A few Mondays ago, my daughters were invited to a 50's theme event - to be held that Friday night. Time pressure ensued.
Daughter the second elected to wear her own sewing (bliss) and merely required a ruffled petticoat, but daughter the first really pulled out the stops. Drawing heavily on the broken wrist factor, she not only reported complete sewing disability, but picked out a Vogue reissued vintage pattern 2902, bearing no relation to her size (I admit to displaying this pattern to her in a moment of weakness), and of course, a ruffled petticoat to go underneath (My vague thoughts of whipping up a circle skirt did not last long).
Using considerable guile, she did not actually ask for this to be completed, just looked earnest and pitiful and started describing her physics homework, a great incentive for me to hide in the sewing room.
I started with the petticoats, as the circle skirt idea was still lurking as a last minute possibility.
I blessed the ruffling foot on my 1933 Singer. The needle hardly falls out at all now that I have put a shim of aluminium can in the needle clamp. ;)
There are 8 fabric widths in the bottom ruffle of the longer petticoat. Despite this, they were quite quick to make using the ruffler. The fabric is imperial poly/cotton batiste, and the hem is rolled on the overlocker.
Not having a working computer at this point, I was not able to follow my usual path of reading every review of the pattern before starting the dress.
I had to do it all myself! How old fashioned.
The pattern has an unusual bodice and neckline finish.
The straps and facing (interfaced) are an overlayer to a lined, strapless bodice.(5 layers at the neckline). I used quilting weight cotton, using for interfacing a closely woven white shirting cotton to prevent any show-through of the print or darker lower dress fabric.
Here is an inside view
I was not very impressed with the construction instructions, which require considerable hand sewing, and originally thought I would machine sew the upper bodice to the lower bodice, and do the same for the lining. However, this would not be possible without a lot of fiddling, as the curved upper bodice is layered over the dart. I hope you can see this in this close up of the inside at the dart.
Instead I piped the contrast facing. To do this I changed the construction order to leave only one shoulder seam of the straps and facings open to minimize my seam matching requirements.
I was then able to attach the lower seam of the upper bodice to the dress by machine stitching in the ditch of the piping from the right side.
I sewed the upper seam to the inside by hand, per the instructions, but had to unpick the area across the front straps, as the weight of the bodice made the straps dimple at the top. This could be due to the rather too loose fitting of the bodice.
My daughter is about a size 6-8 in Vogue, the smallest bodice size in the pattern was size 12. If I had more time, I could have redrafted, but I confess that instead of doing this I roughly scaled down the size 12 bodice to a size 8 by measuring inwards from the size 12 as far as the size 16 measured out, made a small bust adjustment, and sewed up the whole thing with only one fitting. This was more conducive to finishing the garment in time than it was to having a perfect dress.
She did like it. In fact, at the time, she was wildly enthusiastic about the dress, which is very gratifying to a sewing mother.
I fancy making a set of Carolyn's gloves to co-ordinate for next time my daughter goes to a dress up party.
Unfortunately, the photographs were not taken on the way to the costume night. Instead they were taken after a camping weekend, with strict instructions to restrict publication of the photographs to the dress portion.
I am still thinking about that photography enthusiasm clause, although I think my timing needs some work!