Saturday, September 15, 2012

New vacation dress and a new pattern category

What do you call a pattern that is not really vintage but not exactly current either?  I have been pondering this question for a few months and have come up with a category for these patterns which I now title:

Recent Retro: a sewing pattern that is between 5 - 20 years old, dating from the 1990's or 2000's.  Not at all vintage, just something that is not really current but could have timeless appeal or adaptibility. Often found in the bargain bin, overlooked at the thrift shop or garage sale.  Perhaps stored away in your garage or back of the closet, a perfectly good pattern but the styling seems so yesterday.  Something you remember seeing in the pattern books not that long ago. Time flies but is there really anything new in fashion?  

What started this reverie?  I bought the following pattern on Etsy - I could not resist its simple and timeless appeal.  Plus I have such a devotion to the Michael Kors patterns.  Here is the pattern that started my Recent Retro kick, Vogue 2345, copyright date 2000. Twelve years old however to me it seems current, particularly in light of the continuing colorblock trend.

Vogue 2435 Kors pattern

Here is my version, a few suitcase wrinkles showing and maybe not the most fabulous fabric but I made this up on a whim just before leaving on vacation to Hawaii.  The pattern suggested lightweight wool crepe, jersey or double-knit and I had this blue double knit in my stash. Another of my thrift store finds, a 4 yard piece of very nice weight double-knit. For a couple of dollars I bought it thinking I could use it for making test versions of pants but you know I am crazy for the turquoise/black color combo so double knit dress it is.  ( I do have some test pants in the works).

I used a scrap of black ponte knit for the strap and some black knit lining, from cut-out to final hem it took about 3 hours. Instant pre-vacation gratification. This is one of those walk-away dresses,  with most of the interest in the back.

              IMG_0618     IMG_0538
A few construction notes:  I didn't do any topstitching and cut it out exactly as a size 12. These type of halter dresses need a close fit and the finished bust measurement on the pattern is actually 1" less than than the bust measurement for that size, but because of the way the back fits it works out just right. I am still not sure if this is the most flattering dress to wear, but I am a beach bum and love to show off the summer tan so this dress works for me.  On the dressform I see some of the same lines that are visible when it is worn, this was bothering me but further study of the pattern envelope shows the same lines so perhaps it is the nature of the design. I tend to go crazy to get things to be perfectly smooth which is not possible and when clothing is shown in magazine photos they probably have all kinds of crazy pin and tape arrangements going on out of sight.

IMG_0541IMG_0540Vogue 2345 back view on form

Recent Retro: what do you think of this new category?  Do you have any patterns that are not quite vintage but still worthwhile?  I have a few more from the 90's and early 2000's that deserve a second look, and perhaps a blog post on how to update them.  (The pesky problem of gigantic shoulderpads!)

As for this pattern, it will make an appearance again next summer, most likely in a print. After all, a 3 hour dress with no fitting required - a winner to me.

Happy late summer sewing, Beth


  1. Perfect beach-holiday dress! Love the colour, and made in 3 hours...a winner. Enjoy your holiday...

  2. That's a winning style to me too. I does show off your tan well.
    I love vintage patterns too althought at the moment, I'm not touching 80s patterns. Just 60s and 50s patterns are enough for me:))

  3. Love the back detail on this dress! You did a beautiful job on the construction, and it looks fantastic on you. Enjoy your stay in the islands!

  4. I agree - shoulder pads on 90s stuff is a bit much. Love the back on this dress and the 60's color blocking is great!

  5. I like your title of Recent Retro - it's perfect! Just like your dress!

  6. I really like the dress; especially the contrasting neckline and straps. I'm having a hard time accepting that the 90s were 20 years ago though! It always sounds weird to me when people call the 80s retro. Recent retro is a nice compromise.

  7. Cute! And perfect for your climate.

  8. I like the contrast of the neck band to the dress! Way to go 90s patterns!

  9. I like 'recent retro'. It gives it more credibility and sounds like something Nina Garcia would say to Michael Kors! That dress is divine on you! What a great vacation frock.

  10. Love the dress - have a fantastic holiday. I'm headed there April 2013 (first time).

  11. Gorgeous!! Enjoy Hawaii--I LOVE it there--my favorite place on earth!

  12. I just call them "old" patterns! This is absolutely lovely, the cut is youthful and swingy, and I really love the criss-cross straps at the back. Just beautiful :)

  13. This is a great color on you! It is a perfect beachy dress. I think "recent retro" is a good category name, although I have trouble thinking of the '90s and '00s as "retro" -- time is flying way too fast!

  14. What a sexy little number, don't know how I missed this one! This is a perfect vacay dress and I love the 2 tones and exposed back!!!


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