the sew weekly “olympics”: 40s-inspired wimbledon whites (simplicity 1507, better late than never edition)

The Facts:

Fabric: cotton eyelet from paron’s, underlined with cotton organdy from Mood
Pattern: Simplicity 1507 (previously made here)
Year: 1940s
Notions: zipper
Time to Complete: longer than it should have
First Worn: august 8, 2012
Wear Again: yes
Total Price: ~$60
Challenge Theme:  “olympics”

earlier this year, as i was gearing up for my favorite live sporting event–wimbledon–patternvault provided us with an amazing post discussing the history of tennis fashions along with several examples of gorgeous vintage tennis dress patterns.

image rounded up as part of patternvault’s post, and it quickly became one of my favorite inspiration pieces.

i seethed with envy, because i had not thought of this first.  in fact, it had not occurred to me to make a dress inspired by the sport i most enjoy watching (i suck at playing, but i can watch with the best of them), and the drool threatened to overwhelm and short-circuit my keyboard.  luckily for me, i had a second chance (much like andy murray and his championship on centre court!) to rectify this wrong with the “olympics” challenge.

so i was doubly devastated to discover that, for the olympics, not only was there garish pink bunting all over my beloved all-england club, but that the players were allowed to wear colors instead of the strict tennis whites normally required for play.

don’t get me wrong, watching the bryan twins win gold was amazing, but don’t you think they should have been penalized for those outfits???!


in the end, i went for a simpler inspiration, because i didn’t fancy all of that pleating.  also, i’ve been working more on using the patterns i already have, either as drafting inspiration or just on their own, and i used this as my inspiration image to get me back to simplicity 1507:

the construction was pretty no-frills, and i lined the eyelet with cotton organdy (love this stuff.  meg, can you make sure mood always has it?).  i had some major issues putting the lining in by machine (there may have been tears) but i got there in the end.  i even got the zipper in, by machine, on the first try–which is a pretty big deal for me.  zippers, even after three years, are a major problem for my sewing.

i love the dress in the photos, and i’ve been stopped twice today for compliments, but i can’t shake the feeling that the dress is a bit…heavy.  that eyelet is stiffer and heavier than it looks, as evidenced by the crinoline-free poof i’m getting in that pleated skirt.

i did try making a belt, like in the 70s pattern, but it didn’t work as well as i would have hoped.

random:  my video track on this one was project runway season 8, which i had sworn to myself i would never buy to protest bunim-murray and their gretchen-over-mondo mishegas.  but i found myself enjoying it a lot more this time around, and appreciating the work everyone did (even gretchen!) more than i had a few years ago.  watching mondo in that amazing three-challenge run (not to mention his courageous on-stage confession), i was in tears, and also in mourning because it just showed what a tragedy bunim-murray’s attempt to placate mondo in project runway all stars really was.  this fascinating, unusual person with startling skills from season 8 was completely absent in PRAS.

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6 Responses to the sew weekly “olympics”: 40s-inspired wimbledon whites (simplicity 1507, better late than never edition)

  1. Clio says:

    I really like this on you! I’ve never thought of the dropped waist as a look that a lot of women can really pull off. So, bravo!

    Um, yeah. The Bryan twins really needed a little fashion help.

  2. oonaballoona says:

    LOVE your tennis whites. that dropped waist is so cute paired with the gravity defying skirt.

    (mondo. le sigh.)

  3. I think it’s a testimony to your tennis dress that I am am now actually considering making one for myself, which is crazy because I never wear all white or dropped waists or play tennis, for that matter. I love your fabric choice and how it makes the skirt look!

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