Last week I was, to put it mildly, disheartened when I realised that I didn’t have enough fabric left to make the belt. But after I’d thought about it for a while, I realised that while I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut the belt out crossways, I did have enough left to cut it out lengthways.
Of course, lengthways is how a belt would normally be cut, as it utilises the stronger warp threads of the fabric. However the belt on this dress is sewn on and is purely decorative, so doesn’t need to be strong. Also there was the problem that the design didn’t really lend itself to a belt cut in this way; it would have birds and tree trunks sideways on.
|The belt piece, cut out and pressed|
Unfortunately I didn’t have any choice, so a lengthwise belt it was. I ended up with two birds and two tree trunks showing, although one of the birds will be covered by the overlap of the belt.
|Pinned on to the dress, with bird and tree trunk showing|
The way I got round this was time-consuming, but worth it. First I traced off the tree and bird sections. Then I laid the tracing over the various scraps I had left, and identified sections of the print which could be cut out and applied over the parts of the belt I wanted to cover. I trimmed these pieces to size, and tacked down the raw edges. Finally I attached the pieces to the belt.
|Before, during and after the patching process|
Once the belt was attached to the dress, the joins hardly showed at all.
|Ta dah! The completed belt|
With the belt done, it was on to the last few details. I topstitched the pleats partway down the skirt, hand sewed the hem, and attached the button.
|The finished dress|
I must admit that it’s not the most flattering or glamorous dress I’ve ever made. The V shape of the contrast panel on the front provides a distraction from the complete lack of shaping in the bodice, but the back view; oh dear!
|Not my best angle|
The dress is a very different style from the flowing, bias-cut ‘frocks’ I tend to associate with the 1930s, but that reflects the owner of the original. By the early 1930s Emily Tinne was in her mid-forties, and had six children. From the dress patterns in the Tinne Collection it is obvious that by this time she had a fuller figure, and her day dresses at least reflected the styles worn by a woman of her age and social class.
|Pattern envelopes from the Tinne Collection|
'Matronly' does rather sum up this dress, (am I the only person who cannot come across the word “matron” without mentally adding a Kenneth Williams-esque “oooh”?), but for all that I’m really pleased with the end result. And it used up a remnant which was threatening to take root in my stash - an extra reason to be happy!
I do need a suitable bag to go with it however, and there is a challenge coming up which fits the bill nicely. . . .
The small print:
The Challenge: Eastern Influence
Fabric: Red and cream cotton remnant of Japanese-inspired design from my stash, 1/2m satin-backed crepe for contrast panel
Pattern: My own, from a dress in the Tinne Collection but with a few alterations
Notions: Vintage button and buckle (probably later than 1930s)
How historically accurate is it? The pattern is historically accurate, but I overlocked the seams.
Hours to complete: About 30, including drafting the pattern (and fixing the belt)
First worn: This afternoon, to take photos
Total cost: £2.40 for the satin-backed crepe, £1 for the button, £1.50 for the buckle, so £3.90 in total.