Monday, February 24, 2020

The Dress From the Lavender and Gold Uganda Fabric

I bought two lengths fabric on my trip to Uganda back in September. Both beautiful wax prints. One in teal and one in lavender and gold. The plan was to turn these two 6 yard cuts of fabric into dresses which I could wear on my return trip to Uganda in January. I had all fall to make these dresses, so I was sure I'd get them done with plenty of time to spare. Of course, me being the procrastinator I am, "Plenty of time" turned into "Oh, I'm going to Uganda next week. I should start on those dresses." Thus, around the first of January, I cut out the first of the two dresses. The lavender and gold one.

With 6 yards of each print, I had plenty of fabric to play with. So I decided to use a couple of real fabric hogs in my pattern stash - 1950's re-print patterns from the "Vintage Vogue". They called for at least 5.5 yards of fabric apiece.

For my lavender and gold fabric I decided to use Vogue 9106. This pattern features cut-on sleeves, a button front, a gathered bust, and a wonderfully full, unique, skirt.

As with any design featuring a seam directly under the bust, I knew I would need to lengthen the bust section, otherwise those under bust gathers would be sitting about mid-bust on me.

I added about an inch of length to the gathered section of the bodice. It turned out this wasn't quite enough extra length as the gathers still sit more on my bust than under my bust. Whoops. I should have made a mock-up, oh well. The dress is still wearable.

This pattern recommends bound buttonholes down the front of the bodice, and the first step in the pattern instructions is making said bound buttonholes.

I do not often do bound buttonholes, as they take more time to make than normal, machine-sewn, buttonholes, and I'm impatient. Thus, I did considered skipping the bound buttonholes. However, bound buttonholes are so nice looking, and it's a good technique to practice every now and then. So I decided to make the bound buttonholes this time around.

I appreciate the bound buttonholes being at the beginning of the project, when you're fresh, ready to go, and excited about the project, rather than at the end when you just wanna be done. The bound buttonhole instructions included in the pattern directions were very good and my button holes turned out well.

Along with the buttons down the front of the bodice, the pattern called for a side-seam zipper. I decided this was silly - if my dress looked like it opened down the front, gosh darn, it was going to open down the front!

So I stuck an invisible zipper in the center front seam of the skirt, beginning at the waist where the button placket ends. The zipper pull is covered by the belt when the dress is worn, so you can't even tell its there!

This invisible zipper in the front of the skirt turned out amazingly well, and I'm very glad I choose to do it! The dress is much easier to get on and off with the front opening than it would have been with the side seam opening.

The only other pattern alteration I did was to add sides seam pockets to the skirt - because we all know I must have pockets!

I had to re-configure the construction of the skirt a bit to allow for the pockets, but it worked out just fine!

The hard part on the skirt was getting the area where the gathers end and the flat part of the skirt begins to lay smooth. The ruffled and flat portions of the skirt are all cut as one piece, slashed, and gathered, and sewn back together. I had to do some seam ripping there until I got it right, but eventually I was satisfied.

The finished skirt really is delightful!

Once the dress was finished, it was worn to church the Sunday before I left, then packed for Uganda.

I wore it to church our first Sunday in Uganda, then again at the end of the week for our celebration, when the kids did a good-bye performance for us, we shared a feast, and brought goats home to the new goat pen at the school.

Photo Credit: Sophia Smither
Yes, I wrangled goats in this dress. And it held up just fine!

Photo Credit: Sophia Smither
I made this dress specifically for my Uganda trip, but I quite like it, and it will be worn plenty at home as well!


  1. That is so fun that you were able to wear your dress back to Uganda, and the fabric is lovely! I can't wait to see the other print you bought!
    Amen! After giving the extra effort for bound button holes, why make them useless with a side zip??? That is a good idea to do your button holes in the beginning! I'll have to start thinking about doing first instead of last.
    I like the idea to mix a zipper with your button closure too. I have learned the hard way how difficult it can be to get a fitted waist dress on/off of wide shoulders...
    Did you make the eyelets on the belt by hand? They add a lovely detail.

    1. Thank you! Dresses with side seam zippers are rather a pain to get on and off! Yes, I hand sewed the eyelets.

  2. Very commendable wrangling goats in that very nice dress. But, if you continue that practice may I suggest an apron would be a sensible addition. Kim