Pattern: Vogue 8577, view A
Fabric: Blue “Aruba” linen look cotton from Fabric.com, black bemberg rayon for the lining
Notes: I love how this dress came out, even if I’m not smiling much (my face is still a little swollen from root canals on Thursday!) I’m a big fan of full-skirted sundress, and I find myself suffering from a full-skirted sundress deficit in my closet. So… before tackling some of the pretty 1950s patterns in my possession, I decided to give this modern pattern a try.
I made a muslin of the bodice only – after all, a full skirt is a full skirt. I tried a straight size 10, but decided I needed it to be smaller through the ribcage and waist – but the shoulders were good. So I traced a size 8 bodice out to a size 10 in the shoulders only, which fits just great on me. I find that I have rather broad shoulders in comparison to my underbust measurement, and patterns that fit me below may be tight in the shoulders. Things I love about this dress: The shoulder gathers, the color, and the enormous pockets (so fun, I can’t believe I forgot to get the obligatory “hands in pockets” photo!
And then, of course, there is my error – I left out the side panels when constructing the skirt. Oops! But the skirt fit nicely to the bodice without them, no gathering required. It is a little less full in the back than in the front, but I like it that way – it wrinkles less. My husband says this makes my dress like a reverse mullet – party in the front, business in the back!
The dress is fully lined in black bemberg rayon. The pattern called for a lining, and besides that the fabric was pretty sheer on its own. This is the second time I’ve used this lining, and while it feels lovely on I hate working with it – even with starching the heck out of the pieces, it shifts around like crazy during cutting. I find it ok to sew with a walking foot, so no problem there, but cutting it makes me crazy, even with single layers and a rotary cutter. I’m going to try a silk or cotton lining on my next sundress – I will probably come back to the rayon, but I need to let my frustration settle down a little.
This dress was rated easy, and I’m not totally convinced – the pockets were a bit complicated, and there is a full lining – but if you’ve made a dress or two I think it’s pretty approachable. Hemming a full skirt is challenging, but I used the method outlined a few posts back – I serged the edge and then folded on that line. Then I machine sewed the hem. The 1940s sewing manual I’ve been using lately informs me “Never machine sew a hem except for children’s clothes, lest your garment look coarse,” but oh well – I didn’t feel like doing the hem by hand, although I usually do.
Now I am onto my next sundress, a 1950s dress in a beautiful rose print fabric. I have this whole week off, and since I am now mostly recovered (and off the heavy duty painkillers) I can sew!