I don’t actually do a whole lot of planning when designing my dresses. More like I rifle through my stash of vintage linens and see what grabs me. This particular day, a little blue hand towel “spoke” to me. Yup, I’m pretty sure it said, “pick me, pick me, pick me!” in those exact words 😉
To let the towel be the “star” of this dress, a simple white dinner napkin will make a good back drop. This napkin is luxuriously soft to the touch and big enough to work with. Also, it’s been meticulously finished with crochet work around the edges. All of my dresses get lined with anti-static polyester lining material (the material used to line wedding dresses). It just adds to the comfort and quality of the finished product. The size of these vintage linens will be perfect for a size 18 month dress.
One of the first things I do once I’ve selected my material is iron them. It’s easier to get more precise measurements and straighter cuts when the material is wrinkle-free.
Next, I trace my pattern and cut the pieces out. I am always a little anxious cutting up a piece of vintage linen, but I know it is getting a second chance in life. This towel is just big enough for the bodice and a cute little apron.
This 20in X 20in napkin is the perfect to size for the “skirt” of my dress. All I have to do is cut it right down the middle.
It pains me to do it, but to sew them together for the skirt I have to trim off some of the crocheted edges. But worry not! They will get used later.
Now they get pinned and sewn together…..
I realized the apron is a tad long so I need to shorten it a little bit. The best place to trim back is from the bottom so as not cut into the embroidery. Again, these trimmings will get used. No vintage material goes to waste!
To give the apron a finished look, I added some vintage lace to the bottom. All those trimmings find their new purpose too. The bottom piece from the towel turns into straps for the dress and some of the crochet from the dinner napkin is used to embellish them!
Now the bodice comes together. The straps get sewn in and I decide to line the bodice with some white vintage fabric with a cute floral design I had laying around.
I also used some of that crocheted trim again to add a mock peter pan collar. It adds a bit of whimsy and a touch of innocence to the dress, don’t you think?
The apron gets attached to the skirt, the lining goes in and……….
The finished product! An adorable apron-front dress with sweet little pink and white flowers. A dress that features a simple white skirt with a crochet finish. A mock peter pan collar adds vintage charm and the straps embellished with the same crochet enhance the shabby chic appeal of this dress. I am so happy with how it turned out!
This dress is available for sale in my shop here. There is a lucky little girl out there somewhere that will receive this dress, perhaps as a gift for the Holidays or for a special occasion. My hope is that she will where it now and then pass it down as an heirloom to her own daughter some day. There is a certain romance in the notion that a vintage hand towel and dinner napkin from a past era are now an adorable dress, worthy of being passed to the next generation 🙂