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Jul 25, 2018

Cathy's Comeback Dress?


Big news, readers!

My identical cousin Cathy, who hasn't been seen on this blog since 2014, is planning her return, tentatively scheduled for mid-August.

Naturally, I have been enlisted to create her comeback costume, so I immediately delved into my vintage pattern stash in hopes of finding just the right frock.  I've always been fond of this 1959 McCall's pattern (up top), which was created by designer Luis Estevez exclusively for the Quaker Oats Company.  You read that right.  Evidently there was some sort of tie-in, though it doesn't sound like a natural fit.  Obviously the McCall's-Quaker Oats relationship was a short-lived one as only a few of these patterns were produced, but I know McCall's also had a Post Cereals tie-in in the 1970s so they clearly liked their morning grains.


I purchased the Estevez pattern in 2012 (on eBay I'm guessing) and it's been sitting in my stash ever since.  It's a beautiful dress and the style lines are quite unusual.  It's also a little challenging to sew.


The pattern still had its factory folds.


Included are pieces for the both the big front bow as well as for the matching (or contrasting) belt.  Not sure I'll be making the belt but we'll see.

I wasn't sure what kind of fabric to use; the pattern itself includes many different possibilities.  I biked up to the Garment Center last Saturday and found an inexpensive cotton polka dot print at Chic Fabrics that seemed perfect.  I underlined the bodice front and back as well as the skirt with a solid cotton to give the garment a bit more support.  I also think this dress would look fantastic in a silk faille or twill.


Look at the front bodice and side bodice pieces (below) and note how the edges line up (you can look at the notches).  The sleeve is drafted as part of both the bodice front and bodice side front and they come together to form something like a gusset.  It's a lovely sleeve but a b*tch to sew.  Luckily I have some experience with this sort of thing.

Underarm point where front bodice and front side bodice meet.

The bow was fun to make and I like the result.  I used sew-in interfacing instead of fusible, resulting in a softer, fuller look.


I'm almost ready to attach the skirt and bodice.  I'm trying to take it slow since there's hand-sewing to be done plus my cousin Cathy won't be here for a few weeks so why hurry.  Here's where things stand as of today.

Bodice:


Skirt:


A little online research has uncovered someone else's adventures making this dress a few years back.  You can read about her experiences here.

I'm excited about this project and even more about reuniting with my cousin Cathy.   Can you believe little Simplicity has already started school?

Hope your summer sewing projects are going well.

Have a great day, everybody!

Cathy in 2014, just before her mysterious disappearance.

26 comments:

  1. can't wait for the return of the MIA Cathy!

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  2. Fabulous pattern and fabulous seam lines...sadly mostly lost in the past. I remember "pounds thinner" patterns way back when! The top portion and that killer collar are already looking great and the bow...OMG...why don't we wear more of them. Cathy will be thrilled for her 2018 debut!!!!

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  3. We have all missed Cathy. The lovely new dress will be a perfect "welcome back" gift! Since you mentioned the b*tchy bodice/sleeve connection, do you feel that the instructions give the best way to sew this area? I sometimes find that pattern instructions will give the easiest to explain/understand method, which is not always the best.

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    Replies
    1. I read the instructions but mainly used my own judgement. They were confusing.

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  4. The bodice is quite lovely.

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  5. Oh I have missed Cathy soo much. I can't wait to see her again. The dress is beautiful and I think will suit her colouring. Beautiful work as usual.

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  6. My husband and I were just wondering about Cathy the other day. I wonder if her ears were burning? Looking forward to her visit. She is going to look gorgeous in that dress!

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  7. I really was thinking about Cathy just the other day! I’m sure you’ll have a lovely reunion, and how thoughtful of you to create a new outfit for the occasion.

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  8. Have jumped out the window with excitement about Cathy's return! I suspect time and genetics will have been kind to her. Lucky girl is going to look gorgeous in that number. Cannot wait!!!
    Spud.

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    Replies
    1. She assures me her measurements are unchanged: we shall see!

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  9. LOL.... the Post Cereals pattern (in blue with white trim) is the one that makes me think of the Quaker Oats man. Cereal and dress patterns - definitely an odd pairing for sure.
    I am glad that it is you and not me sewing the bodice sleeve connection. Just seeing the pattern piece scares me.

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    Replies
    1. And dare I say - Cathy certainly seems to know how to handle a banana.
      Wait, no! I don't dare say that!

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  10. Oh Joy! Please give Cathy a big welcome back hug!

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  11. I cannot help but notice how perfectly your polka dots line up in the bodice and bow. Beautiful choice for Cathy’s long-awaited return. Peter, you just keep getting better and better. Beautiful job and excellent fabric and pattern choice.

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  12. Cathy is so lucky, can't wait to see her pose in the polkas.

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  13. That dress looks delicious! Looking forward to seeing Cathy modeling it.

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  14. Was there some sort of couponing involved, where you bought X number of boxes of Quaker Oats and sent in labels, or box tops; or was the pattern actually inside a box of oatmeal, a la the dishes in Duz?

    One wonders.

    So good to hear that Cathy will be back in town! Had wondered about dear little Simplicity, but thought it was too much like child predation to ask about her. I'm not a child predator, just too motherly for my own good.)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I think that's how it worked: you mailed away for it. I appreciate your motherly concern about Simplicity! :)

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  15. Cathy!
    Cathy!
    Cathy!

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  16. I was ...hoping this was a dress for Cathy, but didn't want to be pushy. And I'm sure (as I am a mother in my spare time) that Simplicity has grown up and started her own life sized adventures. So hoping Cathy will share her new dress with us. When she's ready.

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  17. So excited to see Cathy again, Mr Peter! Assure her that she has been go for too long!! She will be a knock-out in the dot number!! --Erik

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  18. Cannot wait to see Cathy after all this time! She is going to love this dress!

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  19. The dress has such a beautiful neckline and collar. Can't wait for the finished product.

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  20. Such a beautiful dress. I am sure that Cathy will be thrilled with it. It has been too long. Will we be seeing not so little Simplicity too? Looking forward to catching up. Xx

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