Pattern: Vintage Vogue 2960
Fabric: brushed cotton from Fashionista Fabrics (sold out now,) silk organza underlining from Dharma Trading.
Notes: Wow, this dress was a lot of work! I have an afternoon wedding to attend in June this summer, and I was inspired to sew a Betty Draper inspired sundress. I had this beautiful fabric I bought with no purpose in mind, and it was perfect for the vision in my head! I love vintage patterns, but I fear the necessary alterations to fit the modern figure (I’m not so much for the girdle wearing) so I hadn’t yet made a 50s dress. I chose this Vintage Vogue reissue, hoping it had been updated for modern undergarments. Was it? Well, not having the orignal pattern in hand I can’t say… but I tend to say “not much.”
The sizing was a little strange. I normally wear an 8 on the top and 10 on the bottom in Vogue patterns. According to the finished garment measurements, a size 6 had the 34.5 inch bust I like in this style of dress (about 3 inches of ease) so I originally cut a 6 fading to an 8 at the shoulders (because I have broad shoulders) for my muslin. Well, it fit through the bust, but it was huge in the shoulders and yet way too tiny in the waist (indicating to me that a girdle was expected for the pattern, and that it hadn’t been updated that much.) So in the final dress I cut a straight 6 in the shoulders and bust, and faded to an 8 in the waist. I was still worried that it would be small in the waist, so I gave it almost an extra inch when sewing the side seams. Probably the 8 would have fit, but it was hard to tell, and I’d rather have a little too much room than not enough in the waist – I hate to feel strangled, and that way I can wear it when I sing (ever notice how opera singers wear a lot of empire waist dresses? There is a reason for that… I have massive expansion powers through my lower ribcage.) The shoulders are still a bit wide, but I’m going to sew some bra strap holders in, which I think will fix the problem.
The back of the dress is pretty low – I had to buy a special doohicky to lower my back bra band or it would show. Also, notice that my hair gets redder by the day, I swear… I am thinking of dying it dark auburn.
I underlined the entire dress in silk organza – I bought a 13 yard bolt from dharma trading. It was a good choice – on its own this fabric is a bit limp and slightly sheer (I think it might be sheeting) and with the organza is stands nicely without a a crinoline.
I made self fabric buttons, because I am obsessed with them right now. The hem was shortened by 7 inches, and then I made a narrow machine hem (life is too short to hand hem circle skirts.) Overall I am very pleased – except for the underlining, the dress was very easy to construct. I did not do the bound buttonholes, and I topstitched the placket bottom down, but other than that I followed the directions pretty closely, and they were excellent. I would highly recommend this pattern, but watch out for the shoulder width, and measure your waist!