Tag Archives: 50s

I am a bad girl.



I have a winter coat cut out that needs to be sewn. Syo needs some costuming made for a dance performance at the end of the month. And did I mention I’m working two (sometimes three)  jobs right now? AND I need to get started on my Christmas sewing, if I’m actually going to do any. Which I want to. I have a whole post on that in drafts, alongside the post on the Vader Dress and a number of other things I haven’t managed to blog.

So what am I doing?

Vogue 1094

Vogue 1094

Making Vogue 1094. Because no reason, except that this border-embroidered mesh (which really wanted to be a sari in another life) demanded it. Because I need another fluffy fifties dress SOOO badly. (The poor 70s, they are getting so neglected. I actually had someone at work say to me that I had a 50s-vintage style going on, and I was all like, well, the 50s are fun but really the 70s has my heart, and then I took stock of what I’ve actually been WEARING, and, well…)

I’m probably going to use some of the rest of it to make a gathered drape around the top rather than do the folded bias bands the pattern calls for. I love the drapes (even if they are a little strangely-constructed) but really, with this fabric, how can you not use the lace, um, EVERYWHERE?

When I went to trace the pattern, I found myself boiling it down to a mere three of the Voguety-million pattern pieces. Bodice front, bodice back, and skirt. For the skirt, it calls for six identical, tapered panels. There is a separate piece for the skirt lining, but on comparison the only difference was length. I knew I wanted to use one wide, gathered rectangle to make the most of my embroidered mesh, so I only traced the one.

For under my mesh, I found a gorgeous, two-toned taffeta that is mostly black with just a hint of blue. I wasn’t sure about the blue with the black overlay, but in and of itself I liked it better than any of the five other black taffetas I looked at, and the part where it was 70% off an already reasonable price didn’t hurt, either. It is, by the way, the hardest fabric to pin through that I’ve ever met.

Bodice front

Bodice front

The construction described for this dress is, well, odd. There’s a lot of handwork, not surprising, and the lining is more of an underlining—which suits me fine, I suppose, but as I said, I’m not using the lining bodice pieces, which don’t extend into the shoulder region. Yeah, I don’t really get it either. Although I’d be curious to try, at some point, just to see what it turned out like. Just not with this particular fabric. For this make, the fabric is totally boss.

Before tracing the bodice pieces, I pulled out my pieces from Project Drop Waist to compare. I wound up shortening only at the waist, and adding a centre back seam to make my swayback adjustment. We’ll see how the shoulders end up fitting—it’s pretty hard to gauge in this style. Other than that, and a little side-seam twiddling, I don’t THINK I need to do much. I suppose we’ll see if it fits.

Yesterday, when Stylish and I got together for our weekly Jacket Makings session, she made fleece pants (one can never have too many) and I worked on this. Since I didn’t have anything over there good for marking darts on dark fabric, I mostly worked on the skirt. Yes, we had a largely jacket-free Jacket Makings day.



I cut the skirt panels from the taffeta and sliced off one entire side of my 4.4m of lacy yardage. I shortened the skirt by 2″, which puts the hem more at my knee than below it—which is where I like it, although it may throw off the overall proportions of the dress. So be it. I also narrowed the bottom flare of the pattern piece just a smidgeon, because  it was SO CLOSE to fitting double on my taffeta and it would save so much fabric. Not that I know what I’m going to do with an extra metre of blue-black taffeta, mind you.

Hem interior---braid on right, taffeta on left.

Hem interior—braid on right, taffeta on left.

I also got the pattern-recommended 3.5 m of horsehair braid. Which brings me to my biggest irk so far. Recall that I shortened the pattern, and that I narrowed the skirt slightly, all of which would have narrowed the hem. I still wound up being short about 15″ of braid. ARGH! WTF? Should I have stretched the horsehair more? I know it’s flexible stuff, but somehow that seems like a bad idea. If I’d been at home, I probably would’ve had a remnant somewhere I could splice in, but as I was at Stylish’s, I didn’t, so I settled for splicing in a piece of the taffeta, cut on the bias. Probably some interfacing would’ve been helpful, but I was irate and didn’t think of it until just now when I was typing this. It doesn’t show on the outside, and I suspect that the small, slightly-more-flexible part of the hem won’t be at all noticeable once all the gathering is said and done, but still. I’m annoyed.

So the skirt is pretty much ready to be gathered on to the bodice, which leaves me with the scary part of the dress-making—the bodice. I guess I’d better go pull up my big girl panties and find my tracing wheel…

(And did I mention that there’s about three metres of the other edge of the mesh fabric, with the same lace border, left? can we say skirt?)



Filed under Sewing