by Diva Gigi
Sleeveless is not my best look so I had originally intended to make this dress with long sleeves. I basted the first sleeve in just to double check the fit and hang. As I looked in the mirror I decided I liked the dress a whole lot better sleeveless. The shoulder line on this pattern is wide enough to be flattering for those of us who can’t carry off a dainty spaghetti strap. As I frog-stitched (ripit!) the sleeve I thought about how I wanted to finish the armscye. Since there is no topstitching anywhere on this garment, a facing strip was not an option. I didn’t like the idea of French binding either. Both of these methods somehow seemed too casual for what I wanted to be a dressy dress. So, I did the unthinkable. I still can’t believe I did it (because I just never do) but I am so pleased with the way it looks. Yes, you guessed it. I used (gasp) facings! I interfaced them with Palmer/Pletsch Sheer (I’ve mentioned at least a thousand times that this is my favorite interfacing in the world). The facing pattern was a nicely shaped one-piece pattern with an underarm seam only. I sewed and understitched it just as one would on a woven fabric. I then tacked the facing to all of the seams – shoulder, side back and side front. This turned out to be the perfect solution. Again, please excuse these terrible, fuzzy photos. I didn’t look at them until I uploaded.
By the time I got to the hem it was 3:00, giving me 2.5 hours until we had to leave for the ceremony. I would have preferred to do the hem on this fabric by hand but, to save time, I hemmed it with Wonder Thread (a super-fine monofilament) on my blindstitch machine. It looks good but I am going to redo it as soon as I have time because I think it will hang just a little better. Here I am in the finished dress. And see how nicely I match my front door. The dress does not hang longer in the front – my husband is just quite a lot taller than I am and he was shooting down despite my reminder not to. I will definitely be making this pattern again. A girl can’t have too many pretty dresses in her wardrobe!
Here’s a photo of the dress on my dressform, Ethel (Mertz, of course):
Here’s a photo taken from the side. Note how the side panel seams curves around the bustline. I really love working with vintage patterns. It’s so obvious that a lot of thought went into designing and drafting them. This pattern also has back neckline darts (you just never see those anymore!) and an elbow dart. Fabulous.
Using a lightweight fabric with a weighty drape is the key to success with this pattern. There are a lot of gathers under the bust, anything heavy would result in a maternity look. I don’t agree with most of the fabric recommendations given *unless* you are a supermodel. Mind you, this is just my opinion. If you are very thin perhaps you could get away with some of these fabrics.
Crepe back satin – too bulky
Shantung – too crisp, not drapey enough
Lightweight Double Knit – sorry, I can’t see that. Imagine the bulky gathers.
Crepe – only if it’s extremely thin and drapey
Surah (a silk twill) – again, depends on the drape
Lightweight wool – possibly a featherweight crepe
Printed silk (think crepe de chine)
Additionally, I think this pattern would work nicely in silk charmeuse (although one must always take care to avoid the nightgown look).