My chosen fairytale was, as I mentioned previously, initially going to be a Disney-inspired Tudor Snow White, but that was very ambitious in terms of time and money. Then I remembered that I had a better inspiration - one of my favourite fairytales, Beauty and the Beast, and also a novel I wrote in 2012. I set it in 1940-1943 England, where my "Beauty" was sent to the countryside to live with her aunt and uncle to escape the Blitz, and meets her "Beast", a fairy-enchanted werewolf. I was torn between a few scenes, waffling between one where she meets him for the first time, or perhaps when they attended a dance in Southampton. I thought I would keep my options open, and see what the internet might be able to bring to me.
But then, when I was typing up my last entry, I decided to try googling again. I really wanted to keep the aesthetic of the 1940s even if I couldn't have a truly authentic piece for lack of the pattern. I would have been happy with even some pattern diagrams to at least get the seam-placements right. I found a dress or two that I liked well enough to attempt, plus I already had a pattern that was similar that I had made up before and really liked. And then, via Google and Pinterest, the perfect webpage dropped into my lap.
Behold, Very Easy 1939 Dirndl Dress Pattern. While from a year before my heroine went to the country, she is precisely the kind of character to re-wear things a year or two out of fashion, especially a piece she made herself. (Check out the rest of the blog too, there's some other adorable vintage patterns I'm excited to try out at some point in the future!)
My next google search took me to try and find a collection of novelty prints from the 1940s. Since I just got 50+lbs of fabric (I think it's a lot closer to 80lbs, actually; I weighed my second haul and it was less than I took the first time and came in at 30lbs!) from my mum, I was just hoping to find "close enough". I settled on this adorable garden flowers and bees print. (For reference, here is the page I looked for fabric inspiration.)
I'm still fighting with myself on motivation, even though I feel so much better than I did a month ago, so it took me some time to finally sit down and do this. And because February was so short, I forgot I had a little extra time! Even so, it took an extra day or two to get the fabric washed, and then waiting for it to dry since the dryer wasn't working so good and it came out wet..
This project really took too long for a dress that is basically rectangles. When I measured myself against the given measurements, 9" for a bodice seemed quite short, so I added 2" which then ended up being 2" too many! I'm not overly happy with the dart placement or overall fit, but since I spend a large portion of summer lounging around the house, this should make a fantastic house-dress!
It's very high on the back, and beneath the arm, which might be alleviated by fitting over proper undergarments or by cutting an armhole, though the pattern is intended to have a selvedge edge all the way around.
The Challenge: #6 Fairytale
Fabric: 100% cotton
Pattern: Very Easy 1939 Dirndl Dress Pattern
Notions: Thread, buttons, hook and eye, snaps
How historically accurate is it? Pattern, check! Fabric content, check! Fabric pattern, poly thread, construction techniques... less check.
Hours to complete: 6+ (Could probably get it down to a few hours if one has clean selvedges)
First worn: Not yet (it's -13C still! Brrrrr)
Total cost: Free!