So, last week I posted about completing the bodice of Vogue 8686 and foolishly added that the bodice was definitely the most complex part of the dress. Well, that was just asking for trouble.
The pattern envelope describes the dress as, "fitted, A-line". Referring yet again to my trusty copy of Vogue Sewing, 'fitted' should mean that the pattern has a total ease of 7.5-10cm / 3-4". Comparing my measurements to the total dress width on the pattern pieces at the bust, waist and hips, I decided that the bust needed to be the size I wear in bought clothes, the waist one size larger, and the hips between one and two sizes larger (yep, seriously pear-shaped).
So, I drafted my pattern pieces and cut the dress out. I did have some reservations about just how wide the skirt would be at the bottom, but worked on the basis that if it did seem too wide, taking in is always far easier than letting out.
|Skirt front pattern|
Having completed the bodice, I made up the skirt, and sewed the two together. As the fabric frays a lot, I also overcast the seams and bound the edges of the side vent, so that the whole thing wouldn’t fall apart when I tried it on. The end result looked dreadful on me, just entirely shapeless. In fact, it looked so bad that I couldn’t even bring myself to take a picture.
The dress looked much better if I made a couple of pleats at the front waistline. However, was this appropriate for 1933 (the date of the pattern)? An exhaustive trawl of 1930s fashion online suggested not; I could only find one image of anything remotely like that.
|McCall 8242 (on left), with front skirt darts|
So I tried Plan B, and redid the side seams to take the dress in at waist. This improved the waist no end, but the hips were still far too wide; so much so that the dress actually stuck out at the sides like comedy panniers. Plus, as feared, the skirt was massively too full at the bottom. Needless to say, I still couldn’t bring myself to photograph it.
At this point I abandoned trying to work from pattern measurements, and went for the practical approach. I took a similarly-shaped bought dress which I know fits me, laid it on top of what is rapidly becoming the 'dress from hell', and marked out the skirt shape from there. The skirt now fits. However, the amount removed has taken it back to dimensions suspiciously like those of the bust size!
I’m really not sure what is going on here. Several years ago I made up view D of Vogue 8028 (now out of print in the UK), all to my bust size.
|View D is the orange dress on the left|
It fits perfectly, and is one of my favourite dresses, but I had assumed that the pleats at the waist allowed me to get away with a smaller dress size at the hip than I really need.
|Vogue 8028, back and front views|
According to the dimensions of the pattern pieces of Vogue 8686, making the waist and hips the same size as the bust should produce something far too tight. I’m confused, and need to go back to the fitting shell, Vogue 1004, to work out exactly what to do with straight and A-line skirts.
So I now need to overcast the new side seams and bound the edges of the new side vent, then add the side fastening and then do the hem. I had hoped to complete the dress for the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge Green before the next challenge is due tomorrow, but clearly that’s not going to happen. Meanwhile, all the green items which the other Challengers have made can be viewed here.
One final, slightly weird, thing. When I considered making something for this challenge, I immediately thought of Vogue 8686, but had no idea why. Then, when I went to buy fabric, I was immediately drawn to an apple green, tweed-effect cloth. Looking for Vogue 8028 today to photograph it, I came across Vogue 8633 as well. I wonder if this is why I associated green with a funnel neckline?
|80 years difference, oddly similar neckline|