Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A 50's party dress. Vogue 2902

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!


Uta said...

You're such a heroic mother! The dress is very pretty, and I imagine she will grow into the bodice in no time at all.

KID, MD said...

You are an awesome Mom! I'm impressed that you were able to whip that dress out! Wrong size, fussy instructions, uncooperative teenager - Wow!

Little Hunting Creek said...

That is really cute - and what a GREAT MOM you are! If there is a sewing Medal of Valor -you'd get one.

Mary Nanna said...

We all want to say the same thing: you are such a great mum! I would never ever do this for any daughter I had - I know because I never sew for my son! A lot of work but it is so super cute - love the piping, love the polka dots!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

So adorable! I love the tiny polka dots. I am so impressed you did all that fussy work on a time schedule and for someone else. Sheesh.

Sharon said...

Love the dress and your skills at getting it finished in time.

Gail said...

Mother of the Year badge on its way to you. I am the ultimate selfish seamtress.

Handmade said...

Yes - Mother of the Year Award!!! Fabulous dress - dress ups or not it will get lots of wear!!

Carolyn said...

Wow! well done! This looks incredibly complex, I can hardly believe you finished this beautiful dress in less than four days! You are the master!

Ann Flower said...

Thank you so much for this post! I was having a devil of a time figuring out how the upper attached to lower bodice and you clarified nicely. Very creatively too!

Ann Flower said...

Thank you so much for this post! I was having a devil of a time figuring out how the upper attached to lower bodice and you clarified nicely. Very creatively too!