>Make Do and Mend- The Big Apple Dress


Shortly after my blog post on the Big Apple as a fashion craze I ran across an adorable housecoat from the 1940s on Etsy.  The fabric was beyond wonderful- a large apple print in cotton, but the dress had some issues like larger tears, stains, and wear.  Luckily the seller (Factory Girl Vintage on Etsy, who has some other lovely things as well) had a low price on it so I took a chance and bought it to use for a project dress.

First thing was to oxyclean the dress since it had some larger all over stains.  It did get them a bit dimmer, but they are still there.  It’s ok- it’s a casual dress anyways!  The bodice had large tears, particularly on one side of the front- one about 2″, one probably 1″, so the first thing to do was put the dress on and mark where I wanted my hem to be all the way around.  The extra length was to be what I would piece the bodice with.  Next thing was to rip the bodice all apart and have a look.  I ripped out the sideseams, part of the armscye, and removed the waistband after deciding doing a square inset piece (kind of like a faux front yoke and placket combined) was the best bet.   A lot of the bottom was pretty stained and had several larger holes but I cleverly cut around it and pulled out them hem to “make do and mend for Victory”. I wanted it to look more day dress or house dress than robe-like, so the center front skirt got seamed up, the front belt piece was seamed at center front, and I added a zipper to the left side (since it was center front button closing before).

I had to play a little thread mending underneath one of the buttonholes, but I hid it with two large buttons on either side- luckily for me it was a fashion trend of the early 40’s anyways to have big buttons on the waist!  I did kind of mess up one sleeve by making it too short on one side, but oh well… still not too shabby for no pattern combined with laziness!  The sleeves originally had piping around the bottom, so I cut across that and used it as accent for the short sleeves.
I’ve got before (from the listing) and after pictures! Horray! And now I can do the big apple in my big apple dress- although this version is more like 1941 than 1937.  And… I don’t know the dance.

15 Comments on >Make Do and Mend- The Big Apple Dress

  1. Shrinky Inky
    May 19, 2010 at 11:34 pm (14 years ago)

    >your great-grandma would be proud of your brilliance in re-fashioning that lovely dress!! and so am i!

  2. Meg
    May 19, 2010 at 11:46 pm (14 years ago)

    >So cute! I really like the fabric — it's prettier than the vintage prints, not as juvenile!

  3. The Dreamstress
    May 20, 2010 at 2:01 am (14 years ago)

    >Great fabric! And great rescue of a dress that deserved a second life!

  4. NewVintageLady
    May 20, 2010 at 6:23 am (14 years ago)

    >Awesome! Yay make due and mend! :)

  5. Tilly
    May 20, 2010 at 7:25 am (14 years ago)

    >It's just darling! Great work!

  6. Lauren
    May 20, 2010 at 3:39 pm (14 years ago)

    >I love it! The fabric is adorable.

  7. knubbsy-wubbsy
    May 20, 2010 at 10:52 pm (14 years ago)

    >1. I love that dress!2. The Big Apple was billed as the dress anyone can do (now this varies if you want to learn the traditional called dance or Frankie's choreography, which still isn't too hard if you have the mind for it)

  8. BaronessVonVintage
    May 21, 2010 at 1:59 am (14 years ago)

    >you are a miracle worker! Fantastic!!

  9. Maggi
    May 21, 2010 at 12:30 pm (14 years ago)

    >Wow, that is awesome! You did a great job!

  10. Bree
    May 26, 2010 at 9:21 pm (14 years ago)

    >you did a wonderful job the dress looks darling!

  11. Porcelina
    June 1, 2010 at 10:29 pm (14 years ago)

    >Hi there, love what you did with the dress!I'm working on a 'project' dress at the moment and wanted to ask about Oxyclean – is it safe to use it on bold colours or will it bleach them? My dress is a deep blue and the stains so far have resisted spot treatment with Vanish Soap and a good soak in ordinary detergent.Be grateful for any stain-removing tips!Thanks,Miss P xx

  12. Wearing History
    June 1, 2010 at 10:51 pm (14 years ago)

    >Thanks everyone for your sweet comments on the dress :)Porcelina, I think it really depends on the fabric and dye originally used. I generally only use oxyclean on cotton fabrics that are primarily while. I didn't notice this one fading. I'd be hesitant to use it on something I didn't mind the color fading on a bit. I have heard of it changing colors on certain things. I would spot test it, or if you've got any extra seam allowance inside, snip out a bit and see how well it takes with that- though I guess that won't tell you if it will shrink or not. Sorry I can't be of more help!

  13. Porcelina
    June 2, 2010 at 8:31 am (14 years ago)

    >Thank you for that, I will give it a little spot test and let you know how it works out! Fingers crossed!!Miss P xx

  14. Porcelina
    June 14, 2010 at 1:12 pm (14 years ago)

    >Hi, just wanted to let you know that oxiclean worked wonders! I've got a lot of repairs to make to the dress now but will post before and after pics when I've finished the project.Thanks for your advice,Miss P xx

  15. Wearing History
    June 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm (14 years ago)

    >Oh, I'm so glad! Make sure you rinse the oxyclean out really well, too, cause if it's stuck in the fibres it can dry them out. I'd love to see pictures!

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