Menu
ORDER & ADVICE LINE: +44 (0)20 7254 2451

A Summer’s Day Wedding Dress

Gee's Blog, Project Space, Vintage Corner
2016
Post By 0 Comment
When my cousin Emma called to say she was getting married, asking my two lovely daughters to be her flower girls, I was absolutely thrilled! The wedding was to be held in the beautiful Doxford Hall, Northumberland, and being a special wedding, it called for a special outfit. I usually struggle to find something I’m happy with, trawling shop after shop & feeling disappointed with the choice.
So it was that I decided to make my own outfit, and loving vintage, plumped for a vintage pattern. Having never used a vintage pattern before and having just got back into sewing after a couple of decades away from it, I felt it would be a good idea to enrol in a local sewing class, to boost my confidence and brush up on my skills. The classes were led by Jenny Smerdon, a wonderful lady who helped me improve my technique and brought me in to contact with a wonderful sewing community. I have no formal training (having been taught the basics by my mum and gran) and taught myself to use a pattern, so thoroughly recommend sewing classes to anyone wanting to learn, or build upon existing skills.
My first step was to seek out a pattern. I was amazed by the choice of reproduction & original vintage patterns. I chose a lovely Vintage Vogue 1957 design (V2903) with its fitted bodice & flared skirt (it turned out to be the first of many vintage makes). I chose the short sleeved version as the wedding was in June, when it would hopefully be warm. I bought 6 metres of a beautiful green & white cotton with a vintage look, whilst Jenny guided me on the Essential Sewing Kit I would need for my sewing box and I was good to go!

contents to make my vintage summer dress

The second step was to take my measurements- a process I go through every time I make myself an outfit now- as my size & shape can alter by a couple of centimetres over the course of a year. My upper body is quite short so the bodice pieces had to be shortened where the pattern indicated. As I am only 5 foot tall, I also had to take a couple of inches off the dress length. After that, the process for the most part was quite straightforward. I made a toile – a mock up using calico fabric – for the bodice first, as the fabric was too expensive to ruin! I was happy that the fit around my bust and waist was nice and snug, so got going with the dress. The main body of the dress has eight panels, so there is a lot of fabric to work with and lots of tailor tacks to mark the princess seams and inverted pleats. The markings were adjusted to take into account the dress having been altered for my shape. Despite being a time consuming process, the preparation is necessary and worth the effort.
However, inserting the sleeves did prove a challenge. First you have to make and attach the neck/armhole facing, then make the yoke, attach the sleeves to it and then slip the yoke and sleeves under the neck and shoulders of the dress! The yoke is then basted to the seam allowance and then the remainder of the sleeve is sewn to the armhole edge, under the arms. I found this so tricky I ended up finishing this part by hand! Below you can see the yoke basted to the facing seam allowance.

yoke basted to the facing seam allowance

And here is an image of the right side showing the neck with its facing pulled away from the yoke.

right side showing hte neck with its facing pulled away from the yoke

This is how the neckline sits when finished:

how the neckline sits once finished

I chose to finish off the seams by turning the raw edges in 6mm, then stitching and ironing them. I inserted an invisible zip, which is just a personal preference as I love the finish you get with them. I slipstitched the hems – again time consuming – but it makes for a flawless finish.

finish the dress with an invisible zip

I was really proud of the finished dress as the process had taught me so much about sewing vintage & I had a truly original dress that fitted me beautifully (although the bodice is so fitted I do need assistance getting out of it!). I have to add, attending a refresher sewing class was a great way to improve technique and get to know other sewing enthusiasts! I loved sharing what I was making & seeing what others made too.

the sun shone on my new vintage summer dress

On the day, the sun shone, as did the bride! As for my first vintage make, I wore it with a petticoat for extra glamour and there was no danger of anyone wearing an identical outfit! You can see me here with my beautiful family, although our little one by now has changed out of her flower girl dress and can be seen wearing a more comfy dress with trainers!
I received lots of lovely compliments and felt wonderful wearing a dress I had made myself. I wore it again recently for an outdoor screening of the Hitchcock film ‘Dial M for Murder’, where guests were invited to wear outfits inspired by the film. This dress seemed the perfect homage to Grace Kelly and it was lovely to have an excuse to wear it again.

me in my vintage summer dress

I do hope you enjoyed reading about my first vintage make and I would love to know if it inspires you to sew vintage!

feeling inspired by William GeeFeeling inspired? Head to our online shop and start planning your next project today, or be sure to follow William Gee's on Instagram for more creative inspiration from your favourite haberdashery!
Shabana loves to sew using vintage, and vintage inspired clothes patterns. In the Vintage Corner, she will be sharing her makes with you, past & present, and celebrating all things vintage! Shabana is the creator of Bobbin&Spool, producing sewing projects for children inspired to sew.

Comments are closed.

  • Very good service. Helpful staff with great knowledge. Hope to see shop.
    Pauline Rawlinson
    Pauline Rawlinson
    14:56 03 Jun 19
    Great being able to find all your sewing needs in one place. I placed an order for a few items & all were received quickly & at a great price.
    Jacqui Thomas
    Jacqui Thomas
    11:54 03 Jun 19
    Excellent customer Service. Had an issue with an order and it was sorted in minutes. Also got items in for me that I need on a regular basis. Good prices too.
    Joanna McCall
    Joanna McCall
    16:12 23 May 19
    My first experience of buying from this company. Good price, smooth transaction and super fast delivery. Would definitely recommend them for all your haberdashery needs.
    Christine Muttock
    Christine Muttock
    15:41 19 Apr 19
    Great products, I received my order (overlocker thread and dot & cross pattern paper) within 24 hours of ordering. Would definitely order again.
    Fiona Barnett
    Fiona Barnett
    08:15 04 Apr 19
    Managed to find exactly what I wanted at a fantastic price. Quick delivery. Very happy.
    Lara Lewis
    Lara Lewis
    10:33 25 Mar 19
    Wonderful old shop complete with original layout and fittings. Long may it last. Helpful service too.
    Anne Barron
    Anne Barron
    15:22 15 Mar 19
    Thank you very much for my order. I was able to choose the right products at a good price from an extensive range all in one place. Quick delivery too.
    CatsMistress
    CatsMistress
    12:10 18 Feb 19
    I'm very pleased with the items that I've purchased and they were delivered very quickly.
    jayne cooke
    jayne cooke
    07:25 31 Jan 19
    Not only do William Gee have an amazing amount of products at great prices their customer experience must be second to none! I placed my order at about lunchtime and it was in my house in Derbyshire by 8.15am the next day! Thank you.
    Di Kendall
    Di Kendall
    12:59 23 Jan 19
    Quick delivery, quality products I struggled to find a shop that provided all the products I needed and found this! Will order again.
    RADUTA ROXANA
    RADUTA ROXANA
    14:19 21 Jan 19
    A great little shop with a good selection of quality haberdashery from notions to lining fabrics. I bought a beautiful pair of William Whiteley Wilkinson fabric shears and they are excellent.
    Laura Haines
    Laura Haines
    09:57 10 Jan 19
    Had everything I needed. Delivery was very quick. Will shop with William Gee again.
    Richard Christian
    Richard Christian
    07:50 24 Dec 18
    Ordered two pairs of shears. Got an immediate telephone call advising that one item was not in stock but would be delivered as soon as available. Both items arrived within 8 days.
    David Brown
    David Brown
    15:08 29 Nov 18
    Brilliantly helpful staff, quick to respond to emails and to ship. Helped me find specific items not on the website and very easy to deal with and process. Will continue to use for future business purchases!
    Hayley Jones
    Hayley Jones
    11:22 14 Nov 18
    Excellent service and high quality products. Highly recommended.
    C Parfish
    C Parfish
    17:08 02 Nov 18
    My friend bought some Terko satin cotton recently and was very impressed with the excellent service, will definitely use again.
    derek richardson
    derek richardson
    20:33 29 Oct 18
    Excellent service - William Gee supplied thread for curtain making that I had struggled to find elsewhere and for a fraction of the price of the few suppliers I had managed to find elsewhere. Delivery was fast and reasonably priced. Would recommend and will be shopping there again. Thank you.
    Hannah
    Hannah
    09:48 26 Oct 18
    I ordered binding and was very pleased with it..Communication went smoothly very nice people Thank you so the sale .Annette from Nottingham. Will definitely buy again
    Crabbycheetah
    Crabbycheetah
    06:10 07 Oct 18
    Quick and efficient service. Very good quality products
    Mo Heywood
    Mo Heywood
    06:07 07 Oct 18
    Was more than pleased with the things that I ordered arrived very promptly and were packed well would certainly recommend and look forward to ordering again in the future.
    caren Tapley
    caren Tapley
    07:37 13 Sep 18
    I ordered a 150m. roll of Dot and Cross pattern and received the parcel the following morning, excellent customer service, thank you.
    Janet Megson
    Janet Megson
    14:31 29 Aug 18
    I placed an order for some haberdashery items. They arrived well packed and secure so there was no damage; and, earlier than I expected to receive them. Good quality products, will definitely be ordering again. Thank you very much!
    kemi watchorn
    kemi watchorn
    12:32 06 Aug 18
    Placed an order online to collect, was ready quickly and they called to tell me so. Through browsing online store it is probably the best stocked haberdashery in the uk, stocking harder to find and a lot of items for designers. Will definatly be using again.
    Thewilsonsdidwhat
    Thewilsonsdidwhat
    08:25 02 Aug 18
    Amazing service. Next day delivery. Good value.
    Janette Hall
    Janette Hall
    14:15 30 Jul 18
    Online ordering is simple; efficiency in recieving goods in a timely manner is superb. Will continue to use William Gee.
    Lara Kelly
    Lara Kelly
    12:26 28 Jul 18
    Have used them for a number of years both professionally and personally. Great prices, fast and efficient service and amazing staff who go out of their way to help.
    Catherine McEvoy
    Catherine McEvoy
    16:34 03 Jul 18
    Excellent service and quick delivery. The only place on the Web I could find Acetate Satin at the correct weight. Very pleased with the product and I will certainly come to you again when we need.
    Sifu K
    Sifu K
    20:39 30 Jun 18
    Everything I needed in one place and speedy efficient delivery, can't ask for much more :)
    Shirley Mather
    Shirley Mather
    15:55 22 Jun 18
    Lovely habedashery with very friendly and helpful staff. Easily accessible by public transport. Will definitely go again.
    Fatima Mirza
    Fatima Mirza
    14:35 17 May 18
    I placed my first order recently and I was very pleased with my purchases. Everything was as described, the quality was outstanding and it was all affordable. Their wide range of haberdashery is the best I've come across. I'll definitely be back for another haul.
    twenty.seven zero.three
    twenty.seven zero.three
    07:53 27 Mar 18
    Excellent quality goods and speedy delivery, can't ask for more! I'll definitely shop here again.
    Lisa Wightman
    Lisa Wightman
    22:34 02 Mar 18
    Excellent. I made a silly mistake when ordering. Phoned immediately and it was all sorted straightaway. Couldn’t have wished for better service. Thank you.
    Joan Clark
    Joan Clark
    09:57 25 Jan 18
    I visited WilliamGee store today. I am a new starter in sewing, so I had just a paper with a list of unknown words to me. Effie, the sales assistant, was very helpful, indeed. She explained to me what I needed for and replied friendly to my queries. So, I easily found all I needed and I am happy! I will definitely recommend this place.
    Natalia Kokla
    Natalia Kokla
    12:17 10 Jan 18
    Excellent service provided by this family run business. Not only are the prices superb but the delivery time is swift too. I shall be definitely using William Gee again and have recommended them to all of my 'stitchy' friends!
    Zoe Goodwin
    Zoe Goodwin
    15:54 03 Jan 18
    Great price and found exactly what I need, speedy delivery too. Will definitely be returning for more zips!
    WOSAT Group SC046663
    WOSAT Group SC046663
    09:44 20 Nov 17
    Amazing selection on their website - lots of unusual and hard to find items. Great prices and quick delivery. I will definitely be shopping there again just because of the extensive range of products.
    rosalind povey
    rosalind povey
    09:40 02 Nov 17
    Brilliant service. Really helpful when I telephoned them. My order was processed very quickly. Will definitely use them again.
    Jane
    Jane
    18:14 31 Oct 17
    A fantastic place for all haverdashery needs. I've been buying from this company for years. Excellent customer service, responds promptly to any issues. Shopping online is easy, but the shop is always worth visiting.
    Sonia Auyeung
    Sonia Auyeung
    18:56 06 Sep 17
    Placed my first online order with William Gee for my small sewing business. Web site very easy to navigate and use, good quality products and very speedy delivery. Very happy customer, I will be ordering again. Thank you.
    julie payne
    julie payne
    20:03 13 Aug 17
    Incredible sewing and craft shop, reminds me of long established sewing shops in Manchester growing up in the 80s. It's not a massive shop but they have everything you could ever want at very competitive prices. I also love their bargain bundles and bags.Staff are incredibly friendly and helpful too. I have done both click and collect online and bought from the shop in person, both great experiences but if you're easily tempted I advise the former option.
    Sophie J
    Sophie J
    23:39 11 Aug 17
  • FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM!
×

PREVIEW :

Please buy this item for me...I will love you forever!

BUY THIS FOR ME?

SETTINGS

Chat with us!
Chat with us!
Hello, how can we help you?
Connecting...
Hi there, need a little help? We aren't currently online, so leave us a message & we'll respond as soon as we can. If you need to amend an order, or if it's urgent, please email info@williamgee.co.uk or call 020 7254 2451. Thank you!
Our operators are currently busy. Please try again later.
:
:
:
Please fill in the below and click 'Start Chat'.
:
:
Your chat session has ended.