Friday, December 23, 2011

Deco the halls: My 1933 tunic dress

Sorry for the lack of posts lately--it's been a bit crazy round these parts!  I wanted to share my newly made holiday outfit.  I've been wanting to make this outfit forever and am so happy I had to the chance to do it this week!

It's based on a 1933 reproduction pattern from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library:

This dress features a camisole attached skirt which flares slightly at the side seams.  The over-tunic may be made in full length or in a shorter, cut-away style.  Cuffs and collar offer two options, one in a deep pleated style, the other with a tightly gathered stand up ruffle.  I, of course, chose the ruffled version!

Here's the tunic and the underdress:
I used the same fabric for the tunic that I used to sew up my Mother's Day inspired 'Kitten' dress and the underskirt was sewn from the same black flannel that I used to make the 'Promenade' suit.  I used another set of velvet curtains in my stash to make the collar and cuffs.

The underdress closes with a side zipper.  Here I styled it with a belt from my stash and in the warmer summer months it could probably be worn as a dress by itself.  It's very comfortable and I like that I can keep this underdress and then make up lots of different tunics to go with it!

The collar was super easy to sew up and I found this velvet curtain much smoother and easier to sew with than the velvet curtain I used a few weeks ago to create my 'Scarlett O'Hara' dress.  Plus I have extra fabric left that I definitely want to make into a dress or part of a suit! The cuffs were much harder to sew into place due to the many layers of fabric and such a small wrist opening.  I could only sew part of it on the machine and ended up finishing the rest by hand.

The tunic fabric is a very loose weave tweed.  I found Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Guide on google books and read her advice on using fusible interfacing on the seam allowances to provide a bit of stability.  It worked like a charm (though I wish I had used black interfacing rather than white--not because it shows through but just for aesthetic appeal).  I am now going to bind the edges over the interfacing to make it look a bit nicer.  That should take care of any fraying!

The tunic just wraps around and is held in place by a belt and several strategically placed snaps.  The pattern doesn't actually call for snaps but given that my tunic fabric is quite lightweight and my ruffles are a bit heavier--it was evident I needed a few extra closures

Here's some photos out and about at the Edinburgh Christmas Market:

Look, I'm in a snow globe :)

How sad does the snowman look in the first picture (lol)?  I just had to give him a hug to cheer him up! When I met up with Kerry and Kristen a couple of weeks ago, we visited the Edinburgh Christmas market and spied this snowglobe.  It's been my mission ever since to take one of my outfit photos in the snowglobe.  So I'm really happy that I was able to stop by there last night to take these photos.

One of my favourite things about this outfit is that David said it reminded him of his absolute favourite art nouveau print:

Overall, the tunic dress is very comfortable and I just love how luxurious the velvet ruffles feel! 

Phew! That was a bit of sewing this week!  David and I are looking forward to enjoying some quite time together with our two kitties for the rest of the month. What are your plans for the remainder of 2011?

David and I are wishing you all a wonderful holiday season!

*'Deco the Halls': a title I borrowed from one of my favourite deco ladies: The Vintage Baronness!


  1. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you and David! I love the dress -- it is so very versatile. (I am, however, now suffering from snow globe envy.)

  2. YESSS! i love this dress so much - the tweed is gorgeous & the velvet ruffles frame your face beautifully. also, that last picture is GORGEOUS. you're so pretty :)

    merry christmas! i am going to spend the rest of my year making muslins. boring muslins! but i want to start 2012 with a real sewing project, so we'll see :)

  3. So lovely! I love the cuffs!
    Merry Christmas!

  4. That collar is so fancy!!! What a perfect holiday coat.

  5. Merry Christmas ... This outfit is so you. Fantastic. Xx

  6. What a sewing queen! Jeez, you're good. :) Merry Christmas!

  7. Debi your blog has to be my favorite of all the many blogs I read. Your ideas thrill me into wanting to make one too! I visited this wonderful pattern site, don't quite understand how the lending library works but I'll find out. I must have this tunic as I love sewing with velvet and have some fabric that will work for the tunic part then just need to trim velvet part. Your photos are fantastic as usual. Merry Christmas to you and your hubby. Nan

  8. Thanks so much Nan!! You should definitely make this pattern! You can either join the VPLL as a member and then get patterns and accrue points or just buy them (that's what I did). She is also making many more available online as pdf downloads!

  9. Debi, wishing you the best ~ for you and David! May your New Year be richly blessed :)

    I agree with Nan, your blog is soothing and your garments really do make one want to get sewing :) You look lovely...the wrap is just beautiful!

    Thank you so much for sharing,


  10. I love it and I love it on you. Have you seen Victor Victoria? In the very beginning, Julie Andrews is wearing a very slightly similar dress but in a lighter weight fabric, in plum browny shades. I have always loved it, and I love seeing a similar style made up. Something about those circular cut frills that is just sooo delicious!
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  11. Yay! You did the snow globe photos!

    Your dress looks really stylish and cosy, a great winter outfit.

  12. Absolutely gorgeous, Debi!

  13. You look absolutely lovely in your outfit, vintage yet modern. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  14. I saw this on sewweekly but about half my comments there get eaten so I didn't comment. I absolutely love the tunic - velvet cuffs and collars are so scrummy.

    I also love the idea of using interfacing to stabilise a tweed. I have a couple of metres of a "tweedy" fabric that I once attempted to sew a skirt from. The skirt grew eight inches in the waist during the sewing process so I had pretty much consigned the rest of the fabric to the "never again" pile. Maybe it'll get rescued sometime next year.

    I hope you have a lovely christmas and a brilliant 2012.

  15. OoooOOoooHH! Looks fantastic! I've been eyeing that pattern for years, I love what you did with it!

  16. Also, fellow Downton Fan, have you seen the big stink and hilarity over at the Daily Mail over Downton? I need to cover their pale skin interview soon..

    I wonder how long I'll have to wait to watch the Christmas special?? New Years maybe?

  17. Wow this tunic dress is pretty special . Like the others have said the velvet really does make it special. You are very talented Debi.

  18. You look absolutely radiant in that last portrait.
    I wish I were even one-tenth as photogenic and motivated to sew.
    Lovely vintage inspired outfit as always.
    Blessings to you.

  19. I *love* those ruffles! I've always wanted to see that pattern made up.
    All the best for 2012 :)

  20. So pretty! And the dress is nice too ;) I love that you drew inspiration from the pattern cover- I do the same.

    As for the rest of 2011, I'll be working days but knitting in the evening!

  21. STUNNING!!! You pull off the ruffle collar so well - what a gorgeous tunic!

  22. Really lovely! The ruffle collar is beautiful.

  23. I l.o.v.e. this coat! The ruffle is a perfect frame for your face, and the colour combination is so yummy! So so pretty!


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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