Thursday, September 5, 2013

My "Falling In Love With Roses" Dress

Closer view of the rose print and belt. 
 I sewed this dress up last month, because I was so excited for fall that I wanted to have a dress that incorporated the autumnal color palette, but would not be too warm to wear in case of a mild weather fall. (In east Tennessee it's not unusual to have highs in the seventies into October.)

I love everything about fall, the cool crisp air, blue skies, jackets and sweaters, and the amazing colors of the trees. We live in a valley surrounded by the Blueridge Mountains and part of the Appalachain Mountains. In the fall the colors in our rural community literally explode. We actually don't get a lot of people coming here to look at the trees, because we live about an hour and a half from the Great Smoky Mountains, and it's a huge tourist attraction. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, last time we were there, boasts of being the most visited national park in the United States. If you are planning a visit to see the foliage though, I would suggest not just spending your time at the Smokies (it's a tourist trap), but also visiting the nearby Blueridge Mountains. They are just as beautiful, have less traffic, and you can see what the actual local people and culture is like. The Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg areas in the Smokies make a lot of money by promoting a crazy exaggerated hillbilly image, and mostly coming from people who aren't even from here.

I don't just appreciate fall for the colors though, a lot of important events in my life have occurred in the fall. It is a time full of memories for me. My birthday is in the fall as is my daughter's, even in the same month. I met my husband in October of 1998, we were teenagers in love and enjoyed the natural beauty of that fall together with fishing and hiking and picnics. My beloved grandpa, who was a WWII veteran and lived on the same street as we do, passed away in September of 2009 from end stage Alzheimer's. We lost our second child, a baby boy, in November of 2010. He never got to see the beauty of the fall colors, but I know I will see him again one day in more splendor than is imaginable here, and he is with my grandpa, who is probably laughing and playing with him.

Autumn is a bittersweet reminder that beauty fades with time as the leaves wither and fall from the trees, and that the seeming death of winter is coming. And yet we know the new life of spring will start it all over again. It's like the trees last hurrah before they submit to the inevitable fate of naked and scraggly branches standing stark and cold in snow and ice. It also reminds us that our own lives are changing. That we are all growing older and that death is coming, but is not the end. That we should celebrate  and give thanks for the life we have right now.
The background is my maternal grandparents old kitchen table. 
I used Simplicity 4426, a vintage sewing pattern I've had in my collection for some time. I do want to make another version with the full skirt, but am also hoping to make a version with the fitted skirt sometime. I would change the darts on the top next time. I made this while weaning my son off breastfeeding and can already tell this version could use some adjusting. 

I chose to make the top a solid thick cotton in a buttery yellow color with matching buttons, and the bottom out of a quilting cotton print. I had both fabrics in my stash, and had thought I would use the roses to make a more fitted, sleeveless dress. However I wanted to make this pattern and didn't have enough of the roses, so found a solid soft yellow, and I think the pairing works rather nicely. I like that it has a look of separates, but with the ease of wearing a dress. I may even try this again as I like wearing dresses as opposed to separates, because you always have a clean top to match the bottom.

And can I just say that I really love this kind of sleeve? I own and have made other dresses or blouses with similar sleeve styles and lengths, and I just think it's so flattering. It also allows the garment to be worn throughout all seasons.
Please excuse the wrinkling. 
 I paired the dress with this gold-tone rose brooch with fake pearl in the center. I like using brooches as accessories more now as a mom than ever before, because they are pinned to you and can't be ripped off or broken as easily. (Check out Jessica, from Chronically Vintage's post on how to better secure your vintage brooches here. It really works well.) I have lost necklaces to little hands pulling too hard. I do sometimes wear bangle bracelets, but on Thursdays I teach private music lessons at my brother's music store, so I don't like to wear anything that could put a ding in any instruments.

I purchased the brooch at an antique store in a nearby town. I really need and want to go back there so badly, as there was a man there who had a booth entirely filled with vintage jewelry, mostly earrings and brooches. I think this may have cost around three dollars. I hope he is still there!
Better view of the peter pan collar.
 I thrifted the belt at a local charity thrift store for fifty cents not long ago. It's too big for me, but I added another notch and tucked in the end, and am satisfied with it. I guess I could go out and buy a new belt that fits better, but it just seems like a waste of money when I got this one so cheap. Plus, I don't have a lot of belts right now, so it's getting worn whether it fits or not.

I took these photos in my living room, because my home has the colors of autumn in the decorating throughout. I don't know if you can tell, but I made the curtains out of a decorator fabric with brown, leafless, trees with yellow, orange, and red birds nesting in them.

 I told you I love fall!

Do you ever plan a theme for your sewing or outfits?


  1. Though I'm not a sewer myself, I do - on a not too infrequent basis at all - often plan themes for my outfits, or specific colour palettes to compliments the seasons, where I'm going, holidays, etc. I find that my collection of brooches is a great starting point there, because I've tried to collect a diverse array of subject matters over the years purposefully so as to have a brooch to match a good many outings or special occasions I may be dressing for. Of course I don't have a brooch for everything that might occur, but it's fun knowing that I have one for a pretty broad range of events (from St. Patrick's Day to a Pillsbury Bake-Off! :)).

    And speaking of brooches, thank you very much, sweetheart, for including a mention of my post on how to easily secure a pin back brooch here, that was wonderfully nice of you.

    Big hugs & happy Tuesday wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

  2. I want a brooch for every occasion! Wouldn't that be fun? I love dressing with a theme, too. Prior to having kids I was a professional singer/musician/songwriter (not that I dont so any of that anymore, just not as much, lol), and I enjoyed planning outfits for stage and coordinating everyone. I even like having my kids color coordinate, but not at the expense of letting them choose what they wear. I only usually do it on Sundays, and my daughter doesn't always match the rest of us, but I'm okay with that.
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. I really enjoy reading your comments.