FO: The Mary Dress

Pattern: Vogue 1219, a Christian Dior designer pattern from 1975

Fabric: Red linen-look suiting, Light pink cotton/poly blend batiste for underlining

First of all, thanks so much for the overwhelmingly supportive response to my last post.  You guys are so great – I even got offers to mend my holey sweaters (sadly, I got rid of them right away, but the offers are so generous and wonderful!) My yarn seems safe, but it is locked in the deep freeze for awhile to be certain.  The damage seems limited to one basket of sweaters, but I washed everything I owned to be sure (yeah, a lot of laundry!)  I was sad, but I’m feeling better now .

To cheer myself up I finished this dress!  It is made of 100% polyester (chew on that, stupid beetles!)  I am not a fan of polyester, but I had this fabric, bought on clearance at Joanns, that was too pretty for a muslin I thought.  And honestly, I figured that if anything should be made of polyester, it’s a pattern from the 1970s!  As a funny aside, have you noticed how every pattern from the 70s has to tack on polyester doubleknit as a fabric choice?  This pattern called for crisp fabrics (linen etc) and… doubleknit.  Because they are so similar.  This is a suiting with a linen-link weave.  It holds a crease pretty well, which is more than I can say for some poly suiting I have used for muslins!  However, it was pretty nightmarish to work with.  I serged most of the edges before sewing, because it was unraveling at an alarming rate.  It even tried to unravel through the serging.  And then the stuff wants to wrinkle like mad, even with an underlining.  But that’s ok – it looks nice on the outside!

This was my first time underlining anything, and I won’t lie – it took way more time than I expected.  It was pretty straightforward, just time consuming.  I like how it gives the a-line body.  I did reduce the size of the top half of this pattern a bit – first in a narrow back reduction, and then again after a tragic zipper accident (the zipper caught the fabric and ripped… did I mention how easily this stuff picks and snags?)  That turned out to be ok, since I needed the reduction.

I had a little trouble with the neckline, which was sort of poorly explained.  In the end I made up my own directions, and it seems to have worked.  I set in the sleeves in the round using ease stitches.  I had a really hard time with it again – I get the concept, and I can get it in without puckers, but I still am not happy with the way it looks.  I plan to try other methods of easing in the sleeve.  I shortened the dress by an inch.

I also made my scarf!  The pattern called for pockets, and I bought the zebra for the lining, but I didn’t like the way the pockets looked on the dress – it put the emphasis too much on the lower half, which is already taking over this look!  So I left them off, and turned my pretty fabric into a simple neck scarf.

I’m calling it “The Mary dress” because it reminds me of Mary Tyler Moore.  It’s a classic style that doesn’t necessarily scream 70s, though it certainly is retro – you just don’t see dresses like this anymore.

I’m still not sure an A-line is for me – it fits, but I would prefer a more defined waist.  Even so, this dress is work appropriate, comfortable, and far nicer than I thought it would be – I nearly gave up in a huff about five times while making it!  I’m pleased to have completed my first vintage pattern (though I still have trouble with the 70s as vintage, it is from the year my husband was born.)

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27 thoughts on “FO: The Mary Dress

  1. Amalas says:

    I wonder what this would like like with a black belt to help give more of the defined waist you are looking for. Love the color and the scarf!

  2. I think the shape does suit you although I also always define my waistline. But your pictures convinced me to try the A-line shape – in your case it still shows of your good figure.
    And the colour is gorgeous.

  3. It looks lovely on you and you deserve a medal for your patience with that fabric and the underlining. I agree that you’d struggle to buy a dress like that in the shops. It’s wonderful.

  4. I’m glad to hear that your yarn situation is being handled. I was also going to suggest a belt. With your trim waist, it would probably look wonderful, and you have already mentioned your attempts to “embrace the belt”!

  5. It looks great on you …I would have given up with all the unravelling …no patience ! The shape of the dress is lovely as is the colour But the polyester …not for me. If you took in the side seams a little that would give more shape and I think it would look even better and no need for a belt.

  6. The dress turned out beautifully! The shape looks great on you but I understand about wanting a defined waist. You’re right about not seeing this style anymore. That’s the benefit of being able to sew things yourself. =)

  7. bettina walia says:

    really love the mary dress…it looks wonderful on you. You could use your scarf as a belt to give your waist a little definition.

    i really love to read your blog all the time to see what you are making next.

  8. Heather says:

    I find that the classic styles of patterns outlast the trends of off-the-rack clothes, and your dress is case in point. I love it and would wear it now; and I actually did wear dresses like that in the ’70’s! I remember them being lime green, red like yours, orange, etc. (early 70’s that is!)

  9. Phyllis says:

    I think this dress looks lovely on you just as it is. It suits you and the color is wonderful. Well done. I am a little envious.

  10. Ah, I’m so envious. I’ve been eyeing this pattern for months, but didn’t want to to commit because I can’t sew that well (yet). You did a wonderful job with it; it’s such a simple but elegant design. In fact, I was so envious that I actually bought a Vogue Paris Original pattern (but it’s a Molyeux). Ha! Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  11. It looks great on you! I also think it might be worth finding a skinny black patent belt to try.

    Since you call this the Mary dress, I was hoping for an FO photo with your throwing a (knitted) beret in the air! Maybe next time? :)

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