I’m a bit of a magpie when it comes to sewing related items in charity shops and when I saw this late 1950’s pattern for a whopping 50p, I could not resist. It’s been sitting there whispering ‘make me, make me’ for a long time now but I just couldn’t decide on a fabric. Until I saw this incredible cotton on Minerva! Now I have a deep love of both William Morris style prints and anything that makes me look like an item of soft furnishing so this fabric was absolutely perfect!
I had to grade up the pattern bodice and found that with minimal tweaking it was spot on in terms of fit. I’ve been trying out different fit and flare patterns for a while and this one is the best so far for my curvy figure. I absolutely love the square neckline ~ it’s just so flattering.
I took a lot of care working out where to place the centre front of the bodice as I wanted to show off the beauty of the pattern motif to its best advantage. And then I made sure the motif ran down the centre front of the skirt too.
The pattern comes with 2 skirt options and I wanted to do the gathered one. Vintage patterns seem to come with 3 panels that you sew together, and then gather to get that fabulous fullness, but I decided to use 2 full widths of the fabric for the front and back which was quicker and worked perfectly. I wanted to retain that longer full skirt so stuck to the length of the skirt pattern piece from the original.
I had pre~washed the fabric and there was no shrinkage and it was really lovely to sew with. I overlocked all the seams apart from the waist seam, which I bound to keep that 1950’s couture thing going. I inserted a zip using a central lapped technique, which I think has to be the easiest method and is my favourite these days (after many years battling with invisible zips with varying degrees of distress!). The result is a neat and strong zip that adds real finesse to a garment. It is, incidentally, the preferred method of zip insertion in couture houses to this day.
When I put this dress on when it was finished, my daughter said I looked like Marie Antoinette wearing her curtains and I’m over the moon because, as far as I’m concerned, that’s absolutely the best compliment and exactly what I wanted to look like!
This whole project was an absolute pleasure from start to finish and it has to be my favourite thing I’ve made in a long time!
I have a little fabric left and am making myself a matching heart shaped evening bag, which I will share once I’m done.
I feel like magic when I put this dress on, which is exactly how your clothes should make you feel. And I'm so pleased I've cracked the bodice fit ~ I've tried so many patterns now but somehow the vintage patterns just always seem to have a better fit, for my shape at least. I'm going to create my own bodice block from this one to use to my hearts content.
I hope you have a dress or item of clothing that makes you feel queenly and regal ~ especially over the festive season!