One of the first dresses I ever made was this lovely Laurel back in 2013. I have a few of my mothers vintage hand sewn dresses that have hung in my closet since she gave them to me when I was a teenager. I really hate to have things just sit unworn though. I decided once my sewing improved I’d refashion some of these dresses to make them wearable.
My mother made the original dress (that’s her below!) back in 1966 for her Junior Prom. It’s a lovely cream lace overlay tea gown with a fitted bodice and waist, short sleeves and back zip. It fit me to a tee as you can see in the before pics below. I’m so in awe that my mom made this at just 16!
My Mom-Junior Prom- 1966
The underlay was a satin that had since discolored and had a few stains I couldn’t get out. I wanted to preserve as much of the lace as possible so I first separated the dresses’ lace from the satin. I thought a shift dress would be the perfect silhouette for the amount of fabric left was left after working around the stains. I felt the silhouette is still modern but appropriate to the original era of the dress.
One of the first pattern companies I started sewing with as a beginner was Colette Patterns. Those patterns really taught me how to sew. The directions were easy to follow even as a newbie. Plus I’m a sucker for pretty packaging! I snapped up the Laurel Pattern as soon as it was released and made this dress.
I kept the scalloped lace hem of the original dress as my new hem. I underlined the entire dress with a sheer cotton in a coral color (it’s actually a curtain sheer) to add a bit of contrast to the cream lace. I kept a 3/4 sleeve-which I always love- and kept the silhouette simple. I made this back in 2013 so my memory isn’t perfect, but I’m pretty sure I cut a straight 8 using Version 1.
Here are the original pictures after I first made it:
As you can see it turned out a bit shorter than I’m really comfortable with. So it didn’t get worn as much as planned. I probably would have lengthened the pattern if I had been more experienced. But it’s still well constructed and I love knowing I’m wearing something that my mother wore too. That’s why I was so excited when I realized over Me Made May this year that this looks fab as a tunic over jeans. I may have to make a pair of matching shorts or coral leggings to wear with this as well.
Worn for MMM 2016:
Isn’t it wonderful knowing you’re wearing something old and making it new again! Happy Sewing!