Monday, June 1, 2015

• 1940s Lace Dress •

I apologize for the unannounced absence! I neglected to put together a post ahead of time, so when Thursday rolled around, I got so busy I didn't have time to write anything! One of the things I was busy with was this dress!

Ever since I first glimpsed Vogue 8811, I have absolutely loved it; especially View A with the lace. It's just so beautiful! Last year I purchased this blue polyester crepe ($1 a yard...yay!!), not really having anything particular in mind for it. Eventually I realized that it was the perfect fabric to make this dress out of! And not only that, I happened to have some lace in the stash that was also perfect for it!
I realize that polyester crepe was not even invented in 1940 (actually, it was invented in 1941...but that's beside the point). Since I'm just making vintage-style garments for everyday wear and not pursuing absolute period-correctness, I don't have a problem using a fabric like this every now and then. No one can accuse me of being a fabric snob. ;)

Since the fabric is slightly thin, I self-lined the bodice. That was a somewhat interesting venture! I have never lined anything with kimono sleeves before, but I confidently proceeded anyway with what I thought was the right way to do it. 
It wasn't.
I sewed the neckline of the bodice and lining together once all the seams were sewn, then sewed the sleeves together. In my mind, that was going to work quite perfectly!
It didn't.
What resulted was a Rubik's cube of fabric; an unrecognizable mass of material that couldn't be turned! I was tempted to give up on the dreaded thing, but finally decided to go back and unpick the sleeve seams. That did work.
Because of that little problem, the overall annoyance of trying to sew such persnickety fabric, trying to sew the lace on neatly, and trying to hem it decently, this dress gained the not-so-endearing name, "The Dress of Stress."

Now that it's done though, I definitely love it. And even with the problems I had, it was awfully easy to make! It would be an absolute cinch in a more easily-sewable fabric.

The pattern called for 2" lace; mine was more like 1 1/2", but it still looked just fine.
I had another rather stressful issue; I used a wash-out sewing marker to mark my lace miters, which I then spritzed afterwards to remove the marks. After the fabric had dried, I noticed that the water had left what looked like dirty watermarks everywhere that I had spritzed it! Thankfully, they washed right out, but it wasn't very encouraging at the time!

I decided to try my hand at a hand-picked zipper. I'd never done one before, but I quite like it! It may not be the most amazing job ever, but not too bad for a first try.

As for alterations, I lengthened the sleeves 2" and made the armholes smaller using another pattern's sleeves as a guide (Vogue V9000).
I also made the keyhole about 1 1/2" shorter and made it in my usual shape rather than the slightly wider, rounded shape that the pattern called for. Which reminds me, I have been incredibly lax and not posted my keyhole tutorial yet! I will do that either this week or next, and that's a promise!

Despite the problems, I'm thrilled to have a new "fancy" dress! It will be just the thing for orchestra-attending and other such occasions that call for more formal attire.

Thank you all so much for the birthday wishes and the lovely, lovely comments on last week's post! You all make a girl feel quite special!! :) 
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  1. Your dress is beautiful Esther! I truly do believe your sewing skills get better and better with each dress you make. Marvelous!

    the Middle Sister and Singer

  2. I love it, the lace is so subtle from a distance, but gives it great detail close up. I totally understand about not being a fabric snob. The 1940's were all about making do and mend, so it is certainly in the spirit of the times

  3. Absolutely beautiful dress, Esther. I have such a soft spot for, and love of, when sewers aim to replicate the dresses shown on pattern sleeves, as you've done here. It's a timelessly pretty frock and does the original illustration more than proud, my dear.

    ♥ Jessica

  4. Wonderfully pretty dress, Esther! I love the classic feminine lines and design. It could be dressed up as fancy as you want, or still look gorgeous with sandals for a picnic. :) I can tell you are having fun with your sewing!!! I had to laugh as I read how you tried to turn the bodice and lining out...I have done the exact same thing and, well, it didn't work for me either. :) Confessions of "uh-oh!" moments are just as encouraging to read as beautiful inspiration stories and photos! It adds a touch of real life to the articles. Have a blessed day!

  5. I have been admiring this pattern for a while so it is really great to see it made up. You have done a great job, your dress looks lovely.

  6. I like everything about this dress - it is a real classic and in my favourite colour as well!

  7. The lace over the top of the dress is such a cute idea! You really are the master of trim Esther. I keep telling myself I should add trim to my dresses, but never seem to have the time, or the right trim... On day I will do a ric-rac trim though, I'm determined! ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill


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