A very vintage Valentine dress

A happy early Valentine’s Day to you!

Actually, we don’t usually do much for Valentine’s Day. As a couple, Mel and I historically have never made it a big deal as before we were married it was two weeks away from anniversary, so for 10 years we really just never did anything.

One thing I’ve always loved, however, was vintage Valentine ephemera. Just so cute! So when I saw this vintage-inspired fabric with a heart toile print, I decided to sew up a Valentine’s Day dress. The fabric is from the Pam Kitty Love line by Lakehouse Dry Goods. I bought it on sale from Fat Quarter Shop and sadly there’s no more!

Valentine Emery dress

This is my second Emery dress by Christine Haynes. I told you I was going to make a bunch of these! I’ve only just begun. After my first version which had no alterations to the pattern, I decided to change the neckline to square for this one. I really like square necklines and I think they make a great frame for necklaces. I also increased the shoulder width by 5/8″ to give me a little more coverage.

To sew the inner corners, I decreased the stitch length to 1 for about an inch going into and out of each corner. And with clipping into the curves and understitching, it lays perfectly flat with no puckering in the corners or anything.

Emery dress with square neckline

The bodice is lined with red cotton voile, and I used a vintage Talon zipper from my stash to do a lapped and hand picked zipper. I have very few zippers on hand so how I managed to have a cherry red 22″ one is beyond me, but I did!

Emery bodice lining

Now, you know I usually don’t bother with print matching or anything like that. But with this print, how could I not center the hearts right along the front?? Admittedly it was absolute dumb luck that the bottom heart didn’t get caught in the waistband. Swoon… seriously, I’m so glad I spent the time to line this up.

Even though, if I’m being honest with you, cutting the bodice on one layer meant I totally forgot to straighten the grain and I paid the price for that as my hem is a little wonky. Whatever–no one’s looking at my hem with this great print! Same with the bust darts which I’ve now come to realize are a little too high on me. (I’ll move them down in future versions.) You’re not looking at that, you’re looking at those kitschy hearts instead!

Valentine Emery dress

I also decided to match the print on the back. It worked out great except for the fact that when I lined it all up, I didn’t take into consideration the seamline, so the hearts are not actually centered, even though the print matches. Whoops. But hey, it distracts from the fact that the top of my lapped zipper is a little crappy. I had decided to use a hook and eye at the top of the back neckline so I could have the zipper finish a little lower and not have it look a tad doofy like my first one. But when it came down to it, I didn’t have any hooks and eyes (where did they all go?!). So, a tad doofy it is. (And now I have no hair to hide it. Ha!)

By the way, that matching really does go all the way to my waist, but I forgot to interface my zipper area so the overlap (on the left) is flaring out a bit at the bottom, I think, or else it’s the angle somehow.

print matching and lapped zipper

Quibbles aside, I’m really quite thrilled with this dress. This print could not be any cuter or more perfect for Valentine’s Day!


And of course I had to throw in a little themed vintage jewelry! These screw-back heart earrings, for one…


And an adorable brooch, which I added to my cardigan.

vintage Valentine brooch

So let’s talk about how great those centered hearts line up when I’m wearing this cardigan. It’s so perfect I can’t stand it! I knew I’d be wearing this dress with a cardigan because like so many others in the country, we are having the crappiest winter ever. This is about 2 layers of clothing less than I’ve been wearing every day. Ugh.


(By the way, I took off myΒ Luxulite necklace when I put on the cardigan and then forgot to put it back on for a few of the other photos because my anal-retentive side likes to pick and choose what I actually remember to be anal about, apparently.)

Valentine Emery dress

But back to the dress. So I lined up the hearts on the center front, I matched the print on the back, and my goal was to line up one of the heart motifs on both sleeves. I used 2 1/2 yards on my first Emery, and had 3 yards to use for this one. But even so, at the end I was about 2″ shy of being able to center the same heart motif on both sleeves… so they don’t match. No one but you will ever know, though, since it’s not like you can see both my arms at the same time!


I only made one other change, which was to cut the skirt using almost the full width of my 44″ wide fabric (I got this great idea from Roisin). It gave the skirt just a slight bit more fullness which I really like.

Hard to get a full-body photo indoors that looks decent but here you can see my shoes, the final piece of the outfit. These L’amour Remix wedges were a gift from Mel few years ago.

Valentine Emery dress

What else is there to say? I love this dress! I’ll be wearing this outfit when we go out to dinner on Friday. And my third Emery (timed for a special event early next month) is already being planned, along with a matching cardigan that I’m furiously knitting for the Ravellenic Games, the event that Ravelry hosts every Olympics. I know some of you out there are ‘competing’ too, so good luck! For the next two weeks I’m knitting and watching Olympic events like a mad woman. πŸ™‚

Filed: Sewing, Vintage Wardrobe

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