I didn't set out to make a dress that Lucille Ball would have worn on I Love Lucy, but I think that's what I ended up with. It all began with McCalls 6891, view C, which is a perfectly modern shirtdress pattern with short sleeves. No retro vibe going on here.
Next came the fabric--a navy blue cotton that's been in the stash for a goodly while. It's nice and lightweight for summer use but holds it color well through the wash. Plus I had 4 yards of it, the pattern's a bit of a fabric hog. Still no real retro thing going on yet.
I got almost to the collar and thought to myself how boring this plain navy dress looks. It needs something to perk it up but what. It was time to apply the collar, when it dawned on me that some thin white braid on the collar would look very crisp and nautical. So I added it. And liked so much I much I added it to the sleeve hems, too. Now it looks more retro than nautical.
Its time to place the buttons and the dilemma arises what to do now? Try some silver buttons with anchors on them? It just seemed wrong. I decided to embrace the retro and put on bold white buttons marching down the front. Now it definitely looks like something Lucille Ball would wear gliding into the room on I Love Lucy. And I can live with that because I'm just mad about this dress now.
Apparently others are too. Everywhere I go when I wear it, I get compliments from complete strangers. The restaurant, the grocery store, Barnes and Noble... Someone will stop me, say they love the dress and ask where did get it. Its a little embarrassing but cool, too.
I also want to point out that this is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern so its a treasure trove of how to modify a pattern to fit you. I only had to do my usual forward shoulder adjustment, but if I ever make it again, will make the sleeves a little wider as they're a little snug.
On to the next project. Happy sewing to you.