Sunday, March 4, 2012

1950s Long Tall Sheath (Vintage Vogue)


OK, now this one I am happy with.



This dress has been hanging around in its completely finished and *gasp* ironed state for about 10 days, and has nearly been worn to work a few times (alas, too cold,wet or windy for it), and nearly worn out to dinner twice (alas, not dressy enough). The fact that I keep putting it on and trying to wear it despite the weather and the occasion tells you I love it.



The pattern is Vogue 1137, a 1950 vintage pattern reissue, made as a straight size 15 - which is to say it's a size 14 but sewn with 1cm rather than 1.5cm seam allowances down the sides. Oh, the mad thrill of sewing without a muslin!



Unfortunately between directing my son and using the self timer I haven't managed very loveable photos. I have to blame the weather - this rain just won't go away! To be honest we did have a few hours of sunshine today but they were desperately needed for some outside jobs (you'll see a giant blue tarp on the lawn - that was part of it) that were a higher priority than blog photos :-(.

I managed to sneak these photos in just before the rain started up again...


 


Do you see how GREEN and healthy the garden looks? It is L.O.V.I.N.G. this summer.

But the dress. Yes, the dress.

It's much more fitted than I usually manage (a psychological block that I MUST get past for Julia Bobbin's Mad Men dress challenge!) but the dress is extremely comfortable, and I don't feel too exposed. Look everyone, a genuine smile!

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So how long?
About 5 hours. Yes, I know I'm a slow coach. But on the other hand it's been a long time since I've had to do any unpicking - so there!


And how much?
A mere bagatelle! 


$22.50 tops. All up.


$18 of fabric (a half price remnant from Tessuti fabrics), and $2.50 for a reel of thread. The bias binding was a leftover, and the zip has been in my stash for ages - which means I bought it second hand or on sale. We can call it $2 but it might have been 50 cents :-).
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Pattern Review

I didn't follow the pattern instructions and only really glanced at them to check for danger zones, so I can't tell you if they're any good or not - but with this sort of  straightforward construction there's not too much scope for calamitous errors.

I did find one surprise with the pattern though, which was that there seemed to be less ease than usual for a Vogue pattern - either that or it's supposed to be extremely snug and foxy? Maybe so! FYI these days I sew a size 12 bodice in Vogue patterns (and a 14 below the waist), but the fit you see above approximates to a size 15 everywhere - and I wouldn't call the bodice particularly loose.  So if you're thinking of making this I'd recommend you measure the pattern widths first.

I made a couple of changes...
  • Smaller side seams - of necessity :-) - thank goodness I gave myself "extra" fabric to play with by cutting out too big!
  • No hand sewing - I did glance at the instructions to see if they included a neat way of sewing the lining to the bodice outer but they didn't. They seemed to suggest sewing front bodice to its lining, back bodice to its lining, then hand sewing front to back at the shoulder seams, followed by neatening up the lining pieces on the inside shoulder seam. In my experience this approach often looks messy. Instead I sewed outer to outer at the shoulder seams, and facing to facing at the shoulder seams, then sewed the outer and facings together along the neckline. I turned the dress right side out and then pinned the arm hole seams together as far as I could reach in towards the shoulder seam. Sewing these seams with the machine took a couple of steps working up from the lowest points of the armhole and required some care close to the shoulder seams where there wasn't much room for everything else to stay out of the way. I think there are some good explanations of this method out there in the sewing blogosphere but I have to admit I didn't look it up - just tried to think about the dress in 3d terms.

  • Self-fabric facings rather than full bodice lining. My fabric is a stretch cotton and I figured a non-stretch lining would strain at the seams and also make the dress too warm. I made a facing shape by basically tracing the bodice pattern pieces and drawing a wavy line that allowed for at least 6cm below the lowest underarm point and lowest part of the neckline. My facing ends just above the bust darts and I intentionally made it a little tighter on the bust than the bodice. And look what I also did - matched up the stripes on the outer and facing pieces!
    This sort of detail just makes me feel good :-)
  •  Order of construction - I like to join bodice front to skirt front, and bodice back to skirt back, before sewing the side seams. This lets me check stripes are matched on the waist seam without having copious amounts of fabric hanging either side of the needle, and also lets me fit the dress in one lovely long side seam. Especially since I'm bigger in the hips than in the bodice I don't want to sew side seams for the top and bottom parts separately - they might not be the same size at the waist seam!

  •  Sway back adjustment - I took out a wedge from the back bodice waist seam to remove some puffiness that turned up in the bodice back when I tried it on in pins
This shaped waistline becomes a horizontal on me
Back bags be gone!


  • Straightened the side vents along the fabric stripe

  • Left out the self fabric belt. Just for now. I have the coordinating belt buckle ready to go but am feeling nervous about this step - so am doing without for now. 

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The Verdict? 


A fitted dress like this - once it fits - gives you the opportunity to vary the ease, the neckline, the skirt shape and the length for some very different looks.

I love it.  I'm tempted to make another, shorter dress in a very different fabric.

27 comments:

  1. Looks great and wonderful stripe matching

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    1. Thanks! Stripe matching seems to be my therapy...

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  2. Long, lean and matching stripes, what a nice dress.A short version would look great too, the fit is excellent.

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    1. Thanks - and I should probably make hay while the sun shines (when something actually fits...)

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  3. The stripes look great on this dress. You did a fantastic job matching them up.

    It's also so satisfying to completely machine sew something, isn't it? I feel like I've solved some great puzzle whenever that works out. Your results are neat and tidy looking!

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    1. Yes, it really is satisfying - a puzzle you can wear! I know it was lazy of me on the hem though...

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  4. Great fit and great shoes too!

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    1. Thanks for noticing the shoes Robyn - for once I spent a bit of time working out which pair would go! I don't think I have much of a styling gene though :-)

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  5. The dress looks great on you. I never noticed that pattern before.

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    1. Thanks Audrey! These days I'm trying to focus on the photos for the vintage patterns instead of the line drawings - and it's made me get interested in a couple of patterns that would otherwise have looked too dated to me.

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  6. Great fit. You should be proud of your matching stripes. Love the shoes. They go so perfectly with the dress. Hope you get to wear it more soon.

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    1. Thanks Bernice! I got to wear it to work today as we had a short visit from summer today (who has sadly already gone again, leaving autumn in her place). I'm pleased to report it held up very well, so this will be on high rotation when the weather is right.

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  7. I've never noticed this pattern before, but now I feel like I must buy it! I love the neckline.

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    1. It is a great little neckline - it's quite unusual and probably flattering for narrow shoulders. And as a bonus it seems to cover bra straps pretty well!

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  8. Love that striped dress, and the length is fabulous!

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    1. Thanks Gwen - I am really liking the length too!

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  9. Oh this is such a classy dress. What do you mean 'not dressy enough for dinner'? A pair of heels and some bright red lippy and this is an instant head-turner. I love the fabric so much and you did such a fab job of matching it all up.

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    1. You're right, I really could have worn it to dinner. I has the dress code wrong for both dinners and was probably too dressed up at both :-(. Anyway... Moving on~ I'm very glad you like it!

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  10. Beautiful dress, and veery chic. I think this would look perfectly lovely for a dinner!

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    1. Thanks Carolyn. I know, I know, it would have been fine! I did feel a bit of an overdressed idiot at the second dinner in particular, and I did wish I'd worn this. Anyway, I got to wear it to work yesterday and it was very comfy so there will be many wears to come.

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  11. Oh I love it! It looks fabulous on you and with those red shoes - tres chic!

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  12. This looks fantastic! I have a question. I notice you have a dressmaking model/dummy you are using. can I ask what model/brand it is and if you're happy with it - I'm seriously considering getting one to help with fitting - it's super hard to fit to myself and I often get the hubby to help, but I think a model might be useful. Thanks!

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  13. I love that you matched the stripes at the facing - what a great detail! I hope you get a chance to wear your elegant new dress soon.

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  14. Those facings are impressive- now lets see what you can do with the vintage patern you won on my blog- stop over and see me for details!

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  15. Love this dress on you...I have just nominated you on my blog for the Versatile Bloggers Award!!! It is being passed onto fellow Aussie sewers that I enjoy following...

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  16. It looks gorgeous! You have such wonderful proportions to pull off this dress too. Love it paired with the red espradrilles!

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  17. wow great fit and fantastic stripe matching.

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