Monday, September 8, 2014

The It Girl-Prairie Dress


                                                        by Amy from ViennasGrace

Finding fashionable everyday gals, everywhere I go. I have always noticed what women wear, how they put things together, and what makes some fashions work. Looking at the fabric, the cut, and the everyday fashion changes. Always in the back of my mind I'm thinking, I could make that, I have that pattern! I will talk to anyone and if they let me take their photo they might just end up here because they got IT right. Let's see what the everyday gal is spotted wearing this time.

Call it a prairie dress, baby doll, gingham pull-on, a granny dress,  it's a look I see everywhere. When the prairie dress is done right the ease and comfort of the style is just as comfy as the dress itself. I spotted this IT girl, wearing a soft buttery yellow print simple dress with mild front and back pleats. Perfect afternoon style at Avila Valley Barn in Avila, California. As she passed through the chicken coop, she was happy to pose for a quick photo for me. Her whole look was just perfect, down to the peek of the eyelet on her white socks, and her perfect girlish suede combat boots. Sadly, I was in a rush to catch up with my kids before they fed the lettuce to the "DO NOT FEED" donkey, I didn't get her name, but told her the blog address, hope this IT girl stops by. 

You might be thinking, this isn't what comes to mind when thinking of a prairie dress. Maybe you visualize a traditional Gunne Sax dress, or a ruffled edge skirt? This IT girl in her easy fit dress with a gathered skirt dropping from the yoke style bodice mimics a classic pinafore. Add the classic calico print and voila, prairie dress. It says, I shop organic, recycle, hand craft items and rescue animals. Love those gals! It also says, I am aware of style trends that those uber cool country music girls are wearing and what is in the closet of most Austin Texas fashionistas. I do love Austin! I wondered could I recreate this IT girl look at home? So off to my multi-era closet for a peak.
I pulled out a floral print no fit empire waist dress with a broomstick skirt from 1990's. Not quite the calico print that I was looking for, but it will work great in a pinch. I pressed out the crinkly broomstick skirt to give it a more updated look. Called on my lovely assistant Tallulah the dress form, added a cute pair of combat style boots. For that little show of sock I made a pair of boot socks from the lacy knit sleeves of a pink cashmere sweater that had a little mishap thanks to my sweet husband doing laundry one weekend. Now since Tallulah is without an important accessory, like a head, I added this vintage grey wool Pendleton fedora that I picked up recently from a nearby thrift shop for $1.00.  Plus who doesn't love a grey fedora? 

       Tallulah was so nice to get dressed up and pose for me since, she had no need to do her hair, put on makeup or shave her legs.  I on the other hand would need to do all three, and frankly, Tallulah has never been much of a photographer.

But even a better idea, I could recreate this dress to the exact fabric of choice, by finding a quick and easy sewing pattern. This dress with it's few pattern pieces and no fit style is a perfect choice for even a newby sewist. Take a look at the diagram of the pieces for Butterick 4912-Fast & Easy-this dress has a dropped waistline. If you leave off the pockets and bow (which I would highly recommend) you only have 5 pattern pieces.


I love this one, I think it's a near perfect match
Check out the pattern piece diagram, only 6 pattern pieces. 
This is a really fast & easy pattern.



Here is another great pattern, getting the idea, pattern pieces are few and they all have about the same type of construction.  This one is a Butterick Classics plus a Fast & Easy Pattern.
                                        retromonkeys Butterick 4333                           
And another great example, easy to sew too. A different back and a sleeveless style, see how it looks like a pinafore?
If it's an empire, natural or dropped waist style, the basic pattern pieces and instructions are going to be very similar, with some sleeve and bodice variations.  Conquer one of these easy fit dresses, and you can quickly have a prairie dress of your own.


Here is an Etsy treasury of more patterns all from the Pattern Patter Team
I was so inspired from my own closet finds, that I made a treasury featuring sewing patterns from the Pattern Patter team along with some other great items available on Etsy. Hope this helps to give you ideas to complete your own floral print prairie dress with the fun combat boots, and of course a vintage hat to complete your look. I even added the option to make your own hat, how cool would that be?
So the conclusion to creating this IT girl look, I think the best option....go sew IT girl!


23 comments:

  1. Great post! I hope this will be an ongoing series.

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  2. I love your style posts! I am always looking forward to the next one!

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  3. Catherine, sure is, I already have my next It girl in view! :)
    Thanks Mary Beth!!

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  4. Amy, your It girl is fabulous! Prairie girls never go out of style! Thanks so much for including my patterns along with so many other lovely outfits!

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  5. Great post, Amy! Love the updated look - combat boots especially. Five stars:)

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  6. Fabulous post Amy! Thanks so much for including my Primitive Brown Floral Fabric in your treasury :)

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  7. Wonderful post, Amy! And so many cool patterns!

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  8. I love the relaxed look of prairie dresses...and if you make them floor length you don't have to shave those legs!

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  9. Docs are still one of my favourites!
    Perfect for the prairie dresses!
    Great blog Amy

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  10. Thanks all! I loved doing this one and I found so many great easy to sew patterns, :)

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  11. Amy I love your sense of style and how you see so many ways to make things work.

    I especially like how you go out in the "field " to get your examples

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  12. Awesome post! One of the best...Amy you are the new it girl! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  13. Great blog post, Amy! I guess "Prairie Dress" is a USA term, because I haven't heard that one. IT reminds me of the '80s Laura Ashley style I used to lust after (back in the day).

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  14. Love that whole look! One of my favorites. A lovely post, and thanks for featuring one of my patterns! Love this blog!!!

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  15. Nicely done! Such a throwback for me to the eighties...

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  16. I love the whole prairie look. In fact I have brown combat style boots that I wear with dresses in the Fall and Winter. I really need to sew up a few dresses and skirts before the cooler weather comes!

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  17. I have worn this look in my youth, love it and still do!

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  18. And see all great styles come back around! Or never really go away. Nothing better than comfy fashion. :)

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  19. I love the boots with this dress. Great blog. The IT girl is great. Quick lovely.

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  20. Wonderful post! Love prairie dresses!

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