Monday, April 9, 2012

The Conservative Dress

Wow, I never expected to have so much interest in my plain ole black and white dress! Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments. I definitely finished it much faster than I would have if you weren't all waiting to see it!

And here it is!

I really love this pattern. The instructions are somewhat ambiguous, extremely brief, and crammed together on the smallest pattern sheet ever, but I was able to follow them, mostly.

The confusing part was the neckband, or what I call the under-collar.
Although it looks like (and logically should be) a complete collar with a back and two fronts, it turns out to just be two separate pieces which get tacked to the front facings. You’re probably thinking that this would be a perfect opportunity to create interchangeable collar pieces in different colors, and that’s what I initially thought, too. But after struggling to make both the neckband and the bodice pieces lie relatively flat, I decided to just make this collar permanent and consider a slight redesign if I want to make this pattern again.

The dress was supposed to have a side hook-and-eye closure. The fabric seemed too loose and floppy to stay closed, so I inserted a length of this tape with the fasteners already attached. It looked terrible, with the fabric puckered, gaps around the hooks, and unmatched seams. I ripped it out and inserted it again. Worse! Fabric bubbles at the top and bottom, and the waist seams still didn’t match up. I ripped it out AGAIN. I was not in a mood to put up with any more nonsense, so I stabilized the seam allowances with lightweight fusible interfacing, and put in a zipper instead of the hooks and eyes. It might not be vintage-compatible, but the zipper is functional and does not cause the fabric to misbehave. Phew!

Shoulder pads or not? That is the question for modern sewists with 1940s patterns. I decided to put them in, since the yoke is meant to be supported by them. I think it would be fine without, but I do like the extra shaping, especially with such a soft, drapey fabric.
It's hard to see details in this print, but the bodice has pleats at the back waist.

The only thing I haven’t done yet is the belt.
I’m considering this white faux mother of pearl buckle. What do you think? Too much matchy with the pearl buttons? I also have a black buckle but it is big and round and looks very modern. I could also do a metal buckle, but it adds another element...

No more sewing this week - I have to focus on taxes, and something even more important: The Piemaker’s birthday! But I've also got some garden photos, a cake mess, and an award coming up, so you'll be hearing from me a lot this week.



  1. Your sewing is so lovely and wonderfully neat.
    I really like the notched shape in the collar - too difficult for me at the moment.
    I don't think the print's boring, the little button shapes are fun.
    My vote goes with that white buckle - it looks perfect for the dress.
    Good luck with the tax return at least you have some birthday fun to look forward to aswell.

  2. Happy birthday to the pie maker!

    The dress is just stunning and so beautifully made. I love the white belt buckle with it also. It gets my vote!

    Uggh; taxes. I have to do ours, also. Why do I always wait intil the last week?

  3. Wow....I love it! It is such a classic dress. I love the fabric you picked as well! Taxes...ugh! Have a wonderful week!

  4. How did you finish that so fast??!!!

    Anyway, it looks really great. I love the collar!