Sunday, 5 January 2014

Celebrate (and Green)

Whoohoo! Vogue 8686 is finally finished, and in 2013 as well. Admittedly only just; I sewed the hem at my parents’ house on New Year’s eve.

Originally this was intended for the Historical Sew Fortnightly Green challenge, but that went very awry. At times, given the number of ‘fit-sigh-take apart-try again’ cycles I went through, I did feel that it qualified for the Re-Do challenge as well! Fortunately the last challenge of the 2013 was Celebrate, defined by The Dreamstress as:
"Make something that is celebration worthy, make something that celebrates the new skills you have learned this year, or just make something simple that celebrates the fact that you survived HSF ’13!"

So, after all the angst that has gone into making this, it seemed fitting to celebrate its completion. Plus, I can celebrate learning a new vintage sewing construction technique; a side placket fasten with press studs.

The completed placket

I wasn’t sure how well this would work. The fabric is quite thick, so I worried that all the layers involved could make the end result fairly bulky. However I ruthlessly trimmed and graded all the seams, then carefully overcast all the raw edges as the fabric frays very easily, and stitched the lining under the edges of the placket.

Inside view of the placket

The end result looks really neat; far better than I had expected (the wobbly seam in the picture is due to the dressform having considerably less curvy hips than I do).

The fastening closed

Plus, the skirt finally fits perfectly. A massive thank you to Leimomi for her suggestion as to why the fit was initially so bad; I shall try out her method next time I make up a Vintage Vogue pattern.

I took the waist of the dress in quite a lot in order to get it to fit, so the next potential problem was that the separate peplum and belt would be too big. Fortunately by a combination of making the side seams slightly wider towards the top, and using a much smaller seam allowance on the join between peplum and belt, I was able to match it up to the dress.

The peplum, with the narrow seam allowance marked at the top

Initially I didn’t think that the big hem on the peplum would work, but I did manage to ease in the extra fullness. I made up the lining the same way, sewed it to the peplum at the top, then turned the lining under, trimmed off the excess and slip-stitched the lining in place. Then I attached the belt, and held the interfacing in place with five rows of topstitching.

Completed peplum and belt, inside view

I used a vintage buckle to finish the belt off. It didn’t have a prong, so I used a tip of my mum’s, and made the belt a little wider than the space in the buckle, so that it wouldn’t slip open. Thanks, Mum!

Close-up of the buckle

Completed peplum and belt

The eagle-eyed may have noticed that some things seem to be the wrong way round. This is deliberate. Because I’m left handed, I moved the side fasten to the right of the dress, as it is easier for me to reach there. I also swapped the belt round.

There is a tiny bit of shine on the right side of the bodice, where I accidentally moved my press-cloth while pressing the dart. This gives me the perfect excuse to disguise it with this super-cute wooden swallow brooch, which was a present from my sister-in-law.

The perfect accessory

After all that, the dress fits perfectly, and I’m delighted with it. So much so that I actually have pictures of me wearing it, complete with a Christmas tree just sneaking into view at the right. Actually, it had to be photographed on me, as there wasn't a dressform to hand. (I ‘acquired’ my mum’s dressform some years ago, but that’s another story.)

Back view

Finished at last!

The small print:
The Challenge: Originally meant to be completed for Green, actually completed for Celebrate.
Fabric: Linen-effect fabric of unknown (man-made) composition for dress, equally unknown synthetic fabric for lining
Pattern: Vintage Vogue 8686
Year: 1933
Notions: Three self-cover buttons, seven snaps and one hook and eye for fasten , vintage buckle for belt, three (! yes, there was that much unpicking) 100m spools of thread
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is a re-issue of a Vogue 1930s design and construction is accurate for the period, but fabric is definitely not. Say 65%
Hours to complete: Too many to even contemplate!
First worn: 31 December, to celebrate New Year at my parents' house
Total cost: Fabric £27.13, lining £11:47, thread £4.80 (three spools at £1.60 each), vintage buckle £2, pattern and other notions from stash, so £45.40.

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