As we pack away the decorations for another year and force ourselves to finish up those last unappealing chocolates from the selection box, I finally have the time to sit down and share with you the details of my Christmas sewing projects for the Christmas that never really was.
If you’re not familiar with me then let me quickly explain that I sew almost exclusively dresses from either true vintage or reissued vintage patterns. What’s more I love to sew anything with a theme. The more impractical it is, the fewer occasions I can wear it to, the more I want to do it!
In normal years Christmas for me is just as much about the parties in the run up as it is about the day itself. I take great joy in planning a Christmas party dress months in advance. And I did that again this year- optimistically hoping for something closer to normal. However as the autumn progressed it was clear that restrictions were tightening and the possibility of my much loved cocktail parties with friends was becoming increasingly unlikely. So I looked at the projects I had planned and re-evaluated a bit.
The Judy Jetson Dress
My plan now became to make a ‘Not Too Christmassy Christmas Dress’, also known as a cocktail dress, with the hope that I could wear it to another party in 2021 (let’s all keep those fingers crossed). I came across a perfect fabric of gold poinsettias on green cotton from A&M Fabric. It was during the November lockdown. I ordered online and they personally delivered!
I had an image in mind but not the right pattern in my ever increasing collection. Luckily a fantastic pattern seller I’ve bought from before came up with this gem from her collection and I knew instantly this was the right one. Butterick 6358 was published in 1953.
It’s one of the easiest dresses I’ve ever put together. The whole design is really focussed on the oversize collar- it’s pure Judy Jetson. I had to try different contrast fabrics before settling on the deep forest green velvet. I’d never sewn with velvet before ad it wasn’t quite as scary as I was expecting.
The end result was exactly what I wanted- a not too Chrismtassy, Christmas dress!
The Babycham Dress
Never one to be satisfied, I couldn’t resist making yet another one. Back when the shops were still opened I happened across a George double duvet missing its pillows in one of my favourite charity shops for £4. I suddenly knew it had to be turned into this fabulous dress from the 1959 Simplicity 3212. I was immediately fascinated by the statement sleeves and desperately wanted to make it up but with no parties to go to, I was hard pressed to justify paying out for 4m of expensive fabric.
The bargain festive duvet suddenly made it feasible! The fabric was thin and slightly see-through so I flat lined all pieces with a brushed cotton sheet (I’d also thrifted) and it made for a comfortable and cute dress. A friend unwittingly named it the Babycham dress and I can’t think of a more perfect thing to call it!
The Campino Sweet Dress
Finally, (yes there’s a finally) I had bought some fabric during the summer while on holiday on the Isle of Wight. This was when were widely being told life would be ‘back to normal’ by Christmas and it convinced to me to buy this eye catching printed tulle. I always knew the fabric had to be used in a full skirt to show it off to full advantage. I had also recently purchased another 1953 pattern- this time Vogue 8189 which I was keen to make.
The success of my first two projects and also a little bit of defiance drove me on to make this last one up.
Unashamedly Christmassy and impractical I decide I had the fabric and I wanted to do it. This year wasn’t going to take this away from me too! Sewing for me has always been a form of escapism and this year I’ve needed that more than ever.
I had the red satin for the contrasting bodice in my stash leftover from another project so I decided to just go for it one last red, flouncy burst of over the top Christmassyness! The end result is a lovely and elegant dress which will still be there for me to wear next year and hopefully many more years after.
Now for a few days off sewing while I spend some time planning this coming year’s projects- and you maybe this year I’ll even sew something more practical!