Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Country Singer Dress

Quite a while ago, I discovered this vintage Western style dress on Pinterest and was never able to get it out of my head.
I just adore that combination of rick rack and fringe! And it's so clever how the fringe is sewn into the seams of the tiered skirt. I knew I wanted to copy the dress at some point, and it finally happened. I think I've mentioned here that I sing in a little local rockabilly band, and I needed a good performance dress. Obligatory guitar shot!

The pattern I used is from my upcoming book Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book. It's a variation on the Plaid Rockabilly Dress.
As I've mentioned, the book has included patterns for interchangeable bodices, skirts, and sleeves. This design uses the Basic Bodice (V-neck variation), Puff Sleeve, and All-Around Pleated Skirt. I did a little trick where I sewed the neckline facing to the wrong side of the bodice, and then turned it to the turned it to the outside, so it's a design feature on the outside of the dress. This gives you a place to insert trim, like this rick rack.

So for my Country Singer dress, I did the exact same thing with the exact same pattern pieces, with one big exception: for the skirt, I shortened the pattern piece to about 10 inches, and gathered it at the waistline instead of making the pleats on the pattern. Then I cut reeeeeaaaaalllly long 10" strips of fabric to make the lower tiers, and used a ruffler foot to form the gathers. I inserted fringe into the seams of the tiers, and then topstitched rick rack above the seams.

This used an obnoxious amount of fabric. The lower tier is over ten yards long!

I used the same neckline facing trick as in the book, but inserted fringe instead of rick rack. 


I love how it turned out! (That's a portrait of my grandmother next to me. Isn't it amazing?)
Hey, what's that fabric? It's a design from my upcoming spring collection! It's a dotted swiss cotton with strawberries and blue roses. Swoon! Here's a close up of the texture. It's not available yet, but I promise to post about it as soon as it is.
Side view with super big Country Singer hair! (I just discovered this product and it's a total game-changer). The puff sleeves have a little binding at the hem.

I lined the bodice only in white siri cotton. I found the perfect color crinoline to wear under the skirt. This is the Hell Bunny 25" petticoat in turquoise. 

It makes the skirt even swingier. 
And since I always get foundation garment questions, I'm also wearing a longline bra and high-waisted panty to get a really smooth line. Wearing vintage-style foundations definitely helps to achieve the right silhouette. 
I wore this to a performance at an Irish dive bar, and got some hilarious comments from the local drunks, including: "Are you Cinderella?!" and "Did you just come from a rodeo?" Sigh.

Anyway, the book has the pattern pieces for this design (without tiers), as well as detailed instructions. It's coming out in less than a month now! I'll be posting more photos and designs as we get closer. 

46 comments:

  1. This perfect sky-blue color is just right for you. Blue dress makes you unbelievable attractive.

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  2. Oh mylanta! So beyond adorable! I've been wanting something like this for so long. In love!

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  3. I love the pattern and the new fabric is darling! It is the perfect rockabilly performance outfit. <3

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  4. I love the dress & fabric! I will be getting the fabric to make a dress to wear to a wedding. It's an outdoor wedding & I want something soft & springy. Can't wait to see the post about the fabric.

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  5. Love the dress and how you look in it! Perfect combination for sure!

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  6. Both versions are utterly charming! You wear the rockabilly style so perfectly.

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  7. So pretty! Also I love the fabric...dotted swiss is hard to find these days, and I've never seen a pretty print like that! Will it be available in other colors? I would have to buy it if it came in pink. <3

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  8. Gertie this is fabulous!

    I wanted to know if there is a cupped bodice pattern (a la bombshell dress) in this book?

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  9. Does this dress have a second neckline for modest gals?

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    1. Yes, it also has a jewel neckline.

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  10. Can't wait to get this book. Too bad it won't be in Polish bookstores :(

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  11. Fabulous! And that fabric is to die for. I hope us vintage sewing gals in Australia don't miss out on all your gorgeous prints.

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  12. Great job Gertie! Love the new fabrics. You're so beautiful and you look really happy. Congrats on this new book can't wait to get it!

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  13. You look so similar to the portrait of your grandmother! I bet she'd be so proud of your fabulous take on retro style. Do you have any videos of your band online? I probably speak for a goodly amount of us when I say we'd love to see you (and that darling dress!) in action.

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  14. Oh, I just love the country singer dress! Everything about it!!

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  15. OMG! I totally love your dress - and you look so happy wearing it! Fab guitar as well ;-)

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  16. The ricrac trim and the fringe is so perfect! I love the design of this dress, but I do have to say that fabric is all my favourite things in one and I think it's just pure perfection! I'm with Kelsey ~ we need some down under!! :D ❤

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

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  17. Oh my gosh! The dress is stunning! It would make a great dance dress because of the full swirly skirt. I'm going to have to buy the fabric because I like anything with a strawberry motif.

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  18. This is so cute! You're a dressmaking witch. XD

    Also, I never knew of the existence of a ruffle foot... I think I need more fancy sewing machine feet to change my life.

    xo Gwen

    Gwenstella Made

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  19. How long is the second tier? Because fabric gobbler or no, I need that amount of swish in my life.

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  20. I just want to say how much I LOVE your books!!! I have 2 now-Vintage Casual and Better Sewing-and I cannot wait for the new one!!! Not only are the patterns great but I just like reading them. They are so much fun and it an motivated to start sewing for myself again. I just signed up to follow your blog and I know I will learn all sorts of cool stuff.

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  21. That reminds me of a Gunne Sax dress. I wish someone would replicate those patterns. Those dresses are amazing

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  22. I love that these styles are coming back. So simple and so cute :)
    They look great on you Gertie!

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  23. OMG Gertie! Wow! I just love, love, love this dress! It's the perfect Rockabilly dress! It just makes me think of the time period when these dresses came out. It would be so cute here in Arizona for Rodeo week or Helldorado Days! The fabric is fabulous. As usual, this dress looks fabulous on you! Thank you, Kathy G.

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  24. Beautifully done as always. Thank you for the tips on how to get the silloutte that is desired for that type of dress.

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  25. Lovely dresses! These are so cute :)

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  26. Gertie you should stick to your sewing which is what your good at and leave the politics alone.

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    1. Politics? I truly have no idea what you're referring to.

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    2. What i am referring too is the fact that not all of us are interested or care about your feminazi views.

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    3. Hey, Barbara! This is her blog, and she has the right to speak about the issues shes chooses. At the same time, I bet she'd respect the views you'd express on your own public outlet. If you are offended, there is a whole, big, vast internet to browse. Well wishes!

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    4. is feminazi even a thing? And does anyone force you to read her blog? The mind boggles....

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    5. Feminazi: a term used by Patriarchal enablers to describe a woman who thinks for herself and encourages everyone- male or female- to do the same.

      Barbara, you are encouraged to go troll elsewhere ;)

      Great dress, Gertie! I've been thinking about trying to make my own patio/fiesta/squaw styled dress, since I can't find one I really like in my size or favorite colors; for sure I'm going to have to buy your new book so I can finally do it!

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  27. gorgeous dress! Love the Vneck - not too high, not too low, totally wearable. It really suits you. And your likeness to your gran is incredible.
    I've seen a couple of books with combinable patterns around but didn't like the fussy look of most of the patterns in them. I've just ordered it from bookdepository - your books are the only ones I buy sight unseen:). Such a shame your fabric is only available in the US, I'd buy most of your prints like a shot!

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    1. And it came on Saturday! LOVE the new book - like I knew I would. Great patterns - and I am glad that this time you did all the modelling.

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  28. Gertie, I've been following your blog for years, and I first wanted to say thank you for your inspiring projects, and let you know I featured your blog in post entitled "The Best Sewing Blogs for Beginners" (http://urbanxenophile.com/2016/02/27/diy-friday-best-sewing-blogs-for-beginners/) Thank you again for your beautiful vintage designs, and I've used your Dirndl pattern about 10 times now! You're awesome :)

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  29. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for talking about your foundation garments. I make bras and always wondered what type of garments you wore.

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  30. Gertie, I rushed out to Joann today literally as soon as I saw on the website that my local store had gotten your fabrics in! I was probably annoying the employees by going through the stacks of bolts still waiting to be shelved. Oops. ��

    I adore the swiss dot fabrics. And the floral poplins. And the chambrays. And the black rose rayon....

    I especially love your Swiss Dot Rose Garden fabric, but I'm not sure how to use it. Any pattern thoughts?

    Thank you so much for your patterns, fabrics, books, colorful hair, tattoos, guitar playing, AND feminism.

    jessica

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    1. Thank you so much! What lovely words!

      I'm planning a dress with the Swiss Dot Rose Garden myself. You have a couple options! You could treat it like a border print--check out B6232 and B6167 for pattern ideas. Alternately, just pretend it's a stripe! It kind of is anyway. make sure to match the stripes at the side seams. I'm considering a chevron-stripe skirt for mine, where the stripes are on the bias and meet in a V at center front and back. I'll post more when I start that dress!

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    2. Do you have a tutorial on how to do the tiered skirt? I would love additional details on it :)

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  31. I'm curious what fullness you used for the skirt and ruffles- is each piece 2 or 3 times fullness, or do you useless?

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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