I finished this dress late last week, have worn it a couple times and finally was able to get some snapshots yesterday to share with you! Of course, just as I’ve finished this lightweight, semi-sheer rayon dress, the weather has gotten chilly–but I don’t mind! It’s the perfect thing for layering (see the last image in this post) for these in-between type days.
The pattern is Sense and Sensibility’s swing dress, which is really becoming a staple for my wardrobe–this is number three that I’ve made from this pattern in the past year (as I mentioned last week)! What I like is that it’s not only a flattering silhouette, but also a basic without being boring–something I need more of in my closet. I made a few changes to the pattern when I made this up: namely leaving off the back sash ties. I used those on the previous two dresses, but kept wondering how the dress would look without them and a belt instead? I’m wearing one of my favorite vintage belts in these pictures, but also made a bow belt and have another with a vintage black buckle in the works. It’s a simple swap, but really opens up the possibilities for accessorizing.
One thing I had made a mental note of on the other two versions was that I really needed to interface the midriff piece–especially with this light and somewhat slippery fabric. I just used a knit fusible interfacing, applied to the midriff only, and that helped a lot with any possibly distortion on this lightweight fabric. Another change I did was to modify the sleeve cap, which is more of a fitting tweak, but just as necessary to achieving the shoulder line I wanted. In both my previous versions of this dress the sleeve cap has been far too full for the smooth, set-in style that the envelope shows. Since the pattern is based on a 40s pattern, this is not surprising–many commercial patterns from this era have simply too much ease in the sleeve cap. It’s an easy fix, involving measuring and re-cutting the cap to fit the armhole with the proper amount of ease though. Would anyone be interested in a quick tutorial on how to do this?
Otherwise this dress was pretty straight-forward! You can read my thoughts on the overall construction on an earlier post if you’d like. One final thing I did do was make some thin, matching shoulder pads. Although I don’t like a super-built up shoulder, they are necessary to give both that 40s look and are great for smoothing the shoulder line. I used the basic principles in my shoulder pad tutorial, but made them a bit smaller and rounded. I used 2-3 layers of cotton batting in each as well. The basic pad was constructed of muslin and then covered with a piece of dress fabric. I just serged the edges, but turning them under and slip stitching is perfectly acceptable too. To help shape these, I used a sleeve roll to pin each to and then applied a steam a few times and let them “set” overnight. It really helped give them a slightly curved shape to conform to the shoulder.
Now, I have to admit that for the first batch of photos in this post I did kind of dress up a bit to show off the dress. I was wearing it yesterday, but had bundled up a bit which meant the details were hard to pick out. I did, however, snap a couple photos of how I wore it–back seam stockings are definitely not something I wear daily! lol. I’ve been pairing it with some of the more brightly colored cardigans in my collection, but yesterday was chilly enough to make me want to snuggle in this warm and cozy vintage cashmere sweater and forget being exciting with color!
- dress: made by me
- cardigan: 50s/60s vintage, thrifted
- patent bow belt: estate sale
- tights: Target (?)
- shoes: Madden Girl
- bracelet/pin/earrings: Forever 21/vintage, thrifted/mall store
So one new sewing project down… and I’ve got another in the works! Hopefully I’ll post about that later in the week or next week; it’s another one I’m excited about because the technique I’m using for lining it is brilliant!