[ the result of a weekend of mad sewing! ]
A little bit Mad Men, a little bit like something Elizabeth Taylor might have worn in Butterfield 8, and a classic bombshell color thrown in. I’ve been in a bit of a late 50s/early 60s mood lately; mostly it’s due to all the early 60s films I’ve been watching over the course of the summer. The early 60s was one of the eras I originally fell in love with when I began exploring the idea of dressing vintage daily, and I have been coveting a little “wiggle dress” (as they’re commonly known online) lately (my sketchbook has been full of them!). Being so taken by the vision of a bombshell style dress in my head I made a few sketches and I decided to spend my holiday weekend working on a dress to capture what I envisioned. I had a gorgeous green linen blend in the stash (it was actually earmarked for a 40s three-piece playsuit, but I actually like it in this usage much better!), and used a sloper I drafted from Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting. I was a bit gutsy–no foolish–and cut out the dress after drafting the pattern, without making a muslin–something I do not really recommend. The pattern wasn’t perfect at first–I basted the dress together twice before I got the fit through the waist and hips just right. However, it was a fun learning experience–and thankfully did not result in some massive mishap! (Again, I do not recommend following my idiocy in just cutting the fashion fabric prior to testing! This was one of those once-in-a-million instances that it did not backfire on me!)
[ I love how the bow adds a bit of femininity to the dress, but isn't too frilly! ]
[ close up of the hand stitched zipper; the application results in a soft and subtle look. ]
I made a conscious decision before embarking on this to really take my time with the details of this project. I think part of the reason I became disenchanted this summer with sewing was because I wasn’t challenging myself to learn new techniques and spend the time to construct something really, really well (it must be admitted here that my serger has made me a bit lazy!). This dress has a ton of structure between the shell and lining; we’re talking stay tapes, interfacing, etc. The zipper was inserted using my favorite hand picked method. Gertie inspired me to try out stay tapes to support and stabilize certain points on the dress (the armsyces, back opening edges along the zipper, and empire waistline). It’s also fully lined and the neckline faced (so that if the slit neckline moves away from the body, the fashion fabric and not the lining shows). The bias band around the empire waist was slip stitched to the dress by hand. I even took the time to add lingerie straps so my bra wouldn’t show! I referenced this book a lot. It was so satisfying to do an intensive sewing project that really required me to think out all the steps and components needed to make a successful garment! I admit, after I finished it, I couldn’t stop staring at it–I haven’t made something I’ve been this proud of in a long, long time!
[ sorry I look so sullen! I'm just squinting, I assure you. ]
[ a little lacy surprise at the hem. ]
My favorite part of the dress is a toss up… On one hand, I’m in love with the bow–I seem to have been on a bit of a binge with bows this year! lol. Bows can be terribly girly and frilly, but I find in applications like this they don’t seem too frou frou, just feminine. But I also really love the neckline! Bateau necklines have long been a favorite of mine; I discovered the flattering lines as a teenager and promptly became a convert. I drafted this one so it was a gently sloping wide cut across the front, and a shallow dip down in the back. I’m quite in love!
[ more pictures here. ]