circle skirt, scoop neckline, and side zip. There are two versions you can make, the main difference being that view A has a slit at the neckline and bows attached rather than the basic scoop neckline of view B.
Because it is fully lined you need at least 3 ½ yards of 60” wide fabric in order make the outer shell of the dress plus an additional 3 ¼ yards of fabric for the lining. If it hadn’t been 8:30 at night on a day where I had already worked 8 hours plus some overtime I probably would have realized that I could make the pattern with what I had. I just wouldn’t be able to line it and I would have to shift the pattern pieces a bit to get everything to fit.
Instead, I decided to just go with what I know by making the bodice of B5748 and a gathered skirt similar to the one from B6453. Yup, that ever trusty sundress pattern I have a million iterations of (here, here, and here). I think I will be making the skirt from that pattern for as long as I sew. It’s so easy since it is literally just a couple rectangles of fabric that are gathered at the waist.
Because the fabric was 58” wide I knew that I could cut the fabric in half lengthwise and still have enough width to make my preferred skirt length. I typically make my skirts 27”-28” inches long and this wouldn’t have worked with 45” fabric. In order to simplify things, below is a quick cutting map mock-up.
I traced the bodice pieces of B5748 as well and the pattern piece for the bow. I decided to make view A as I liked the notched detail at the neckline. I cut out the bodice first, as I knew I could adjust the amount of fabric for my gathered skirt if necessary. Because this pattern is supposed to be fully lined it does not have facing for the inner bodice. Rather than try and alter the bodice pieces into facings I cut double of the bodice pieces so that my dress would be partially lined. Once that was done I figured out how much fabric was left and was able to get a pretty full gathered skirt and make the bows.
The skirt was pretty quick to come together, I sewed the back seam and right-side seam together and gathered it in the same manner as B6453. I attached the skirt by sandwiching it between the outer bodice and bodice lining and stitching the 3 layers together. I wear a belt at my waist 99% of the time, so I don’t mind top stitching at the waistline since it will usually be hidden.
Due to the side zip I did not insert pockets, and I sorely miss them. I have dropped my phone a handful of times while wearing this dress because I have become so accustomed to having pockets that I forget how to function without them. In the future, I would like to figure out how to insert hidden pockets in conjunction with a side zip without having it become bulky. I used a standard polyester zipper rather than an invisible zipper, so the zipper closure is lapped.
I was really unsure about the bow detail. The pattern has you attach one to the front and back of the bodice, so I made two. However, I only attach them with safety pins rather than stitching them on. This was mainly because I wanted to have the ability to wear a cardigan and if the back bow was permanently attached I thought it would look weird. So far, I have worn the bow on the front. The back one makes relaxing in a chair awkward so I go without it. What do you think of the bow? Is it cute? Does it seem childish? Let me know, I am still on the fence about it.
I was able to finish this in one go and it took about 5 hours from pattern tracing to stitching the hem. It would have taken longer to finish if I had made the original skirt since I would need to allow the bias cut to stretch before hemming.
If I had to change anything I would definitely grade the bust up a pattern size. I cannot wear my normal bra with this, in fact I am wearing a t-shirt bra that is a little small and squashes the girl down because bust is a bit tight. Otherwise, I am quite pleased with the results. Even though this didn’t turn out the way I originally envisioned it, I love the result. I think I prefer this to what I initially had in mind. The colors lend themselves to more than just the fall season and I see myself wearing this throughout most to the year.
In case any of you are wondering, the jewelry and hair piece were also made by me. I have recently gotten into basic bead work so I can create inexpensive jewelry for my blog photos. If you are interested in a basic tutorial let me know. The leaf barrette was made from supplies I got at my local Dollar Tree. I just cut the leaves off the bunch and hot glued them to a plastic barrette. Because I already had the hot glue gun and glue sticks it only cost me $1.25 to make.
Well, I am off to start my holiday baking. Are you cooking for the holiday? What is your favorite holiday food? Are you preparing for Black Friday shopping? Tell me in the comments down below.
For those of you celebrating, I wish you and yours a splendid holiday full of good food and better company. If you are not celebrating, then I still hope you have something delicious to partake in and good company to share it with.