Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I made this dress in February to be ready for cherry blossom season. This project is a total hat trick: I made it during the stash contest, it was sewn during the vintage sew along (although I didn't join), *and* it's a PR Weekend Montreal souvenir as both the pattern and fabric came from the giveaway tables. The pattern was one that Reneeb4930 and I *think* the fabric was from lmg/Maria. The fabric is a batik rayon that may actually be real batik, as there is no discernible right or wrong side to the print.
This is a single size pattern. It appears to have been printed in sizes 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 40, and 42. Though it sounds like there should be a huge difference between 20 and 40, the measurements increase in the same increments as it does in the sizes between 12 and 20, so it seems rather harsh to call it double the size!
This size 16 pattern is a 34 bust, 28 waist, and 37 hip with a finished length from back neck of 43, which is close enough to my measurements (32/27/37). I pinched some width out of the bust dart when cutting, but that was all. As with other vintage patterns I've made, though the pattern envelope depicts a nipped-in, impossibly tiny waist, the pattern is actually drafted with a lot of ease. I added some "pleats" along the waist seam in front and back to take in the extra width after it was done. I love how helpful the pattern tissue is! You don't really need directions because all the info is right there.
For a neat finish on facings, Beth of Sunny Gal Studios described a method of sewing the interfacing to the lower edge of the facing, right sides together, then flipping and fusing, for a neatly finished edge. Love! These are certainly good looking facings. I probably should have sewn the shoulder seams of the facings and interfacing and then done the stitching around the outer edge all at once, but I was concerned about not being able to press the shoulder seam of the interfacing portion. I will try it that way next time.
To keep the facings from flopping around, I hand-tacked them to the shoulder seams, the back neck darts, and underneath the overlay on the bodice.
I am not someone who sews vintage patterns to go back in time. I use modern methods and drastically shortened the skirt (43 inches would drag on the floor at my height, and mid-calf looks horrible on me). Where possible I used French seams, but at the zipper (not snaps) opening, I serged the raw edges.
One vintage touch I decided to try, though, was the shoulder pad. In the past I have left the shoulder pad off projects like this. The shoulders generally end up a little loose as the patterns were designed with extra ease at the shoulder to allow for the pad height. The shoulder pad is made of 3 pattern pieces and then stuffed with several progressively smaller triangles of batting or felt. In my case, I used fleece. Although it is a little fussy to sew, the pattern create a pad that is already shaped, and just has to be stuffed. I feel very fancy with my matching shoulder pads.
I had been planning to cut this with long sleeves, but didn't have enough fabric. So I had to wait months to wear it after finishing. I comforted myself with calling it my Cherry Blossom Dress and planning to wear it to this year's bloom. Well, the day I was planning to go it snowed!!!! Kite Day was rescheduled for April 10, so we went over the weekend. The blossoms were almost gone but I did manage to get a few of them in the background. Luckily, I didn't miss them entirely because I had gone after work a couple weeks ago to see the blossoms at peak bloom. You can see my blossom photos here.
As is often my problem, the details of this dress disappear into the print in two dimensional photographs (I think they're more obvious in person). I tried to get some detail shots, although even they didn't turn out great; they're in the photo album. The pattern review is here