Thursday, 3 March 2016

#VintagePledge 2016 - Alice's Dress

Twas brillig and the slithy toves, 
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

Excerpt from the 'Jabberwocky' taken from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found ThereLewis Carroll, 1871

When Monkeychild announced that she wanted to go as Alice on World Book Day where kids go to school dressed up as a favourite character, I knew which pattern I was going to use to make her dress: a Simplicity pattern from 1972. As its a vintage pattern it could also go towards this year's  #Vintage Pledge - convenient, huh?

As mentioned in an earlier post I had won £40 worth of sewing materials in January, out of which I chose some blue and white fabric specifically for the dress.

I love the puffed sleeves

The dress was very easy to sew as its a basic pattern. The only mod I made was to lengthen the skirt to just below the knee; although if I was to make another version I would increase the darts in the bodice as the fit was a bit loose and shorten the hem (though not to early 1970s standards!). This sizing wasn't a suprise though as the pattern is for a twelve year old and Monkeychild's a couple of years younger.

I used the skirt section of the pattern to base the petticoat on, though just increased the width in order that I could sew a few gathers in at the waistband to give it some fullness. However when it came to the apron, I just freestyled it and made it up as I went along.

The tucks at the bottom of the apron were a last minute idea just before I added the frill. Another ad-hoc idea was the trimming. I searched though my vintage table linen stash and found a drawn-thread work table cloth that I had previously cut up to make a top from. I cut off a corner from it and stitched it onto the neckline to add some detail; I also used a section of the cloth edge to make a pocket.

Monkeychild and I are both pleased with how the outfit has turned out...

...just gotta decide what my next Vintage Pledge project will be. Something for myself I reckon.

P.S. Whilst I'm on the Alice theme, the BBC version of Alice in Wonderland from 1966 is an amazing atmospheric film to watch with its Ravi Shankar soundtrack.


  1. Aah she looks perfect as Alice, good job! Rather disappointingly, our school aren't dressing up this year, although I've had to come up with characters including Paddington, Asterix and a variety of pirates in the past.

  2. The corridor she's running along was the Royal Victoria Military Hospital. It was used just prior to demolition.

    Your little one makes a perfect Alice xx

  3. Monkeychild looks gorgeous in her dress. Clever you.

  4. Monkeychild looks absolutely wonderful thanks to her mega talented mum! Cheers for sharing that track, it's wonderful. xxx

  5. That's a fabulous costume, MC looks adorable.
    And I am the world's worst mother - Nina had no costume at all, let alone a beautifully home-sewn one... She had to go as some obscure character in a book she's read who is just a kid, so she wore her normal clothes. Such a cop out! xxx

  6. It just goes to show a little inventiveness with dress patterns goes a long way - nice work!

  7. How enchantingly sweet! Wonderful creation, dear lady.

    ♥ Jessica

  8. Oh she looks adorable, what a fab little dress! I had an inkling it must have been world book day as I saw the procession of Elsa dresses walking into the local school, also the fact that on my bus trip home I sat next to a mini Sith Lord and Dora the Explora did make me wonder! I would have loved something like this when I was little!!

  9. I love that! Your daughter is Alice!
    I wish I had something like that when I went to school, I don't think they even had it when my boys were at school either.
    Julie xxxxx

  10. Oh, that's so cute! I bet she was the envy of the other children. What do you do with your costumes afterwards?

    1. This one is going to be recycled for her class' Victorian Day next month. I'm going to add longer sleeves to the dress and dye it navy, but keep the petticoat and apron as they are.

    2. Oh, that's an excellent idea!

  11. She makes a lovely Alice. And who can resist the Jabberwocky?

  12. The outfit you made was perfect for her, she looks lovely. Thank you for the clip, because I watched a recording a few of days ago of the 5 years of psychedelia in music in the 60's where they showed a clip of the ripped curtains blowing in the corridor and we thought we'd like to watch the film... how strange.


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